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JAXA announcement: Itokawa sample return successful!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 15, 2010

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.

Five amazing engineering camera videos from Chang'E 2

Emily Lakdawalla • November 14, 2010

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.

First pictures from Chang'E 2 released

Yong-Chun Zheng • November 12, 2010

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.

The Disturbance is Starting

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2010

Jupiter's faded belt may be coming back.

DPS 2010: Centaurs and Trans-Neptunian objects

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2010

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.

Opportunity bags a few craters

Emily Lakdawalla • November 10, 2010

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).

WISE's first brown (green?) dwarf

Emily Lakdawalla • November 09, 2010

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

An awesome animation of Jupiter's clouds

Emily Lakdawalla • November 09, 2010

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 09, 2010

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 08, 2010

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.

Fly over Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • November 08, 2010

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 05, 2010

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.

Discovery Launch Scrubbed, Again

Mat Kaplan • November 05, 2010

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

Days of Downs and Ups

Mat Kaplan • November 04, 2010

Discovery has suffered an electrical problem related to one of the main engines. Thanks to delays related to that, and to weather concerns, the launch was scrubbed until Friday at 3:04pm.

Hartley 2's jets

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2010

It was a very happy set of scientists, engineers, managers, and administrators who filled the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Von Karman auditorium this afternoon to do the postgame show on Deep Impact's flyby of Hartley 2.

Animation of the five closest-approach Hartley 2 images

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2010

Those of you who follow my blog must have known this was coming: now that I got all five new Deep Impact images of Comet Hartley 2 posted and explained, I had to make an animation. Here they are.

Five close-approach images of Hartley 2 by Deep Impact, with commentary

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2010

Here's the five close-approach images of Hartley 2 captured today, November 4, 2010, by the Deep Impact spacecraft, collected into one file. Boy, do these images reward close examination!

Close approach images of Hartley 2!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2010

What a dramatic and cool photo! An asteroid with two lobes like Borrelly, lumpy and bouldery like Itokawa, with gorgeous active jets, dramatically lit. Well done, Deep Impact team!

Deep Impact successfully passed closest approach, signal reaquired, data downlinking

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2010

Just a very brief update to congratulate the Deep Impact team on what was apparently a successful flyby of Hartley 2!

Deep Impact's encounter with Hartley 2 is beginning; flyby in 17 hours

Emily Lakdawalla • November 03, 2010

According to the mission timeline, the Deep Impact high-resolution observations of Hartley 2 are beginning in just a few minutes, at 20:50 according to the clock on the spacecraft.

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