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Blog Archive


Deep Impact at Hartley 2: Two weeks after the flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/18 01:52 CST

Today the Deep Impact/EPOXI science team held a press briefing that followed up on their very successful flyby of two weeks ago, a status report on what they can say so far about the science that's coming out of the encounter.

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NASA's Nanosail to Fly this Week

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/11/18 11:00 CST

NASA's Nanosail-D, an innovative development by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight and Ames Research Centers, is scheduled to launch on Friday -- and we wish them well.

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Asteroids and comets to scale, including Hartley 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/18 10:52 CST | 1 comments

Just in time for today's Deep Impact press briefing, which you can watch on NASA TV in a few minutes: I've updated my montage of all the asteroids and comets that have been visited and photographed to include Hartley 2.

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A little more information on the Hayabusa samples from Itokawa

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/17 04:36 CST

Since I posted an update Monday about JAXA confirming extraterrestrial samples in the Hayabusa sample return capsule, JAXA has posted an English-language version of their press release, which contains a bit more information.

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A message from Bill Nye

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/17 04:34 CST

While giving a talk at the University of Southern California last night, Planetary Society Executive Director Bill Nye fainted briefly, but returned to his feet and finished delivering his presentation.

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's in a Science Meeting?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/17 10:39 CST

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, What's in a Science Meeting?, about what scientists do at big meetings like the Division of Planetary Sciences.

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I can't wait for MAHLI to land on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/16 03:39 CST

JPL has just released some test images from the camera that has just been installed on the end of the Curiosity rover's robotic arm.

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JAXA announcement: Itokawa sample return successful!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/15 09:03 CST

It's official: in a press release today, JAXA announced that some 1,500 dust grains scraped from the interior of Hayabusa's clean-looking sample return capsule are not of terrestrial origin so must be from Itokawa.

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Five amazing engineering camera videos from Chang'E 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/14 03:26 CST

I couldn't believe these videos when I first saw them: five views from engineering cameras of important events in the Chang'E 2 spacecraft's journey to the Moon.

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First pictures from Chang'E 2 released

Posted by Yong-Chun Zheng on 2010/11/12 10:57 CST

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced the success of Chang'E-2 lunar mission on Monday. Yong-Chun Zheng, an associate professor at the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, presents the mission's first released pictures.

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The Disturbance is Starting

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/11 10:48 CST

Jupiter's faded belt may be coming back.

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DPS 2010: Centaurs and Trans-Neptunian objects

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/11 09:13 CST

I attended all day Tuesday of the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting on October 5. The afternoon session on Tuesday was a grab bag about different small objects in the outermost solar system.

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Opportunity bags a few craters

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/10 04:46 CST

In the last few days, Opportunity's passed by several craters, and the rover drivers took advantage of the chance encounters for what they call "drive-by shooting" (a phrase I can't say I'm particularly fond of, but they didn't ask me).

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WISE's first brown (green?) dwarf

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/09 05:05 CST

Look at the center of this star-studded image and you'll find an emerald green dot.

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An awesome animation of Jupiter's clouds

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/09 02:18 CST

Ready to see something beautiful? Here's a team effort by Björn Jónsson and Ian Regan to create a really mesmerizing view of the motions of Jupiter's clouds.

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In which I finally write up last week's Deep Impact Hartley 2 press briefing

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/09 01:13 CST

On Thursday, November 4, at 13:50 UTC, Deep Impact flew within 700 kilometers of comet Hartley 2. Hartley 2 is the smallest and most active of the five comets that have been directly by a spacecraft, and the first to be visited within the lifetime of its discoverer.

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Eris might be smaller than Pluto after all (but it's still more massive)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/08 04:48 CST

Several astronomers pointed their telescope at Eris to watch it pass in front of a background star. Occultations permit precise measurement of the diameters of distant, faint objects, and it turned out that Eris was much smaller than previously thought, so much so that its diameter may turn out to be the same as, or even smaller than, Pluto's.

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Fly over Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/08 11:19 CST

Adrian Lark has posted several new flights over gorgeous Martian landscapes to his Youtube channel. My favorite of his recent ones is this dive into Zumba crater.

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Hartley 2 compared to other comets, and in motion 3D

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/05 06:17 CDT

I had to catch up with tasks left undone at home today and didn't have time to write up my notes from the Hartley 2 press briefing, for which I apologize. I'll leave you for the weekend with three cool Hartley 2 pictures.

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Discovery Launch Scrubbed, Again

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2010/11/05 02:54 CDT

The launch has been scrubbed once again due to a critical hydrogen leak detected once fueling had been underway for a while.

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