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Congratulations due to India: Mars Orbiter Mission is on the way to Mars!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/30 02:51 CST | 35 comments

Today I am delighted to welcome India into the ranks of interplanetary travelers: Mars Orbiter Mission has successfully propelled itself onto an interplanetary trajectory, departing Earth forever and setting sail for Mars. Congratulations to India, to the Indian Space Research Organisation, to the mission's scientists and engineers, and to the people of India.

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Chang'e 3 ready to launch to the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/30 10:05 CST | 5 comments

A brief update on Chang'e 3, which is scheduled for launch December 2 at 01:30 China time, or December 1 at 17:30 UT / 09:30 PT.

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Mars Orbiter Mission ready to fly onward from Earth to Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/30 09:25 CST | 10 comments

Today is the day when India's Mars Orbiter Mission will fire its rocket to depart Earth and begin its 300-day journey to Mars. The rocket burn begins on December 1 at 00:49 IST (today at 19:19 UT / 11:19 PT).

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The Mariner Mars Globe

Posted by Don Davis on 2013/11/29 12:04 CST | 3 comments

In 1971 I was being trained to work with the airbrush by the map artists at the U.S. Geological Survey's Branch of Astrogeologic Studies in Flagstaff. However, the project I ended up spending about a quarter of a man-year on was a hand-painted map globe of Mars.

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Schrödinger's Comet

Posted by Karl Battams on 2013/11/28 09:54 CST | 9 comments

After impressing us yesterday, comet ISON faded dramatically overnight, and left us with a comet with no apparent nucleus in the SOHO/LASCO C2 images. As the comet plunged through the solar atmosphere, and failed to put on a show in the SDO images, we understandably concluded that ISON had succumbed to its passage and died a fiery death. Except it didn't. Well, maybe...

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Chang'e 3 may launch December 1 with Yutu rover, will not harm LADEE mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/27 12:20 CST | 8 comments

Yesterday the Chinese space agency held a press briefing about the Chang'e 3 lunar lander. They announced that the rover has been named Yutu (or "Jade Rabbit," a legendary companion of the goddess Chang'e). Although it will land during the LADEE mission, it will not harm LADEE's goals -- quite the opposite, in fact.

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Planetary Radio: Rise of the Europa Underground?
Planetary Scientist Alyssa Rhoden and friends have created Destination: Europa

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/11/26 09:39 CST | 2 comments

This week's PlanRad talks to one of the creators of a new effort to build support for the Europa Clipper, a spacecraft that would tell us far more about what's going on under that icy moon's surface.

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A case of the measles for Jupiter?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/26 03:09 CST | 1 comment

Amateur astronomer Christopher Go has found Jupiter to be putting on a fun show for observers: it's sprouting little red spots "like it has a measles attack!"

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Comet ISON: Your Half-time Report

Posted by Karl Battams on 2013/11/26 10:04 CST | 1 comment

I am heading out to Kitt Peak to join my fellow CIOC-ers Matthew and Casey for perihelion observations of Comet ISON, and I find myself having an early moment of reflection.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 6: Travellers' Tales
Voyager is the ultimate expression of our desire to explore

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/25 03:56 CST | 12 comments

The Voyager mission may be the ultimate expression of our desire to explore, but why does that will exist in the first place? Why is it unique to humans?

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Curiosity update, sols 453-464: Electrical problem causes delays; rover back to work

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/11/25 02:38 CST | 1 comment

An electrical problem frustrated progress on the Curiosity mission this week, but the problem is now understood and the rover back to work.

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Spaceflight is a Game of Patience

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2013/11/25 01:33 CST

The Principal Investigator of NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission -- planned for launch in 2016 -- begins a new blogging adventure.

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Reviews of toys for kids of space geeks

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/25 10:00 CST

Have kids to buy gifts for? I review some space-themed toys for kids age 1 to 12 or so: the Snap Circuits Deluxe Rover; astronaut costume accessories; the latest incarnation of Astronaut Barbie; and Lift Off Rocket Play Set. I also have a few construction toys to recommend.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3494 - November 21, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/11/22 05:39 CST | 4 comments

On sol 3485 Opportunity pulled up next to a large outcrop here on the rim of Endeavour crater. The outcrop appears to be impact breccias like those we saw a few sols ago lower down on the ridge. But the texture of the rocks is somewhat different.

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Why are MAVEN and Mars Orbiter Mission taking such different paths to Mars?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/22 12:15 CST | 20 comments

Two spacecraft launched for Mars this month: Mars Orbiter Mission on November 5, and MAVEN on November 18. MAVEN is now on an interplanetary trajectory, while Mars Orbiter Mission is still in Earth orbit and will not depart for Mars until the end of the month. A lot of people are asking me: why the difference? Here's your answer, with input from Dave Doody.

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Call Your Representatives, Save Our Science

Posted by Andrew Rivkin on 2013/11/22 10:56 CST | 1 comment

I called one of my Senators earlier today. Before that I called my representative. It was pretty easy.

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ISON, Encke, Mercury, and Home

Posted by Karl Battams on 2013/11/22 10:04 CST | 3 comments

Comet ISON has entered the field of view of the STEREO HI-1A camera, and, in an awesome animation, it joins a large cast of characters already present there.

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Imaging results from the Chang'e 2 Toutatis flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/21 01:23 CST | 3 comments

There is a paper in press at Icarus by Xiaoduan Zou and five coauthors that provides the first peer-reviewed publication I've seen on the results of the imaging experiment performed during the Chang'e 2 flyby of near-Earth asteroid (4179) Toutatis.

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Martian Maps: the North Pole

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/11/20 05:24 CST | 2 comments

The polar plains, charted in unprecedented detail.

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First image from India's Mars Orbiter Mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/20 11:17 CST | 6 comments

Here, for your enjoyment, is the first image of Earth taken by the mission's Mars Colour Camera.

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