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Comet ISON Enters the Final Countdown

Posted by Karl Battams on 2013/11/19 03:12 CST | 6 comments

We're now less than two weeks away from comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) reaching perihelion and, if we’re honest, we are still none the wiser as to how the situation might play out!

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A post for Reading Rainbow

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/19 11:03 CST

My brother and I enjoyed watching Reading Rainbow as kids, so it's a delight for me to have had a guest post published on their blog last week. I wrote for them about how kids (with the help of their parents) can follow the adventure of the Curiosity mission through the release of their raw images.

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MAVEN Launches!

Posted by Tanya Harrison on 2013/11/18 04:56 CST | 4 comments

MAVEN launched flawlessly and pretty much exactly on schedule. Congratulations to NASA, the MAVEN team, and United Launch Alliance for a picture perfect launch!

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MAVEN NASA Social: Day 2

Posted by Tanya Harrison on 2013/11/18 04:34 CST | 1 comments

Bright and early this morning, we NASA Social folks met at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex for a tour of the space shuttle Atlantis. This is the first shuttle I've seen in person, and it was a stunning sight to see.

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MAVEN is on the way to Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/18 04:17 CST | 8 comments

A perfect launch on an Atlas V rocket has sent MAVEN on her way to Mars today at 10:28 PT (18:38 UT). Today's on-time launch puts the mission on course for a September 22, 2014 arrival at Mars.

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MAVEN NASA Social: Day 1

Posted by Tanya Harrison on 2013/11/17 09:00 CST

I am at the MAVEN launch at Kennedy Space Center for a "NASA Social" event. These events are geared towards space enthusiasts of all backgrounds who are active on social media to increase public awareness and excitement about NASA.

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SpaceUp LA and the MAVEN Launch on Planetary Radio

Posted by on 2013/11/15 10:07 CST

Check into the latest Southern California "unconference" for space enthusiasts and professionals, and get ready for live coverage of Monday morning's launch of the Mars orbiter.

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NASA Just Cancelled its Advanced Spacecraft Power Program
The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator was to use less Plutonium for cheaper missions.

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/15 04:06 CST | 32 comments

The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Program (ASRG) was just cancelled by NASA. This was to be the saving grace for Plutonium-238 availability, as it was a much more efficient way to generate electricity than classic RTG systems.

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about MAVEN's launch and mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/15 08:11 CST | 13 comments

MAVEN is just about to launch! The mission has just released their launch press kit. This post summarizes the press kit's high points, and hopefully answers most of your questions about NASA's next Mars orbiter, scheduled for liftoff Monday at 10:28 PT / 13:28 ET / 18:28 UT.

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Features at both rover field sites on Mars named for Bruce Murray

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/14 11:51 CST

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced today that the geologists on both Mars rover teams -- Opportunity and Curiosity -- have named landmarks at their field sites after the late Bruce Murray.

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Curiosity Update: A stop at Cooperstown and a warm reset, sols 433-451

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/11/14 01:56 CST

Having racked up several kilometers in the drive to Mount Sharp, Curiosity paused for a second science stop at an outcrop called "Cooperstown." While there, the rover performed a software upgrade and then lost a few days to a software anomaly. The rover has now resumed normal science operations.

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ARTEMIS Mission Update

Posted by Jasper S. Halekas on 2013/11/14 12:27 CST

ARTEMIS is a mission that retasked two probes from the 5-spacecraft Heliophysics constellation THEMIS to study the interaction of the Moon with the space plasma environment.

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Just what is going on in that magnificent Cassini image of Saturn?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/13 03:58 CST | 7 comments

It took months of work (and no wonder) but the wait was worth it: here is Cassini's spectacular view of Saturn, captured on July 19, 2013, as Cassini passed through Saturn's shadow. If you're a little confused by the image, I'm here to help: I've posted a video explainer.

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Reviews of space-themed books for children

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/13 10:50 CST

It's time for my annual roundup of reviews of space-themed books for children! I have lots of fiction and nonfiction books to recommend, for toddlers to teens.

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Video: Comet ISON: Super Bright or Super Lame?

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/11/12 02:47 CST | 2 comments

Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) was touted months ago by media as the possible comet of the century. Will it be that, or a cosmic dud? Find out the basics about the in this short video.

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Will We Lose Cassini’s "New" Mission at Saturn to Budget Cuts?

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/11/12 06:26 CST | 5 comments

NASA’s shrinking budgets for planetary exploration may force it to decide between continued funding for the Saturn Cassini mission and the continued funding for its Mars missions.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 5: Blues for a Red Planet
Where Mars stubbornly refuses to be what we desire

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/12 02:24 CST | 12 comments

Episode 5 focuses on Mars, the planet that has stubbornly refused to conform to the wishes of humanity for hundreds of years, from Lowell to Sagan. Grab your cosmo and join our discussion of 'Blues for a Red Planet.'

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Mars Orbiter Mission Update: Supplemental burn planned for today

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/11 10:09 CST | 25 comments

Yesterday, the Mars Orbiter Mission was commanded to perform a rocket burn that would have raised the apogee of its orbit around Earth. The spacecraft began its burn, but underperformed. ISRO has planned a supplemental burn for November 12 at 05:00 IST (today at 15:30 PT / 23:30 UT) in order to make up the deficit.

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Science Against the Storm

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/11/11 09:07 CST

In the face of disaster, the search for answers and ways to help continues, on the ground and in space.

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A hiccup in the orbital maneuvers for Mars Orbiter Mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/10 10:06 CST | 7 comments

The Mars Orbiter Mission completed its first, second, and third of six planned maneuvers in Earth orbit successfully last week. However, the fourth maneuver, conducted on Sunday at 12:36 PST / 20:36 UTC / Monday 02:06 IST, failed to lift the apogee of the orbit as high as planned.

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