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A Day in the Solar System: 28 October 2015

Bill Dunford • November 09, 2015

On October 28th, the Cassini spacecraft flew through the geyser plume of Saturn's moon Enceladus. But Cassini was not the only spacecraft operating in the solar system that day.

Filling in the Enceladus map: Cassini's 20th flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • October 16, 2015

A couple of days ago, Cassini flew past Enceladus for its 20th targeted encounter. Cassini has seen and photographed quite a lot of Enceladus before, but there's still new terrain for it to cover.

What's up in solar system exploration: August 2015 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • August 10, 2015

I'm back from two weeks' vacation, so it's time to catch up on the status of all our intrepid planetary missions, from Akatsuki to the Voyagers and hitting the Moon, Mars, asteroids, comets, and Saturn in between.

Looking back at Pluto

Emily Lakdawalla • July 24, 2015

I don't think anyone was prepared for the beauty -- or the instant scientific discoveries -- in this "lookback" image of Pluto, captured by New Horizons shortly after it flew by.

The not-planets

Emily Lakdawalla • July 14, 2015

Now that I have a reasonable-resolution global color view of Pluto, I can drop it into one of my trademark scale image montages, to show you how it fits in with the rest of the similar-sized worlds in the solar system: the major moons and the biggest asteroids.

A few gems from the latest Cassini image data release

Emily Lakdawalla • April 24, 2015

I checked out the latest public image release from Cassini and found an awesome panorama across Saturn's rings, as well as some pretty views looking over Titan's north pole.

Pretty Cassini pictures: animation of Iapetus' north pole, and other fun

Emily Lakdawalla • April 03, 2015

Now that Cassini has returned to Saturn's equatorial plane, it has lots of opportunities to observe Saturn's moons. For about a week, Cassini has been taking regular sets of images of Iapetus, which I've assembled into an animation.

Ceres Gets Real; Pluto Lurks

Paul Schenk • March 27, 2015

Although we are still along way from understanding this fascinating little body, Ceres is finally becoming a real planet with recognizable features! And that's kinda cool.

LPSC 2015: Aeolian Processes on Mars and Titan

Nathan Bridges • March 26, 2015

Planetary scientist Nathan Bridges reports on results from the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference about the action of wind on the surfaces of Mars and Titan.

Prometheus, Pandora, and the braided F ring in motion

Emily Lakdawalla • March 23, 2015

Cassini recently took a long, high-resolution movie of the F ring, catching a view of its ringlets, clumps, and streamers, and two potato-shaped moons, Prometheus and Pandora.

A Sky Full of Stars

Bill Dunford • March 09, 2015

In pictures of the planets, the stars aren't usually visible. But when they do appear, they're spectacular.

Cassini begins a year of icy moon encounters with a flyby of Rhea

Emily Lakdawalla • February 12, 2015

At last! Cassini is orbiting in Saturn's ring plane again. I do enjoy the dramatic photographs of Saturn's open ring system that Cassini can get from an inclined orbit, and we won't be getting those again for another year. But with an orbit close to the ring plane, Cassini can repeatedly encounter Saturn's icy moons, and icy moon flybys are my favorite thing about the Cassini mission.

FOIA Request Sheds Light on NASA Mission Extension Process

Jason Davis • February 06, 2015

A FOIA request offers insight into NASA's planetary science extended mission review process, which seems, at best, confusing, and at worst—with adjectival ratings like “Very Good/Good”—arbitrary.

Ceres Coming Into View

Paul Schenk • February 03, 2015

Dawn is on approach to Ceres, the largest of the asteroids, and is starting to resolve features.

Flawed Beauties

Bill Dunford • February 02, 2015

More examples of imperfect--but tantalizing--images from deep space.

Fountains of Water Vapor and Ice

Deepak Dhingra • January 22, 2015

Deepak Dhingra shares some of the latest research on Enceladus' geysers presented at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco last month.

Riding With Cassini Through 2014

Bill Dunford • December 31, 2014

Video: see some of the sights Cassini saw this year.

Planetary exploration in 2015: The Year of the Dwarf Planet

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2014

Looking ahead to what we can expect from Earth's exploration of the rest of the solar system in 2015, there's an obvious theme: Dwarf planets.

A (Difficult) Day in the Solar System

Bill Dunford • October 30, 2014

After a bad day on the launch pad, some perspective.

Cassini's awesomeness fully funded through mission's dramatic end in 2017

Emily Lakdawalla • September 03, 2014

Last year, rumors swirled that NASA may be so pinched for dollars that the agency might end the Cassini mission early. Today, Cassini received the welcome news that it has formally been funded through the planned end of its extended-extended mission in 2017. A huge congratulations to the Cassini mission!

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