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Blog Archive

 

An Amazing Evening for Planetary Defense
Join us via Planetary Radio and complete video coverage.

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/04/23 07:12 CDT | 1 comments

Bill Nye, Bruce Betts, Mat Kaplan, Meteorite Man Geoffrey Notkin and stars of planetary science at the Planetary Defense Conference public event in Flagstaff.

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Dawn Journal: Staying warm en route to Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/03/30 10:05 CDT | 4 comments

Marc Rayman's latest Dawn journal explains the temperature adjustments engineers make to save power and keep the spacecraft warm.

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LPSC 2013: The Smaller They Are, The Better They Shake

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/25 08:04 CDT | 1 comments

Really cool movies from Jim Richardson propose to explain how the same physics of impact cratering can produce such differently-appearing surfaces as those of the Moon, large asteroids like Eros, and teeny ones like Itokawa.

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Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: the Giant ALMA Observatory, and Asteroid Tracking

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/03/20 01:31 CDT

Bruce Betts, Mat Kaplan, and asteroid tracker Robert Holmes on the Planetary Society Weekly Google Hangout. Mat discussed and showed pictures from his trip to the giant ALMA observatory and we'll be joined by asteroid tracker extraordinaire, Robert Holmes.

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Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: Being WISE about asteroids, comets, and brown dwarfs with Amy Mainzer

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/14 02:00 CDT

This week I'll be talking with NEOWISE principal investigator Amy Mainzer about moving objects that the WISE mission has spotted both inside and outside our solar system.

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Galileo's images of Gaspra

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/01 06:43 CST | 2 comments

Last week I trawled the archives to find all of Galileo's images of asteroid Ida; this week, I turned to Gaspra.

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Dawn Journal: Revisiting orbital mechanics

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/03/01 09:02 CST | 1 comments

Now that Dawn has changed its speed by nearly eight kilometers per second, Marc Rayman revisits the concept of orbital velocity.

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Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: Studying Asteroids from Earth with Andy Rivkin

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/28 01:25 CST | 5 comments

Emily Lakdawalla's guest this week was Applied Physics Laboratory asteroid astronomer Andy Rivkin. We talked about the menagerie of rocks in the asteroid belt, how many of them travel in pairs and triples, how some of them are surprisingly wet, and how much you can learn about asteroids using Earth-based telescopes.

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Galileo got so many more images of Ida than I realized

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/22 04:14 CST | 1 comments

While writing up the cruise-phase issues of the Galileo Messenger a couple of weeks ago, I came across a fuzzy montage of images of Ida that I had not seen before. So I decided to spend some time digging into the Planetary Data System to see if there were more images to be found. I found lots and lots pictures that I'd never seen before!

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Webcast Tonight! Planetary Scientist and Society President Jim Bell
Watch It Live or Later On Demand

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/02/20 07:59 CST

Professor Bell's topic is "Exploring Mars, the Moon, Asteroids, and Comets with Rovers and Landers," and there is no one better to talk about this subject.

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Why don't we have any photos of asteroid 2012 DA14 if it came so close?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/19 03:13 CST | 2 comments

A frequently-asked question last week was: if asteroid 2012 DA14 is coming so close to Earth, why hasn't anyone taken any pictures of it? Now that 2012 DA14 has whizzed past us, we do finally have some radar pictures of it, but they still may not satisfy everyone.

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Observing 2012 DA14

Posted by Edward Gomez on 2013/02/18 05:14 CST | 4 comments

Mostly the Universe stays unchanged for hundreds, thousands or even millions of years. There are some cases however when some things change really rapidly. Recently I observed one of these rapidly changing, transient phenomena, as asteroid called 2012 DA14. I work for Las Cumbres Observatory and we have been trying to observe this asteroid since 5 February.

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BREAKING: Meteor fall causes damage in Russia [UPDATED]

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/15 01:44 CST | 13 comments

A large meteor streaked through the skies above Russia on the morning of Feb 15th, causing a deafening sonic boom that shattered windows and injured hundreds.

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Galileo Messengers: Cruise to Venus, Earth, Gaspra, Earth, Ida, and almost to Jupiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/05 08:40 CST | 2 comments

It's taken me a year to face the emotionally draining task of reading and writing about Galileo's cruise phase as chronicled in the mission's newsletters.

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More Chang'E 2 Toutatis flyby images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/20 09:52 CST | 6 comments

Last week at a meeting of NASA's Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG), Han Li of the Chinese Academy of Sciences gave a lengthy presentation on Chang'E 2. Her presentation included a new sequence of photos from the December 13 Toutatis flyby.

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My ever-popular asteroids-and-comets montage, now in color, with bonus Toutatis

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/18 04:26 CST | 9 comments

My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.

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Chang'E 2 imaging of Toutatis succeeded beyond my expectations!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/14 05:59 CST | 19 comments

The Chang'E 2 mission flyby of Toutatis succeeded in acquiring images. Oh my goodness, did they succeed. These, in combination with the incredible radar images still being acquired from Goldstone and innumerable optical observations, make Toutatis one of the best-studied asteroids in the solar system.

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Asteroid 4179 Toutatis' upcoming encounters with Earth and Chang'E 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/06 12:19 CST | 6 comments

Near-Earth asteroid 4179 Toutatis will be passing within 7 million kilometers of Earth on December 12. Both radio telescopes and the Chang'E 2 spacecraft will be acquiring images.

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Dawn Journal: Hydrazine Haste Makes Waste

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2012/12/05 11:02 CST | 1 comments

By saving fuel, Dawn will arrive at Ceres in 2015 with about half of the 45.6-kilogram (101-pound) hydrazine supply it had when it rocketed away from Cape Canaveral.

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Images from the long-awaited Dawn Vesta data set

Posted by Daniel Macháček on 2012/11/29 11:55 CST | 4 comments

A few days ago, the Dawn mission finally published their archival data. During the year of delay I often looked with anticipation to the Planetary Data System to check whether or not images were there, and I am delighted that they are finally available. Was the wait worth it? Definitely!

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