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Images from the long-awaited Dawn Vesta data set

Daniel Macháček • November 29, 2012

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!

Planetary Radio: A Dawn Mission Update

Mat Kaplan • November 20, 2012

A Planetary Radio status report from the Dawn mission's Marc Rayman, accompanied by a fascinating video tour of Marc's at-home collection of space information and memorabilia.

Dawn Vesta Data is publicly available (for real this time!)

Emily Lakdawalla • November 16, 2012

After a false start earlier this year, the first chunk of Dawn Framing Camera data from Vesta has finally made it to the Planetary Data System. As a first step to understanding the data set, I've built some index pages to these cool images.

Dawn Journal: Scary-Good Ion Propulsion

Marc Rayman • October 31, 2012

Dawn continues to raise its orbit en route to its 2015 date with Ceres. Also, Marc prepares his high-energy Halloween costume.

DPS 2012: Future impact risks

Emily Lakdawalla • October 24, 2012

Continuing my writeup of notes from last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting: presentations on the risks of future asteroid impacts. How much risk do we face, and what are the appropriate actions to take in the face of that risk?

DPS 2012, Day 5: How to make asteroids crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle

Emily Lakdawalla • October 19, 2012

A summary of just one talk from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, by Lindy Elkins-Tanton, which provided a neat explanation for how asteroids can be melted and layered on the inside yet have a primitive-looking exterior.

Deep Impact targets possible 2020 asteroid flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • October 05, 2012

Yesterday, Deep Impact performed a trajectory correction maneuver, firing its thrusters to line up for a flyby seven years from now. Here's a preview of that encounter.

Shoemaker NEO Winner Finds Close Fly By Asteroid

Bruce Betts • October 02, 2012

Gary Hug used his Shoemaker NEO grant provided camera to find 2012 SY49 which flew by Earth at about two lunar distances last week. The tens of meters wide asteroid is a low-probability possible Earth impactor in the future.

Spring arrives to Vesta's north pole, as Dawn departs, plus a request for citizen scientists

Emily Lakdawalla • September 11, 2012

Dawn's last images of Vesta peek into previously shadowy north polar territory. As the spacecraft leaves Vesta behind, its science team requests help from the public.

Dawn Journal: Back to interplanetary space

Marc Rayman • September 06, 2012

After more than a year in orbit, Dawn has left Vesta, beginning the spacecraft's journey to Ceres.

Name That Asteroid!

Bill Nye • September 04, 2012

OSIRIS-REx is will return a piece of the ancient asteroid 1999 RQ36, and it's up to you to come up with a name.

Chang'e 2: The Full Story

Bill Gray • August 25, 2012

An update on China's second lunar orbiter, Chang'e 2, which is now heading for asteroid Toutatis.

Dawn Journal: The long, slow goodbye

Marc Rayman • July 26, 2012

Dawn has completed the final intensive phase of its exploration of Vesta, and it has now begun its gradual departure for Ceres.

Dawn Journal: Seeing Vesta in a New Light

Marc Rayman • July 06, 2012

Once again Dawn is diligently mapping Vesta, circling the ancient protoplanet about twice a day, observing the signatures of Vesta's tortured history.

Hunting Asteroids from a Field in Kansas

Bruce Betts • June 15, 2012

TPS Shoemaker NEO Grant Winner Gary Hug hunts near Earth objects from his back yard in Kansas. NPR's Morning Edition picked up on this fascinating story.

Update on yesterday's post about Chang'E 2 going to Toutatis

Emily Lakdawalla • June 15, 2012

I have a couple of updates on my post from yesterday: confirmation that Chang'E 2 is indeed gone from L2, and more specifics on encounter dates with Toutatis.

Chang'E 2 has departed Earth's neighborhood for...asteroid Toutatis!?

Emily Lakdawalla • June 14, 2012

According to a Chinese spaceflight forum, Chang'E program chief scientist Ouyang Ziyuan recently announced that Chang'E 2 has departed the Sun-Earth L2 point and is now en route to asteroid 4179 Toutatis!

Steins, a jewel in the asteroid belt

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2012

A notice of some new names for features on asteroid 2867 Steins inspired me to dig up the data set from the September 5, 2008 Rosetta flyby and explore it to see what it contained.

Cheat sheets for Vesta's craters and Dawn's Vesta timeline

Emily Lakdawalla • April 19, 2012

I made myself a cheat sheet to many of Vesta's distinctive-looking craters, and also wrote down a list of the major dates in the timeline of Dawn's exploration of Vesta.

Pretty Pictures: Amazing Asteroid Lutetia

Emily Lakdawalla • April 10, 2012

A long-awaited data set is finally public (well, long-awaited by me, at least). The Rosetta team has now published their data from the July 10, 2010 flyby of asteroid (21) Lutetia. This data set is absolutely stunning, and my friends in the amateur image processing community wasted no time in creating art out of it.

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