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Blog Archive

 

New Horizons enters safe mode 10 days before Pluto flyby [UPDATED]

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/07/05 10:25 CDT | 12 comments

New Horizons decided to put on a little 4th of July drama for the mission's fans. It's currently in safe mode, and it will likely be a day or two before it recovers and returns to science, but it remains on course for the July 14 flyby. Here's the mission update in its entirety.
[UPDATE]: Normal operations are planned to resume July 7.

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In Pictures: Russian Spacecraft Ends Streak of Station Supply Mishaps

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/07/05 07:30 CDT | 2 comments

Following back-to-back space station resupply failures, a Russian Progress vehicle pulled into port this morning at the International Space Station.

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Pluto's progression: Third-to-last Pluto day before encounter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/07/03 08:49 CDT | 6 comments

Only two days remain until New Horizons' historic encounter with Pluto....two Pluto days, that is. Pluto and Charon rotate together once every 6.4 days, so as New Horizons has approached the pair over the last week, we've been treated to one stately progression of all of their longitudes.

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The Senate Appropriations Committee’s FY 2016 CJS Bill

Posted by Jason Callahan on 2015/07/02 11:34 CDT

Congress has made good progress so far this year in moving the annual appropriations bills that fund the government. However, a looming budget battle over the sequestration and budget caps threaten to sideline progress until Congress and the White House reach agreement. Here’s the current situation.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Phones Home after Conjunction Healthy, Ready to Rove
Sols 4036 - 4064

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/07/02 12:12 CDT | 1 comments

After three weeks of being in a communications blackout on the other side of the Sun during the Earth-Mars solar conjunction, Opportunity phoned home, reporting that she is healthy and ready to continue her mission.

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LightSail Project Manager Passes Torch

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/07/01 04:02 CDT

LightSail project manager Doug Stetson, who helped bring the program from a storage shelf to low-Earth orbit, is passing the torch.

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Dawn Journal: Ceres' Intriguing Geology

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2015/06/30 12:51 CDT | 7 comments

Dawn is continuing to unveil a Ceres of mysteries at the first dwarf planet discovered. Mission Director Marc Rayman gives us an update.

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5 Steps to Preventing Asteroid Impact

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2015/06/30 12:33 CDT | 2 comments

For Asteroid Day, Bruce Betts reviews 5 steps needed to prevent asteroid impact, as well as how The Planetary Society is involved in those.

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We're moving!

Posted by Jennifer Vaughn on 2015/06/29 12:57 CDT | 1 comments

It's really happening. We're leaving our home of five years on South Grand and heading to our new home just two miles east on South Los Robles.

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SpaceX Rocket Breaks Apart En Route to International Space Station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/28 09:48 CDT | 6 comments

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket broke apart over the Atlantic Ocean during today's flight to the International Space Station.

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Of Course I Still Love You, Falcon: New SpaceX Ship Ready to Catch Rockets

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/25 02:13 CDT | 3 comments

SpaceX is gearing up for its seventh paid cargo run to the International Space Station, and the third attempt to catch the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the ocean.

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Inclusive Astronomy Conference

Posted by Meredith Rawls on 2015/06/25 09:00 CDT | 1 comments

Last week, more than 150 astronomers gathered in Nashville for a conference to examine fundamental questions in our field: Who gets to practice astronomy? How can we make astronomy more inclusive?

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What to expect when you're expecting a flyby: Planning your July around New Horizons' Pluto Pictures (version 2)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/24 07:57 CDT | 17 comments

Three months ago, I posted an article explaining what to expect during the flyby. This is a revised version of the same post, with some errors corrected, the expected sizes of Nix and Hydra updated, and times of press briefings added.

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New Horizons update: Resolving features on Charon and seeing in color

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/23 11:02 CDT | 14 comments

Only about three weeks remain until the flyby -- it's getting really close! I almost don't want the anticipation to end. New Horizons is now getting color images and is seeing features on Charon. Deep searches have yielded no new moons.

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Preparing America’s Spaceport for NASA’s New Rocket

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/22 04:04 CDT | 1 comments

At Kennedy Space Center, NASA's ground systems program prepares for the first flight of the Space Launch System in 2018.

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Thank You, LightSail Trackers

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/19 01:19 CDT | 2 comments

A thank-you to all the space enthusiasts who helped track LightSail during its 25-day test mission.

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Transient hot spots on Venus: Best evidence yet for active volcanism

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/18 06:42 CDT | 3 comments

In a paper released in Geophysical Research Letters today, Eugene Shalygin and coauthors have announced the best evidence yet for current, active volcanism on Venus. The evidence comes from the Venus Monitoring Camera, which saw transient hot spots in four locations along a system of rifts near Venus' equator. They saw the hot spots in two distinct episodes in 2008 and 2009.

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Philae is awake! What's next for the comet lander's scientific mission?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/17 05:16 CDT | 5 comments

I woke up early Sunday morning to the dramatic news: Philae is back! With a few days to consider the telemetry, the Philae team is now talking about the science they hope to do. With comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko approaching perihelion in August, it's going to be an exciting ride.

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Pluto and Charon spin among the stars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/16 08:10 CDT | 7 comments

I've spent a happy couple of days playing with raw data downloaded from the New Horizons website, making animations of the dances of Pluto and Charon.

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Welcome home, AstroSamantha

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/15 09:41 CDT | 2 comments

Three astronauts have returned to Earth, and while I'm happy that they landed safely, I'm very sad that astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is not in space anymore to wish us "buona notte dallo spazio" with her lovely photos and piquant comments.

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