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Blog Archive

 

Figuring out the shape of Mars (and other places)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/19 01:31 CST

An amateur named Bernhard Braun ("nirgal" on unmannedspaceflight) has been posting the results from a new piece of software he's developed that generates 3-D models of landscapes from single photos.

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Highlights from the January 1, 2010 Cassini imaging data release

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/13 03:43 CST

The January 1, 2010 Cassini imaging data release includes everything acquired by Cassini from January 1 to March 30, 2009 in all its high-quality glory.

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What's up in the solar system in January 2010

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/04 01:29 CST

While we don't have Moon bases, we do have plenty of spacecraft. Before I get into my more detailed look at the activities of the 20-odd spacecraft wandering about the solar system, I thought I'd look ahead to 2010 more generally and see what the year has in store for us.

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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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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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Changes in Titan's southern lakes

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/06 05:19 CDT

Today's science press release out of the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting concerns changes in lakes near Titan's south pole observed during Cassini's mission. In brief, repeat Cassini RADAR observations of the same spots during different Titan flybys turned up places where there appeared to be dark lakes in earlier images and dry lakes in later images.

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Cassini RADAR continues to gaze at Titan

Posted by Jani Radebaugh on 2009/07/27 07:08 CDT

The Cassini spacecraft made its 59th flyby of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, on Friday, July 24, and in the last few hours we have received images from the RADAR instrument in SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) mode.

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Designing the Cassini Tour

Posted by John Smith on 2009/06/07 12:01 CDT

Each Titan flyby is not a fork in the road, but rather a Los Angeles style cloverleaf in terms of the dizzying number of possible destinations. So how did our current and future plans for the path of the Cassini spacecraft come to be? That's the question Dave Seal put to me since that's my job -- I am a tour designer.

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Canto III: Hints of Equinox

Posted by David Seal on 2009/06/04 06:31 CDT

Saturn is rapidly approaching equinox, where the Sun passes through the ring plane (south-to-north, i.e. the northern vernal equinox), and its ring system (i.e. its great now-gloomy poorly-lit circles of large blocks of water ice) is starting to show some really interesting behavior.

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Canto II: Titan's Atmosphere and the Solar Cycle

Posted by David Seal on 2009/06/03 04:44 CDT

David Seal explains the complications for Cassini coming from Titan's atmosphere and Solar Cycle.

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Connections

Posted by David Seal on 2009/06/02 01:58 CDT

David Seal muses on his time as the mission planner for Cassini, and the history behind its name, and astronomy in Rome.

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Exciting Times Ahead: 2010 Will Sizzle, and 2011 Will Really Cook!

Posted by Alan Stern on 2009/05/18 03:56 CDT

Today, I'm kicking the week off with a look at the unusually intense confluence of far flung planetary exploration that's just around the corner, starting the middle of next year.

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John Spencer: Cassini's proposed extended-extended mission tour

Posted by John Spencer on 2009/02/24 02:58 CST

It seems like no time since we selected Cassini's extended mission tour of the Saturn system, in early 2007. Now we're flying that tour, which extends Cassini's original four years in Saturn orbit for another 27 months, until September 2010. So now we're looking into the future- far into the future.

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A Moon Among Stars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/12/31 06:17 CST

A very pretty picture of a moon among stars. Happy 2009, everyone!

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DPS meeting: Sunday: Lakes on Titan

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/10/15 03:52 CDT

This time around DPS features three separate oral sessions on Titan, indicating just how much attention that moon is getting from the scientific community right now. From the first session, on Titan's lower atmosphere, I'm just covering the two talks on Titan's lakes.

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