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The New Cosmos Has a New Trailer

Casey Dreier • January 30, 2014

Fox just released a new trailer for Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey, which will debut March 9th and feature Neil deGrasse Tyson as host.

How to get a satellite to geostationary orbit

Jason Davis • January 17, 2014

Mike Loucks helps provide a beginner's walk-through of the orbital mechanics behind geosynchronous and geostationary satellites.

Polar vortices across the solar system

Emily Lakdawalla • January 09, 2014

Earth's polar vortex has been in the American news all week. But we're not the only planet that has one; basically every world that has an atmosphere has a polar vortex. Here are lots of pretty pictures and animations of polar vortices.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner maps geologic context of Chang'e 3 landing site

Emily Lakdawalla • January 08, 2014

The LRO Diviner Lunar Radiometer has been mapping the entire Moon on a nearly continuous basis since July, 2009. The Diviner team has produced maps of the thermal behavior and and a range of derived quantities at Chang’e 3 landing site that are described in this post.

Planetary Radio: NEOWISE PI Amy Mainzer

Mat Kaplan • January 01, 2014

NEOWISE has reawakened to discover many more asteroids and comets. The mission leader thanks the amateur astronomers who follow up on these discoveries.

Habitability, Taphonomy, and Curiosity's Hunt for Organic Carbon

John Grotzinger • December 21, 2013

Lots of people ask questions about how the Curiosity mission, and future missions, will forge ahead to begin with looking for evidence of past life on Mars. There is nothing simple or straightforward about looking for life.

A Tale of Two Posters: Sediment on Mars and Searching Jupiter's Rings

Mark Hilverda • December 12, 2013

A close look at two international planetary science poster presentations from the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting featuring sediment experiments to better understand Martian geomorphology and Juno's plans for exploring Jupiter's ring system.

Watch this with your kids: Asteroid Fact versus Fiction

Emily Lakdawalla • December 12, 2013

A cute video from the OSIRIS-REx mission in the style of "AsapSCIENCE" uses a whiteboard and stop-motion animation to separate asteroid fact from fiction.

The Plumes of Europa

Leigh Fletcher • December 12, 2013

2013 has been a rather exciting year for Europa scientists. Today's exciting news: the Hubble Space Telescope discovery of water vapor plumes from the south pole of this icy moon.

Enceladus huffs and puffs: plumes vary with orbital longitude

Emily Lakdawalla • December 11, 2013

In which I finally get around to writing about a paper published last August: Enceladus' plumes sometimes spout more and sometimes spout less, depending on where Enceladus is in its orbit. This discovery was enabled by Cassini's longevity at Saturn, and we'll be able to follow up on it, as long as Cassini is allowed to complete its mission.

Curiosity results at AGU: Gale crater rocks are old, but have been exposed recently

Emily Lakdawalla • December 09, 2013

In a Martian first, the Curiosity science team has measured the age of a Martian rock, in two totally different ways. They presented the result at the 2013 meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Comet ISON Wrap Up

Bruce Betts • December 05, 2013

Comet ISON captivated our world, and many of our world’s robotic emissaries for many months. But, alas, poor ISON is dead -- again. Here I wrap up our enthusiastic coverage of this multi-morphing zombie comet that tried to survive and re-survive as it came within one solar diameter of the Sun.

Mars' chemical history: Phyllosian, Theiikian, Siderikian, oh my

Emily Lakdawalla • December 05, 2013

I'm returning to the deep dive into the literature that began with articles about lunar basins and then explored the geologic time scales of Earth, Moon, and Mars. Now it's time to catch up to the last decade of Mars research and learn what "phyllosian", "theiikian", and "siderikian" eras are.

Comet ISON live blog

Emily Lakdawalla and Bruce Betts • December 05, 2013

Comet ISON reached perihelion at 18:25 UT (10:25 PT) on November 28. It's an event that's was watched around the world, accompanied by tons of commentary and streams of photos. We will update this blog entry periodically with links to all the resources that we hear of for following the comet's progress.

Multiple views of comet ISON from solar-observing spacecraft

Emily Lakdawalla • December 02, 2013

When comet ISON passed through perihelion last week, solar observing spacecraft had a ringside view. Here are several animations of ISON's perilous passage from the SOHO and two STEREO spacecraft.

Schrödinger's Comet

Karl Battams • November 28, 2013

After impressing us yesterday, comet ISON faded dramatically overnight, and left us with a comet with no apparent nucleus in the SOHO/LASCO C2 images. As the comet plunged through the solar atmosphere, and failed to put on a show in the SDO images, we understandably concluded that ISON had succumbed to its passage and died a fiery death. Except it didn't. Well, maybe...

Comet ISON: Your Half-time Report

Karl Battams • November 26, 2013

I am heading out to Kitt Peak to join my fellow CIOC-ers Matthew and Casey for perihelion observations of Comet ISON, and I find myself having an early moment of reflection.

ISON, Encke, Mercury, and Home

Karl Battams • November 22, 2013

Comet ISON has entered the field of view of the STEREO HI-1A camera, and, in an awesome animation, it joins a large cast of characters already present there.

Imaging results from the Chang'e 2 Toutatis flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • November 21, 2013

There is a paper in press at Icarus by Xiaoduan Zou and five coauthors that provides the first peer-reviewed publication I've seen on the results of the imaging experiment performed during the Chang'e 2 flyby of near-Earth asteroid (4179) Toutatis.

ARTEMIS Mission Update

Jasper S. Halekas • November 14, 2013

ARTEMIS is a mission that retasked two probes from the 5-spacecraft Heliophysics constellation THEMIS to study the interaction of the Moon with the space plasma environment.

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