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Blog Archive

 

NASA thinks Earth is a planet, too

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/08/08 11:58 CDT

Although much of the publicity NASA receives focuses on planetary exploration, Earth observing satellites like Aqua keep tabs on our home planet's weather and climate.

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Origins 2011 conference, part 1

Posted by Frank Trixler on 2011/07/14 12:53 CDT

The Origins 2011 conference, which took place last week in Montpellier, France, was dedicated to the origins of life and its occurrence in the universe. At this meeting, scientists from very different disciplines came together to share their ideas.

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Citizen Science projects for Planetary Science: Get Involved! Do Science!

Posted by Mike Malaska on 2011/05/12 05:13 CDT

Citizen Science projects let volunteers easily contribute to active science programs. They're useful when there is so much data it overwhelms computing algorithms (if they exist) or the scientific research team attempting to process it.

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A rare direct hit from a meteorite

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/09 12:21 CDT

Meteorites hit Earth all the time, but they almost never score direct hits on human-built structures (or humans, for that matter). Once in a while, though, direct hits do happen, and it looks like this recent event in Poland was the real thing.

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Familiar yet alien ancient views of Earth

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/04 01:29 CDT

I have always found maps of the motions of Earth's continents fascinating, so it is really cool to see some gorgeous new reconstructions of what Earth would have looked like to spaceborne observers over the last 750 million years.

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Memo to early risers: Look up!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/02 11:46 CDT

There is a traffic jam of planets on the eastern horizon in the early morning right now and for the next several weeks, a prize for those of you who have to rise before dawn.

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The scale of our solar system

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/02 11:26 CDT

Space.com has taken advantage of the infinitely scrollable nature of Web pages to produce a really cool infographic on the scales of orbital distances in the solar system.

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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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Door 29 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/29 12:25 CST

Time to open the twenty-ninth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this fractured flowing ice?

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Door 26 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/26 02:00 CST

Time to open the twenty-sixth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this rayed crater?

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Lunar eclipse tonight, mid-eclipse at 08:17 Dec 21 UT

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/20 10:55 CST

Unless you live under a rock you probably know that there is a total lunar eclipse tonight, one that should be particularly favorable for viewing from North America but which will be at least partially visible to viewers in South America, Europe, and easternmost Asia and Australia too.

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Door 19 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/19 08:51 CST

Time to open the nineteenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these folded rocks?

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Door 7 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/07 12:56 CST

Time to open the seventh door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this icy bridge?

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Best "Arsenic and Odd Life" coverage

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/03 10:03 CST

Last night I asked via Twitter for recommendations for articles that did the best job explaining the significance of the work, by people who actually read the relevant paper in Science.

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Arsenic and Deep Space?

Posted by Bill Nye on 2010/12/02 12:10 CST

If you or I ingest arsenic, well...it doesn't go so well. If you are, on the other hand, a certain species of bacterium from Mono Lake, California, ingesting this seemingly toxic metal is simple enough.

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I can't wait for MAHLI to land on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/16 03:39 CST

JPL has just released some test images from the camera that has just been installed on the end of the Curiosity rover's robotic arm.

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