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Blog Archive

 

New Rosetta view of the comet - and a comparison to other comets

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/07/31 03:02 CDT

Rosetta's view of the comet is getting better and better. Today they released a new image from the high-resolution OSIRIS camera, and it's a very fresh one, taken only two days ago. Distinct features are coming into view. And it's finally detailed enough for me to compare it to the five other comets we've visited in the past.

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[Updated]: NASA Selects 7 Science Instruments for its Next Mars Rover

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/07/31 01:16 CDT

Seven science instruments will help the Mars 2020 rover identify biosignatures and understand the history of the rocks it encounters on the surface of the red planet.

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Planetary Society Selected as Mars 2020 Camera Partner

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/07/31 12:23 CDT | 3 comments

The Planetary Society has been selected as an education outreach partner on the just-selected NASA Mars 2020 Mastcam-Z instrument, led by Jim Bell, Planetary Society Board president and Arizona State University professor.

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NASA Announces the Suite of Science Instruments on its Next Mars Rover Today
Will search for signs of past life

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/07/31 04:13 CDT

Today marks the unveiling of the suite of science instruments that will travel to Mars to look for signs of past life and help determine samples to store for possible return to Earth. The next rover mission will launch in 2020.

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8th Mars Report: Martian habitability

Posted by Valerie Fox on 2014/07/30 01:22 CDT | 5 comments

Valerie Fox reports from the 8th International Conference on Mars on the habitability of the Red Planet.

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NASA's Budget Stalls Out
...as do all budgets for 2015

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/07/29 08:46 CDT | 1 comment

Congress has all but given up its goal of passing a budget before the end of this fiscal year in September. Instead, we will likely see a temporary extension through the elections in November.

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8th Mars Report: Was Ancient Mars Warm and Wet or Cold and Icy?

Posted by Abigail Fraeman on 2014/07/29 02:08 CDT | 3 comments

One of the hot topics of the 8th International Conference on Mars was the nature of Mars' ancient past. Abigail Fraeman reports on our updated view of whether Mars was ever warm and wet.

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Rosetta update: Long journey to a comet nearly complete

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/07/29 01:40 CDT | 4 comments

A journey of nearly a decade is almost over. Rosetta is making its final approach to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and the comet's strange shape is beginning to come into focus. As of today, the spacecraft is only 2000 kilometers away from the comet, and 8 days away from arrival.

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Landsat 8 Looks at the Supermoon

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/29 04:00 CDT

Why did Landsat 8, an Earth-observing spacecraft, turn its unblinking eyes toward the July 12 supermoon?

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Dark mountain on Vesta: Aricia Tholus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/07/28 03:07 CDT | 1 comment

Newly processed images of one of the more puzzling features on the surface of Vesta: a dark mountain named Aricia Tholus.

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The Osirian Asteroid Family

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/07/28 02:04 CDT

The asteroid community recently gathered in Helsinki, Finland for the 12th Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors Conference. As this meeting showed, one of the hottest topics in asteroid science is the study of asteroid families.

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Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight By Jay Barbree
Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press —A Book Review by Mat Kaplan

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2014/07/27 04:13 CDT | 1 comment

Mat Kaplan reviews a wonderful new biography on Neil Armstrong, written with the support of Armstrong and many of the other pioneering astronauts.

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Pretty pictures of the Cosmos: Perception

Posted by Adam Block on 2014/07/25 12:04 CDT | 2 comments

Astrophotographer Adam Block shares two recent images of star clusters, along with a pair of depth perception-defying galaxies.

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Curiosity update, sols 671-696: Out of the landing ellipse, into ripples and pointy rocks

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/07/24 05:55 CDT | 7 comments

For the last four weeks, the name of the game for Curiosity has been driving. But these weeks of driving have been more challenging than they used to be.

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Standing on Venus in 1975

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2014/07/24 10:19 CDT | 4 comments

Venera 9 and 10 landed on Venus in 1975 and sent back the first images of the planet's surface. Now, Ted Stryk brings new life to these images to show us what it would be like to stand on the Venusian surface.

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LightSail-A Has a Blown Radio Amplifier. Now What?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/23 03:02 CDT | 1 comment

LightSail-A's blown radio amplifier doesn't affect the 2016 SpaceX Falcon Heavy mission, but it adds an unwelcome obstacle to the 2015 test mission's ever-shortening timetable.

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Women Working on Mars: Curiosity Women's Day

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/07/22 10:57 CDT | 2 comments

Just after completing the primary mission of 669 sols on Mars, Curiosity's managers planned a special day -- June 26, 2014 -- in which mostly women were assigned to the more than 100 different operational roles.

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Chang'e 3 update: Both rover and lander still alive at the end of their eighth lunar day

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/07/21 07:26 CDT | 5 comments

Despite the fact that it hasn't moved for 6 months, the plucky Yutu rover on the Moon is still alive. Its signal is periodically detected by amateur radio astronomers, most recently on July 19. A story posted today by the Chinese state news agency offers a new hypothesis to explain the failure of the rover's mobility systems.

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One Day on Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/07/21 08:03 CDT | 3 comments

A single day's observations take us from orbital overviews all the way down to ground truth.

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Mars and Europa: Contrasts in Mission Planning

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/07/19 02:08 CDT | 30 comments

Several announcements for proposed missions to Mars and on the planning for a NASA return to Europa that highlight the contrasts in planning missions for these two high priority destinations.

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