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Blog Archive


Fun with a new image data set: Mars Orbiter Mission's Mars Colour Camera

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/06 06:16 CDT | 10 comments

It's always a delight to sink my teeth into a new data set, and I have spent this week playing with one I've been anticipating for a long time: ISRO's Mars Orbiter's Mars Colour Camera, or MCC. MCC is unique among current Mars cameras in its ability to get color, print-quality, wide-angle, regional views of Mars.

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MOM's Second Anniversary at Mars

Posted by Sandhya Ramesh on 2016/10/05 01:04 CDT | 1 comments

On Mars Orbiter Mission’s second anniversary of Mars arrival, ISRO has (finally!) made available to the public data from its first year in orbit.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Exits Marathon Valley then Rocks Spirit Mound
Sols 4482 - 4510

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/10/04 07:17 CDT

It was another September to remember for Opportunity as she cruised through the Lewis and Clark Gap and out of Marathon Valley, then hiked downslope, leading the first overland expedition of the Red Planet to Spirit Mound, a new site deep in Endeavour Crater’s rim.

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What's up in the solar system, October 2016 edition: ExoMars arrives!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/04 06:42 CDT | 2 comments

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter arrives on October 19, and it will deliver the Schiaparelli lander to its brief life on the Martian surface. Juno's headed into its science orbit, MOM has released science data, and New Horizons will finally finish downlinking Pluto flyby data.

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ESA opens its ears to citizens of Europe

Posted by Ruth McAvinia on 2016/10/04 10:14 CDT

In September, the European Space Agency gathered 2,000 people around the continent to discuss their future in space.

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To Mars, with a monster rocket: How politicians and engineers created NASA's Space Launch System

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/03 06:00 CDT | 10 comments

NASA is building a giant rocket called the Space Launch System to send humans to Mars. In part 4 of our Horizon Goal series, we recap the messy tangle of politics and engineering that led to the vehicle's creation in 2011.

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Rosetta is gone

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/09/30 08:13 CDT | 6 comments

Today there is one less spacecraft returning science data from beyond Earth. The European Space Operations Centre received the final transmission from Rosetta at 11:19 September 30, UT.

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Rosetta spacecraft may be dying, but Rosetta science will go on

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/09/29 12:47 CDT | 3 comments

The Rosetta mission will end tomorrow when the spacecraft impacts the comet. ESA took advantage of the presence of hundreds of members of the media to put on a showcase of Rosetta science. If there’s one thing I learned today from all the science presentations, it’s this: Rosetta data will be informing scientific work for decades to come.

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Dawn Journal: 9th Anniversary

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/09/29 12:05 CDT | 3 comments

Nine years ago today, Dawn set sail on an epic journey of discovery and adventure. The intrepid explorer has sailed the cosmic seas and collected treasures that far exceeded anything anticipated or even hoped for.

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OSIRIS-REx’s cameras see first light

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/09/29 03:34 CDT

As OSIRIS-REx speeds away from Earth, it’s been turning on and testing out its various engineering functions and science instruments. Proof of happy instrument status has come from several cameras, including the star tracker, MapCam, and StowCam.

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SpaceX and the Blank Slate
Starting anew vs. tried and true

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/09/28 10:20 CDT | 13 comments

SpaceX's plans to colonize Mars differ considerably from NASA's Journey to Mars ambitions. But direct comparison is difficult. SpaceX is able to wipe the slate clean and start fresh with a bold new approach to humans in space. NASA has no such luxury, and must use existing pieces and people to make their goals a reality.

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A million people in 40 to 100 years: SpaceX unveils plan to colonize Mars

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/09/27 10:46 CDT | 12 comments

After much anticipation, Elon Musk revealed his plans to colonize Mars. Here are the details, some questions yet to be answered, and a few thoughts on how this could change the way we think about human spaceflight.

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Rosetta end-of-mission event schedule

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/09/27 11:45 CDT | 3 comments

A schedule of what to expect during Rosetta's final hours September 29 and 30, and how you can follow online.

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New Findings are Conclusive: Europa is crying out for exploration
What are we waiting for?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/09/26 01:36 CDT | 19 comments

New scientific findings add to the evidence that Europa is spouting its liquid ocean into space. NASA has a mission to Europa in the works, but it wouldn't launch for at least a decade. Congress can make it faster, but it all depends on whether they can pass a budget this year.

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Juno and Marble Movie update at Apojove 1

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/09/22 12:51 CDT | 4 comments

Juno is on its second of two long orbits around Jupiter, reaching apojove (its farthest distance from the planet) today.

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Where to find rapidly released space image data

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/09/21 07:06 CDT | 1 comments

Interested in playing with recent space image data? Here's a list of places to get the freshest photos from space.

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Five things we learned from our #RocketRoadTrip

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/09/21 06:02 CDT | 3 comments

We're back from our #RocketRoadTrip through four states with NASA field centers involved in the agency's Journey to Mars program. We'll be sorting through our material for quite some time, but meanwhile, here are five key things we learned.

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Some beautiful new (old) views of Neptune and Triton

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/09/20 02:40 CDT | 4 comments

Beautiful new amateur work with 27-year-old Voyager data.

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Promise, Transition, and Transformation
Reflections on a Rocket Road Trip

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/09/19 07:22 CDT | 4 comments

After 10 days, four NASA centers, two contractors, and hundreds of miles, Casey Dreier shares his initial reflections on the state of NASA's Space Launch System rocket and its future.

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Women on Spacecraft Missions: Are we moving towards parity with the percentage in the field?

Posted by Julie Rathbun on 2016/09/16 09:01 CDT | 1 comments

How far have we come and how far do we still need to go to welcome women into planetary science, and, particularly, spacecraft missions?

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