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Blog Archive


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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New Flickr collection of historical NASA photos

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/08/30 11:23 CDT

NASA announced today that they had placed several new sets of historical photos on their "NASA on the Commons" Flickr site, and invited the public to help tag and caption the photos.

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MSL Roves!

Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2010/07/28 04:35 CDT

I'm a little late on this, but I thought I should share the news: MSL now has a good head and neck on its shoulders, and has officially "roved".

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Curiosity rolls!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/07/23 03:56 CDT

Enjoy my extremely low-tech animation of Curiosity's first "steps"! Six wheels rolling on Earth -- let's go for six wheels rolling on Mars!

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IKAROS' deployable camera captures perfect sail photos and animation!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/15 08:50 CDT

We've already seen IKAROS' view of its deployed sails from cameras attached to the spacecraft, but, in a brilliant idea, the Japanese built IKAROS with two deployable cameras that could view the thing from a distance.

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Is this SMART-1's impact site?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/15 12:44 CDT

Speaking of spacecraft crashing...

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Hayabusa's return: a review

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/13 04:47 CDT

Hayabusa's return: round up some of the amazing photos, movies, and artworks that were posted and shared and Tweeted and re-Tweeted over the previous dozen hours or so.

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Welcome home, Hayabusa!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/13 09:18 CDT

At 13:51 UTC, the Hayabusa spacecraft -- having traveled to an asteroid and back, surviving countless challenges-- broke up into a fiery meteor over the midnight, midwinter Australian sky.

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IKAROS: Successful sail deployment and solar power generation! Hooray!!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/10 10:46 CDT

JAXA finally issued the formal announcement: they successfully expanded IKAROS' square sail!

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Progress -- with pictures! -- on IKAROS' sail deployment

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/09 09:19 CDT

Several pictures from the sail deployment monitoring cameras showed up on the IKAROS blog overnight.

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IKAROS team proceeds with final stage of sail deployment!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/08 11:32 CDT

Just a brief update on IKAROS: According to their blog, JAXA has decided to proceed with the final stage of IKAROS' sail deployment.

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Lunokhod found on the Moon -- and on Earth, too

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/17 12:26 CDT

Yesterday I posted a bit of a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera image showing the tracks of the Russian Lunokhod 2 rover. Today, I can post for you an image showing the rover's final resting place

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A teeny weeny bit of movement in Spirit's right front wheel

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/14 01:12 CST

The ever-vigilant Doug Ellison just posted this animation, which really actually does show a teeny tiny bit of motion in the right front wheel. If you don't notice any motion, look closer.

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Encouraging motion on Spirit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/19 04:54 CST

It really looks like the second attempt at driving Spirit out of the trap has had the hoped-for result: some forward progress (maybe about a centimeter), and no evidence for further downward sinking.

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Results of the first "Free Spirit" extrication drive, sol 2088: not much, as expected

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/17 03:20 CST

Even though all of us rover fans know that Spirit is really, really stuck, I think I'm not the only one who was secretly hoping that today's images downlinked from Spirit would show that the rover had magically popped out of the ground overnight. Of course, she didn't.

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New HiRISE image of Spirit at Home Plate

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/03 01:43 CDT

There's a lovely new color HiRISE image of Spirit at Home Plate. It was captured on July 16 (sol 1,968), and Spirit is firmly entrenched at Troy, on the western side of Home Plate.

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Dust storm update: Skies clearing for Spirit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/02 12:25 CDT

For a while, Mars was beating Spirit while she was down, throwing a dust storm at the rover where it's bogged up to its hubcaps in fluffy soil When lots of dust is lofted into the sky, the hazard is that when it comes down, it may come down on the rover and its solar panels. But it appears things on Spirit are still pretty clean.

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Gravity's Bow

Posted by Timothy Reed on 2009/06/15 03:56 CDT

Timothy Reed explains how optical telescopes are tested for gravity sag, and the methods used to counteract or compensate for it.

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Atlantis and Crew Return Safely to Earth after Rejuvenating Hubble

Posted by Ken Kremer on 2009/05/25 03:57 CDT

Space Shuttle Atlantis and her crew of 7 astronauts glided in to a smooth and triumphant touchdown today, Sunday, May 24.

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