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Endeavour's final mission has begun

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/19 11:38 CDT

Piggybacked on the shuttle carrier aircraft NASA 905, Endeavour has departed Florida for the last time. Her journey will take her to Los Angeles, where she'll begin a new and different kind of mission at the California Science Center.

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Curiosity sol 38 update: arm tests done, on the road again, and an important question answered

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/14 06:28 CDT

Curiosity has completed Commissioning Activity Period 2 and is on the road again. I asked Daniel Limonadi to explain a couple of the photos of tests being performed on CHIMRA, and took the opportunity to ask him an amusing question that came up during a previous Google+ Hangout.

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Pretty Picture: Eagle's Landing

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/13 03:59 CDT

Amateur image processor Tom Dahl's spectacularly high-resolution version of Buzz Aldrin's panoramic view of the Apollo 11 landing site.

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MAHLI sees Curiosity's wheels firmly on Martian ground

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/10 12:39 CDT | 3 comments

MAHLI opened its "eye" on sol 33, seeing Mars clearly for the first time. On sol 34, Curiosity used MAHLI to survey the parts that Mastcam can't see, including a view right underneath the rover.

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Hello, beautiful!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/07 11:24 CDT | 3 comments

Curiosity's much-anticipated self-portrait with the MAHLI camera just arrived on Earth, and even though it was shot through the dust cover it is AWESOME.

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HiRISE's best view of Curiosity yet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/31 12:50 CDT | 10 comments

HiRISE's best opportunity to view Curiosity so far came 12 days after landing, when the orbiter passed nearly directly overhead. The photo resolves amazing detail on the huge rover.

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An unheralded anniversary
08280930-mariner-2-50th

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/28 11:57 CDT | 16 comments

Yesterday, August 27th, 2012, was, in a sense, the 50th anniversary of interplanetary travel. Fifty years ago yesterday, Mariner 2 launched toward Venus, and became the first object to leave Earth and travel to another world.

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Chang'e 2: The Full Story

Posted by Bill Gray on 2012/08/25 10:55 CDT | 4 comments

An update on China's second lunar orbiter, Chang'e 2, which is now heading for asteroid Toutatis.

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Curiosity sol 15 update: Wheel wiggles, arm flexes, and bad news about REMS

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/21 04:26 CDT | 8 comments

Notes from this morning's press conference. Curiosity has successfully steered the corner wheels and deployed and restowed the robotic arm. ChemCam tests went well over the weekend. But one of the two wind speed sensors in REMS appears to have suffered permanent damage during landing.

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First full-resolution MARDI frame: Bye-bye, heat shield

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/07 11:50 CDT | 11 comments

The thumbnail versions of the Mars Descent Imager images have shown up on the Curiosity raw images page, and hiding among them was a single full-resolution frame containing the heat shield.

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First look at Curiosity MARDI's descent animation (WOW WOW)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/06 07:09 CDT | 5 comments

Even a preliminary, low-resolution, low-frame-rate version of Curiosity's descent imager animation of the arrival on Mars contains almost more awesome than I can stand.

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A "long" view of the Curiosity Descending image

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/06 06:41 CDT | 2 comments

A wider (well, longer) view of the amazing HiRISE image that shows Curiosity descending under parachute to Mars

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE has done it again!!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/06 10:42 CDT | 2 comments

In 2008, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped an amazing photo of Phoenix descending to the surface of Mars under its parachute. Now it's repeated the feat, with Curiosity.

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LightSail presented at Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/05/31 03:10 CDT | 20 comments

Chris Biddy from Stellar Exploration Inc. presented information about our LightSail project at the 2012 Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium.

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Nearly the last view of Endeavour with its life-blood flowing

Posted by Ben Cooper on 2012/04/08 11:59 CDT

After 12 years of photographing the space shuttle, and even getting to work for NASA as a photographer for the final three years of the program, I never had the privilege of going inside the cockpit until the program was over.

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Bye-bye, Curiosity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/29 09:35 CST

A few fortunate (and forward-thinking) skywatchers looked upward in the hours after Curiosity's launch and were able to see the spacecraft leaving Earth.

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Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 poised for liftoff

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/08 08:00 CST

Russia's Phobos-Grunt sample return spacecraft, carrying the Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE experiment, plus China's Yinghuo-1 Mars minisatellite, are poised for launch at Baikonur! The launch window opens in less than six hours, at 20:16 UTC.

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Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 now encapsulated in their fairing (lots of photos)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/04 03:24 CDT

About a week after Curiosity passed through the same milestone, Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 -- still slated for a November 8 launch -- were encapsulated in their payload fairing in preparation for being stacked on their rocket. And, of course, our little Phobos LIFE capsule is inside there too!

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Curiosity stacked for launch, still waiting for plutonium power source installation

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/04 12:43 CDT

It's still three weeks until Curiosity's launch date, but the spacecraft has already been placed on top of its rocket. The Kennedy Space Center's Curiosity photo album now has lots of pictures of the spacecraft being enclosed inside the payload fairing (the rocket's "nose cone") and hoisted to the top of the Atlas V.

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IKAROS: self-portrait with Venus; primary mission complete

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/26 11:18 CST

JAXA posted a report today stating that IKAROS "has completed its regular operations."

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