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Highlights From OSIRIS-REx Science Team Meeting #6

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/04/30 07:49 CDT

The OSIRIS-REx Science Team gathered at the University of Arizona from April 22–24, 2014 for their sixth meeting. Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta discusses a few of the highlights.

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When will we know which is bigger, Pluto or Eris?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/30 12:11 CDT | 7 comments

We don't currently know whether Pluto is the biggest thing in the Kuiper belt or not. When will New Horizons give us the answer?

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This is the post where you can comment about the IAU planet definition

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/30 12:09 CDT | 21 comments

An attempt to corral the discussion of the IAU planet definition in one place on planetary.org, so that we may be free to actually discuss Kuiper belt observations and scientific results on posts elsewhere on this site.

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Another Pale Blue Dot — Uranus Spied By Cassini

Posted by Val KlavansIan Regan on 2014/04/30 06:53 CDT | 1 comment

The Cassini mission has already returned an array of images of other solar system members from Saturn orbit: Earth (and the Moon), Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. It’s time to add another world to that list!

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Green Bank Telescope Helps Out an Old Friend

Posted by Tania Burchell on 2014/04/28 09:26 CDT

The Green Bank Telescope has been called into emergency service to play radar ping-pong on a close-by asteroid with Arecibo Observatory’s 100-meter William E. Gordon radio telescope.

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Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 11: Exoplanets and Solar System Origin and Formation

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/04/25 04:30 CDT

Learn about the formation and origin of the Solar System and go beyond our neighborhood to investigate exoplanets (planets around other stars) in this video of class 11 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Curiosity update, sols 597-610: Picking a drill site at the Kimberley

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/24 01:14 CDT | 2 comments

After completing the initial reconnaissance of the Kimberley outcrop two weeks ago, Curiosity is, at last, moving toward a drill site. The science team selected the location last week: a spot near the base of Mount Remarkable, into what they have been calling the "middle unit" at the Kimberley.

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Spitzer Space Telescope Observations of Bennu

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/04/24 10:06 CDT

What can studying the thermal emission of Bennu with the Spitzer Space Telescope tell us about its physical properties?

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Days before its crash, LADEE saw zodiacal light above the lunar horizon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/23 12:55 CDT | 4 comments

LADEE ended its mission as planned with a crash into the lunar surface on April 17. Just days prior, it turned its star tracker camera toward the lunar horizon and captured a striking series of images of the lunar sunrise and zodiacal light.

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Rosetta update: Instrument commissioning going well; Philae cameras activated

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/22 12:46 CDT

Rosetta and Philae have very nearly completed a six-week phase of spacecraft and instrument checkouts to prepare the mission to do science. Recently, the lander used its cameras for the first time since hibernation, producing some new photos of Rosetta in space.

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Forensic Ballistics: How Apollo 12 Helped Solve the Skydiver Meteorite Mystery

Posted by Philip Metzger on 2014/04/21 09:33 CDT | 7 comments

What can a 45-year-old mission to the Moon tell us about a "meteorite" flying past a skydiver on Earth?

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Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 10: Trans Neptunian Objects including Pluto, KBOs, Comets

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/04/18 06:42 CDT

Explore the worlds beyond Neptune including Pluto, Kuiper Belt Objects and comets in this video of class 10 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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The Birth of the Wanderers

Posted by Augusto Carballido on 2014/04/16 02:50 CDT | 9 comments

How did planets originate? This is a question that has puzzled scientists for centuries, but one which they have been able to tackle directly only in the last few decades, thanks to two major developments: breakthroughs in telescope technology and ever-increasing computing power.

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The End of Opportunity and the Burden of Success
Can NASA sustain its golden age of planetary exploration?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/04/15 08:19 CDT | 11 comments

The Opportunity rover and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter are both zeroed out in NASA's 2015 budget. Learn why these missions face the axe and why the White House is forcing NASA to choose between existing missions and starting new ones.

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Pretty picture: Sunset over Gale crater

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/14 10:38 CDT | 5 comments

Imagine yourself on a windswept landscape of rocks and red dust with mountains all around you. The temperature -- never warm on this planet -- suddenly plunges, as the small Sun sets behind the western range of mountains.

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Interview with a Mars Explorer

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/04/14 08:03 CDT | 5 comments

A conversation with Dr. Sarah Milkovich, HiRISE Investigation Scientist.

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Intro Astronomy Class 9: Titan, Uranus and Neptune Systems

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/04/11 02:31 CDT

Examine Saturn's moon Titan and explore the Uranian and Neptunian systems in this video of class 9 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 8: Icy Galilean Satellites, Saturn System

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/04/11 02:28 CDT

Explore the icy moons of the Jupiter System and tour the Saturnian system in this video of class 8 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Curiosity update: Initial reconnaissance of the Kimberley, sols 585-595

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/11 12:08 CDT | 3 comments

Curiosity has been busy performing a survey of the Kimberley, walking the length of the outcrop and taking enormous quantities of photos. The team is now ready to go in for a closer look, and maybe even to drill.

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Help name the last phase of the Cassini mission!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/10 06:31 CDT | 13 comments

The scientists on the Cassini team are incredibly excited about the final, "proximal orbit" phase of the mission. But they want a punchier name for it, and they're asking the public for help.

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