The second episode of Emily Lakdawalla's new video series reveals the gigantic library of solar system images captured by NASA spacecraft, and explains why we've seen so few of them. Emily says they're all online, waiting for space geeks to turn them into gold.
Recent deep funding cuts by the Administration and Congress for NASA's space exploration programs are turning the final frontier into an ever-receding dream. "To boldly go" is quickly becoming "to cheaply dink around."
On June 30, Dawn stopped thrusting for a full Vestian day -- five hours and 20 minutes -- and just watched the asteroid rotate. But unlike the previous observations, they used all of Dawn's color filters to acquire the best-ever color photos of the lumpy world.
A few times a year I find myself confronting a table full of numbers describing the orbits of things in the solar system, and cursing at myself because I've forgotten, again, what all these numbers mean and how to manipulate them to get the particular numbers I want.
I gave the first lecture of my Introduction to Astronomy and Planetary Science course last Wednesday, starting with a tour of the solar system. The course is Physics 195 at California State University Dominguez Hills.
Today, NASA announced its budget for its fiscal year 2013. As you might imagine, there are large budget cuts. But, the planetary science program has been cut disproportionately. NASA's allocations are out of balance.