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Curiosity's landing site named for Ray Bradbury

Posted by Jim Bell on 2012/08/22 04:32 CDT | 1 comment

Ray Bradbury explored Mars, and the future of humanity, through words and ideas--vehicles of the imagination. He was a visionary author and, through his writings and lectures, was a direct or indirect mentor to so many of us involved with designing, building, and operating the actual space vehicles of today. I think it is so fitting, then, that the MSL team has memorialized Ray's contributions to the exploration of the planets -- and especially Mars -- by naming Curiosity's landing site in his honor.

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Transit of Venus June 5: Why Should You Care and How to Observe

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/06/02 01:56 CDT | 2 comments

A rare astronomical event occurs June 5/6. Find out why you should care and how to observe it.

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New views of Lunokhod 1 and Luna 17 from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/03/14 08:47 CDT

It is always thrilling to see relics of human exploration out there on other worlds. Today, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team posted some new photos of two defunct spacecraft: the Luna 17 lander and the Lunokhod 1 rover. I've posted images of the two craft before, but the ones released today are much better.

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Blast from the past: The Galileo Messenger

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/01/20 10:42 CST

From 1981 to 1997, the Galileo mission published an approximately quarterly newsletter called the Galileo Messenger. It eventually ran to 45 issues, until the end of the Prime Mission. The first 20 were published before Galileo ever got off the ground. That period is the subject of this post.

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Steno's principles and planetary geology

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/01/11 12:29 CST

The Google Doodle for January 11, 2012 celebrates Nicholas Steno, one of the founding fathers of modern geology, on the occasion of his 374th birthday. This article describes Steno's set of rules that guide geologists in reading rocks to tell the story of how a place came to be and how the rules are currently used in geology.

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Curiosity, from a 1935 perspective

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/12/03 01:49 CST

With a new rover, Curiosity, on its way to Mars, Jason Davis takes a look at what we knew - or thought we knew - about the planet back in 1935.

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365 Days of Astronomy Celebrates Sagan's Birthday

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2011/11/10 02:09 CST

The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast celebrated Carl Sagan's birthday yesterday by reposting my conversation with Ann Druyan, Sagan's Co-creator and life-partner. Links inside.

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The fish that sent us to the moon

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/10/20 06:16 CDT

The tale of NASA's Super Guppy aircraft, which ferried parts of America's space program to their launch pads.

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In Focus retrospective on the shuttle program

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/01 10:22 CDT

Since jumping from the Boston Globe to the Atlantic with his signature galleries of striking images, Alan Taylor has continued to regularly feature space-themed photos. This week his In Focus feature looks back at the shuttle program with 61 images -- check it out!

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Historical PDF: "The Voyager Flights to Jupiter and Saturn"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/20 05:03 CDT

A while ago I posted all 99 issues of the Voyager Mission Status Bulletins in PDF format, and now I have another cool item to add to that collection: NASA EP-191, "The Voyager Flights to Jupiter and Saturn."

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Happy 50th birthday of human spaceflight

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/12 12:12 CDT

On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to see firsthand the blackness of space above our home planet's thin atmosphere. Since there's lots of thoughtful reporting and commentary being posted on this anniversary, I thought it'd be more useful to link to some particularly interesting posts than to add in my comments.

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Uranus and Challenger

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/28 09:21 CST

In the past week there have been 25th anniversaries of two events in 1986, one great, one terrible: the closest approach of Voyager 2 to Uranus on January 24, and the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger upon liftoff on January 28.

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Space Shuttle: Not Designed by Hollywood

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2010/11/02 01:42 CDT

A brief musing on the public opinion of the shuttle when it was first unveiled, and now, as it's about to be retired.

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Jupiter's faded belt: It's happened before, and it'll happen again

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/16 05:07 CDT

When I wrote a post about Jupiter's missing South Equatorial Belt in May, I had three main questions: how long did it take for the belt to go away, has this happened before, and how can a planet as big as Jupiter change its appearance so quickly?

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Spirit: Schrödinger's Rover

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/28 12:01 CDT

Either Spirit is the longest-lived landed Mars mission ever, or she is not. We won't know for certain unless we manage to observe a radio signal from her.

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Climb Aboard Apollo 11 Time Machine

Posted by Susan Lendroth on 2009/07/16 01:01 CDT

Grab your bell bottoms and Tang, and travel back to 1969 when Apollo 11's journey to the Moon captivated the world, and Neil Armstrong's and Buzz Aldrin's boot prints in the lunar dust transformed us into a multi-world species.

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Deep Inside Europa

Posted by 5thstar on 2009/06/23 07:48 CDT

In 1995, 572 astronaut applicants were narrowed down to 125 based on their resumes and English scores, then down to 48 based on paper exams and brief medical checks. These 48 candidates went through a week of comprehensive medical checks and job interviews.

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Apollo Plus 40

Posted by Timothy Reed on 2009/06/18 12:05 CDT

The editors of the site, Nature, have begun their ApolloPlus40 blog.

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Connections

Posted by David Seal on 2009/06/02 01:58 CDT

David Seal muses on his time as the mission planner for Cassini, and the history behind its name, and astronomy in Rome.

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Celebrate Apollo 11's 40th Anniversary with the Crew

Posted by Susan Lendroth on 2009/05/22 01:08 CDT

This summer, the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. will commemorate that extraordinary moment in history with a very special Apollo 11 celebration, featuring the mission's original crew members along with former Johnson Space Center Director Chris Kraft.

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