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Intro Astronomy Class 4: Eclipses, Mercury, Venus-Earth-Mars Atmospheres, Venus

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/02/28 01:30 CST

This video of class 4 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class discusses eclipses, Mercury, Venus, and a comparison of the atmospheres of Venus, Earth, and Mars.

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What's up in planetary missions in 2014

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/31 01:15 CST | 4 comments

With the New Year upon us, what can we look forward to in 2014? For me, the main event of 2014 is that ESA's Rosetta mission finally -- finally! -- catches up to the comet it has been chasing for a decade. We will lose LADEE, gain two Mars orbiters, and launch Hayabusa 2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.

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What's Up in the Solar System in July 2012

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/07/02 11:50 CDT

Welcome to my monthly roundup of the activities of our intrepid robotic emissaries across the solar system! Curiosity is about to land; Opportunity has rolled through sol 3000; Odyssey is back online, having switched to a spare reaction wheel; Dawn is now in High-Altitude Mapping Orbit 2; and Cassini is taking advantage of its newly inclined orbit to get spectacular series of images of Saturn's rings.

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Akatsuki to try for Venus orbit in June 2016

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/01/31 10:37 CST

Japan's Venus climate orbiter Akatsuki failed to enter orbit in December 2010 when a clogged valve caused catastrophic damage to its main engine. Since then, JAXA's engineers and navigators have determined that although the main engine is a total loss, there is the possibility of achieving Venus orbit on a future encounter, using only the attitude control rockets.

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Latest report from Akatsuki failure review board

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/02 08:07 CDT

JAXA held a press conference on June 30 about the latest report from the review board that is charged with finding out what exactly caused Akatsuki's failure to enter orbit at Venus, and what that implies for the possibility of Akatsuki to try again when it returns to Venus in 2015 or 2016.

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's up in the second quarter of 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/07 11:16 CDT

Regular readers of this blog will find the content of today's 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast familiar, because it's an update on what the solar system exploration spacecraft are up to, based on my monthly "what's up" updates.

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What's up in the solar system in April 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/31 03:59 CDT

April 2011 will see MESSENGER begin the science phase of its orbital mission at Mercury, and should, I think, also see the start of Dawn's approach observations of Vesta. At Mars, Opportunity is back on the road again, rolling inexorably toward Endeavour. At Saturn, Cassini will continue its focus on Saturn and Titan science.

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Encouragement from space for Japan

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/22 11:05 CDT

I saw this posted by @Akatsuki_JAXA (the Akatsuki Venus mission's official Twitter identity) and thought it was cute so I'm sharing it here.

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What's up in the solar system in March 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/28 02:43 CST

I don't think there's any question what the big event of this month will be: MESSENGER is finally, finally entering orbit at Mercury on March 18 at 00:45 UTC (March 17 at 16:45 for me).

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Two possible futures for Akatsuki

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/05 12:02 CST

There are two intriguing possibilities being discussed in the Japanese media for what to do with Akatsuki, a space probe in orbit near Venus with a fully functional, highly capable suite of cameras but a damaged main engine.

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Taking things slowly with IKAROS sail deployment

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/06/05 12:30 CDT

Planetary Society Executive Director Lou Friedman was at JAXA's Japanese Space Exploration Center to observe the deployment of IKAROS' solar sails.

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All's well on IKAROS and Shin-en

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/21 09:42 CDT

Today JAXA posted a very brief mission status update on the IKAROS spacecraft, launched yesterday along with Akatsuki. Brief is good; all's well.

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Akatsuki, IKAROS, UNITEC-1, and your names are on their way to Venus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/20 05:44 CDT

It was a picture-perfect launch for three Venus-bound spacecraft this morning: the Akatsuki Venus orbiter, the IKAROS solar sail, and a university-built minisat named UNITEC-1.

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Akatsuki and IKAROS to launch today

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/20 04:08 CDT

This is mostly a repost from Monday: Just a programming note, a reminder that Japan plans to launch the Venus orbiter Akatsuki and the solar sail IKAROS today at 21:58:22 UTC.

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Akatsuki and IKAROS new launch date set

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/18 12:56 CDT

According to the Akatsuki Twitter feed, the next try for launch of Akatsuki and IKAROS will be Thursday, May 20, at 21:58:22 UTC.

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Akatsuki and IKAROS to launch today

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/17 11:59 CDT

Just a programming note, a reminder that Japan plans to launch the Venus orbiter Akatsuki and the solar sail IKAROS today at 21:45 UTC.

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Photos of your names on the IKAROS spacecraft

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/14 03:11 CDT

IKAROS, Japan's solar sail, is nearly ready for launch, piggybacked behind the Venus orbiter Akatsuki.

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Akatsuki and IKAROS getting ready for launch, with your names aboard

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/07 04:55 CDT

I've been so focused on the dramatic return of "Mr. Hayabusa" that I've neglected to write much about two up-and-coming Japanese missions: Akatsuki and IKAROS.

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Akatsuki arrives at Tanegashima Space Center

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/19 03:57 CDT

The Akatsuki spacecraft (also known as PLANET-C or Venus Climate Orbiter) arrived this evening, Japanese time, at the Tanegashima Space Center.

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Exciting Times Ahead: 2010 Will Sizzle, and 2011 Will Really Cook!

Posted by Alan Stern on 2009/05/18 03:56 CDT

Today, I'm kicking the week off with a look at the unusually intense confluence of far flung planetary exploration that's just around the corner, starting the middle of next year.

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