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Blog Archive

 

ICE is returning to Earth; but do we have the will to regain control?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/18 05:37 CDT | 8 comments

After a journey of more than 30 years, ICE is coming back to Earth next year. But do we know how to regain control of it, and can we find the means to do so?

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LADEE checkout phase successfully completed!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/13 07:25 CDT

Some good news to start your weekend: the newest member of our deep-space fleet, LADEE, has successfully completed its checkout phase and is now officially in its cruise phase. It is still in Earth orbit, headed for Lunar Orbit Insertion on Sunday, October 6.

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Taking a close look at MAVEN assembly and testing videos

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/11 06:33 CDT | 1 comment

I noticed something funny while examining MAVEN assembly and testing videos.

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Still no contact with Deep Impact

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/10 06:59 CDT | 4 comments

Oh, that dreaded phrase, "mission status report." It sounds so neutral, but it almost always means bad news. In this case, it's really bad: Deep Impact is not communicating with Earth.

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Go LADEE!
Planetary Radio Live Launch Special

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/09/10 10:41 CDT

Listen to or watch the recording of our live celebration for LADEE as the spacecraft blasted off for the moon.

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Watch LADEE Launch to the Moon with The Planetary Society
Live Webcast Begins HERE at 7:30pm PDT / 10:30pm EDT

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/09/06 08:45 CDT

Starting at 7:30pm PDT/10:30pm EDT, we will webcast a special event around the launch of NASA's next lunar spacecraft. Watch our special coverage with lunar scientists and live video from the launch site, as well as NASA TV footage of the launch itself.

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LADEE prelaunch facts

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/05 07:20 CDT | 1 comment

I glean all the important facts about NASA's next Moon mission from their prelaunch press kit. Launch is scheduled for September 6, 2013 at 8:27 p.m. PDT (September 7 at 03:27 UTC).

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Curiosity update: AutoNav toward Mount Sharp, sols 373-383

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/09/05 02:49 CDT

From sols 373 to 383 (August 23 to September 3, 2013), Curiosity traveled about 250 meters toward Mount Sharp over five drives, trying out her new AutoNav capability.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Begins Science at Base of Solander
Sols 3385 - 3414

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2013/09/04 04:08 CDT | 1 comment

There wasn't a dull moment for the Mars Exploration Rover mission in August as Opportunity drove up to the base of the Solander Point section Endeavour Crater's eroded rim, crossed over a geological boundary between ancient eras, maneuvered through a boulder field, scooting unscathed from a near-miss with a rock that could have ended it all, and at month's end delivered her team to what looks to be another scientific gemstone on the Red Planet.

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Deep Impact in trouble: last heard from August 8

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/04 01:10 CDT

Communication with the Deep Impact spacecraft was lost some time between August 11 and August 14. The team has determined the cause of the problem, and is trying to figure out how to restore communication.

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Dawn journal: Distant interplanetary adventurer

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/08/30 04:28 CDT | 1 comment

Traveling confidently and alone, Dawn continues to make its way through the silent depths of the main asteroid belt. The interplanetary adventurer is on its long journey to the uncharted dwarf planet Ceres, by far the largest of all asteroids.

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Chang'e 3 proceeding toward December 1 launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/08/28 11:02 CDT | 2 comments

News agencies are reporting that China's soft lunar lander and rover, Chang'e 3, has passed its final critical reviews and is now proceeding toward launch.

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New Horizons: Late in Cruise, and a Binary Ahoy

Posted by Alan Stern on 2013/08/24 09:16 CDT | 2 comments

New Horizons has just completed a summer of intensive activities and entered hibernation on Aug. 20. The routine parts of the activities included thorough checkouts of all our backup systems (result: they work fine!) and of all our scientific instruments (they work fine too!).

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Updates on Curiosity from Ken Herkenhoff: Embarking for Mount Sharp (sols 326-372)

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/08/23 12:07 CDT | 1 comment

United States Geological Survey scientist Ken Herkenhoff posts regular updates on the Curiosity science team's plans for the rover on Mars.

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LADEE prepares for launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/08/22 07:02 CDT | 3 comments

LADEE's launch window opens two weeks from today, on September 6. The brief little mission aims to study the lunar atmosphere and dust environment before future soft landings disturb its currently pristine state.

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Photo gallery: MAVEN being prepped for launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/08/21 04:56 CDT | 2 comments

Watching MAVEN go through its final launch preparations via the photo gallery at the Kennedy Media Archive.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3397 - August 13, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/08/18 11:06 CDT | 1 comment

Opportunity arrived at the base of the next segment of the Endeavour crater rim and is now investigating the contact.

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SMAP Under Construction: Field trip to the Spacecraft Assembly Facility

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/08/14 04:53 CDT | 2 comments

Yesterday I enjoyed my second-ever opportunity to suit up and enter the clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. On display were SMAP, an Earth orbiting radar mission, and ISS-RapidScat, which will perform a different radar experiment from the Space Station.

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Interplanetary eyes on the lookout for comet ISON

Posted by Daniel Fischer on 2013/08/09 02:15 CDT

Space blogger Daniel Fischer provides a preview of the exciting interplanetary observing campaign that has recently begun to study comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) from vantage points across the solar system.

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Curiosity's first year on Mars: Where's the science?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/08/07 02:53 CDT | 31 comments

Yesterday was the first anniversary of Curiosity's landing on Mars, and there was much rejoicing. It's been fun to look back at that exciting day, and it's been an opportunity to reflect on what Curiosity has accomplished in her first year. What science do we have to show for it?

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