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Reviews of two modular toys: Modular Robotics Cubelets and Sifteo Cubes

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/30 06:08 CST

OK, these aren't strictly space-related. But they seemed so awesome I couldn't resist buying them, and I imagine they'll appeal to a lot of space geeks as they did to me.

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Reviews of space-themed books & products for young children

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/30 01:13 CST

As I do every year, I've collected a bunch of new (or relatively new) books and other products on space themes for children.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update:Opportunity Crunches Homestake, Scouts Locales for Winter

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/11/30 10:24 CST

Opportunity roved toward the end of its eighth year of exploration on the Red Planet and chalking up yet another "exciting" textbook discovery for the Mars mission.

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What's up in the solar system in December 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/29 03:57 CST

What's going on with our planetary explorers in December?

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Bye-bye, Curiosity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/29 09:35 CST

A few fortunate (and forward-thinking) skywatchers looked upward in the hours after Curiosity's launch and were able to see the spacecraft leaving Earth.

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The 70-meter dishes of the Deep Space Network

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/28 05:06 CST

I was inspired by my recent trip to Goldstone to put together this poster showing all three of the great 70-meter dishes of the Deep Space Network. There's one at each of the three complexes, at Goldstone, at Robledo (near Madrid, Spain), and at Tidbinbilla (near Canberra, Australia).

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How did they make the nuclear power source for the Curiosity rover?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/28 03:07 CST

Maybe it's because I was a kid during the Cold War; I always assume that information about anything nuclear only comes out on that "need-to-know basis."

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Curiosity is on its way to Mars!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/26 09:09 CST

It was a textbook launch for the Atlas V 541 today at 15:02 UTC, and within an hour after liftoff, the Centaur second stage had sent Curiosity on its way for an 8.5-month journey to Mars.

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Mars Exploration Family Portrait

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/23 12:26 CST | 1 comments

Jason Davis put together this neat summary of the checkered history of Mars exploration.

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Brief contact made with Phobos-Grunt after two weeks of silence

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/23 11:29 CST

On Tuesday, November 22 at 20:25 UTC, a European Space Agency ground station in Perth, Australia, successfully made brief radio contact with Phobos-Grunt.

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Curiosity in context: Not exactly "Viking on wheels," but close

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/21 06:51 CST

As I was beginning my research for my two magazine articles on the Curiosity rover's upcoming mission to Mars, I needed to figure out for myself how exactly this gigantic, ungainly machine fit in to the context of past Martian missions.

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SLS updates: tower crawl, engine burn and flight test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/11/21 02:22 CST | 1 comments

A few updates on the Space Launch System, NASA's next-generation deep exploration vehicle.

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NASA's Budget for 2012 Is Set--Worry About 2013 Budget Begins

Posted by Charlene Anderson on 2011/11/18 05:04 CST

It's done. The U.S. President has signed the Appropriations bill for NASA's fiscal year 2012 budget. The fight on the FY12 budget is over.

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Book Review: Atlas of the Galilean Satellites, by Paul Schenk

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/18 12:59 CST

Not many subjects remain for which it is possible to assemble everything that we know about it in one book. Even for those subjects for which our knowledge is limited, knowledge seems always to be expanding exponentially. This is not true, however, for the Galilean satellites of Jupiter.

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What's Up in the Winter Sky

Posted by Ray Sanders on 2011/11/18 10:34 CST

The warm days and cool evenings of fall are giving way to cold days and colder nights. For many amateur astronomers, observing during winter is a bit of a challenge - clouds, dew, ice, and of course, the cold.

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Is Europa's ice thin or thick? At chaos terrain, it's both!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/17 04:32 CST | 6 comments

Among Europa scientists there are two warring factions: the thick-icers and the thin-icers. The question is how thick is the ice shell that overlies Europa's subsurface ocean (the existence of which pretty much everyone agrees on).

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Our friendly neighborhood asteroid, 2005 YU55 (an animation)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/16 02:58 CST

Last week JPL released two animations of asteroid 2005 YU55 made from the radar data acquired by Goldstone's 70-meter radio dish.

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NASA On Verge of Getting a Budget -- Congress Will Vote This Week

Posted by Charlene Anderson on 2011/11/15 04:03 CST

Here's a quick wrap-up of the "minibus" bill containing budget for NASA for fiscal year 2012, which started 6 six weeks ago.

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Planetary Society statement entered into testimony for House hearing on future of planetary science

Posted by Charlene Anderson on 2011/11/15 11:58 CST

Today, The Planetary Society entered the following statement into testimony for the hearing "Exploring Mars and Beyond: What Next for U.S. Planetary Science?" held by the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

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Book Review: A More Perfect Heaven, by Dava Sobel

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/15 10:12 CST

As with her previous two books Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, Dava Sobel draws heavily on primary sources for her latest book, A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos.

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