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Blog Archive


A peek at the JunoCam approach movie

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/07/04 09:36 CDT | 2 comments

We're now just about 12 hours away from Juno's Jupiter orbit insertion. As anticipation ramps up, NASA has released this sneak peek at JunoCam's approach movie, made of views of Jupiter and its largest moons shot during the final approach, up until about five days ago.

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Juno's first taste of science from Jupiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/06/30 06:23 CDT | 8 comments

Jupiter is growing in Juno's forward view as the spacecraft approaches for its orbit insertion July 5 (July 4 in the Americas). The mission has released images from JunoCam and sonifications of data from the plasma waves instrument as Juno begins to sense Jupiter.

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Big booster blasts Utah hillside, and NASA discusses Journey to Mars

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/28 06:41 CDT | 1 comments

NASA and Orbital ATK successfully completed a qualification motor firing of a five-segment solid rocket booster that will fly on the Space Launch System in 2018.

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Quick multimedia roundup: China's new rocket blasts off on inaugural mission

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/25 03:35 CDT

China's new Long March 7 rocket successfully blasted off on its inaugural mission today at 8:00 p.m. Beijing time (12:00 UTC, 7:00 a.m. EDT).

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National Selfie Day: Spacecraft self-portraits

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/06/21 11:27 CDT | 6 comments

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.

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Multimedia roundup: Blue Origin completes two-parachute test flight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/20 12:30 CDT | 6 comments

Yesterday in West Texas, Blue Origin launched its New Shepard spacecraft on its sixth suborbital test flight. The capsule normally descends using three parachutes, but on Sunday, just two were used to show the spacecraft could still land safely in the event of a parachute mishap.

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Picture-perfect landing for Soyuz crew on sunny Kazakh steppe

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/18 09:10 CDT | 4 comments

Tim Kopra, Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko are back on Earth this morning following a picture-perfect landing on the sunny Kazakhstan steppe.

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Three bright planets: Portraits from the Pyrenees

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/26 02:40 CDT | 1 comments

It's a great time to go outdoors and look at planets. I have three glorious planetary portraits to share today, sent to me by amateur astronomer Jean-Luc Dauvergne.

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New work with 35-year-old data: Voyagers at Ganymede and Saturn

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/25 04:44 CDT | 8 comments

The Voyager data set is a gift to Earth that keeps on giving. This week, I've seen three great new images processed from this old data set.

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OSIRIS-REx shipped to Florida for September launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/23 07:53 CDT | 1 comments

OSIRIS-REx's long journey to an asteroid has begun. The spacecraft departed Colorado on Friday, May 20, travelling aboard an Air Force C-17 to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center.

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Akatsuki begins a productive science mission at Venus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/19 06:02 CDT | 4 comments

Japan's Akatsuki Venus orbiter is well into its science mission, and has already produced surprising science results. The mission, originally planned to last two years, could last as many as five, monitoring Venus' atmosphere over the long term.

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A feast of new OSIRIS photos from comet 67P

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/11 04:19 CDT | 2 comments

Last week, the Rosetta mission released a large quantity of science data to the worldwide public, including photos from the mission's close observation phase and the Philae landing.

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New lunar mosaics emerge as Surveyor digitization project continues

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/06 06:04 CDT

A team of scientists at the University of Arizona continue their efforts to extract data from more than 90,000 images captured during NASA's Surveyor program. In the meantime, new first-look images and an animation have been released.

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The Giant Volcanoes of Mars

Posted by Justin Cowart on 2016/05/04 12:45 CDT | 1 comments

Justin Cowart shares some spectacular images showcasing Mars' volcanoes from Mars Express.

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The phases of the far side of the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/04/28 10:50 CDT | 4 comments

Serbian artist Ivica Stošić used Clementine and Kaguya data to give a glimpse of the phases of the lunar farside.

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Shuttle tank, meet canal: Engineering wonders cross paths in Panama

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/28 06:02 CDT | 4 comments

Two modern engineering marvels crossed paths this week here in Central America, as the last unflown space shuttle external fuel tank passed through the Panama Canal during a multi-week voyage from New Orleans to Los Angeles.

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Moonset over Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/04/21 10:23 CDT | 1 comments

Enjoy this serene image of a moonset on another world, captured by Curiosity's Mastcam in April 2014 and processed here by Justin Cowart.

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Synthesizing DSCOVR-like Images Using Atmospheric and Geophysical Data

Posted by Steve Albers on 2016/04/20 08:00 CDT | 3 comments

Why does our planet look the way it does from space? How does light interacting with land, clouds, water, snow, ice, gases, and various aerosols all come together? One way to learn the answer is to try and synthesize DSCOVR's view from various "building blocks" of geophysical and atmospheric data.

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A new angle on Mars for Mars Odyssey

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/04/19 01:05 CDT | 4 comments

Mars Odyssey has been in space for 15 years. It flies in a special "sun-synchronous" orbit, crossing the equator at roughly the same local time every day. Over time, the Odyssey mission has changed what that local time of day is, and I just realized something cool about how those changes show up in the geometry of its images.

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Curiosity update, sols 1250-1310: Across the Naukluft Plateau

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/04/13 02:57 CDT | 8 comments

Curiosity has driven onward from Namib dune across a highstanding unit of rock called the Naukluft Plateau. Despite some frustrating sols lost to a short circuit in the RTG and DSN troubles, the rover has made progress, and performed lots of 3D imaging of weirdly wind-eroded rocks.

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