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Blog Archive


Pretty Picture: A Sweeping View of the Martian South Pole

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/09/10 11:56 CDT | 1 comments

The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft captured a sweeping view of Mars' south pole, along with a region extending northward to Hellas Basin.

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What's up in solar system exploration: August 2015 edition

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/08/10 07:31 CDT | 5 comments

I'm back from two weeks' vacation, so it's time to catch up on the status of all our intrepid planetary missions, from Akatsuki to the Voyagers and hitting the Moon, Mars, asteroids, comets, and Saturn in between.

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Mini mission updates: Dawn in orbit; Curiosity short circuit; Rosetta image release; Hayabusa2 in cruise phase; and more

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/03/06 11:42 CST | 1 comments

Dawn has successfully entered orbit at Ceres, becoming the first mission to orbit a dwarf planet and the first to orbit two different bodies beyond Earth. I also have updates on Curiosity, Rosetta, Mars Express, Hayabusa2, the Chang'e program, InSIGHT, and OSIRIS-REx.

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Clouds and Chasmata

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2015/02/23 10:03 CST | 2 comments

New landscapes from Mars Express.

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Flawed Beauties

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2015/02/02 05:03 CST | 1 comments

More examples of imperfect--but tantalizing--images from deep space.

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Beagle 2 found?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/01/16 11:04 CST | 5 comments

What happened to Beagle 2? It's been a mystery for 11 years. That mystery appears to have been solved.

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Seven Mars spacecraft attempted observations of comet Siding Spring. How did they go?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/03 04:03 CST | 6 comments

It's been two weeks since comet Siding Spring passed close by Mars, and six of the seven Mars spacecraft have now checked in with quick looks at their images of the encounter. I round up all the results.

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Status update: All Mars missions fine after Siding Spring flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/10/20 12:07 CDT | 2 comments

All seven Mars spacecraft are doing perfectly fine after comet Siding Spring's close encounter with Mars.

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Phobos over Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/10/14 08:05 CDT | 10 comments

Today the Mars Orbiter Mission released a nice four-image animation of teeny dark Phobos crossing Mars' huge orange disk. Mars Orbiter Mission joins a long line of Mars missions that have produced images of Mars and Phobos together.

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Mars Orbiter Mission delivers on promise of global views of Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/09/29 11:15 CDT | 18 comments

Ever since I first learned about the capabilities of Mars Orbiter Mission's small payload of science instruments, I have been anticipating one type of data in particular: global color views of Mars captured in a single 2000-pixel-square frame. Just days after entering orbit, Mars Orbiter Mission has delivered on that promise.

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Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: One Mars Express plan becomes two

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/09/17 10:44 CDT | 2 comments

The Mars Express Flight Control Team at ESOC have been actively preparing for the flyby of comet C/2013 A1/Siding Spring on October 19. Initial estimates gave the possibility that Mars Express might be hit by 2 or 3 high-speed particles. Happily, additional observations by ground and space telescopes have shown the risk to be much lower – and perhaps even as low as zero. In today's blog post, the team explain how this (happy!) real-life, real-time development is affecting their preparations for fly-by.

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So Close and Yet So Far: Why isn't Siding Spring going to sandblast Mars?

Posted by Tony Farnham on 2014/09/09 09:02 CDT | 5 comments

Comet Siding Spring is going to make a very close approach to Mars in October. Any comet dust that reaches Mars has the potential to inflict significant damage on the spacecraft orbiting the planet. As it turns out, however, Mars and its orbiters are likely to see very few, if any, impacts. Why?

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Curiosity Rover Science Plan Slammed by NASA Review Panel
Planetary science senior review still supports continued funding

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/09/03 01:55 CDT | 19 comments

Senior review recommends continuing all major planetary exploration missions, but not without some changes.

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New Postcards from Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/08/18 10:34 CDT | 7 comments

The latest snaphots from the "Mars Webcam" include something special.

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Mars orbiters plan for their October encounter with comet Siding Spring

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/08/13 06:00 CDT | 2 comments

Now that we have reasonable confidence that our Mars orbiters will be safe from the close passage of comet Siding Spring, we are free to be excited about the opportunity that the encounter represents. At a community workshop on August 11, representatives from Mars missions shared their plans for great comet science.

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New orbital images of Curiosity landing site from Mars Express and HiRISE

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/05/23 06:30 CDT | 4 comments

Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are keeping their eyes in the sky on Curiosity. There's a nice newly public color image of all of Gale Crater from HiRISE, and two new HiRISE images within the Curiosity landing site.

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Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: Cosmic bully spotted by ESA and NASA

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/03/31 05:46 CDT

Hubble has taken some great new images of our 'friend,' Comet Siding Spring, due to pass by Mars at less than 136,000 km on October 19 – less than half the distance between Earth and our moon.

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Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: Ya gotta have a little ‘tude

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/03/24 03:44 CDT

In the latest update on how the Mars Express flight control team is planning to deal with Comet Siding Spring is all about attitude -- and hiding behind the biggest guy in the fight.

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Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: How to determine the orbit of a comet?

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/03/12 02:02 CDT | 2 comments

In the quest to track Comet Siding Spring, the Mars Express team tells us how computing the orbit of a comet isn't as straightforward as science fiction would have us believe.

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Intro Astronomy Class 5: Venus (continued) and Mars

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/03/06 10:49 CST

Continue exploring Venus and begin looking at Mars in this video of class 5 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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