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Blog Archive


Quaoar: A rock in the Kuiper Belt

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/01 12:48 CDT

The paper I'm writing about today, "Quaoar: a Rock in the Kuiper Belt," is based upon seven sets of Hubble Space Telescope WFPC2 observations of Quaoar and its recently-named moon, Weywot.

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Unbelievably spectacular flight through Candor Chasma

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/09 01:53 CST

This is one of the things that came out during LPSC last week and all I could do at the time was Tweet it—so here it is in blog form: the most unbelievably spectacular 3D animation of a bit of Mars I've seen yet, produced by Adrian Lark.

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Calypso coolness

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/14 08:42 CST

Cassini got pretty close to Calypso yesterday, on the way in to Mimas. Calypso is one of the smaller moonlets of Saturn.

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Way-cool Martian flyovers by Doug Ellison

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/04 09:16 CST

Doug Ellison has been playing with Martian digital terrain models recently, to great effect.

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Mars Express animation of Phobos' shadow transiting Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/02 12:08 CST

For the first time ever, Mars Express' Visual Monitoring Camera has imaged the shadow of Mars' moon Phobos crossing the surface of Mars.

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Awesome New Mars Flyovers

Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2010/01/28 03:35 CST

Check out these awesome flyovers of Mars, generated by Doug Ellison of UnmannedSpaceflight!

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Odyssey's going to start listening for Phoenix

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/11 05:26 CST

It's been the second most popular question I get from readers: "When might we possibly hear from Phoenix?"

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Asteroid 2867 Steins

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/11 02:01 CST

This description of asteroid 2867 Steins is based upon an article published in the January 8, 2010 issue of Science by H. Uwe Keller and numerous coauthors and on a related press release.

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Spirit's still "extricating"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/08 01:08 CST

It's been two months, now, that extrication efforts have been going on. It's discouraging that the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit isn't out of the trap.

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400 Years of the Galilean Satellites

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/07 03:34 CST

It was 400 years ago today that Galileo discovered smaller planets attending the planet Jupiter.

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Cassini VIMS sees the long-awaited glint off a Titan lake

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/17 04:28 CST

The Cassini mission announced today the first observation of a specular reflection off of a lake on Titan. A specular reflection is a mirror-like flash, and you only get one when you have a mirror-like surface -- very, very smooth.

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A teeny weeny bit of movement in Spirit's right front wheel

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/14 01:12 CST

The ever-vigilant Doug Ellison just posted this animation, which really actually does show a teeny tiny bit of motion in the right front wheel. If you don't notice any motion, look closer.

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Awesome Mars Express view of Phobos and Deimos together

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/11 11:24 CST

My inbox was exploding this morning with messages about a tremendously cool animation released this morning by ESA's Mars Express team. It shows Phobos crossing Deimos, in what's known as a "mutual event."

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Encouraging motion on Spirit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/19 04:54 CST

It really looks like the second attempt at driving Spirit out of the trap has had the hoped-for result: some forward progress (maybe about a centimeter), and no evidence for further downward sinking.

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Opportunity's poking at Marquette Island; Cassini's catching dancing moons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/18 04:58 CST

Since tomorrow's class is going to be on playing with raw images from the rovers and Cassini, I've been playing with recent raw images from the rovers and Cassini! I just thought I'd share a couple of the fun items I've been working with.

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Results of the first "Free Spirit" extrication drive, sol 2088: not much, as expected

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/17 03:20 CST

Even though all of us rover fans know that Spirit is really, really stuck, I think I'm not the only one who was secretly hoping that today's images downlinked from Spirit would show that the rover had magically popped out of the ground overnight. Of course, she didn't.

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Beautiful 3D animation of Spirit's environs in Gusev Crater

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/23 08:14 CDT

Doug Ellison has done it again: he's created a spectacular overflight of Gusev crater based upon digital elevation models of the terrain produced by the United States Geological Survey from HiRISE data.

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Opportunity's highway, and a tour of Block Island

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/15 12:35 CDT

Just a cool image to start the morning: after a 70-meter drive yesterday, Opportunity's following not one but two sets of its own tracks.

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