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An Updated Mars Exploration Family Portrait

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/12/18 11:16 CST | 6 comments

The Mars Exploration Family Portrait shows every dedicated spacecraft mission to Mars, and now includes India's Mars Orbiter Mission and NASA's MAVEN.

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Amazing Chang'e 3 descent video

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/15 12:57 CST | 8 comments

Watch and enjoy this full video of Chang'e 3's descent onto the lunar surface.

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Color photo of Yutu rover and Chang'e lander, and more on the Chang'e 3 landing site

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/15 09:59 CST | 9 comments

Fresh off of Chinese state television are lovely pictures taken by Chang'e 3 lander and rover of each other!

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Six wheels on soil for Yutu!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/14 03:28 CST | 9 comments

Here it is! Animated gifs, composed of screen grabs from Chinese state television, of the Yutu rover rolling on to the lunar surface. This was a replay, but it was no less thrilling for that; the actual rollout happened at 20:40 UT (12:40 PT). Six wheels on soil! Woohoo!

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Chang'e 3 has successfully landed on the Moon!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/14 08:28 CST | 2 comments

Transmitting images all the way down, China's Chang'e 3 lander successfully arrived on the lunar surface at 13:11:18 -- half an hour before the scheduled landing time. Rover deploy is set for a few hours later.

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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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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 6: Travellers' Tales
Voyager is the ultimate expression of our desire to explore

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/25 03:56 CST | 12 comments

The Voyager mission may be the ultimate expression of our desire to explore, but why does that will exist in the first place? Why is it unique to humans?

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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 | 26 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 comment

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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