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Steins, a jewel in the asteroid belt

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/06/13 09:00 CDT | 1 comment

A notice of some new names for features on asteroid 2867 Steins inspired me to dig up the data set from the September 5, 2008 Rosetta flyby and explore it to see what it contained.

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Pretty Pictures: Amazing Asteroid Lutetia

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/04/10 02:00 CDT

A long-awaited data set is finally public (well, long-awaited by me, at least). The Rosetta team has now published their data from the July 10, 2010 flyby of asteroid (21) Lutetia. This data set is absolutely stunning, and my friends in the amateur image processing community wasted no time in creating art out of it.

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At last: Rosetta's Mars flyby photos have been released!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/01/24 03:51 CST | 1 comment

On February 24, 2007, the Rosetta spacecraft passed by Mars, the second of four planetary gravity-assist flybys on its long route to a 2014 rendezvous with comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. At the time, they released two photos from the main science camera, OSIRIS.

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Notes from Day 5 of the EPSC/DPS meeting: Saturn's storm, Phobos, and Lutetia

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/07 07:09 CDT

Today was (is) the last day of the Division of Planetary Sciences / European Planetary Science Congress meeting in Nantes, France.

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Watching Phobos pass by Jupiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/17 09:27 CDT

Here is a really cool view of Phobos in the foreground with gigantic (but very distant) Jupiter sitting in the background, a fortuitous alignment that the Mars Express High-Resolution Stereo Camera team took advantage of on June 1.

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Rosetta has entered its long sleep

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/14 12:25 CDT

One big space event that I missed while I was on vacation was Rosetta's entry into hibernation. Rosetta is the biggest interplanetary spacecraft that has been launched by ESA, and it has the groundbreaking goal of entering orbit around a comet and dropping a lander onto it.

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Place names on Lutetia

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/26 05:56 CDT

Whenever we explore someplace new -- a new island, a new continent, a new cave, a new world -- there's a necessary activity that explorers must perform before they can sensibly tell the world about their discoveries: name things.

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's up in the second quarter of 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/07 11:16 CDT

Regular readers of this blog will find the content of today's 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast familiar, because it's an update on what the solar system exploration spacecraft are up to, based on my monthly "what's up" updates.

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What's up in the solar system in April 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/31 03:59 CDT

April 2011 will see MESSENGER begin the science phase of its orbital mission at Mercury, and should, I think, also see the start of Dawn's approach observations of Vesta. At Mars, Opportunity is back on the road again, rolling inexorably toward Endeavour. At Saturn, Cassini will continue its focus on Saturn and Titan science.

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What's up in the solar system in March 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/28 02:43 CST

I don't think there's any question what the big event of this month will be: MESSENGER is finally, finally entering orbit at Mercury on March 18 at 00:45 UTC (March 17 at 16:45 for me).

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Rosetta Update: 98% of rendezvous burn achieved, more detail on the safing event

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/22 03:17 CST

ESA's Rosetta comet chaser has achieved 98% of the velocity change that it needed to accomplish in order to set itself up for the final leg of its cruise to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The original plan was to perform this velocity change in a series of five rocket burns at the end of January, but the plans were interrupted by a scary event: the spacecraft went into safe mode during the second burn, on January 18.

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Rosetta update: Scary safe mode, but all's well now

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/04 08:15 CST

The Rosetta blog has been strangely quiet of late, after they had been quite actively posting updates on the status of Rosetta during a critical series of orbit adjustment burns, which I wrote about two weeks ago.

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Rosetta burns for its comet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/18 05:58 CST

Rosetta -- Europe's comet-chasing spacecraft -- is in the middle of a three-day series of rocket firings that are setting the geometry for its rendezvous with comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

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Results from the Rosetta Encounter with Asteroid 2867 Steins

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/11 01:12 CST

Last week in Science magazine appeared the first peer-reviewed article on the results of Rosetta's September 2008 encounter with the smallish main-belt asteroid Steins. This morning I got a chance to sit down and read the article, and I wrote up a summary.

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Asteroid 2867 Steins

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/11 02:01 CST

This description of asteroid 2867 Steins is based upon an article published in the January 8, 2010 issue of Science by H. Uwe Keller and numerous coauthors and on a related press release.

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What's up in the solar system in January 2010

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/04 01:29 CST

While we don't have Moon bases, we do have plenty of spacecraft. Before I get into my more detailed look at the activities of the 20-odd spacecraft wandering about the solar system, I thought I'd look ahead to 2010 more generally and see what the year has in store for us.

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Exciting Times Ahead: 2010 Will Sizzle, and 2011 Will Really Cook!

Posted by Alan Stern on 2009/05/18 03:56 CDT

Today, I'm kicking the week off with a look at the unusually intense confluence of far flung planetary exploration that's just around the corner, starting the middle of next year.

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Rosetta Was Here

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/02/25 10:27 CST

This amazing view was captured by the CIVA camera on Rosetta's Philae lander just four minutes before its closest approach to Mars on February 25, 2007. The spacecraft was only 1,000 kilometers above the planet.

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