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What's up in the solar system, November 2016 edition: Cassini takes a leap, ExoMars starts science, Long March 5 launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/11/01 03:35 CDT | 2 comments

Cassini is going to make a major change to its orbit, getting much close to Saturn, setting up 20 "F-ring" orbits. ExoMars will get two science orbits before beginning aerobraking. Long March 5 will have its first launch, while many Earth-observing missions, including Himawari-9 and GOES-R, will go up. But Juno science is on hold.

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DPS/EPSC update on New Horizons at the Pluto system and beyond

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/25 07:17 CDT | 4 comments

Last week's Division for Planetary Sciences/European Planetary Science Congress meeting was chock-full of science from New Horizons at Pluto.

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Alan Stern & New Horizons Team Receive Cosmos Award

Posted by Jim Bell on 2016/10/12 10:00 CDT

Alan Stern and the New Horizons mission team are the newest recipients of The Planetary Society's Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science.

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What's up in the solar system, October 2016 edition: ExoMars arrives!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/04 06:42 CDT | 2 comments

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter arrives on October 19, and it will deliver the Schiaparelli lander to its brief life on the Martian surface. Juno's headed into its science orbit, MOM has released science data, and New Horizons will finally finish downlinking Pluto flyby data.

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What's up in the solar system, September 2016 edition: OSIRIS-REx launches, Rosetta ends

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/08/31 12:00 CDT | 1 comments

The month of September begins with an annular solar eclipse visible from much of Africa on September 1. On or after September 8, we'll see OSIRIS-REx launch into a two-year cruise toward a rendezvous with asteroid Bennu. But September will close, sadly, with the end of the wonderful Rosetta mission.

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What's up in the solar system, August 2016 edition: Juno to get Jupiter close-ups, Rosetta descending, road-tripping rovers

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/07/29 02:35 CDT | 5 comments

This month we'll finally see JunoCam's first high-resolution images of Jupiter. We'll also see OSIRIS-REx making progress toward its September 8 launch. Both rovers are road-tripping at Mars, while ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has completed a major mid-course correction ahead of its October arrival.

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Pluto is not the end

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/07/14 08:03 CDT | 14 comments

One year after the New Horizons Pluto flyby, Emily reflects on its significance.

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New Horizons Science Team Meeting Report

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2016/07/11 08:03 CDT | 3 comments

On July 6 at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, the science team convened at the place where Pluto was discovered. Ted Stryk reports from the meeting.

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What's up in the solar system, July 2016 edition: Juno to enter orbit, NASA missions all extended

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/07/01 03:49 CDT | 2 comments

Highlights this month include the impending arrival of Juno at Jupiter, the approval of extended missions for all of NASA's solar system spacecraft, and public data releases from Rosetta, New Horizons, and Cassini.

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What's up in the solar system, June 2016 edition: Juno approaches Jupiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/06/01 05:23 CDT | 5 comments

Your monthly roundup of the adventures of the 20+ robots exploring our solar system.

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What's up in the solar system, May 2016 edition: Good news in cruise for Juno and ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/03 11:17 CDT | 5 comments

May 2016 will be yet another month of fairly routine operations across the solar system -- if you can ever use the word "routine" to describe autonomous robots exploring other planets. ExoMars' cruise to Mars has started smoothly, and Juno is only two months away from Jupiter orbit insertion. Earthlings will witness a Mercury transit of the Sun on May 9.

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How to Make a Pluto Globe

Posted by Sarah Morrison on 2016/04/08 08:02 CDT | 3 comments

Want to make your own globe of Pluto? Here's how!

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30th anniversary images of Uranian moons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/02/02 01:06 CST | 6 comments

January 24 was the 30th anniversary of the Voyager flyby of Uranus. Uranian moons have been on my mind ever since New Horizons sent us close-up images of Charon. On the occasion of the anniversary, Ted Stryk produced latest-and-greatest versions of the Voyager views of these worlds.

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What's up in solar system exploration: February 2016 edition

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/01/29 11:57 CST | 2 comments

What's going on with our robotic planetary missions? In February I count more than 20 planetary spacecraft exploring six targets beyond Earth or cruising to new destinations.

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Pluto updates from AGU and DPS: Pretty pictures from a confusing world

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/21 05:38 CST | 7 comments

Pluto is reluctant to give up its secrets. Last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting I attended sessions featuring results from the New Horizons mission, and most of the presentations could be summed up thusly: the data sets are terrific, but there are still a lot of Pluto features that have scientists scratching their heads.

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DPS 2015: Pluto's small moons Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra [UPDATED]

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/11/10 02:18 CST | 7 comments

For my first post on results from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, I'm going to tell you about Pluto's small moons: Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra, their bright colors and wacky rotation states.

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The round worlds in the solar system: An updated graphic

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/11/02 04:06 CST | 9 comments

I have a newly updated scale comparison graphic to share: all the round worlds in the solar system smaller than 10,000 kilometers in diameter, now with added Pluto, Charon, and Ceres.

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Charon in 3D

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/10/13 06:40 CDT | 3 comments

Last week, the pile of New Horizons LORRI camera raw image releases included nine frames from a high-resolution mosaic on Charon. Together with the color MVIC view, they make a 3D global photo of Pluto's moon. Other recently released goodies include a global backlit color image of Pluto and the first image that resolves the tiny moon Styx.

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New Horizons releases new color pictures of Charon, high-resolution lookback photo of Pluto

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/10/02 06:05 CDT | 15 comments

Now that New Horizons is regularly sending back data, the mission is settling into a routine of releasing a set of captioned images on Thursdays, followed by raw LORRI images on Friday. The Thursday releases give us the opportunity to see lovely color data from the spacecraft's Ralph MVIC instrument. This week, the newly available color data set covered Charon.

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Lose yourself in this high-resolution portrait of Pluto

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/09/24 04:45 CDT | 13 comments

Enlarge this image to its full 8000-pixel-square glory and lose yourself in it.

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