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As Deadlines Loom, LightSail Bends but Doesn't Break

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/10/15 09:49 CDT | 5 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail-A spacecraft is close to completing a final series of tests that pave the way for a possible 2015 test flight. But as deadlines loom, a new problem has sent the team scrambling to make a quick repair.

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Finally! New Horizons has a second target

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/10/15 01:02 CDT | 17 comments

What a huge relief: there is finally a place for New Horizons to visit beyond Pluto. A team of researchers led by John Spencer has discovered three possible targets, all in the Cold Classical part of the Kuiper belt. One is particularly easy to reach. New Horizons would fly past the 30-45-kilometer object in January 2019.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 3808 — October 10, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/10/15 10:22 CDT | 1 comments

Opportunity will become a comet flyby mission beginning in mid-October. The comet Siding Spring will zoom past Mars at a distance of about 135,000 km on October 19.

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Phobos over Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/10/14 08:05 CDT | 10 comments

Today the Mars Orbiter Mission released a nice four-image animation of teeny dark Phobos crossing Mars' huge orange disk. Mars Orbiter Mission joins a long line of Mars missions that have produced images of Mars and Phobos together.

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Video Introduction to Comet Siding Spring’s Near Miss at Mars

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/10/13 05:14 CDT

On October 19, 2014, Comet Siding Spring will fly very close to Mars. Here’s a 5 minute video introduction to get you up to speed on this planetary near miss, and some suggestions on how to find out more now, during, and after the encounter.

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From Mercury orbit, MESSENGER watches a lunar eclipse

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/10/10 10:07 CDT | 3 comments

Watch as our enormous moon -- a quarter the diameter of the planet -- just winks out as it passes into Earth's long shadow, in an animation captured from more than 100 million kilometers away.

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JPL Releases a Big, Bold Website Redesign

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/10/09 06:37 CDT | 2 comments

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory released a major overhaul of its website. Here's a closer look.

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What did Dawn learn at Vesta?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/10/09 03:53 CDT | 11 comments

It's now been two years since Dawn wrapped up its work at the second-largest asteroid. What else did we get from the Vesta encounter besides great photos? Recently, I asked Dawn's deputy project scientist, Carol Raymond, for help in summarizing a few of the big things Dawn taught us.

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Mars Orbiter Mission shifts orbit to take cover from Siding Spring

Posted by Srinivas Laxman on 2014/10/09 11:23 CDT

With only 10 days remaining until the arrival of Comet Siding Spring at Mars, ISRO has shielded the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) from the comet. On Tuesday MOM’s orbit was altered so as to move it behind the Red Planet when the comet arrives. MOM will carry out observations of the comet and its Mars Colour Camera will click images of it.

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New global Mars image from Mars Orbiter Mission features Gale crater

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/10/07 11:58 CDT | 4 comments

ISRO has released a second global image of Mars from the Mars Colour Camera on Mars Orbiter Mission, and smack dab in the center of it is Gale crater, home to Curiosity.

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Comet Siding Spring: Exciting times

Posted by Karl Battams on 2014/10/06 03:11 CDT | 5 comments

We're now less than two weeks away from Comet Siding Spring buzzing ridiculously close to Mars, and the excitement is building - in both good and bad ways...

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Two Eclipses in October

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/10/06 01:09 CDT

October 2014 brings big sky fun: a total lunar and partial solar eclipse, both visible from North America. The lunar eclipse will also be visible from most areas around the Pacific Ocean. Here is info on how to observe these eclipses.

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A Clearer Impression of Degas Crater

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/10/06 09:31 CDT | 2 comments

MESSENGER is revealing the first planet in sharp detail.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Gets Extension, Returns Killer Panoramas, and Roves onto Mystery Rocks
Sols 3770 - 3799

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/10/04 10:15 CDT | 1 comments

While the winds of Martian spring blew through Meridiani Planum in September, Opportunity reformatted its Flash memory then continued exploring Wdowiak Ridge on the western rim of Endeavour Crater. Even though the Flash-related issues soon returned, the robot field geologist hardly seemed to notice as it sent home two spectacular panoramas, presented the scientists with a rocky Martian mystery, and delivered yet another September to remember for the mission. And that's not all.

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How Richard Nixon Changed NASA
John Logsdon's new book shows how the post-Apollo era was defined by Richard Nixon

Posted by Jason Callahan on 2014/10/04 10:03 CDT | 7 comments

The end of the Moon race raised the question: what, if anything, was next for NASA? The decisions made by President Nixon in the aftermath of Apollo still impact the space program today.

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Orion's Ride to Space is at the Launch Site. Why So Early?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/10/03 03:28 CDT | 9 comments

On Tuesday, Orion's massive Delta IV Heavy rocket rolled from its Horizontal Integration Facility out to the launch site. Launch is still eight weeks away. Why so early?

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Preparing for A-MAVEN Science!

Posted by Karl Battams on 2014/10/03 10:56 CDT | 3 comments

How can we use MAVEN to learn about Comet Siding Spring, passing very close by Mars this month?

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Mattias Malmer's amazing 3D views of Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/10/02 01:14 CDT | 5 comments

I'm thrilled to be able to share with you all a spectacular set of images of Rosetta's comet, produced from NavCam data by a master space image processing enthusiast.

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Happy Fiscal Year 2015! Though NASA Still Doesn't Have a Budget
Congress extends 2014 funding for a few months during election season

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/10/01 11:25 CDT | 1 comments

Congress passed a stopgap spending bill before taking off to campaign for re-election, keeping NASA's 2015 budget in limbo for another two months.

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Mars Orbiter Mission activates all science instruments as NASA, ISRO form joint Mars working group

Posted by Srinivas Laxman on 2014/10/01 11:19 CDT | 1 comments

Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) began its science activities fully on Wednesday with all five science instruments being activated. And on Tuesday, an ISRO-NASA Mars working group was formed which will "seek to identify and implement scientific and technological goals that NASA and ISRO have in common regarding Mars exploration."

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