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Looking Back at MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • February 08, 2019

A crescent view of MU69 reveals its bizarre shape. Let's look at lots of other fun-shaped space crescents.

Curiosity Update, Sols 2257-2312: Drilling at Rock Hall and Arrival at the Valley of Clay

Emily Lakdawalla • February 06, 2019

Curiosity completed work at Vera Rubin Ridge with an easy drilling activity at Rock Hall. Now it has finally driven on to mineral-rick rocks that were seen from orbit, long before Curiosity arrived. The team plans a lengthy traverse of the clay-bearing unit.

Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Sensational Spirals

Adam Block • February 05, 2019

Award-winning astrophotographer Adam Block shares some of his latest galactic treasures.

Why are there no stars in most space images?

Emily Lakdawalla • January 28, 2019

Look up at space at night from a dark location and you can see innumerable stars. Why, then, do photos of so many things in space show black space, devoid of stars?

A few new images of MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • January 15, 2019

New Horizons is back in action after going quiet for a period of solar conjunction following the 1 January flyby of 2014 MU69 (informally nicknamed "Ultima Thule"). The spacecraft is returning new data, as exemplified by these images.

MU69 appears as a bi-lobed baby comet in latest New Horizons images

Emily Lakdawalla • January 02, 2019

The latest images downlinked from New Horizons show MU69 to be a textbook example of a contact binary. How do contact binaries form? Updated with images released on 3 January.

New Horizons fast approaching 2014 MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • December 27, 2018

Unaffected by the shutdown of the U.S. government, New Horizons is still on course for its New Year’s encounter with 2014 MU69 (nicknamed “Ultima Thule”). This post collects the latest images from New Horizons' approach to the tiny Kuiper belt object and will be updated regularly.

New Cameras on Mars!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 27, 2018

There was jubilation when InSight landed, but I'm just as happy to be writing about a distinct InSight event: The flow of raw images sent from Mars, straight to the Web, has begun.

We're going to Jezero!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 20, 2018

NASA announced this morning the selection of Jezero crater for the landing site of the Mars 2020 mission. Jezero is a 45-kilometer-wide crater that once held a lake, and now holds a spectacular ancient river delta.

Following perfect launch, BepiColombo takes self-portraits from space

Emily Lakdawalla • October 22, 2018

BepiColombo's launch was nominal -- the best thing any launch can be. Following launch, the spacecraft documented successful solar array and antenna deployments with self-portraits.

My 18-Month Affair With Titan

Ian Regan • October 11, 2018

Ian Regan, producer of the Titan segment of In Saturn's Rings, describes the meticulous process of creating the stunning visuals of this shrouded moon.

MASCOT landing on Ryugu a success

Emily Lakdawalla • October 05, 2018

For 17 hours on 3 October, the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) lander sent data to the waiting Hayabusa2 orbiter from multiple locations on Ryugu.

NASA Then & Now

Bruce Betts • October 02, 2018

A collection of before and after slider images showing how views of planets in our solar system have changed over the years since NASA was created.

The day I caught rocket fever

MaryLiz Bender • September 20, 2018

On February 6, 2018, I found myself shoulder to shoulder with two of my heroes: Bill Nye on the left, Buzz Aldrin on the right. Our eyes were fixed on the first vertical Falcon Heavy rocket. Figuring the world's most powerful rocket might send me flying backwards once the countdown hit zero, I gripped the railing so tightly I started to lose the feeling in my fingertips.

Hayabusa2 stops short of close approach on first touchdown rehearsal

Emily Lakdawalla • September 13, 2018

Hayabusa2 didn’t quite make it down to its intended 60-meter distance from asteroid Ryugu yesterday. There is nothing wrong with the spacecraft; it’s healthy and returning to its home position. The team will adjust parameters and give it another try in the future.

Curiosity update, sols 2093-2162: Three tries to successful drill atop Vera Rubin Ridge

Emily Lakdawalla • September 06, 2018

Heedless of the (now-dissipating) dust storm, Curiosity has achieved its first successful drill into rocks that form the Vera Rubin ridge, and is hopefully on the way to a second. It took three attempts for Curiosity to find a soft enough spot, with Voyageurs and Ailsa Craig being too tough, but Stoer proved obligingly soft on sol 2136.

Hayabusa2 descends again, this time to lower than 1000 meters above Ryugu

Emily Lakdawalla • August 10, 2018

This week Hayabusa2 completed its closest approach yet to asteroid Ryugu. In a successful gravity measurement experiment on August 6, the spacecraft dipped to within 1 kilometer of the asteroid.

Hayabusa2 descends from Home Position to take its first close look at Ryugu

Emily Lakdawalla • July 25, 2018

Last week, Hayabusa2 approached to within 6000 meters of the surface of Ryugu, taking new photos. The team has developed a set of terminology to describe Hayabusa2's navigational positions around the asteroid.

Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: The Cosmic Ocean

Adam Block • July 16, 2018

Award-winning astrophotographer Adam Block shares some of his most recent images of our amazing and beautiful universe.

The Bounty of Iron Meteorites Found on Mars

Linda Martel • July 10, 2018

Something new and wonderful appeared in the Meteoritical Bulletin Database—an entire listing of meteorites found on Mars by robotic rovers and their science teams from the years 2005–2017.

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