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My ever-popular asteroids-and-comets montage, now in color, with bonus Toutatis

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/18 04:26 CST | 9 comments

My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.

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Brief notes from Day 2 of the DPS-EPSC meeting

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/04 11:18 CDT

It's been a very full day at the DPS-EPSC 2011 joint meeting. My day was less full than it might have been, because I overslept and missed most of the morning's session. I really needed the rest though so I think it was probably for the best!

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Citizen Science projects for Planetary Science: Get Involved! Do Science!

Posted by Mike Malaska on 2011/05/12 05:13 CDT

Citizen Science projects let volunteers easily contribute to active science programs. They're useful when there is so much data it overwhelms computing algorithms (if they exist) or the scientific research team attempting to process it.

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What's up in the solar system in April 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/31 03:59 CDT

April 2011 will see MESSENGER begin the science phase of its orbital mission at Mercury, and should, I think, also see the start of Dawn's approach observations of Vesta. At Mars, Opportunity is back on the road again, rolling inexorably toward Endeavour. At Saturn, Cassini will continue its focus on Saturn and Titan science.

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The end of Stardust

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/25 03:44 CDT

So, it's over. Stardust's last transmission to Earth was yesterday, March 24, 2011 at 23:33 UTC. Its final act was to burn up all of its last remaining fuel, a move intended to help engineers validate their guesses for how much fuel actually remained in the tanks.

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In honor of Stardust: The Annefrank encounter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/24 04:32 CDT

Since Stardust is being decommissioned today I thought it'd be fitting to take a look back at one of its data sets. I hadn't fiddled with the Annefrank data set before, and it was small and easy to deal with.

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Tomorrow is Stardust's very last day

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/23 10:28 CDT

What's that in my eye? Must be a piece of stardust that's making my eyes water as I read that Stardust will be given its very last command tomorrow, a command that'll end its long life, but give its builders one more piece of valuable data in the process.

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Stardust: Decommissioning planned for March 24

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/16 04:55 CDT

Stardust (probably) has only a week remaining in its operational lifetime, according to a status report just posted to the mission website.

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What's up in the solar system in March 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/28 02:43 CST

I don't think there's any question what the big event of this month will be: MESSENGER is finally, finally entering orbit at Mercury on March 18 at 00:45 UTC (March 17 at 16:45 for me).

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Announcing the winners of the "Are We There Yet?" contest

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/28 12:44 CST

I'm pleased to announce the winners of the Planetary Society's "Are We There Yet?" Stardust contest!

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: Stardust at Tempel 1

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/28 11:45 CST

Yesterday the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, Stardust at Tempel 1: The First Second Trip to a Comet.

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Stardust update: last image taken today

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/24 05:50 CST

According to the Stardust website, the spacecraft has continued taking navigational camera images of Tempel 1 since last Monday's flyby. But "This will end with a Navcam calibration that will take place [today]. This will be the end of the official Tempel 1 encounter activities. Planning is under way for the decommissioning of the spacecraft."

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Sounds of Stardust, and a cool morphed Tempel 1 video

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/18 01:26 CST

Here's two more items from Tuesday's flyby of comet Tempel 1 by the Stardust spacecraft to add to my previous roundup of Tempel 1 data. The first represents data from a dust counting instrument, portrayed as sound, and the second is a terrific morph animation of the flyby produced by Daniel Macháček.

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Some early scientific impressions of Stardust's Tempel 1 flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/16 03:20 CST

I've spent a day with the Stardust images from Tempel 1, and had a chat with co-investigator Jessica Sunshine, so here are a bunch of images with some preliminary scientific commentary.

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All Stardust data is now on Earth

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/15 11:21 CST

A status update from Stardust posted this afternoon contained welcome news.

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Highlights from today's Stardust Tempel 1 press briefing

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/15 03:10 CST

It was a very happy science team at this afternoon's press briefing following the Stardust encounter with Tempel 1.

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Quick-and-dirty animation of Stardust Tempel 1 images through closest approach

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/15 11:05 CST

Here's a quick-and-dirty animated GIF of the 39 images of Tempel 1 that have arrived on Earth so far from Stardust. I've put a big watermark on this animation because it's not a final product.

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High-res images of Tempel 1 from Stardust now arriving

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/15 10:09 CST

I really didn't expect these images to look so good! I'd prepared myself for blurry images and a lot of squinting to try to match up features in pictures between Deep Impact and Stardust views of Tempel 1, but in fact the resemblance is obvious and you can clearly see that they successfully imaged the area in which Deep Impact's Impactor craft collided with the comet.

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First image from Stardust! ...but a delay for the close-approach ones

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/15 02:25 CST

Here it is, the first image from Stardust of Tempel 1 during the close-approach phase!

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Stardust update: Things seem to have gone well with Tempel 1 flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/14 10:19 CST

Just a brief update on the Stardust flyby of Tempel 1, which happened about half an hour ago: the spacecraft seems to have executed the flyby as commanded and has 72 science images on board.

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