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Plans for China's farside Chang'e 4 lander science mission taking shape

Emily Lakdawalla • June 22, 2016

The future Chang'e 4 lunar farside landing mission is rapidly taking shape. Now the mission's team is coming to a consensus on the landing location, as well as on the mission's instrument package.

National Selfie Day: Spacecraft self-portraits

Emily Lakdawalla • June 21, 2016

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.

Multimedia roundup: Blue Origin completes two-parachute test flight

Jason Davis • June 20, 2016

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.

Picture-perfect landing for Soyuz crew on sunny Kazakh steppe

Jason Davis • June 18, 2016

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

Night owl? Early bird? Watch a Soyuz crew plunge back to Earth Saturday morning

Jason Davis • June 17, 2016

Tomorrow morning, Tim Kopra, Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko are coming home from the International Space Station. But if you live in the United States or Europe, you're going to have to get up pretty early—or stay up late—to see it happen.

Timeline of Juno Jupiter Orbit Insertion events

Emily Lakdawalla • June 16, 2016

Today NASA held a press briefing and released a press kit for the impending orbit insertion of the Juno spacecraft. The 35-minute orbit insertion burn is scheduled to begin July 5 at 03:18 UTC (July 4 20:18, PDT). Here's a timeline for events relating to orbit insertion.

ExoMars sights Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • June 16, 2016

Today ESA released ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter's first photo of Mars, taken from a distance of 41 million kilometers. It's no more detail than you can get through a pair of a binoculars, just a little taste of what's to come.

Multimedia roundup: Falcon 9 makes dual-satellite delivery run

Jason Davis • June 15, 2016

SpaceX placed two communications satellites into orbit today, but the company's attempt to go four-in-a-row on first stage drone ship recoveries fell short.

Curiosity update, sols 1311-1369: Drilling at Lubango, Okoruso, and Oudam, and a turn to the south

Emily Lakdawalla • June 15, 2016

Curiosity is at a turning point in its mission to Mount Sharp, both literally and figuratively. Having drilled at three sample sites in 7 weeks, the rover took a left turn, changing its trajectory from a generally westward driving path to a southward one. It is now poised to cross the Bagnold dune field at Murray buttes.

Scientists play with fire aboard trash-filled cargo spacecraft

Jason Davis • June 14, 2016

This afternoon, NASA started a fire aboard a trash-filled cargo spacecraft, but it was all in the name of science. Engineers at the agency's Glenn Research Center are studying how large-scale fires spread in space.

Nadia Drake: NSF investigating how to shut down Arecibo

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2016

Reporter Nadia Drake has been following the status of Arecibo very closely, and recently wrote two articles explaining what it means that the National Science Foundation has begun an environmental review process for the giant radio telescope.

Video: Two talks featuring pretty pictures from space

Emily Lakdawalla • June 10, 2016

Videos of two recent talks I've given, one intended for a general audience and one aimed at professionals.

Red Dragon and Planetary Exploration

Van Kane • June 10, 2016

If SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft becomes a standard catalog item that could ordered, the way a launch vehicle is, what might the impact be on planetary exploration?

LightSail 2 will transmit Morse code from space, and you can make the sound your ringtone

Jason Davis • June 10, 2016

The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 (.-.. / ... / ..---) spacecraft will identify itself from orbit using Morse code, and you can make the sound your ringtone.

What to expect from JunoCam at Jupiter

Emily Lakdawalla • June 09, 2016

Juno will go in to orbit at Jupiter on July 5 (July 4 in North and South American time zones), and it's carrying a camera that's going to take really awesome photos of Jupiter. But you're going to have to be patient. Emily Lakdawalla explains why.

Dawn Journal: In the Details

Marc Rayman • June 08, 2016

Dawn is continuing to record the extraordinary sights on dwarf planet Ceres. The experienced explorer is now closer to the alien world than the International Space Station is to Earth.

Whither the Weather? A Jet Stream Explainer

Anna Scott • June 07, 2016

Jet streams are found in planetary atmospheres throughout our solar system. But what exactly are they?

Take a look inside the station's new expandable module with astronaut Jeff Williams

Jason Davis • June 06, 2016

BEAM, the International Space Station's new expandable habitat module, is open for business. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka entered the module at 4:47 a.m. EDT (9:47 UTC) this morning.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Scuffs Up Signs of Past Water at Marathon Valley

A.J.S. Rayl • June 06, 2016

Opportunity spent the first half of May digging into an outcrop, taking dozens of panoramic images from her site on the south wall of Marathon Valley at Endeavour Crater’s western rim, and basking in the Martian spring weather.

Announcing Planetary Radio: Space Policy Edition

Mat Kaplan • June 03, 2016

Announcing Planetary Radio Extra: Space Policy Edition (PRE:SPE for short)—a new spinoff of Planetary Radio that will delve into the weeds of space policy and politics.

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