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Snapshots of Science from the 2014 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

Emily Lakdawalla • March 25, 2014

Vignettes from dozens of LPSC talks: GRAIL and LADEE at the Moon; ice and craters and conglomerates and organics and gullies on Mars; polar deposits and volatile elements on Mercury; tectonics on Enceladus; and more, until my brain was so full I could barely speak.

Moonwalking

Bill Dunford • March 18, 2014

Get an astronaut's view into several lunar craters.

Checking in on Chang'e 3 and Yutu from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: Yep, still there!

Emily Lakdawalla • March 04, 2014

Seeing hardware that was built by human hands sitting on the surface of another planet never, ever gets old. Today, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team released two new images of Chang'e 3 and Yutu on the Moon.

Pretty pictures of terraced craters on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • February 27, 2014

Check out this unusual crater on Mars. It's not a very big one, less than 500 meters in diameter, and yet it has two rings. Most craters on Mars this size are simple bowl shapes. What's going on here?

Sunset on Chang'e 3's third lunar day: Yutu not dead yet, but not moving either

Emily Lakdawalla • February 24, 2014

During the third lunar day of Change'3 surface operations the lander operated normally, performing ultraviolet astronomy and imaging Earth's plasmasphere. The rover's instruments were working, but the rover did not move.

A Spin Through the Inner Solar System

Bill Dunford • February 24, 2014

Animated maps of the planets show the spheres in motion.

Intro Astronomy Class 3: Telescopes, the Moon

Bruce Betts • February 21, 2014

Explore optical, radio, and space telescopes and the Moon in the video of class 3 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

Intro Astronomy Class 1: Tour of the Solar System

Bruce Betts • February 11, 2014

Take a tour of the Solar System in the video of class 1 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

Behind-the-scenes story of Yutu: Promoting space exploration in China

Quanzhi Ye • February 11, 2014

Promoting the story of Yutu to the Chinese public through social media: a successful case of science outreach.

Take My Free Online College Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy CSUDH Class

Bruce Betts • February 05, 2014

Our own Dr. Bruce Betts is once again teaching his Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy college course online. Come join him.

An extended mission for LADEE

Emily Lakdawalla • February 03, 2014

The LADEE team has managed their fuel frugally enough to permit a one-month mission extension; they now plan to impact the Moon on or around April 21, 2014.

LADEE spotted by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 29, 2014

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has managed to snap a photo of the other current lunar orbiter, LADEE, at the Moon.

Bad news for Yutu rover

Emily Lakdawalla • January 25, 2014

The Sun has set for a second time at Chang'e 3's landing site on the Moon. The lander is operating normally and shut down to sleep as expected, but the rover is not responding properly to Earth command so could not prepare properly for the oncoming lunar night, and likely will not survive it.

Russia's Ambitious Planetary Exploration Goals

Van Kane • January 22, 2014

Roscosmos has ambitious planetary exploration plans in the coming decades, including a series of solo lunar missions and joint missions to Mars with the European Space Agency.

New version of panoramic view from Chang'e 3

Emily Lakdawalla • January 21, 2014

A higher-resolution version of the Chang'e 3 lander's panoramic view of the lunar surface has appeared on the Web, and artist Don Davis has cleaned it of artifacts to make a beautiful, seamless view. In other news, the mission has been reorganized to accommodate a possibly year-long adventure on the lunar surface.

Video: Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration sends Bill Nye over the Moon

Emily Lakdawalla • January 21, 2014

In this fun video, the Planetary Society worked with LADEE Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration team to communicate live over their lunar link.

Updates on Chang'e 3: Rover and lander both awake, good science data received

Emily Lakdawalla • January 14, 2014

According to news reports from China, the Yutu rover woke up from its two-week nap at 5:09 Beijing time on January 11 (21:09 on January 10, UTC), successfully establishing communication with Earth. The lander woke up autonomously at 8:21 Beijing time / 00:21 UTC on January 12, and is also "in normal condition." UPDATED to note that the lander's camera apparently did not survive lunar night.

Finally, some high-quality photos from Chang'e 3!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 10, 2014

A pile of Chang'e 3 photos has been released to the Web, and they are much, much better than what I've seen before. They include, for the first time, photos of Earth from the lander.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner maps geologic context of Chang'e 3 landing site

Emily Lakdawalla • January 08, 2014

The LRO Diviner Lunar Radiometer has been mapping the entire Moon on a nearly continuous basis since July, 2009. The Diviner team has produced maps of the thermal behavior and and a range of derived quantities at Chang’e 3 landing site that are described in this post.

The Last Flight of the Original Space Ranger

Bill Dunford • January 06, 2014

Remembering the Moon's first extreme close-up.

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