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Blog Archive

 

The Birth of the Wanderers

Posted by Augusto Carballido on 2014/04/16 02:50 CDT | 4 comments

How did planets originate? This is a question that has puzzled scientists for centuries, but one which they have been able to tackle directly only in the last few decades, thanks to two major developments: breakthroughs in telescope technology and ever-increasing computing power.

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The End of Opportunity and the Burden of Success
Can NASA sustain its golden age of planetary exploration?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/04/15 08:19 CDT | 4 comments

The Opportunity rover and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter are both zeroed out in NASA's 2015 budget. Learn why these missions face the axe and why the White House is forcing NASA to choose between existing missions and starting new ones.

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Pretty picture: Sunset over Gale crater

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/14 10:38 CDT | 5 comments

Imagine yourself on a windswept landscape of rocks and red dust with mountains all around you. The temperature -- never warm on this planet -- suddenly plunges, as the small Sun sets behind the western range of mountains.

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Interview with a Mars Explorer

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/04/14 08:03 CDT | 5 comments

A conversation with Dr. Sarah Milkovich, HiRISE Investigation Scientist.

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Intro Astronomy Class 9: Titan, Uranus and Neptune Systems

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/04/11 02:31 CDT

Examine Saturn's moon Titan and explore the Uranian and Neptunian systems in this video of class 9 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 8: Icy Galilean Satellites, Saturn System

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/04/11 02:28 CDT

Explore the icy moons of the Jupiter System and tour the Saturnian system in this video of class 8 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Curiosity update: Initial reconnaissance of the Kimberley, sols 585-595

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/11 12:08 CDT | 3 comments

Curiosity has been busy performing a survey of the Kimberley, walking the length of the outcrop and taking enormous quantities of photos. The team is now ready to go in for a closer look, and maybe even to drill.

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Help name the last phase of the Cassini mission!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/10 06:31 CDT | 10 comments

The scientists on the Cassini team are incredibly excited about the final, "proximal orbit" phase of the mission. But they want a punchier name for it, and they're asking the public for help.

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Will We Finally Rove Mawrth Vallis?

Posted by J. Brian Balta on 2014/04/10 05:44 CDT | 3 comments

Mawrth Vallis was axed as a landing site for Curiosity, but will we get a chance to explore it with ESA's ExoMars rover?

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Yutu Update

Posted by Phil Stooke on 2014/04/10 03:08 CDT

We don’t hear a lot at the moment about Chang’E 3 and Yutu, the Chinese lander and rover which were all over the news a few months ago. But Phil Stooke has been collecting news online and in person last month at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference and now tries to put it all together and address the current state of the mission.

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Come Rock the Planet with Yuri’s Night!!

Posted by Loretta HidalgoDanielle Hannah on 2014/04/09 06:10 CDT

First launched on April 12, 2001, Yuri’s Night celebrates two amazing accomplishments of humankind: Yuri Gagarin’s becoming the first human to orbit the earth in 1961 and the first launch of the U.S. Space Shuttle, twenty years later to the day. It is also a global celebration of humanity’s future in space and how we can use space to bring us closer together.

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Look how clean Opportunity is now!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/09 10:28 CDT | 1 comments

While climbing Murray Ridge, Opportunity enjoyed a major cleaning event that has left the rover's solar panels more dust-free than they have been in years. The rover captured a pretty panorama of the newly clean deck with its Pancams, and James Sorenson processed the version shown here.

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Arecibo Observatory operational after repairs to fix earthquake damage

Posted by Alessondra Springmann on 2014/04/09 09:48 CDT | 1 comments

Early in the morning on January 13, 2014, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck beneath the Atlantic Ocean north of Puerto Rico, damaging Arecibo Observatory, the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope. The telescope is now operational after repairs and scientists have resumed observations. However, the future of Arecibo Observatory remains unclear due to funding uncertainties in the federal budget.

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The Spring Equinox 2014 issue of The Planetary Report is here!

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2014/04/08 04:46 CDT

Wind-sculpted sand—that is how I think of dunes. In our main feature, “The Dune Whispers,” Ralph D. Lorenz describes the formation, and varieties, of these fascinating and beautiful works of planetary art.

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Your Europa Mission Primer of the Day

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/04/08 09:35 CDT | 1 comments

Trying to understand NASA's current efforts to explore Europa? Read this excellent piece on the recent, frustrating history to scout out this watery moon of Jupiter.

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Opposition time for Mars, and several months of dancing with the stars

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/04/08 08:47 CDT | 1 comments

The Mars Express team showcases some of the best viewing opportunities of Mars in 2014, including how to spot Comet Siding Spring when it flies past Mars this October.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Powers Up in Cook Haven and in Fans' Minds
Sols 3590 – 3621

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/04/07 03:05 CDT | 1 comments

At the Solander Point section of the rim of Endeavour Crater, Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity spent the month of March just off Murray Ridge working on its final targets in Cook Haven and dusting itself in the winds of winter, while MER mission officials on Earth were roving toward what may be the robot's current greatest potential threat – being cut from NASA's planetary science budget.

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My Own Corner of Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/04/07 10:02 CDT

How I took a high-res photo of an intriguing spot on the Red Planet--and how you can, too.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3623 – April 3, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/04/06 01:17 CDT

Larry Crumpler gives an update on Opportunity's current location, next long-term target, and excitingly increasing power levels.

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Commander Dave Scott's Masursky Lecture from LPSC 2014

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/04 03:21 CDT | 5 comments

A video of Apollo astronaut David Scott's lecture to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. His talk was an absolute treat: funny, educational, engaging, full of joy at his adventure, though at the end, a little angry that we've not sent more humans back. It's well worth 45 minutes of your time.

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