Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/31 01:14 CDT
Last month I posted a preliminary version of a slide I was working on for use in my public presentations, a slide that contains everything in the solar system bigger than 400 kilometers across, and invited comment. I've listened to all of your comments and corrections and come up with a second version.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/28 06:17 CDT
Well, that was awesome. The NPP Earth observation satellite launched successfully an hour or so ago, and I was with a chilled but thrilled crowd of a few hundred people to watch it at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/25 04:26 CDT
For a few weeks over November and December, a rare launch window to Mars opens, and then slams shut agin. Mars launch windows only happen once each 26 months, so if you miss the window, you have to wait more than two years for the next one.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/25 01:30 CDT
The Mars Climate Sounder team has recently confirmed a prediction of a weather phenomenon on Mars that we haven't been able to observe before.
Posted by Jim Shirley on 2011/10/25 12:00 CDT
The Mars Climate Sounder instrument provides routine nightside observations of atmospheric temperature and opacity that document the presence of rapidly evolving water ice cloud layers in the Martian tropics during the northern summer season.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/24 05:55 CDT
I'm nearly two weeks late getting to this news but better late than never, right? There was a press briefing from the Dawn mission at the Geological Society of America (GSA) meeting on October 12.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/21 05:39 CDT
I'm (hopefully) headed to the launch of a Delta II (the last currently scheduled Delta II!) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, as one of only 20 people selected to participate out of more than 600 who registered.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/20 12:35 CDT
Cassini has completed two very close flybys of Enceladus in less than three weeks, one of them just this morning, and the images from that encounter have already arrived on Earth.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/19 02:10 CDT
Programming note: tonight, public television stations will be airing a new, two-hour NOVA documentary, "Finding Life Beyond Earth."
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/19 01:49 CDT
JAXA's solar sail demonstration craft IKAROS is still puttering along, 17 months after it launched, and its controllers back on Earth keep coming up with new things to try with it. I'm pretty amazed by the most recent trick: reversing its spin direction. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is, especially for IKAROS.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/18 07:55 CDT
I consider October and November to be book review season. We're well out of the mental coasting of summer and have gotten into the groove of school and work in fall, and are in the relative quiet before the insanity of the season that stretches from Thanksgiving to the New Year, when much of the Western world will be scrambling to shop for presents for friends and family.
Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2011/10/18 06:36 CDT
Announcing a new service! The National Science Foundation's Science360 Radio will fulfill your science needs. Science360 Radio has over 100 shows in it's lineup, including Planetary Radio, so go take a listen. Links inside.
I know I just posted about Phobos-Grunt on Friday, but there are lots of new pictures from Baikonur Cosmodrome (Russia's main launch facility in Kazakhstan) showing Phobos-Grunt being removed from its shipping crate and tipped upright in preparation for its launch in early November.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/17 07:44 CDT
It should give you a feeling of déjà vu: a defunct satellite's orbit is decaying, and because that orbit is circular it's going to be impossible to predict where and when along its ground track it's going to happen.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/10/14 06:31 CDT
Data from Earth observing satellites Aura and CALIPSO have shown record losses of seasonal ozone in the Arctic.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/14 05:39 CDT
Фобос-Грунт is getting ready for launch!
Posted by Charlene Anderson on 2011/10/14 03:21 CDT
The European Space Agency (ESA) seems to have gotten tired of waiting for NASA to commit to its share of the joint 2016/2018 Mars missions that were planned to lay the groundwork for an eventual delivery of samples of Mars to Earth.
Posted by Charlene Anderson on 2011/10/13 05:38 CDT
It looks like we rattled a few cages in Washington, D.C. this week. White House staffers in the Office of Science and Technology Policy returned from their holiday weekend to find more than 1500 messages from Planetary Society Members waiting for them.