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Blog Archive


The Planetary Society is moving on up

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/30 04:41 CDT

After 25 years in our big brown house at 65 North Catalina Avenue in Pasadena, The Planetary Society is moving on Monday to new headquarters at 85 South Grand Avenue, still in Pasadena.

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MarsSed 2010 Field Trip Day 2: Stromatolites, Gypsum and Layers

Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2010/04/30 04:35 CDT

We started off Day 2 of the field trip by driving up onto the eroded rocks of what used to be the tidal flats of the ancient reef, between the shore and the continental shelf.

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What's up in the solar system in May 2010

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/30 02:20 CDT

There's one new mission and two promoted ones in this month's roundup: I've added JAXA's Akatsuki Venus Climate Orbiter for the first time, and both Hayabusa and Rosetta have been promoted from the "quietly cruising" section.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Snoozes Past Viking, Opportunity Snaps Endeavour on Horizon

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2010/04/30 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rovers' fourth Martian winter is proving to be the harshest one yet and Spirit and Opportunity are getting colder than ever before. With temperatures on the Red Planet dropping in April and the Martian winter solstice still two weeks away, the season has turned into a shivering nail-biter.

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Naming X: A contest for kids to name small bodies

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/29 02:44 CDT

A contest has just been announced that appears to create a pathway for schoolchildren to suggest names to the International Astronomical Union for minor planets -- all those small things in the solar system that don't orbit the eight big ones.

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How radio telescopes get "images" of asteroids

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/29 02:04 CDT

Every time I post a radio telescope image of a near-Earth asteroid, I get at least one reader question asking me to explain how radio telescopes take photos, so I'm hereby writing a post explaining the basics of how delay-Doppler imaging works.

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Arecibo saves us from another potentially hazardous asteroid

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/29 02:04 CDT

That's a bit of an overdramatic title, but it's true that the most efficient way for us to reduce the risk we face from asteroids that have a very small chance of hitting Earth in the future is to determine their orbits more precisely.

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Spirit: Schrödinger's Rover

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/28 12:01 CDT

Either Spirit is the longest-lived landed Mars mission ever, or she is not. We won't know for certain unless we manage to observe a radio signal from her.

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New names for Rhea

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/27 02:08 CDT

I learned today from Jason Perry that 42 new crater names have been approved by the International Astronomical Union for Rhea, the second largest of Saturn's moons.

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APOLLO program pinpoints location of Lunokhod 1 retroreflector

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/26 05:37 CDT

With the recent Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter imaging of the Lunokhod 1 rover, scientists on the APOLLO project were finally able to do something that scientists have been dreaming of for more than three decades: shoot the rover with a laser.

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MarsSed 2010 Field Trip Day 1: Guadalupe Mountains and Evaporites

Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2010/04/26 05:30 CDT

Hello everyone, I’m back from the MarsSed 2010 meeting in El Paso!

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3D Anaglyph: Weird channels of Olympica Fossae

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/26 05:05 CDT

Got some 3D glasses handy? Check out this awesome view of a very strange feature on Mars, courtesy of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's Context Camera (CTX).

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Hubble turns 20

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/23 03:02 CDT

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. It's hard to believe it's been going strong for so many years.

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Anticipating the end of Hayabusa

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/23 02:08 CDT

A successful sample return for the Hayabusa mission will mean the fiery death of Mr. Hayabusa himself. The poignancy of this is not lost upon the people in Japan who are following the mission.

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Titan and Dione: The same, but different

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/22 05:29 CDT

Here's a new lovely color composition of Titan and Dione captured by Cassini. This one was taken on April 20, 2010; a set of 15 raw images taken of the two moons just showed up on the Cassini raw images website.

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More detail on the Hayabusa return timeline

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/22 04:25 CDT

JAXA has issued a notice with a little bit more detail on the timeline for Hayabusa's return to Earth.

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From the Executive Director: Space Exploration is Non-partisan

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/04/21 05:15 CDT

I've been getting a tremendous amount of e-mail (and old-fashioned postal mail, too) in response to the new plan for human space exploration announced by the Obama Administration.

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Solar Dynamics Observatory unveils "first light" movies

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/21 02:06 CDT

Solar Dynamics Observatory unveils "first light" movies

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Discovery's penultimate mission to the Space Station

Posted by Ken Kremer on 2010/04/21 01:09 CDT

Planetary Society volunteer Ken Kremer witnessed the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on its STS-131 mission to the International Space Station in person and filed this report on the successful mission.

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Hayabusa's coming home

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/21 10:12 CDT

It really looks like Hayabusa is going to make it home. Hayabusa's sample return capsule will be returning to Earth on June 13, 2010, landing in the Woomera Prohibited Area, Australia at about 14:00 UTC.

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