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Schiaparelli investigation update; crash site in color from HiRISE

Emily Lakdawalla • November 23, 2016

ESA issued an update on the Schiaparelli landing investigation today, identifying a problem reading from an inertial measurement unit as the proximate cause of the crash. Meanwhile, ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is operating its science instruments for the first time this week, and HiRISE has released calibrated versions of the Schiaparelli crash site images.

Brief update: Opportunity's attempt to image Schiaparelli unsuccessful

Emily Lakdawalla • October 19, 2016

Today, the Opportunity rover attempted a difficult, never-before-possible feat: to shoot a photo of an arriving Mars lander from the Martian surface. Unfortunately, that attempt seems not to have succeeded. Opportunity has now returned the images from the observation attempt, but Schiaparelli is not visible.

OSIRIS-REx’s cameras see first light

Emily Lakdawalla • September 29, 2016

As OSIRIS-REx speeds away from Earth, it’s been turning on and testing out its various engineering functions and science instruments. Proof of happy instrument status has come from several cameras, including the star tracker, MapCam, and StowCam.

Philae spotted on the surface of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Emily Lakdawalla • September 06, 2016

Ever since its landing, Philae has been elusive. It went silent just three days later and never returned any more science data, though it made brief contact with the orbiter last summer. Now, just a month until the planned end of the Rosetta mission, the orbiter has finally located the lander in a stunning high-resolution view of the surface.

National Selfie Day: Spacecraft self-portraits

Emily Lakdawalla • June 21, 2016

It's apparently National Selfie Day. I'm not entirely sure who has the authority to declare these things, or why they decided we needed a National Selfie Day, but since the self-portrait is one of my favorite subgenres of spacecraft photography, I couldn't resist writing about them.

UPDATED: ESA activates a new old space camera

Emily Lakdawalla • February 19, 2016

Inspired by the Mars Webcam on Mars Express, ESA's Cluster mission has turned on a camera on the Cluster spacecraft for the first time since their launch more than 15 years ago. UPDATE: It has now acquired images of Earth.

Fun with a new data set: Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover camera data

Emily Lakdawalla • January 28, 2016

Here, for the first time in a format easily accessible to the public, are hundreds and hundreds of science-quality images from the Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover.

For the first time ever, a Curiosity Mastcam self-portrait from Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • December 22, 2015

In a remarkable and wholly unexpected gift to Curiosity fans, the rover has just taken the first-ever color Mastcam self-portrait from Mars.

Finding the Surveyor retro-rockets on the Moon

Phil Stooke • September 15, 2015

Planetary scientist Phil Stooke may have found the retro-rockets from NASA's Lunar Surveyor missions, sent to the Moon in preparation for Apollo.

The story behind Curiosity's self-portraits on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • August 19, 2015

How and why does Curiosity take self-portraits? A look at some of the people and stories behind Curiosity's "selfies" on the occasion of the official release of the sol 1065 belly pan self-portrait at Buckskin, below Marias Pass, Mars.

Beagle 2 found?

Emily Lakdawalla • January 16, 2015

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

A new Chang'e 3 and Yutu image archive

Emily Lakdawalla • December 19, 2014

A treasure trove of newly released images from the Chang'e 3 program includes a photo sequence of a waxing Earth and lots of high-resolution views of rover and lander on the Moon.

Hayabusa2 launches toward asteroid rendezvous

Emily Lakdawalla • December 03, 2014

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 17, 2014

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.

Philae status, a day later

Emily Lakdawalla • November 13, 2014

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!

Philae update: Photo documentation of Philae's separation!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 12, 2014

Here it is. We knew hours ago that Philae separation happened, but there's nothing like seeing a photo, seeing Philae's mothership receding into the distance.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • May 23, 2014

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.

Dust on, dust off: Before-and-after comparisons of rover decks on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • May 19, 2014

Curiosity and Opportunity self-portraits show one rover accumulating dust, the other losing it. Check out these cool before-and-after comparisons.

Image processing trick: Removing interline transfer smear from Curiosity photos

Emily Lakdawalla • May 01, 2014

Curiosity took a new self-portrait on sol 613. This post contains a tip for would-be Curiosity image processors on how to make their Curiosity mosaics better: removing the smearing effect of bright objects in MAHLI photos.

Rosetta update: Instrument commissioning going well; Philae cameras activated

Emily Lakdawalla • April 22, 2014

Rosetta and Philae have very nearly completed a six-week phase of spacecraft and instrument checkouts to prepare the mission to do science. Recently, the lander used its cameras for the first time since hibernation, producing some new photos of Rosetta in space.

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