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Blog Archive


ExoMars: Schiaparelli Analysis to Continue

Posted by Ruth McAvinia on 2016/10/20 12:05 CDT

The fate of the ExoMars lander, Schiaparelli, remains uncertain. European Space Agency mission controllers had been optimistic on Wednesday night that a definitive answer would be known by Thursday morning’s news briefing. However, although some more details have been made public about the lander’s descent, it is not yet clear whether it hit the martian surface at a speed it could not survive.

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Brief update: Opportunity's attempt to image Schiaparelli unsuccessful

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/19 05:35 CDT | 6 comments

Today, the Opportunity rover attempted a difficult, never-before-possible feat: to shoot a photo of an arriving Mars lander from the Martian surface. Unfortunately, that attempt seems not to have succeeded. Opportunity has now returned the images from the observation attempt, but Schiaparelli is not visible.

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ExoMars: Long day’s journey into uncertainty

Posted by Ruth McAvinia on 2016/10/19 03:04 CDT | 2 comments

Trace Gas Orbit is successfully in orbit at Mars, but the fate of the Schiaparelli lander is uncertain.

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Fall Issue of The Planetary Report is Here!

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2016/10/19 02:59 CDT

From the innermost planet to the farthest reaches of our Solar System, this issue of The Planetary Report spans it all!

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DPS/EPSC update: 2007 OR10 has a moon!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/19 11:46 CDT | 2 comments

The third-largest object known beyond Neptune, 2007 OR10, has a moon. The discovery was reported in a poster by Gábor Marton, Csaba Kiss, and Thomas Mueller at the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society (DPS/EPSC) on Monday.

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Rapidly Rotating Regular Satellites and Tides

Posted by Darin Ragozzine on 2016/10/17 02:29 CDT | 1 comments

Pluto’s small moons have unusual rotation rates and states. Now we know a moon of another dwarf planet does as well. Is there a connection?

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Juno to delay planned burn

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/16 04:28 CDT | 3 comments

The Juno mission posted a status report late Friday afternoon, indicating that they will not perform the originally planned period reduction maneuver during their next perijove (closest approach to Jupiter) on October 19. The delay changes the start date of the science mission and also all the future dates of Juno's perijoves.

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ExoMars update: Timeline for separation and orbit insertion

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/14 11:51 CDT | 3 comments

Schiaparelli is GO for landing, and ExoMars TGO is GO for orbit insertion! When to expect ExoMars events: Schiaparelli separation, final trajectory maneuvers, landing events, orbit insertion, and press briefings.

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How should America feel about China's space ambitions?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/14 06:00 CDT | 16 comments

China is sending two astronauts on a month-long mission to the country's new space station. What are China's long-term space goals? Does the narrative of a space race between the U.S. and China fit? If so, what happens if America loses?

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Curiosity Update, sols 1428-1488: Through the Murray Buttes, drilling at Quela, and beyond

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/13 06:04 CDT

In the two months since my last Curiosity update, the rover has traversed the scenic Murray Buttes, drilled at Quela, and driven another 300 meters southward.

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To the moon, via the space station? A Q&A with Orbital ATK

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/13 06:00 CDT | 4 comments

Two years after a devastating explosion, Orbital ATK is set to return its Antares rocket to flight. The commercial spaceflight company discusses its upgraded launcher, Cygnus supply spacecraft, and future ambitions, which include cislunar space.

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Alan Stern & New Horizons Team Receive Cosmos Award

Posted by Jim Bell on 2016/10/12 10:00 CDT

Alan Stern and the New Horizons mission team are the newest recipients of The Planetary Society's Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science.

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ExoMars arrives soon!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/11 01:37 CDT | 3 comments

ESA's ExoMars will arrive at Mars on Wednesday, October 19, with Schiaparelli touching down in Meridiani Planum, and the Trace Gas Orbiter entering orbit while Mars Express watches.

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New Gems from the Moon
JAXA Releases the Complete Image Set from Kaguya’s HDTV Camera

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2016/10/10 04:00 CDT | 2 comments

More than seven years after the end of its mission, JAXA has released the entire data set from Kaguya's HDTV cameras.

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LightSail 2 update roundup: Testing, delivery and a new animation in the works

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/07 06:01 CDT

LightSail 2 and Prox-1 are expected to meet for integration by the end of the year. Here's an update roundup, including a sneak peek of new animations and the abstract from a recently accepted paper on the spacecraft's attitude control system.

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Fun with a new image data set: Mars Orbiter Mission's Mars Colour Camera

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/06 06:16 CDT | 9 comments

It's always a delight to sink my teeth into a new data set, and I have spent this week playing with one I've been anticipating for a long time: ISRO's Mars Orbiter's Mars Colour Camera, or MCC. MCC is unique among current Mars cameras in its ability to get color, print-quality, wide-angle, regional views of Mars.

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MOM's Second Anniversary at Mars

Posted by Sandhya Ramesh on 2016/10/05 01:04 CDT | 1 comments

On Mars Orbiter Mission’s second anniversary of Mars arrival, ISRO has (finally!) made available to the public data from its first year in orbit.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Exits Marathon Valley then Rocks Spirit Mound
Sols 4482 - 4510

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/10/04 07:17 CDT

It was another September to remember for Opportunity as she cruised through the Lewis and Clark Gap and out of Marathon Valley, then hiked downslope, leading the first overland expedition of the Red Planet to Spirit Mound, a new site deep in Endeavour Crater’s rim.

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What's up in the solar system, October 2016 edition: ExoMars arrives!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/04 06:42 CDT | 2 comments

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter arrives on October 19, and it will deliver the Schiaparelli lander to its brief life on the Martian surface. Juno's headed into its science orbit, MOM has released science data, and New Horizons will finally finish downlinking Pluto flyby data.

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ESA opens its ears to citizens of Europe

Posted by Ruth McAvinia on 2016/10/04 10:14 CDT

In September, the European Space Agency gathered 2,000 people around the continent to discuss their future in space.

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