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Long March 5 launch blasts China into age of space station and deep space exploration

Posted by Andrew Jones on 2016/11/03 02:15 CDT | 3 comments

Today, China launched its largest rocket yet, the Long March 5, from the new coastal launch center on Hainan Island. The launch is a major step forward on the country's path to deep space.

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Juno update: 53.5-day orbits for the foreseeable future, more Marble Movie

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/11/03 09:44 CDT | 4 comments

Juno may be staying in its 53.5-day orbit for quite a while. Here's a list of the future dates of the next 20 close approaches to Jupiter if the mission stays in that orbit, as well as the latest, near-final version of JunoCam's "Marble Movie."

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An international outpost near the Moon gets closer to reality

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/11/03 07:01 CDT | 11 comments

International Space Station (ISS) project partners are inching ever closer toward an agreement to begin the development of a new human outpost in the vicinity of the Moon. If successful, the cis-lunar space station (a space station in the vicinity of the Moon) will be the largest international space project to date, influencing the direction of human space flight for decades to come.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4535 - October 26, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/11/02 07:01 CDT

Opportunity is currently finishing up observations of its first outcrop target of its 10th extended mission plan.

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The flexible path to Mars: SLS, Orion and NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/11/02 06:01 CDT | 6 comments

Since 2011, a once-in-a-generation transformation has been sweeping through NASA's human spaceflight centers in preparation for the era of SLS and Orion. How have the programs fared, and what first steps is NASA taking as it prepares for the journey to Mars?

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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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Dawn Journal: 5th Mapping Orbit

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/11/01 06:46 CDT | 4 comments

Dawn just completed another successful observation campaign at Ceres from its latest mapping orbit. Mission Director and Chief Engineer Marc Rayman brings us his monthly update.

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Dynamics of Exoplanet Systems

Posted by Erika Nesvold on 2016/10/31 11:21 CDT

At this year’s Division for Planetary Sciences/European Planetary Science Congress meeting, the Exoplanet Dynamics session was packed full of talks on tightly-packed multi-planet systems and their instabilities.

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Kate Rubins, NASA's DNA sequencing scientist, returning to Earth

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/28 06:04 CDT

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is returning to Earth from the International Space Station. During her mission, she became the first person to sequence DNA in space.

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Schiaparelli crash site imaged by HiRISE

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/27 11:43 CDT | 1 comments

Following up the detection of the Schiaparelli crash site by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter CTX, the higher-resolution HiRISE camera has now definitively identified the locations of lander impact site, parachute with backshell, and heat shield impact site on the Martian surface.

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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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Likely Schiaparelli crash site imaged by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/21 05:56 CDT | 8 comments

Just a day after the arrival of ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and its lander Schiaparelli, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken a photo of the landing site with its Context Camera, and things do not look good.

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Remembering Ewen Whitaker, the "careful and caring" scientist who found Surveyors 1 and 3

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/21 06:02 CDT | 2 comments

Ewen Whitaker was one of the founding members of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, one of the world's first research institutions dedicated to studying the moon and planets.

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ExoMars: Schiaparelli Analysis to Continue

Posted by Ruth McAvinia on 2016/10/20 12:05 CDT | 5 comments

The fate of the ExoMars lander, Schiaparelli, remains uncertain. European Space Agency mission controllers had been optimistic on Wednesday night that a definitive answer would be known by Thursday morning’s news briefing. However, although some more details have been made public about the lander’s descent, it is not yet clear whether it hit the martian surface at a speed it could not survive.

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Brief update: Opportunity's attempt to image Schiaparelli unsuccessful

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/19 05:35 CDT | 6 comments

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.

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ExoMars: Long day’s journey into uncertainty

Posted by Ruth McAvinia on 2016/10/19 03:04 CDT | 2 comments

Trace Gas Orbit is successfully in orbit at Mars, but the fate of the Schiaparelli lander is uncertain.

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Fall Issue of The Planetary Report is Here!

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2016/10/19 02:59 CDT

From the innermost planet to the farthest reaches of our Solar System, this issue of The Planetary Report spans it all!

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DPS/EPSC update: 2007 OR10 has a moon!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/19 11:46 CDT | 3 comments

The third-largest object known beyond Neptune, 2007 OR10, has a moon. The discovery was reported in a poster by Gábor Marton, Csaba Kiss, and Thomas Mueller at the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society (DPS/EPSC) on Monday.

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Rapidly Rotating Regular Satellites and Tides

Posted by Darin Ragozzine on 2016/10/17 02:29 CDT | 2 comments

Pluto’s small moons have unusual rotation rates and states. Now we know a moon of another dwarf planet does as well. Is there a connection?

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Juno to delay planned burn

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/16 04:28 CDT | 5 comments

The Juno mission posted a status report late Friday afternoon, indicating that they will not perform the originally planned period reduction maneuver during their next perijove (closest approach to Jupiter) on October 19. The delay changes the start date of the science mission and also all the future dates of Juno's perijoves.

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