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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about MAVEN's launch and mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/15 08:11 CST | 13 comments

MAVEN is just about to launch! The mission has just released their launch press kit. This post summarizes the press kit's high points, and hopefully answers most of your questions about NASA's next Mars orbiter, scheduled for liftoff Monday at 10:28 PT / 13:28 ET / 18:28 UT.

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MAVEN has arrived at the launch pad

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/08 12:14 CST | 3 comments

As India's Mars Orbiter Mission continues to pump up the altitude of its orbit around Earth, NASA's MAVEN is making final preparations for its direct-to-Mars launch. All is proceeding acccording to schedule toward its November 18 launch at 1:28 EST / 10:28 PST / 18:28 UTC.

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Juno Flies By Earth Today
Closest approach at 12:21pm PDT / 19:21 UTC

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/10/09 12:17 CDT | 2 comments

NASA's Juno spacecraft gets a gravity assist from the Earth on its way to Jupiter today. Learn all about today's close approach.

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Your Name...On Its Way to the Stars?
Jon Lomberg on the New Horizons Message Initiative

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/10/08 07:29 CDT

This week's Planetary Radio features artist Jon Lomberg inviting listeners to join the New Horizons Message Initiative.

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Yes, there seems to be a hole in Curiosity's left front wheel, and no, that's not a problem

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/02 11:22 CDT | 25 comments

Some brand-new images just arrived from Curiosity on Mars, and two of the most recent are Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) images of the wheels. Today's images contained two little surprises.

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The "Starship Century" Beckons
Gregory and James Benford return to Planetary Radio

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/10/01 10:30 CDT

The Benford brothers provide inspiration and hard fact in their excellent new anthology about interstellar travel.

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[Updated] A Government Shutdown Could Delay MAVEN's Launch to Mars

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/30 05:17 CDT | 2 comments

NASA confirmed that a government shutdown could affect pre-launch processing of the MAVEN spacecraft, currently scheduled to launch to Mars on November 18th.

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Watch LADEE Launch to the Moon with The Planetary Society
Live Webcast Begins HERE at 7:30pm PDT / 10:30pm EDT

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/09/06 08:45 CDT

Starting at 7:30pm PDT/10:30pm EDT, we will webcast a special event around the launch of NASA's next lunar spacecraft. Watch our special coverage with lunar scientists and live video from the launch site, as well as NASA TV footage of the launch itself.

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China Goes to the Moon and Beyond?
A Conversation with Space Journalist Leonard David

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/08/27 01:06 CDT

Planetary Radio guest Leonard David has been writing about space exploration for more than five decades. He has collected analysis from around the world about China's big plans for space exploration.

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Photo gallery: MAVEN being prepped for launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/08/21 04:56 CDT | 2 comments

Watching MAVEN go through its final launch preparations via the photo gallery at the Kennedy Media Archive.

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Caution: Spacecraft Under Construction
Visiting JPL's high bay clean room with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/08/20 10:39 CDT | 1 comments

Join Emily Lakdawalla and Mat Kaplan inside JPL's High Bay 1, where two Earth-revealing missions are being readied for launch.

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SMAP Under Construction: Field trip to the Spacecraft Assembly Facility

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/08/14 04:53 CDT | 2 comments

Yesterday I enjoyed my second-ever opportunity to suit up and enter the clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. On display were SMAP, an Earth orbiting radar mission, and ISS-RapidScat, which will perform a different radar experiment from the Space Station.

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Return of the Pale Blue Dot
Join the Wave at Saturn (and Mercury)!

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/07/18 11:27 CDT | 4 comments

You can be part of a planetwide group photo as Cassini and MESSENGER turn their cameras Earthward on July 19.

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A new HiRISE view of Opportunity (sol 3361)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/17 06:14 CDT

The HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has snapped a lovely color photo of the rim of Endeavour crater, catching Opportunity midway between Nobby's Head and Solander Point.

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Supersonic flight for SpaceShipTwo

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/04/29 12:48 CDT | 6 comments

Virgin Galactic achieved a major milestone today with the first supersonic flight for its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle. The rocket fired for a total of 16 seconds.

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Russia's Mars 3 lander maybe found by Russian amateurs

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/04/12 01:22 CDT | 4 comments

Виталий Егоров (Vitaliy Egorov) is a Russian space enthusiast who enlisted help of fellow enthusiasts to search for -- and maybe find -- the Russian Mars 3 hardware on the Martian surface. Here he explains how he did it.

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Blast from the Past: Spirit's tracks at the "End of the Rainbow"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/04/09 09:05 CDT | 3 comments

Doug Ellison shared this lovely panorama via Twitter over the weekend. It's from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, taken back in 2004. The drunken path in the foreground is a visual record of just how exciting it was for Spirit to have finally made it to the Columbia Hills, and to rocks that were not fragments of basalt.

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Why can Hubble get detailed views of distant galaxies but not of Pluto?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/14 12:37 CST | 15 comments

How come Hubble's pictures of galaxies billions of light years away are so beautifully detailed, yet the pictures of Pluto, which is so much closer, are just little blobs? I get asked this question, or variations of it, a lot. Here's an explainer.

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A new rover self-portrait and a new color image of Curiosity from orbit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/04 05:40 CST | 7 comments

Curiosity is inching her way through her first use of the drill on a Martian rock. She paused in the proceedings to capture a second Martian "selfie."

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Pretty picture: new HiRISE view of Curiosity, sol 145

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/16 04:58 CST | 2 comments

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured a new view of Curiosity on Mars on January 2 (sol 145). Curiosity was in the same location as the one from which it shot the sol 137 panorama I posted earlier. You can see the rover's tracks leading all the way back to the landing site!

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