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India's launch site as seen by Japan's Daichi orbiter, now lost

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/25 12:22 CDT

I wrote the following blog entry about an image from Japan's Daichi Earth-observing orbiter last week as one to keep in my back pocket for a day when I was too busy to write, not anticipating that there'd soon be a more pressing reason to write about Daichi. On April 21, after just over five years of orbital operations, Daichi unexpectedly fell silent, and is probably lost forever.

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Are there more Titans than Earths in the Milky Way?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/14 11:30 CDT

Might there be many Titan-like planets and moons, with atmospheres and liquid methane rain, rivers, and lakes, across the galaxy? It's an important question if you think that liquid methane environments could support alien life, because it turns out that Titan-like planets might be more common than Earth-like planets.

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Nick Schneider: Notes on an earthquake

Posted by Nick Schneider on 2011/03/16 10:39 CDT

I was heading south to Tokyo with Seiko and Ishi, two students from the conference. We were planning a dinner together, maybe catching the nighttime skyline from the top of Tokyo Tower. I dozed off as the train flew silently through the countryside. Next thing I knew, Seiko was shaking me awake saying "Earthquake! Earthquake."

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The curse of living on a geologically active planet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/14 02:07 CDT

As the disaster of the magnitude 8.9 Sendai quake of Friday, March 11, at 05:46:23 UTC continues to unfold in Japan, I have been unable to tear my attention away.

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The Solar System from the Inside Out - and the Outside In

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/18 02:27 CST

Space probes grant us perspective, the ability to see our place within the vastness of the solar system. But opportunities to see all of the solar system's planets in one observation are rare. In fact, there's only been one opportunity on one mission to see the whole solar system at once, until now.

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Five amazing engineering camera videos from Chang'E 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/14 03:26 CST

I couldn't believe these videos when I first saw them: five views from engineering cameras of important events in the Chang'E 2 spacecraft's journey to the Moon.

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Field trip to Piton

Posted by Rosaly Lopes on 2010/10/07 05:22 CDT

Rosaly Lopes relates her time at a workshop in Piton.

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First view of Piton volcano, Reunion Island

Posted by Rosaly Lopes on 2010/10/03 05:40 CDT

There are about 60 volcanologists here at the meeting and we are wondering if the volcano is going to erupt and, if it does, what we will be able to see.

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Expedition to Piton volcano, Reunion Island

Posted by Rosaly Lopes on 2010/10/02 11:05 CDT

It so happens that there is a Calderas Workshop going on the same week as DPS and I was invited to talk about planetary calderas. I chose several on Venus, Mars and Io to focus on.

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Sighting the homeworld

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/17 11:40 CDT

Coming closer every day, Mr. Hayabusa has sighted his final destination: his homeworld, Earth, and its attendant Moon.

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A Martian Moment in Time, revisited

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/12 02:30 CDT

A good start to my day today: The New York Times' Lens Blog featured the "Martian Moment in Time" photo that Opportunity took last week in a really nice writeup. I'm so grateful, and still a little surprised, that the folks on the Mars Exploration Rover mission took this idea and ran with it!

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Mars and a moonbow

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/21 04:00 CST

Moonbows represent the same phenomenon as rainbows, it's just that the light from the Sun has reflected off of the Moon first before it's separated into its colors by the myriad tiny water droplets in the cloud.

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Dunes in the Outback Red Center

Posted by Jani Radebaugh on 2009/07/29 12:12 CDT

Jani talks about the importance of understanding analogs we can easily visit on Earth to processes happening across the solar system.

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Sands on Earth, Sands on Mars

Posted by Jim Bell on 2008/06/13 01:49 CDT

One of the ways that planetary scientists try to understand the origin and evolution of landforms on other planets is by studying similar kinds of landforms or "analogs" here on the Earth. For the past few days I've been working with a group of colleagues doing just that--specifically, studying dunes in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in order to try to better understand the nature of sand dunes on Mars.

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Europa on Earth: The Sulfur Springs of Borup Fiord Pass, Ellesmere Island

Posted by Stephen Grasby on 2006/07/19 04:00 CDT

From June 21 to July 6, 2006, a four-person team traveled to Borup Fiord Pass to perform geological field studies to compare with satellite images.

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5...4...3...2...1...1...Happy New Year!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/12/31 01:29 CST

Read that title aloud. Yes, the last minute of 2005 is actually 61 seconds long.

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A fun picture for holiday travel

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/11/22 02:37 CST

A fun NASA explainer just crossed my email inbox and I thought I'd share it.

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Another day, another natural disaster on Earth seen from space...

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/09/29 08:14 CDT

...but this one is much closer to home than Katrina and Rita were.

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A debate about time

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/09/21 08:21 CDT

I received a press release in my inbox this morning that made me think. It came from the Royal Astronomical Society, and was titled "RAS Statement on Proposed Abolition of Leap Seconds."

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Voyager's Last View

Posted by Charlene Anderson on 2002/08/01 12:00 CDT

Home. Family. This will be Voyager's enduring legacy: It has changed forever the feelings raised by those words. Through its robotic eyes we have learned to see the solar system as our home. Through its portraits of the planets we know that they are part of our family. Apollo astronauts showed us a tiny Earth alone in the blackness of space. Now, with these images, Voyager has shown us that Earth is not really alone. Around our parent Sun orbit sibling worlds, companions as we travel through the Galaxy.

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