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Your guide to a shuttle landing

Jason Davis • July 19, 2011

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

Observing at the WIYN

Meg Schwamb • June 08, 2011

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.

Zapping Rocks for Science

Ryan Anderson • May 27, 2011

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!

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

Emily Lakdawalla • March 21, 2011

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.

Bye bye, Kodachrome, but "Kodak moments" will live on in space

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2010

This week is the end for Kodachrome film. It's a casualty of the digital revolution.

I can't wait for MAHLI to land on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • November 16, 2010

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.

365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: The Flight of Hayabusa

Emily Lakdawalla • September 12, 2010

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

Hayabusa's return: a review

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2010

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.

How radio telescopes get "images" of asteroids

Emily Lakdawalla • April 29, 2010

Every time I post a radio telescope image of a near-Earth asteroid, I get at least one reader question asking me to explain how radio telescopes take photos, so I'm hereby writing a post explaining the basics of how delay-Doppler imaging works.

APOLLO program pinpoints location of Lunokhod 1 retroreflector

Emily Lakdawalla • April 26, 2010

With the recent Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter imaging of the Lunokhod 1 rover, scientists on the APOLLO project were finally able to do something that scientists have been dreaming of for more than three decades: shoot the rover with a laser.

Hayabusa's coming home

Emily Lakdawalla • April 21, 2010

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.

What about the non-imaging data from spacecraft?

Emily Lakdawalla • January 18, 2010

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • December 15, 2009

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2009

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.

Hayabusa stumbles on the path back to Earth

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2009

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.

Tracking the stars -- and Earth

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2009

This was a neat photo from ESA today.

Reports from the 2009 arctic Mars analogue Svalbard expedition

Adrienne Kish • October 06, 2009

The expedition's goals were to integrate and test two new instruments for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover and four for ESA's ExoMars rover.

Mars Science Laboratory Instruments: MARDI

Ryan Anderson • October 06, 2009

Next up in my series of posts about the instruments on MSL is the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI).

Reports from the 2009 arctic Mars analogue Svalbard expedition

Juan Diego Rodriguez-Blanco • October 06, 2009

The expedition's goals were to integrate and test two new instruments for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover and four for ESA's ExoMars rover.

Mars Science Laboratory Instruments: MAHLI

Ryan Anderson • September 30, 2009

Last time, I talked about the MastCam color cameras on MSL, so it only makes sense to continue with one of the other cameras: The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI).

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