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What's up in the solar system in December 2010

Emily Lakdawalla • November 30, 2010

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.

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

A.J.S. Rayl • November 30, 2010

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 29, 2010

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.

A few Mars Express Phobos goodies

Emily Lakdawalla • November 26, 2010

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 24, 2010

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

We Make It Happen

Susan Lendroth • November 23, 2010

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 23, 2010

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 22, 2010

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

Stars Above, Earth Below Calendars and other space gifty goodies

Emily Lakdawalla • November 22, 2010

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.

Jupiter's outbreak is spreading

Emily Lakdawalla • November 22, 2010

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.

Reviews of Ten Space-themed Books for Kids

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2010

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.

Miscellany

Emily Lakdawalla • November 18, 2010

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.

Deep Impact at Hartley 2: Two weeks after the flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • November 18, 2010

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.

NASA's Nanosail to Fly this Week

Louis D. Friedman • November 18, 2010

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.

Asteroids and comets to scale, including Hartley 2

Emily Lakdawalla • November 18, 2010

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.

A little more information on the Hayabusa samples from Itokawa

Emily Lakdawalla • November 17, 2010

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.

A message from Bill Nye

Emily Lakdawalla • November 17, 2010

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.

365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's in a Science Meeting?

Emily Lakdawalla • November 17, 2010

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.

I can't wait for MAHLI to land on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • November 16, 2010

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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