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Curiosity update, sols 1218-1249: Digging in the sand at Bagnold Dunes

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/02/10 12:21 CST | 4 comments

Curiosity has spent the last month sampling and processing dark sand scooped from the side of Namib Dune. The rover has now departed Namib and is preparing to cross the Bagnold dune field, while working to diagnose an anomaly with the CHIMRA sample handling mechanism.

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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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First Look: Newest LightSail Spacecraft Unfurls Solar Sails

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/29 05:31 CST | 3 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail spacecraft successfully deployed its solar sails Thursday, wrapping up an initial round of system-level tests to prepare the CubeSat for flight.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/01/28 07:08 CST | 26 comments

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.

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Wide views of Mars from Mars Express

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/01/27 10:59 CST | 4 comments

Geologist and amateur space image processor Justin Cowart has dug into the Mars Express archives and located some lovely, wide views across great swaths of the Martian globe.

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China invites public on-board its robotic missions; and how to download Chang'e data

Posted by Quanzhi Ye on 2016/01/25 10:50 CST

China plans a busy future in robotic space exploration. Besides the scientific merit, what interests me most about the upcoming Chang'e 4 mission is their intention to get the public involved.

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Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Shadow Play

Posted by Adam Block on 2016/01/18 07:02 CST | 2 comments

Adam Block brings us his first images processed in the new year, showcasing the beautiful interplay of light and dark.

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SpaceX Successfully Launches Ocean Satellite but Breaks a Leg on Drone Ship

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/17 04:40 CST

The Jason-3 ocean monitoring satellite reached orbit today, but SpaceX's third attempt to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship came up short.

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Pretty pictures: Bittersweet goodies from Cassini at Titan, Enceladus, and Telesto

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/01/15 02:00 CST | 7 comments

Tomorrow, Cassini will fly by Titan, picking up a gravity assist that will tilt its orbit slightly up and out of the ring plane. That will end what has been a wonderful year of frequent encounters with Saturnian moons.

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JunoCam cruise data, and a look ahead to Jupiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/01/13 11:13 CST | 2 comments

Juno is now fewer than six months and 100 million kilometers away from Jupiter, and the Juno team is busily preparing for the arrival. Amateur astronomers are supporting them by taking lots of Jupiter photos.

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Curiosity update, sols 1166-1217: First reconnaissance of Bagnold dunes

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/01/07 08:09 CST | 4 comments

In the six weeks since my last detailed Curiosity update, the rover has driven to, on, and around a couple of active barchan sand dunes on Mars. They are now searching for a site to scoop and sample sand on the western edge of Namib dune.

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Dawn Journal: Science on Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/01/01 07:02 CST | 15 comments

The Dawn mission is developing humankind’s most intimate portrait ever of a dwarf planet. Mission Director and Chief Engineer Marc Rayman returns with his monthly update on the mission's progress.

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Two epic photos of Earth -- but which one is truer?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/29 05:19 CST | 1 comments

Two images of Earth taken from different spacecraft at the same time illustrate differences in "true" color imaging among spacecraft.

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Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Distant Galaxies

Posted by Adam Block on 2015/12/24 01:24 CST

Astrophotographer Adam Block shares stunning his images of far-away spiral galaxies.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/22 06:17 CST | 1 comments

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

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December solstice: Viewing Earth's seasonal shifts from space

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/22 10:12 CST | 2 comments

It's fun to watch the seasons shift from space, and as of this year we have new ways to do that.

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Worth the wait: First public release of Rosetta science camera images of comet 67P

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/17 12:30 CST | 4 comments

Finally! It has been a long wait, but so worth it: the Rosetta OSIRIS science camera team has delivered the first pile of data from the rendezvous with comet 67P to ESA's Planetary Science Archive. I have spent a good chunk of the last three days playing with the data, and it's spectacular.

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A Rosetta OSIRIS picture of comet 67P that's only hours old

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/11 10:22 CST | 2 comments

ESA announced today a new website at which the OSIRIS team will now be releasing images on a regular basis -- at least one per week -- and they will be recent. Even better news, all OSIRIS data taken through September 16, 2014 has been handed to ESA and its release is expected next week.

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Colors in Planetary Imaging

Posted by Travis Rector on 2015/12/08 08:26 CST | 4 comments

When looking at an image of, say, a galaxy, have you ever wondered to yourself, “Is this real?” Trevor Rector explains how astronomical images are processed.

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Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Posted by Björn Jónsson on 2015/12/07 06:59 CST | 1 comments

On the 20th anniversary of Galileo's orbit insertion around Jupiter, amateur image processor Björn Jónsson shares some of the mission's first images of Jupiter's iconic massive storm.

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