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First Look: Newest LightSail Spacecraft Unfurls Solar Sails

Jason Davis • January 29, 2016

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • January 28, 2016

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.

Wide views of Mars from Mars Express

Emily Lakdawalla • January 27, 2016

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.

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

Quanzhi Ye • January 25, 2016

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.

Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Shadow Play

Adam Block • January 18, 2016

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

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

Jason Davis • January 17, 2016

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • January 15, 2016

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.

JunoCam cruise data, and a look ahead to Jupiter

Emily Lakdawalla • January 13, 2016

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • January 07, 2016

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.

Dawn Journal: Science on Ceres

Marc Rayman • January 01, 2016

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • December 29, 2015

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

Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Distant Galaxies

Adam Block • December 24, 2015

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

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

Emily Lakdawalla • December 22, 2015

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

December solstice: Viewing Earth's seasonal shifts from space

Emily Lakdawalla • December 22, 2015

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

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

Emily Lakdawalla • December 17, 2015

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • December 11, 2015

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.

Colors in Planetary Imaging

Travis Rector • December 08, 2015

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.

Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Björn Jónsson • December 07, 2015

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.

Hayabusa2 views Earth and the Moon on approach to December 3 flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • December 01, 2015

I just love photos of Earth from planetary missions -- especially if they manage to get Earth and Moon in the same shot, as Hayabusa2 did on November 26.

Blue Origin Lands Spent Suborbital Rocket Stage in Texas

Jason Davis • November 24, 2015

Secretive spaceflight company Blue Origin flew its New Shepard launch vehicle to the edge of space, deployed a suborbital spacecraft and returned the spent booster rocket to Earth for an upright landing.

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