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What's up in solar system exploration: March 2016 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • February 29, 2016

Welcome to my monthly inventory of the 20-plus spacecraft actively exploring our solar system. Highlights of this month include the impending launch of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander, currently planned for March 14, and the resumption of regular VMC Mars images by Mars Express.

Dawn Journal: Measuring Light

Marc Rayman • February 01, 2016

Chief Engineer and Mission Director Marc Rayman explains some of the measurements the Dawn mission is taking at Ceres, most of which depend on sunlight.

Dawn Journal: Science on Ceres

Marc Rayman • January 01, 2016

The Dawn mission is developing humankind’s most intimate portrait ever of a dwarf planet. Mission Director and Chief Engineer Marc Rayman returns with his monthly update on the mission's progress.

DPS 2015: First reconnaissance of Ceres by Dawn

Emily Lakdawalla • November 12, 2015

This is the first major meeting since Dawn's arrival at Ceres, and despite competition with Pluto surface science there was a well-attended Ceres talk session on Monday and poster session on Tuesday.

The round worlds in the solar system: An updated graphic

Emily Lakdawalla • November 02, 2015

I have a newly updated scale comparison graphic to share: all the round worlds in the solar system smaller than 10,000 kilometers in diameter, now with added Pluto, Charon, and Ceres.

Dawn Journal: A Bounty of Data

Marc Rayman • October 30, 2015

Dawn has completed another successful campaign to acquire a wealth of data in its exploration of dwarf planet Ceres, providing our clearest and most complete view ever of this world.

Dawn data from Ceres publicly released: Finally, color global portraits!

Emily Lakdawalla • October 22, 2015

A few days ago, Dawn officially released the first big pile of data from the Ceres mission phase. Thanks to the public release, I can show you color global portraits of Ceres.

Dawn Journal: 8 Years in Space

Marc Rayman • September 28, 2015

On the 8th anniversary of the launch of the Dawn spacecraft, Chief Engineer and Mission Director Marc Rayman gives his annual summary of Dawn’s progress on its interplanetary travels.

Dawn Ceres image bonanza: Grab your 3D glasses!

Emily Lakdawalla • September 09, 2015

For months, Dawn has been steadily, methodically sharing dozens of images of brand-new sights of a previously unexplored icy world. For the last couple of days I've been making up for lost time, completely buried in the Dawn Ceres images, and I have some maps and 3D anaglyphs to share with you.

Dawn Journal: Mapping Ceres

Marc Rayman • August 22, 2015

More than two centuries after its discovery, Ceres is being mapped in great detail by the Dawn spacecraft. Chief Engineer and Mission Director Marc Rayman gives an update on Dawn's progress.

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.

Dawn Journal: Descent to HAMO

Marc Rayman • July 30, 2015

With a wonderfully rich bounty of pictures and other observations already secured, Dawn is now on its way to an even better vantage point around dwarf planet Ceres.

Dawn at Ceres: A haze in Occator crater?

Andrew Rivkin • July 21, 2015

While Pluto deservedly stole the headlines last week, Chris Russell’s Dawn update at the Exploration Science Forum at NASA Ames reminded us that the other dwarf planets are also sharing their secrets with eager scientists.

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.

Three mission updates: Trouble for Dawn at Ceres; A new plan for Juno; OSIRIS-REx coming together

Emily Lakdawalla • July 09, 2015

With all the focus on Pluto it's hard to keep up with all the other space missions currently exploring other planets. Here are brief updates on three of them.

Dawn Journal: Ceres' Intriguing Geology

Marc Rayman • June 30, 2015

Dawn is continuing to unveil a Ceres of mysteries at the first dwarf planet discovered. Mission Director Marc Rayman gives us an update.

Dawn Journal: Spiralling Closer to Ceres

Marc Rayman • May 29, 2015

Dawn's Chief Engineer and Mission Director Marc Rayman gives an update as the spacecraft's orbit takes it even closer to the dwarf planet Ceres.

Tons of fun with the latest Ceres image releases from Dawn

Emily Lakdawalla • May 22, 2015

Fantastic new images of Ceres continue to spill out of the Dawn mission, and armchair scientists all over the world are zooming into them, exploring them, and trying to solve the puzzles that they contain.

Two Months from Pluto!

Paul Schenk • May 19, 2015

Two months. Eight and half weeks. 58 days. It's a concept almost too difficult to grasp: we are on Pluto's doorstep.

A week's worth of "RC3" images from Dawn at Ceres

Emily Lakdawalla • May 05, 2015

Now that Dawn is in its science orbit at Ceres, the mission has been releasing new images every weekday!

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