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Blog Archive

 

Decoding SpaceX's re-usable spacecraft concept

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/10/07 10:45 CDT

Breaking down the futuristic technologies for SpaceX's reusable Grasshopper spacecraft, as shown in a recent promotional video.

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Weekend watching: 3D Movie from Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/09 07:07 CDT

There's one Mars landed mission for which there is a long 3D film, and that's Viking. Grab your 3D glasses, and be prepared to be transported to Mars.

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Your guide to a shuttle landing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/07/19 11:58 CDT | 1 comment

The final installment of my three-part series on the basics of shuttle launches and landings. Part III: de-orbiting, re-entering and landing.

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Observing at the WIYN

Posted by Meg Schwamb on 2011/06/08 02:43 CDT

On May 5 and 6, I had a run on the WIYN (Wisconsin-Indiana-Yale-NOAO) telescope, a 3.5 m telescope, the second largest telescope on Kitt Peak in Arizona.

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Zapping Rocks for Science

Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2011/05/27 09:01 CDT

Laser beams and space exploration are perfect for each other, and not just because all self-respecting starship captains know their way around a blaster. It turns out that zapping rocks with a laser is not only fun, it also can tell you what they're made of!

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Neat video of Curiosity drive testing (plus a code-cracking challenge)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/21 01:37 CDT

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has posted a short video showing some recent testing of an engineering model of the Mars Science Laboratory in their outdoor Mars Yard; they're testing the performance of the rover's driving capability over slopes of varying steepness and covered with bedrock, compacted sand, and very loose sand.

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: The Flight of Hayabusa

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/12 10:50 CDT

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, The Flight of Hayabusa, a recap of that dramatic mission.

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Hayabusa's return: a review

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/13 04:47 CDT

Hayabusa's return: round up some of the amazing photos, movies, and artworks that were posted and shared and Tweeted and re-Tweeted over the previous dozen hours or so.

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Hayabusa's coming home

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/21 10:12 CDT

It really looks like Hayabusa is going to make it home. Hayabusa's sample return capsule will be returning to Earth on June 13, 2010, landing in the Woomera Prohibited Area, Australia at about 14:00 UTC.

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What about the non-imaging data from spacecraft?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/18 10:48 CST

Data from all science instruments on all of NASA's and ESA's space missions, not just cameras, is archived in the Planetary Data System and Planetary Science Archive, and almost all of that data is available online.

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No, they can't push with the arm to free Spirit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/15 11:25 CST

I've gotten this question about once a week since Spirit got stuck, but yesterday, two different readers asked the same question within an hour of each other, so I figured it was time for a blog entry.

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Hayabusa's still coming home: JAXA engineers come up with yet another creative solution

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/19 11:16 CST

Trouble has come time and again to JAXA's little Hayabusa asteroid sample return mission, yet the mission's engineers always come up with new and creative ways to solve problems.

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Hayabusa stumbles on the path back to Earth

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/11 11:19 CST

JAXA issued a press release (in Japanese) on November 9 stating that one of Hayabusa's ion thrusters, thruster D, had stopped operating. Hayabusa launched with four ion thrusters, but D was one of only two that are still functioning. So the failure of thruster D is a serious problem.

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Gravity's Bow

Posted by Timothy Reed on 2009/06/15 03:56 CDT

Timothy Reed explains how optical telescopes are tested for gravity sag, and the methods used to counteract or compensate for it.

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Designing the Cassini Tour

Posted by John Smith on 2009/06/07 12:01 CDT

Each Titan flyby is not a fork in the road, but rather a Los Angeles style cloverleaf in terms of the dizzying number of possible destinations. So how did our current and future plans for the path of the Cassini spacecraft come to be? That's the question Dave Seal put to me since that's my job -- I am a tour designer.

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Canto II: Titan's Atmosphere and the Solar Cycle

Posted by David Seal on 2009/06/03 04:44 CDT

David Seal explains the complications for Cassini coming from Titan's atmosphere and Solar Cycle.

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Looking at Mars with the MRO CTX

Posted by Ken Edgett on 2009/05/29 12:21 CDT

Looking at Mars with the MRO CTX

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There's more to the Hayabusa story

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/02/07 06:09 CST

After posting my brief "Hooray for Hayabusa" note on Thursday I got an email from the Japanese blogger "5thstar," telling me that there was more to Hayabusa's story.

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Danes on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/07/17 08:41 CDT

I was delighted to receive an email from Morten Bo Madsen, who I knew from the Mars Exploration Rover mission as "that Danish magnet guy," the fellow responsible for the magnet experiments on nearly every American Mars mission. The magnets were originally designed to study the properties of airborne Martian dust, which would help determine its composition.

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"Return of the Falcon," a new animation of the Hayabusa mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/11/26 04:38 CST

JAXA has released a 30-minute video of the Hayabusa mission, "Return of the Falcon," combining computer animation with actual footage of the construction and launch as well as images from the spacecraft of Itokawa.

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