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Blog Archive


What's up in the solar system in December 2010

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/30 05:11 CST

The year is racing to a close — I can't believe December is here already! Here's Olaf Frohn's map of where everybody is on December 1st.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Mission Looks Back in Honor to Apollo 12, and Drives Exploration Onward

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2010/11/30 11:00 CST

The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) forged on in November, their 83rd month of an expedition originally planned for three months: Spirit remained silent at Gusev Crater presumably still re-charging her batteries, as Opportunity roved through a field of craters pressing on toward Endeavour Crater, quietly claiming title along the way to being the first roving robot to drive 25 kilometers on Mars.

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What's the significance of this unremarkable spot on the Moon?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/29 08:38 CST

This was a fun image released by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera science team. Take a look at it and see if you can figure out what the significance of the red arrow is.

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A few Mars Express Phobos goodies

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/26 02:13 CST

To celebrate Mars Express' recent mission extension to 2014, here are some cool pictures that it took of Mars' inner and larger moon Phobos.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/25 11:54 CST

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Final set of Voyager Mission Status Bulletins: The Voyager 2 Neptune flyby and beyond

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/24 06:37 CST

I'm surprised no one's emailed me demanding the last batch of Voyager mission status bulletins! Well, here they are.

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We Make It Happen

Posted by Susan Lendroth on 2010/11/23 03:12 CST

Matt Lucking, our Regional Coordinator for the Bay Area Volunteers in northern California, shared a nice tribute to the Planetary Society — reminding us all how much the work we do matters.

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ESA commits to extending 11 missions' space operations for 3 years

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/23 07:41 CST

Europe is apparently of the mind that science and technology will help to carry them out of tough economic times, and has made three-year commitments to continue the in-space operations of 11 missions through 2014.

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Two signs we're living in the 21st century: SpaceX and Stardust

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/22 04:18 CST

Two brief but significant news items today made me stop and think about how far we've come in space travel.

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Stars Above, Earth Below Calendars and other space gifty goodies

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/22 04:09 CST

Ever since I first saw Tyler Nordgren's awe-inspiring photographs of the Milky Way arching above the natural wonders of the national parks, I knew I wanted them on my wall. Well, now I can get them, and you can too.

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Jupiter's outbreak is spreading

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/22 11:03 CST

Jupiter, always a pretty sight in the sky, is now worth visiting every day; the "outbreak" that heralds the return of Jupiter's formerly red, now fadedsouth equatorial belt is expanding and multiplying.

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Reviews of Ten Space-themed Books for Kids

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/19 04:38 CST

As I did last year, I'm hereby posting reviews and comments on every recent space book for kids that's crossed my desk in the last several months.

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Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/18 05:31 CST

The saddest item of business to note in this linky post is that noted astronomer Brian Marsden, retired director of the Minor Planet Center and a good friend to many, passed away yesterday at the age of 73.

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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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