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What's up in the solar system in December 2009

Emily Lakdawalla • November 30, 2009

The two big things happening this month are the launch of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), from Vandenberg Air Force Base no earlier than December 9 at 06:09 PST (15:09 UTC), and the December meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) from the 14th through the 18th.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Turns Wheels, Opportunity Rests at Rare Martian Rock

A.J.S. Rayl • November 30, 2009

The Mars Exploration Rovers managed to make history and uncover history in November and that put both Spirit and Opportunity in the planetary exploration spotlight during the 71st month of an overland expedition that was supposed to be a three-month tour.

Spectacular animation of Halley's comet

Emily Lakdawalla • November 26, 2009

It's a holiday and I'm enjoying time with the family, so rather than write a lot, I will let a spectacular image do the talking for me.

Near Earth Objects and Planetary Defense

Emily Lakdawalla • November 26, 2009

Could a space rock hit Earth and cause widespread devastation? What could we do if we found an asteroid or comet on a collision course with Earth?

Saturn's aurora, even better than before

Emily Lakdawalla • November 24, 2009

The Cassini imaging team have posted their own processed and captioned version of the Saturn's aurora movie that I posted a preview of about six weeks ago, and it was worth the wait.

Two more awesome pictures from the Enceladus flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • November 22, 2009

I'm getting to be a broken record here, but I can't stop looking at these photos from the Enceladus flyby.

Another great Enceladus shot

Emily Lakdawalla • November 21, 2009

Here's a 4-frame mosaic of Enceladus images -- just another everyday spectacularly alien landscape.

Prepare for your jaw to hit the floor when you see these pictures of Enceladus

Emily Lakdawalla • November 21, 2009

Wow, just wow. I didn't know what to expect from the second flyby of Saturn's geyser moon Enceladus in November, which happened yesterday.

Encouraging motion on Spirit

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2009

It really looks like the second attempt at driving Spirit out of the trap has had the hoped-for result: some forward progress (maybe about a centimeter), and no evidence for further downward sinking.

Space Imaging II: Getting Started with MER and Cassini Raw Images now available for download

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2009

I probably crammed too much into today's class: an hour-and-a-half whirlwind tour through the cameras on the rovers and Cassini, how to access their raw images on the Internet, and some basic processing that you can do with each of them.

Hayabusa's still coming home: JAXA engineers come up with yet another creative solution

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2009

Trouble has come time and again to JAXA's little Hayabusa asteroid sample return mission, yet the mission's engineers always come up with new and creative ways to solve problems.

Opportunity's poking at Marquette Island; Cassini's catching dancing moons

Emily Lakdawalla • November 18, 2009

Since tomorrow's class is going to be on playing with raw images from the rovers and Cassini, I've been playing with recent raw images from the rovers and Cassini! I just thought I'd share a couple of the fun items I've been working with.

Atlantis Rockets to Orbit on crucial ISS resupply flight

Ken Kremer • November 18, 2009

Space Shuttle Atlantis and her crew of six rocketed into orbit on Monday (November 16) precisely as planned at 2:28 PM EST from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

Be a Martian!

Ryan Anderson • November 18, 2009

I think the new "Be a Martian" collaboration between NASA and Microsoft is a great idea!

Results of the first "Free Spirit" extrication drive, sol 2088: not much, as expected

Emily Lakdawalla • November 17, 2009

Even though all of us rover fans know that Spirit is really, really stuck, I think I'm not the only one who was secretly hoping that today's images downlinked from Spirit would show that the rover had magically popped out of the ground overnight. Of course, she didn't.

How to download the first imaging class: "Images Are Data"

Emily Lakdawalla • November 16, 2009

I finally prevailed in hosting the first in my series of classes on processing space images for amateurs this morning, while most people who were not working were probably watching the flawless launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks on the 17th

Bruce Betts • November 16, 2009

The Leonid meteor shower peaks on Tuesday, November 17. The Leonids are a highly variable shower, and as such are a bit of a gamble on what you'll see. Could be great, could be so-so.

Rosetta Earth swingby successful

Emily Lakdawalla • November 13, 2009

Rosetta appears to have operated flawlessly as it streaked past Earth for its flyby early this morning. Here are a few more gems from the flyby.

LightSail Garners News Headlines

Susan Lendroth • November 13, 2009

The Planetary Society's new solar sail project -- LightSail -- has generated headlines and hundreds of news stories since it was announced on Monday.

LCROSS team: "Yes, we found water!"

Emily Lakdawalla • November 13, 2009

I just posted a story on the announcement today that LCROSS definitely found lots of water in the spectra from their October 9 impact.

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