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Super cool Phobos and Deimos animations from Mars Express

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/03 02:17 CDT

I've been delving in to the Mars Express image archive this week, checking out its images of Phobos, and found a couple of really cool time-series of images to assemble into animations.

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I cannot volunteer my time to work on NASA business during the furlough

Posted by Les Johnson on 2013/10/03 11:55 CDT | 9 comments

Today I received my furlough notice from NASA. Since my job isn’t considered “excepted,” in other words, since no one will be injured or die if I don’t report for work, then I am to remain at home until recalled to work after the Congress passes and the President signs some sort of budget or continuing resolution to keep the government running.

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Yes, there seems to be a hole in Curiosity's left front wheel, and no, that's not a problem

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/02 11:22 CDT | 25 comments

Some brand-new images just arrived from Curiosity on Mars, and two of the most recent are Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) images of the wheels. Today's images contained two little surprises.

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LADEE has finally left Earth

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/02 02:39 CDT | 2 comments

When LADEE launched on September 6, it launched into Earth orbit. Today, it is finally on a path that will take it to its October 6 lunar orbit insertion. Its operation is continuing normally in the face of the U.S. government's shutdown yesterday, as is that of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter achieves imaging of comet ISON from Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/02 12:03 CDT | 2 comments

Yesterday, the much-anticipated comet ISON made its closest pass by Mars. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera is the first to achieve a positive detection of the somewhat-fainter-than-expected comet in its photos.

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On Gandhi's birthday, India ships Mars spacecraft to launch site

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/02 11:45 CDT

Several Indian news sites posted a press wire article this morning indicating that India's Mars Orbiter Mission departed its assembly and testing facility in Bangalore today and is now on the way to the coastal launch site, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, a journey of about 400 kilometers.

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Origami Nanosats: The Future of Space Telescopes?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/10/01 05:04 CDT | 1 comments

We interview Dr. Franck Marchis from the SETI Institute about nanosats that can unfold in space to create sensitive telescopes that are orders of magnitudes cheaper than current hardware.

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Women scientists: Tell Your Story and Inspire Others in Astronomy

Posted by Hadiza Mohammed on 2013/10/01 04:06 CDT | 2 comments

Women Rock Science is working with the Knowledge Observatory to create an interactive display of women in astronomy from all over the world for an upcoming science festival.

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American government shut down, but JPL and APL planetary missions still operating -- for now

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/01 11:31 CDT | 6 comments

I spoke with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Veronica McGregor and the Applied Physics Laboratory's Geoff Brown this morning to get accurate information about the operation of NASA planetary missions. In brief: All of NASA's missions that are operated out of JPL and APL are continuing to operate normally today and for at least a week.

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The "Starship Century" Beckons
Gregory and James Benford return to Planetary Radio

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/10/01 10:30 CDT

The Benford brothers provide inspiration and hard fact in their excellent new anthology about interstellar travel.

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[Updated] A Government Shutdown Could Delay MAVEN's Launch to Mars

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/30 05:17 CDT | 2 comments

NASA confirmed that a government shutdown could affect pre-launch processing of the MAVEN spacecraft, currently scheduled to launch to Mars on November 18th.

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Relative and absolute ages in the histories of Earth and the Moon: The Geologic Time Scale

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/30 03:04 CDT | 1 comments

A few days ago, I wrote a post about the basins of the Moon -- a result of a trip down a rabbit hole of book research. Here's the next step in that journey: the Geologic Time Scales of Earth and the Moon.

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A Big Day for Commercial Spaceflight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/09/29 11:42 CDT | 1 comments

On Sunday, Orbital Sciences Corporation's Cygnus resupply spacecraft was berthed to the ISS, while SpaceX's upgraded Falcon 9 lifted off from the California coast.

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Dawn Journal: Sixth anniversary of leaving Earth

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/09/28 06:29 CDT | 2 comments

On the sixth anniversary of leaving Earth to embark on a daring deep-space expedition, Dawn is very, very far from its erstwhile planetary residence. Now humankind's only permanent resident of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the seasoned explorer is making good progress toward the largest object in that part of the solar system, the mysterious dwarf planet Ceres.

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Gravity assist

Posted by David Shortt on 2013/09/27 01:30 CDT | 15 comments

With the recent announcement by NASA that the 36 year-old spacecraft Voyager 1 has officially entered interstellar space at a distance from the sun about four times further than Neptune's orbit, and with Voyager 2 not far behind, it seems worthwhile to explore how humans managed to fling objects so far into space.

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Cometary Science at EPSC

Posted by Geraint Jones on 2013/09/26 05:02 CDT

Recently, almost a thousand researchers gathered in London for Europe’s annual meeting of planetary scientists. Here's a report from one session on cometary science.

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Dating the Moon's basins

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/26 03:33 CDT | 5 comments

A paper in press in the Journal of Geophysical Research uses new data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to update our story for the history of the Moon's massive impacts.

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Swan Song

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/09/25 03:51 CDT | 16 comments

The final moments of a lunar orbiter, as told in a song composed by the moon itself.

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Bill Nye 'Dancing With the Stars' Update

Posted by Abigail Fraeman on 2013/09/25 01:52 CDT

We're two weeks in to ‘Dancing with the Stars’ season 17, and Bill Nye has shown that, true to his TV-theme song lyric, "science rules" in the eyes of the audience.

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Europe Will Select Its Next Major Science Mission in November

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/09/25 01:22 CDT | 2 comments

The European Space Agency will announce two major science missions this November, one of which is likely to be devoted to solar system exploration.

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