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Dawn Journal: A low-orbit shortcut to Ceres

Marc Rayman • May 02, 2013

Marc Rayman's latest Dawn Journal explains why Dawn is currently closer to the Sun than both Ceres and Vesta.

An Amazing Evening for Planetary Defense

Mat Kaplan • April 23, 2013

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

Dawn Journal: Staying warm en route to Ceres

Marc Rayman • March 30, 2013

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

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

Emily Lakdawalla • March 25, 2013

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.

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

Bruce Betts • March 20, 2013

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • March 14, 2013

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.

Galileo's images of Gaspra

Emily Lakdawalla • March 01, 2013

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

Dawn Journal: Revisiting orbital mechanics

Marc Rayman • March 01, 2013

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

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

Emily Lakdawalla • February 28, 2013

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.

Galileo got so many more images of Ida than I realized

Emily Lakdawalla • February 22, 2013

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!

Webcast Tonight! Planetary Scientist and Society President Jim Bell

Mat Kaplan • February 20, 2013

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • February 19, 2013

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.

Observing 2012 DA14

Edward Gomez • February 18, 2013

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.

BREAKING: Meteor fall causes damage in Russia [UPDATED]

Emily Lakdawalla • February 15, 2013

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • February 05, 2013

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.

More Chang'E 2 Toutatis flyby images

Emily Lakdawalla • January 20, 2013

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • December 18, 2012

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • December 14, 2012

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • December 06, 2012

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.

Dawn Journal: Hydrazine Haste Makes Waste

Marc Rayman • December 05, 2012

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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