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Blog Archive

 

Dry Ice Snowfall at the Poles of Mars

Posted by Paul Hayne on 2014/01/16 11:23 CST | 1 comment

Paul Hayne takes a look at the mysterious polar caps of Mars, and what it would be like to ski there.

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"Secrets of the Kuiper Belt" in Sky & Telescope

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/16 11:17 CST | 2 comments

Woo hoo! I've got another cover story in the current (February 2014) issue of Sky & Telescope, in which I try to make sense of the Kuiper belt. This article was motivated by my observation that the discovery of many new things beyond Neptune had, through an ironic chain of events, resulted in our teaching children less about the solar system than we used to.

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Fly your name to an asteroid!

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/01/15 12:28 CST | 15 comments

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission and The Planetary Society invite people worldwide to fly their names on a round-trip ride to the target of the OSIRIS-REx mission, the asteroid Bennu.

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Do you want to learn more about the Universe?

Posted by Matthew Francis on 2014/01/15 12:08 CST

CosmoAcademy — a project from the CosmoQuest educational and citizen-science group — is offering three new online classes: Introduction to Dark Matter, Introduction to Astronomy via Color Imaging, and Life Beyond Earth: Introduction to Astrobiology.

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Updates on Chang'e 3: Rover and lander both awake, good science data received

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/14 05:01 CST | 8 comments

According to news reports from China, the Yutu rover woke up from its two-week nap at 5:09 Beijing time on January 11 (21:09 on January 10, UTC), successfully establishing communication with Earth. The lander woke up autonomously at 8:21 Beijing time / 00:21 UTC on January 12, and is also "in normal condition." UPDATED to note that the lander's camera apparently did not survive lunar night.

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Congress to NASA: Don't You Dare Steal Money Away from Planetary Science Again
A little congressional scolding to NASA and the White House

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/14 04:52 CST | 1 comment

Congress scolded NASA for abusing its operating plan to remove money from Planetary Science last year, giving them a warning to not try that again.

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Book Review: This Is Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/14 01:14 CST | 2 comments

This is Mars is a stunning book that treats the HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as an art photographer, exploring the variety of shapes and patterns created by wind, water, impacts, and gravity on the Martian surface.

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Blast from the past: Spirit sunrise panorama at Troy

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/14 11:53 CST

In honor of the 10th anniversary of Spirit's landing on Mars, here is a new view from near the end of that mission.

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Planetary Radio: The Gemini Planet Imager
Featuring GPI PI Bruce Macintosh and Astronomer Franck Marchis

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2014/01/14 11:06 CST | 1 comment

It's very nice to infer the existence of planets circling other stars. It's even better to see them. This new instrument has just become the most powerful exoplanet viewer yet created.

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Shaping the Search for Life

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/01/14 09:24 CST | 1 comment

A short film on the Giant Magellan Telescope, which could revolutionize exoplanet research and shape the search for life in the Universe.

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Through a Glass, Darkly

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/01/13 12:46 CST | 5 comments

When sent from deep space, even imperfect images can inform and amaze.

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Finally, some high-quality photos from Chang'e 3!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/10 11:37 CST | 7 comments

A pile of Chang'e 3 photos has been released to the Web, and they are much, much better than what I've seen before. They include, for the first time, photos of Earth from the lander.

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Polar vortices across the solar system

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/09 11:49 CST | 2 comments

Earth's polar vortex has been in the American news all week. But we're not the only planet that has one; basically every world that has an atmosphere has a polar vortex. Here are lots of pretty pictures and animations of polar vortices.

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International Space Station gets warranty extension to 2024

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/01/09 02:54 CST | 1 comment

The White House and NASA have approved a 2024 lifespan extension for the International Space Station.

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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner maps geologic context of Chang'e 3 landing site

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/08 01:53 CST | 1 comment

The LRO Diviner Lunar Radiometer has been mapping the entire Moon on a nearly continuous basis since July, 2009. The Diviner team has produced maps of the thermal behavior and and a range of derived quantities at Chang’e 3 landing site that are described in this post.

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It's that time of year again: Happy LPSC deadline day, and happy haiku

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/07 06:52 CST | 1 comment

Conference abstracts
Summaries of summaries
Geo-poetry

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Europa New Frontiers Mission? (Or why I like the Europa Clipper concept even more now)

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/01/07 05:14 CST | 3 comments

Europa remains a top priority for a future mission to explore whether it could host life. While the Europa Clipper mission, remains the current front runner, a senior NASA manager has suggested that the agency may look at still lower cost options. Van Kane looks at what those options might be.

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2013: The Year in Pictures, an addendum

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/07 03:22 CST | 1 comment

Every year, I write a feature article for the year's final issue of The Planetary Report titled "The Year in Pictures." Because The Planetary Report is a printed product, I have to compose the article before the year has ended. So here is an addendum to the printed article, a few images that came in November and December that mark significant events of 2013.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Mission Nears 10-Year Milestone, Oppy Roves On, We Look Back on 2013
Sols 3503–3533

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/01/07 02:00 CST

Opportunity wrapped a landmark year in December, sending home more evidence of ancient habitable environments at Endeavour Crater as the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission geared up to celebrate an historic milestone – the completion of 10 years of surface operations on the Red Planet.

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The Last Flight of the Original Space Ranger

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/01/06 07:13 CST | 11 comments

Remembering the Moon's first extreme close-up.

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