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Blog Archive

 

Write the President to Save Planetary Exploration (FAQ)

Casey Dreier • October 14, 2012

We've written congress. We've written the budget staffers in the government. Now it's time to reach for the top, and get the President to hear our passion and support for Planetary Exploration.

Book Review: The International Atlas of Mars Exploration, by Phil Stooke

Emily Lakdawalla • October 12, 2012

I've been waiting for the publication of this book for years. Phil Stooke's International Atlas of Mars Exploration, just published by Cambridge University Press, is an exhaustively awesome labor of love, chronicling the first five decades of Mars exploration in pictures, maps, and facts.

First science reports from Curiosity's APXS and ChemCam: Petrology on Jake Matijevic

Emily Lakdawalla • October 12, 2012

A Curiosity press briefing yesterday gave some of the first results from ChemCam and APXS on the rock "Jake Matijevic." It was a little too much petrology for most people; I do my best to explain.

Pretty panoramas: Curiosity's scenic views of distant hills

Emily Lakdawalla • October 11, 2012

The landscapes that surround Curiosity are picture-postcard beautiful.

Astrophotos making the web - the good, the bad and the ugly ...

Daniel Fischer • October 10, 2012

Space blogger Daniel Fischer writes about the problem of composited astrophotos being distributed through social media channels by people unaware that they are artworks, not documentary photographs.

International Astronautical Congress 2012 Recap

Bill Nye • October 09, 2012

Again this year I represented The Planetary Society at the International Astronautical Congress. This year, we met in Naples, Italy. This meeting brings together space scientists, rocket people, and spacecraft engineers from all over the world.

Pretty picture: Late afternoon in Gale Crater

Emily Lakdawalla • October 09, 2012

Curiosity shot a lovely panoramic view of the distant rim of Gale crater in the dramatic lighting of late afternoon on sol 49. Damien Bouic has colorized it, and it is beautiful.

Cosmoquest Astronomy Hour, Wednesday: What's up with Curiosity on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • October 09, 2012

It's becoming a biweekly thing -- join me, Fraser Cain, and now Casey Dreier for an update on Curiosity and a chance for you to get your Curiosity questions answered! The Google+ Hangout is on Wednesday, October 10, at 16:00 PDT / 23:00 UTC.

Citizen "Ice Hunters" help find a Neptune Trojan target for New Horizons

Alex Parker • October 09, 2012

2011 HM102 is an L5 Neptune Trojan, trailing Neptune by approximately 60 degrees. This object was discovered in the search for a New Horizons post-Pluto encounter object in the Kuiper Belt.

Exploring the XDF: The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field

Mat Kaplan • October 09, 2012

The newly-released eXtreme Deep Field takes us even further back into the history of our universe than the Ultra Deep Field or UDF.

Mangalyaan update: Testing of main engine underway

Emily Lakdawalla • October 09, 2012

A report in the Times of India states that India's Mars mission's main engine is now being tested.

SpaceX's first paid cargo run off to bumpy start

Jason Davis • October 08, 2012

SpaceX successfully sent their first paid Dragon capsule towards the International Space Station Sunday night. But the bigger story happened on the way to orbit.

Happy Cassini PDS Release Day!

Emily Lakdawalla • October 08, 2012

It's a quarterly feast day for me: the day that the Cassini mission delivers three months' worth of data to NASA's Planetary Data System. Here's a few images processed from the October 1, 2012 data release.

Mars Program Update from MEPAG

Bruce Betts • October 05, 2012

Bruce Betts reports on the status of the current and future Mars program and on acronyms from a meeting of NASA's MEPAG (Mars Exploration Analysis Program Analysis Group).

Deep Impact targets possible 2020 asteroid flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • October 05, 2012

Yesterday, Deep Impact performed a trajectory correction maneuver, firing its thrusters to line up for a flyby seven years from now. Here's a preview of that encounter.

Curiosity Update, sol 57: Digging in at Rocknest

Emily Lakdawalla • October 04, 2012

Engineers requested that Curiosity be driven to a "nice sandbox" to play in for the first soil sample, and it appears that a sand drift named Rocknest satisfies that requirement.

Curiosity catches sunspots along with Phobos and Deimos transits

Emily Lakdawalla • October 03, 2012

Curiosity has been shooting photos of the Sun as Phobos and Deimos cross its face, and -- as far as I can tell -- captured sunspots as well.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Finds Thrill of Newberries on Matijevic Hill

A.J.S. Rayl • October 03, 2012

On reconnaissance of Matijevic Hill, Opportunity has driven right into another Martian mystery, compete with new kinds of “berries," tiny white veins running through two distinctive outcrops of rock, and orbital data indicating that somewhere here clay minerals are hiding, all of which has put the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission back in the science spotlight and made for another September to remember at Meridiani Planum.

Shoemaker NEO Winner Finds Close Fly By Asteroid

Bruce Betts • October 02, 2012

Gary Hug used his Shoemaker NEO grant provided camera to find 2012 SY49 which flew by Earth at about two lunar distances last week. The tens of meters wide asteroid is a low-probability possible Earth impactor in the future.

Beautiful rocks ahead at Glenelg, but first, Curiosity must dig in the sand

Emily Lakdawalla • October 01, 2012

A beautiful panoramic view of the varied rocks of Glenelg has been transmitted from Curiosity on Mars. But before going any further, it's time to run the first Martian sand through the soil sampling system.

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