Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/31 11:06 CST
Did you think I was going to skip Uranus? How could I?
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2009/12/31 11:00 CST
The Mars Exploration Rovers quietly wrapped up 2009 this month: Spirit continued to valiantly spin its wheels in an attempt to get out of its embedded location on the west side of Home Plate in Gusev Crater; and Opportunity continued its investigation of Marquette Island, perhaps the oldest Martian rock it's found to date at Meridiani Planum.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/31 10:57 CST
I just got a press release from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that made my heart sink; the extrication effort for Spirit is not going at all well. I did not want to keep sounding a knell of bad news. But once in a while, I do have to report bad news.
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2009/12/30 08:11 CST
NASA has selected three finalists for the next New Frontiers mission: a Venus lander, a near Earth asteroid sample return, and a lunar Aitken basin sample return mission.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/30 08:26 CST
Looking over the list of planets, moons, and smaller bodies I posted so far, I realized I didn't have an image of a comet yet.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/29 11:00 CST
Rhea? You might be asking. Rhea? When Saturn has so many more interesting moons? Hear me out.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/28 12:28 CST
Here's yet another of the moons of Uranus for you: Ariel, a near-twin in diameter to Umbriel, but apparently with more interesting geology.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/27 03:24 CST
This one is fresh from the spacecraft! The data were captured yesterday, December 26, by Cassini during its best yet imaging encounter with the small ringmoon Prometheus, and showed up on the Cassini raw images website today.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/26 11:28 CST
Titan is a weird alternate-universe Earth, surprisingly similar to our own planet in some ways, but not at all like our planet in others.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/24 11:32 CST
To those of you who celebrate the holiday, merry Christmas! I hope Santa was good to you.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/24 08:51 CST
I think if you polled most space fans about their favorite moons of Jupiter, Ganymede would come in a consistent third behind Europa and Io. It's just not fair.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/23 01:04 CST
I love posting animations of Cassini images that I compose from frames grabbed from the mission's raw images website, but they are shoddy compared to the versions that eventually come out from the mission's imaging team.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/23 12:29 CST
Mars' moon Deimos never gets as much love as Phobos.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/23 12:21 CST
The Planetary Society is hosting a luncheon on January 23, 2010 that will celebrate the achievements of two renowned heroes of space exploration, physicist Stephen Hawking and Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/22 12:13 CST
Venus is such a beautiful, brilliant light in the sky. (When it's up; just now Venus is actually near solar conjunction, so we'll have to wait a bit for it to grace the heavens.)
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/21 04:09 CST
Miranda is the one moon of Uranus for which we have very good images from Voyager 2, and that was a stroke of luck, because low-resolution shots of all of Uranus' moons would have told us that it was, geologically speaking, the most dramatic of the five biggest ones.