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What's up in the solar system in December 2009

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/30 02:32 CST

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.

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

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/11/30 11:00 CST

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.

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Spectacular animation of Halley's comet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/26 09:11 CST

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.

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Near Earth Objects and Planetary Defense

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/26 08:52 CST

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?

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Saturn's aurora, even better than before

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/24 03:35 CST

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.

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Two more awesome pictures from the Enceladus flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/22 05:54 CST

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

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Another great Enceladus shot

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/21 11:16 CST

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

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/21 10:26 CST

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.

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Encouraging motion on Spirit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/19 04:54 CST

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/19 02:49 CST | 2 comments

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/19 11:16 CST

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/18 04:58 CST

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.

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Atlantis Rockets to Orbit on crucial ISS resupply flight

Posted by Ken Kremer on 2009/11/18 04:47 CST

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.

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Be a Martian!

Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2009/11/18 03:35 CST

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

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/17 03:20 CST

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/16 02:48 CST

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.

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Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks on the 17th

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2009/11/16 02:16 CST

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.

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Rosetta Earth swingby successful

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/13 09:44 CST

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.

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LightSail Garners News Headlines

Posted by Susan Lendroth on 2009/11/13 05:33 CST

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

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LCROSS team: "Yes, we found water!"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/13 03:55 CST

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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