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Blog Archive

 

Making an ugly rock beautiful

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/02 08:03 CDT | 1 comment

Today I stumbled upon the Lunar and Planetary Institute's Lunar Sample Atlas, and was reminded of how much I love petrographic thin sections. They can make unassuming, cruddy looking rocks beautiful.

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DPS 2012: Double occultation by Pluto and Charon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/26 03:12 CDT | 5 comments

A few talks at last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting discussed observations of a double occultation -- both Pluto and Charon passing in front of the same star.

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DPS 2012: Future impact risks

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/24 01:14 CDT | 7 comments

Continuing my writeup of notes from last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting: presentations on the risks of future asteroid impacts. How much risk do we face, and what are the appropriate actions to take in the face of that risk?

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Oct. 24 Cosmoquest Astronomy Hour: Special DPS update

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/23 10:15 CDT

Join me and Fraser Cain for a brief update on Curiosity and other exciting science presented at last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, and get your pressing space questions answered! The Google+ Hangout is on Wednesday, October 24, at 16:00 PDT / 23:00 UTC. Note: this one will end about 15 minutes early.

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Book Review: Planetary Surface Processes, by H. Jay Melosh

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/23 12:18 CDT | 2 comments

Planetary Surface Processes provides a rigorous overview of every process that shapes the appearance of planetary surfaces, and I'll be referring to it to help me explain everything from impact cratering to isostasy.

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DPS 2012: The most detailed images of Uranus' atmosphere ever

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/22 04:14 CDT | 3 comments

New ground-based images of Uranus show more finely detailed structure than any photos I have ever seen.

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DPS 2012, Day 5: How to make asteroids crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/19 07:53 CDT | 2 comments

A summary of just one talk from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, by Lindy Elkins-Tanton, which provided a neat explanation for how asteroids can be melted and layered on the inside yet have a primitive-looking exterior.

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D.C. Visit Update and Member Event Recap

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2012/10/17 02:39 CDT | 1 comment

During my visit to D.C. to discuss Planetary Exploration funding with key people on the Hill, members of the Planetary Society gathered at George Washington University to hear the latest science results from NASA's Curiosity and Opportunity rovers.

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DPS 2012, Tuesday: Titan's surface

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/17 10:22 CDT | 4 comments

Tuesday morning at the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting featured talks on the surface composition and landforms on Titan, including lakes and "hot cross buns."

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DPS 2012, Monday: Icy moons and a four-star exoplanet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/15 11:31 CDT | 1 comment

In the first full day of the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, I listened to scientific sessions on icy worlds and on an exoplanet in a four-star system.

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First science reports from Curiosity's APXS and ChemCam: Petrology on Jake Matijevic

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/12 01:18 CDT | 16 comments

A Curiosity press briefing yesterday gave some of the first results from ChemCam and APXS on the rock "Jake Matijevic." It was a little too much petrology for most people; I do my best to explain.

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Sturzstroms on Saturn's Moon Iapetus

Posted by Kelsi Singer on 2012/10/01 04:31 CDT

Long-runout landslides (sturzstroms) are found across the Solar System. They have been observed primarily on Earth and Mars, but also on Venus, and Jupiter’s moons Io and Callisto. I have just published a paper about sturzstroms on Iapetus.

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Curiosity Update, Sol 52: Glenelg Ho!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/28 02:28 CDT

Curiosity has pulled up to the edge of Glenelg, its first destination within Gale crater.

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Cosmoquest Science Hour, Wednesday: A virtual field trip to the hills on Curiosity's horizon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/25 04:50 CDT | 2 comments

I'm hosting this week's Cosmoquest Science Hour, and plan to take viewers on a virtual tour of those mountains on Curiosity's horizon, and show you where Curiosity is likely to go. Join me and Fraser Cain here at 1600 PDT / 2300 UTC Wednesday.

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VIDEOS: Nye & Teens in Space as Curiosity Lands in Hi-Def!

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/09/19 12:06 CDT | 2 comments

Losing your enthusiasm for space exploration and science? Watch these new and terrific videos for an exhilarating shot of Vitamin S.

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Spring arrives to Vesta's north pole, as Dawn departs, plus a request for citizen scientists

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/11 11:08 CDT | 3 comments

Dawn's last images of Vesta peek into previously shadowy north polar territory. As the spacecraft leaves Vesta behind, its science team requests help from the public.

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The Planetary Society Celebrates 35 Years of Voyager

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2012/09/07 02:12 CDT

The Planetary Society welcomed Dr. Ed Stone, Voyager Project Scientist for the past forty (yes, forty) years to the stage for an intimate evening discussing the past, present, and future events for the enduring Voyager spacecraft.

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RBSP to explore decades-old radiation belt mysteries

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/08/24 11:01 CDT

NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes will shed new light on the Van Allen Radiation Belts, a dangerous region of space in our planet's backyard.

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New spots on Uranus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/22 05:42 CDT | 5 comments

New Hubble photos show that Uranus has both dark and bright spots!

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Curiosity sol 11 update: Decision to drive to "the high thermal inertia unit" and what that means

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/17 06:06 CDT | 8 comments

Some notes from this morning's Curiosity press briefing: the rover will be driving to "Glenelg" to investigate the "high thermal inertia unit." I explain what that means, with psychedelic Odyssey THEMIS images of the landing site.

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