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Blog Archive

 

Ceres is round!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/05 02:44 CST | 3 comments

Okay, so the fact that Ceres is round is not news. It's still thrilling to see Ceres begin to come into focus as a round world.

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Orion Returns to Earth after Successful Test Flight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/05 07:46 CST

NASA’s Orion spacecraft returned safely to Earth this morning after what looked like a flawless four hour, 24-minute test flight.

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In Pictures: Orion's Scrub, from the Vehicle Assembly Building

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/04 12:27 CST

Here are some scenes from launch day, shot from the unique perspective of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

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Orion Scrub Report: Sticky Hydrogen Valves

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/04 12:13 CST

Windy weather and stuck liquid hydrogen valves forced a one-day delay of the maiden voyage of NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

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The New Horizons science mission to the Pluto-Charon system is about to begin

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/03 07:40 CST | 7 comments

It's been a long journey, but it's nearly over: New Horizons is just about ready to begin its science mission to Pluto, Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. I'll remind you of New Horizons' capabilities and simulate how Pluto will appear in optical navigation images.

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Orion L-1 Report: Go for Launch

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/03 02:53 CST

The stage is set for NASA’s Orion spacecraft to launch on a two-orbit, four-hour shakedown cruise tomorrow morning. Patrick Air Force Base’s 45th Weather Squadron changed their forecast of an on-time launch to 70 percent—up from the 40 percent chances that marked the start of the week.

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Hayabusa2 launches toward asteroid rendezvous

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/03 12:48 CST | 4 comments

Hayabusa2 successfully launched on December 3, 2014 at 04:22 UTC, and embarked on its interplanetary journey about two hours later. During the launch, cameras captured video of the spacecraft fairing separation.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Roves from Wdowiak Ridge into Network of Fractures
Sols 3829 - 3858

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/12/03 12:13 CST | 1 comments

Last month, the Earth's longest-lived and most traveled robot on another planet drove into a network of fractures the likes of which the scientists had never seen before on Mars and wound up working there through the end of the month – and then something not completely unexpected happened.

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Orion L-2 Report: The Old Gives Way to the New

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/02 04:06 CST

With less than two days before Orion's maiden voyage, NASA and United Launch Alliance are cautiously optimistic the flight will launch Thursday as scheduled.

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Hayabusa2 is about to launch! [UPDATED]

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/02 10:54 CST

Hayabusa2's H-IIA rocket has just reached its launchpad! Japan's next asteroid sample return mission was supposed to launch this weekend, but weather has not been good at the Tanegashima launch site and it has been delayed four days already. If the weather holds, it will launch December 3 at 04:22 UT (13:22 JST, or December 2 at 20:22, PT). UPDATED to add links to live webcasts.

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Dawn Journal: Looking Ahead at Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/12/01 02:51 CST | 1 comments

This month, Marc Rayman looks ahead to some upcoming activities for Dawn as it approaches the dwarf planet Ceres.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 3848 — November 20, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/11/25 11:01 CST

Larry Crumpler returns with an update on Opportunity's recent activities, and its road ahead.

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Close to the end for Venus Express

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/24 02:42 CST

Venus Express is nearly out of fuel. Any day could be the last of its long mission to Venus.

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Curiosity update, sols 782-813: Walking the outcrop at Pahrump Hills

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/19 07:50 CST

At Pahrump Hills, Curiosity is becoming the field geologist she was intended to be.

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Rosetta imaged Philae during its descent -- and after its bounce

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/17 05:10 CST | 18 comments

This morning ESA released a set of images of the Philae lander taken by the Rosetta orbiter during -- and after -- the lander's first touchdown. The images contain evidence for the spot Philae first touched the comet, and a crucial photo of Philae's position several minutes into its first long bounce.

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Now Philae down to sleep

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/15 05:13 CST | 12 comments

My last post on the drama in Darmstadt, where ground controllers believe Philae may have fell asleep for good.

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With New Horizons Ready to Wake Up, Scientists Prepare for Pluto Encounter

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/11/14 03:08 CST | 2 comments

When New Horizons wakes up for the final time on Dec. 6, scientists will spend six weeks preparing for the start of the spacecraft's Pluto encounter.

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Philae update: My last day in Darmstadt, possibly Philae's last day of operations

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/14 12:33 CST | 18 comments

Emily Lakdawalla gives a status report on Philae from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt.

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Philae status, a day later

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/13 01:26 CST | 9 comments

The Philae team scrambled all morning to comprehend the initially confusing status of the lander, and the picture is much clearer today. Speaking of which, there are lots more pictures!

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Brief Philae "Morning After" update: First ÇIVA panorama from the surface

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/13 04:53 CST | 1 comments

I'm just getting up to speed on the news from overnight, which is mostly good: Philae remained in contact with the orbiter (which means the CONSERT radar sounding experiment was working), and it's sitting stably on the surface, although it's not anchored in any way. And they released the first ÇIVA image from the ground!

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