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Endeavour's final mission has begun

Emily Lakdawalla • September 19, 2012

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • September 14, 2012

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.

Pretty Picture: Eagle's Landing

Emily Lakdawalla • September 13, 2012

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

MAHLI sees Curiosity's wheels firmly on Martian ground

Emily Lakdawalla • September 10, 2012

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.

Hello, beautiful!

Emily Lakdawalla • September 07, 2012

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.

HiRISE's best view of Curiosity yet

Emily Lakdawalla • August 31, 2012

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.

An unheralded anniversary

Emily Lakdawalla • August 28, 2012

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.

Chang'e 2: The Full Story

Bill Gray • August 25, 2012

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

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

Emily Lakdawalla • August 21, 2012

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • August 07, 2012

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • August 06, 2012

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.

A "long" view of the Curiosity Descending image

Emily Lakdawalla • August 06, 2012

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

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE has done it again!!

Emily Lakdawalla • August 06, 2012

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.

LightSail presented at Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium

Bruce Betts • May 31, 2012

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

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

Ben Cooper • April 08, 2012

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.

Bye-bye, Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • November 29, 2011

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.

Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 poised for liftoff

Emily Lakdawalla • November 08, 2011

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2011

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!

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2011

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.

IKAROS: self-portrait with Venus; primary mission complete

Emily Lakdawalla • January 26, 2011

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

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