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Blog Archive

 

Chang'e 3 and LADEE updates -- and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, too, for good measure

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/05 08:40 CST

Chang'e 3 is just about to land on the Moon, and the LADEE orbiter has begun a new science mission there, while Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is still producing amazing images.

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An Open Letter to President Barack Obama
Mr. President, be bold and embrace a vision of planetary exploration at NASA

Posted by Bill Nye on 2013/12/05 06:15 CST | 16 comments

Bill Nye writes President Obama arguing that the President should embrace a bold future of planetary exploration.

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Comet ISON Wrap Up
A Tail of Cat-Possums and the Undead

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/12/05 05:49 CST

Comet ISON captivated our world, and many of our world’s robotic emissaries for many months. But, alas, poor ISON is dead -- again. Here I wrap up our enthusiastic coverage of this multi-morphing zombie comet that tried to survive and re-survive as it came within one solar diameter of the Sun.

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Mars' chemical history: Phyllosian, Theiikian, Siderikian, oh my

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/05 01:08 CST | 4 comments

I'm returning to the deep dive into the literature that began with articles about lunar basins and then explored the geologic time scales of Earth, Moon, and Mars. Now it's time to catch up to the last decade of Mars research and learn what "phyllosian", "theiikian", and "siderikian" eras are.

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Comet ISON live blog

Posted by Emily LakdawallaBruce Betts on 2013/12/05 10:00 CST | 10 comments

Comet ISON reached perihelion at 18:25 UT (10:25 PT) on November 28. It's an event that's was watched around the world, accompanied by tons of commentary and streams of photos. We will update this blog entry periodically with links to all the resources that we hear of for following the comet's progress.

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What's Going on With Planetary Science Research?
Budget cuts mixed with a new way to fund science could disproportionately impact the next generation of planetary scientists

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/04 01:44 CST | 5 comments

Budget cuts mixed with a new way to fund science could disproportionately impact the next generation of planetary scientists.

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Planetary Dirt Sampling Success

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/12/04 01:17 CST | 3 comments

We present an update and a video about the successful design, construction, and testing in a vacuum chamber by Honeybee Robotics of a prototype PlanetVac system, a new planetary surface sampling technique, sponsored by The Planetary Society. PlanetVac is a reliable system that effectively vacuums up planetary surface materials.

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Pretty picture: newly processed high-res view of a fractured icy moon, Dione

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/04 11:38 CST | 4 comments

Here's a lovely new view of Dione, one of the lovely mid-sized icy moons of Saturn, assembled by Daniel Macháček.

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Don't Miss Voyager Head Scientist Ed Stone on the Colbert Report

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/04 10:57 CST

Voyager Chief Scientist Ed Stone was the featured guest on the Colbert Report to celebrate the spacecraft's entry into interstellar space.

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SpaceX’s Upgraded Falcon Delivers Satellite to Geostationary Orbit

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/12/03 10:45 CST | 4 comments

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket delivered a communications satellite to geostationary orbit, marking an important milestone for the private spaceflight company.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Ascends Murray Ridge into Clay Mineral Grounds
Sols 3474 - 3502

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2013/12/03 03:13 CST | 1 comment

Although winter took hold at Endeavour Crater in November, Opportunity pressed on, climbing up Murray Ridge and driving into a clay mineral hunting ground as the Mars Exploration Rovers mission cruised another month closer to celebrating its 10th Earth year of surface operations with myriad events throughout January 2014.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 7: The Backbone of Night
In which we return to cosmos

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/03 02:55 CST | 3 comments

We return to the big idea of the series – that the universe can be known and we better ourselves in our efforts to understand it – in the best episode of Cosmos so far.

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Multiple views of comet ISON from solar-observing spacecraft

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/02 07:50 CST | 6 comments

When comet ISON passed through perihelion last week, solar observing spacecraft had a ringside view. Here are several animations of ISON's perilous passage from the SOHO and two STEREO spacecraft.

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Somewhere Over the Bay of Rainbows

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/12/02 12:35 CST | 4 comments

Pay a visit to the Chang'e 3 lunar landing site.

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Chang'e 3 departs for the Moon, with amazing images and video

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/02 12:18 CST | 3 comments

On December 1 at 17:30 UTC, Chang'e 3 launched atop a Long March 3B rocket on a direct lunar transfer trajectory. It is scheduled to enter orbit December 6 and land December 14. The rocket was equipped with cameras that recorded thrilling video of the launch and final departure of the probe.

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Comet ISON Hangouts November 25 and December 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/02 11:00 CST | 3 comments

Two Hangouts bookended comet ISON's perihelion, hosted by Chuck Beuter of Comet Festival South Bend. On November 25, it was I and Ron Kaitchuck. On December 2, Alex Filippenko and I discussed what happened to the comet over Thanksgiving.

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Congratulations due to India: Mars Orbiter Mission is on the way to Mars!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/30 02:51 CST | 35 comments

Today I am delighted to welcome India into the ranks of interplanetary travelers: Mars Orbiter Mission has successfully propelled itself onto an interplanetary trajectory, departing Earth forever and setting sail for Mars. Congratulations to India, to the Indian Space Research Organisation, to the mission's scientists and engineers, and to the people of India.

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Chang'e 3 ready to launch to the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/30 10:05 CST | 5 comments

A brief update on Chang'e 3, which is scheduled for launch December 2 at 01:30 China time, or December 1 at 17:30 UT / 09:30 PT.

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Mars Orbiter Mission ready to fly onward from Earth to Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/30 09:25 CST | 10 comments

Today is the day when India's Mars Orbiter Mission will fire its rocket to depart Earth and begin its 300-day journey to Mars. The rocket burn begins on December 1 at 00:49 IST (today at 19:19 UT / 11:19 PT).

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The Mariner Mars Globe

Posted by Don Davis on 2013/11/29 12:04 CST | 3 comments

In 1971 I was being trained to work with the airbrush by the map artists at the U.S. Geological Survey's Branch of Astrogeologic Studies in Flagstaff. However, the project I ended up spending about a quarter of a man-year on was a hand-painted map globe of Mars.

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