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Blog Archive

 

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/23 11:02 CDT | 13 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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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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LightSail Test Mission Ends with Fiery Reentry

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/15 02:09 CDT | 7 comments

The LightSail test mission is officially over. Following a 25-day stay in low-Earth orbit, the spacecraft tumbled back into Earth’s atmosphere Sunday afternoon.

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Curiosity update, sols 978-1011: Into Marias Pass; ChemCam back in action; solar conjunction

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/10 07:26 CDT | 5 comments

It’s been an eventful few weeks for Curiosity on Mars. From sols 981 to 986, Curiosity’s human pilots tried and failed to drive the rover southward; but, retracing their steps to Logan's Run, they quickly found a way up and into a beautiful geological amphitheater named Marias Pass, where they will stay throughout Mars solar conjunction. They also returned ChemCam to normal operations.

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An enigmatic line across Pluto: Plutonian canali!?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/09 07:03 CDT | 17 comments

Pluto and Charon are growing larger in New Horizons' forward view, beginning to develop distinct personalities. A version of recent New Horizons photos processed by Björn Jónsson reveals an enigmatic dark line. Our maps of Pluto's surface are now as good as our maps of Mars and Venus, circa 1900!

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Sails in Space: Partial Photo, Video and Light Curve (Updated)

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/08 11:00 CDT | 7 comments

It’s official: The sails are out. This afternoon, LightSail mission controllers downlinked a partial image of the spacecraft’s solar sails in space.

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First Look: Partial Camera Test Images from LightSail

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/01 07:02 CDT | 5 comments

A jumbled JPG never looked so pretty. This afternoon, LightSail sent home pieces of two images taken by one of the spacecraft's onboard cameras.

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A (very) few more details on Pluto

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/01 04:09 CDT | 9 comments

Last week the New Horizons mission released a few new processed versions of their latest and greatest images of Pluto. They're the best images of Pluto that Earth has ever seen, but they're still a long way from what New Horizons will be able to show us, six weeks from now.

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Pretty pictures of the Cosmos: Special Qualities

Posted by Adam Block on 2015/05/27 11:42 CDT

Award-winning astrophotographer Adam Block shares some images of nebulae and a galaxy with some special qualities to each of them.

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Real-time sunset on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/05/24 01:21 CDT | 7 comments

Pause your life for six minutes and watch the Sun set....on Mars. Thank you, Glen Nagle, for this awe-inspiring simulation based on Curiosity's sol 956 sunset images.

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Tons of fun with the latest Ceres image releases from Dawn

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/05/22 04:59 CDT | 20 comments

Fantastic new images of Ceres continue to spill out of the Dawn mission, and armchair scientists all over the world are zooming into them, exploring them, and trying to solve the puzzles that they contain.

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LightSail Sends First Data Back to Earth

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/05/20 06:19 CDT | 10 comments

LightSail is sending home telemetry following a Wednesday commute to orbit aboard an Atlas V rocket.

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Rover eyes on rock layers on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/05/19 04:27 CDT | 2 comments

Digging in to mission image archives yields similar images of layered Martian rocks from very different places.

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In Pictures: LightSail’s Rocket Rolls to the Launch Pad

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/05/19 12:39 CDT | 3 comments

Pictures of The Planetary Society’s LightSail spacecraft rollout to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 41.

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Unseen latitudes of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko -- revealed!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/05/15 12:11 CDT | 2 comments

A recent Rosetta image has revealed a good part of the comet's previously hidden southern terrain to the public for the first time.

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New Horizons spots Kerberos and Styx

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/05/12 05:56 CDT | 3 comments

New Horizons has now spotted every one of Pluto's satellites...all the ones we know about, that is.

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