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New opportunity to name an asteroid!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/24 11:47 CDT | 6 comments

The Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) has just announced a new asteroid naming competition, open to anyone, so if you've ever wanted to name an asteroid, now's your chance.

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The Potential of CubeSats

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/10/23 09:17 CDT

Planetary spacecraft originally tended to be large missions. However, technology is shrinking, and before the decade is out, I expect that we will have at least one planetary mission based on a CubeSat.

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Book review: LEGO Space: Building the Future

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/23 08:03 CDT | 4 comments

This book is so great. I cannot imagine how many hours of happy building went into the development of the various LEGO ships and space bases included in this book, but I wish I could have participated.

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Curiosity update: Roving through the shutdown toward Waypoint 2, sols 388-432

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/10/23 02:57 CDT | 1 comments

After a brief science stop at Darwin (formerly known as Waypoint 1), Curiosity has driven hundreds of meters toward Mount Sharp. Autumn has come to Curiosity's southern hemisphere location, bringing lower temperatures. That means more power is required to heat rover actuators, leaving less power for science along the drive.

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India's Mars Orbiter Mission now set for November 5 launch date

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/22 01:01 CDT | 7 comments

The launch of ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission has been delayed by about a week due to bad weather in the Indian Ocean. The new launch date is November 5 at 14:36 IST (09:06 UTC / 01:06 PST). Their launch opportunity stretches to November 19.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 2: One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue
In which we are connected to all living things

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/10/21 09:41 CDT | 16 comments

In episode 2 we switch from cosmos to microcosm and discover how we are connected to all living things. Is Sagan too authoritative in this episode? Plus, a major error in one of the stories.

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Good morning, Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/21 11:39 CDT | 1 comments

What a happy way to start the week: a new video for Marian Call's astronaut wakeup song, "Good Morning Moon!" It was filmed in part at Space Expo, ESA's visitor center in Noordvijk, the Netherlands.

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The Strangest Place on the Moon?

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/10/21 02:00 CDT | 4 comments

A closer look at the odd lunar feature called "Ina."

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How I Gave My Preschool Class Mars Fever

Posted by Emily Cotman on 2013/10/18 11:58 CDT | 8 comments

It all started when we read a book called, There's Nothing to Do on Mars, by Chris Gall. And then something wonderful happened.

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Uranus Awaits

Posted by Geraint Jones on 2013/10/18 11:23 CDT | 3 comments

It’s been a long time since anyone paid Uranus a visit. The Uranus system is, however, fascinating, as evidenced by the wealth of topics covered by the diverse group of planetary scientists who gathered to discuss it last week at the Paris Observatory.

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DPS 2013: The fascination of tiny worlds

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/17 02:27 CDT | 7 comments

In which I summarize Joe Veverka's Kuiper Prize talk at the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting: "Small is NOT Dull: Unravelling the Complexity of Surface Processes on Asteroids, Comets and Small Satellites."

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One for the history books: Stunning Saturn mosaic captured last week by Cassini

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/16 07:15 CDT | 5 comments

I try to be measured in my praise for spacecraft images. Not every photo can be the greatest space image ever. But this enormous mosaic showing the flattened globe of Saturn floating within the complete disk of its rings must surely be counted among the great images of the Cassini mission.

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Juno is in Safe Mode again, but still okay
All Earth flyby data on the ground, including JunoCam images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/16 06:59 CDT | 6 comments

After entering safe mode last week during its Earth flyby, Juno returned to normal operations and downlinked all engineering and science instrument data. It entered safe mode again on Sunday night, but it is expected to re-resume normal operations late next week.

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DPS 2013: Confusing Curiosity SAM results

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/15 03:47 CDT | 6 comments

What did I learn about Curiosity at last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting? There were a few talks, most of which concerned soil and atmsospheric chemistry. I can summarize their conclusions with one sentence: More data is needed.

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America's Pastime: Planetary Science
Planetary Radio brings the home team to playoff week

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/10/15 12:16 CDT

Apologies to baseball fans and others for the theme of this week's Planetary Radio preview, which has star player Emily Lakdawalla on deck.

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Curiosity: still roving

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/15 11:33 CDT | 2 comments

Every day, I get a question from somebody about whether Curiosity has been shut down. It hasn't, and here's the thing: you can determine that for yourself

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Alpha Centauri Planet Hunt Update

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/10/15 11:27 CDT | 2 comments

An update from Yale’s Debra Fischer about the Alpha Centauri planet hunt, partially sponsored by The Planetary Society, as well as her team’s efforts to remove “noise” from parent stars to help find exoplanets.

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Cosmos With Cosmos Episode 1: The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean
In which Sagan puts us in our place (between immensity and eternity)

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/10/14 02:37 CDT | 17 comments

We face immensity and a taste of things to come in the first episode of Cosmos, but we're also provided with the tools to comprehend our own place within the universe.

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The Gems of Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/10/14 02:25 CDT | 2 comments

An instrument on MRO can see minerals. What it finds can be pretty interesting.

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Introducing Cosmos with Cosmos
Let's Grab a Drink and Watch Cosmos Together

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/10/10 08:07 CDT | 23 comments

Let's grab a drink and watch the original Cosmos together. We'll provide write-ups and discussion every week through the entire original series. Get together with your friends!

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