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Blog Archive


Hayabusa sample capsule photographed on the ground in Australia

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/13 09:23 CDT

Oh my wonderful little flying saucer, you have been to an asteroid and back -- and you were burning like a star last night! And there you are, sitting quietly in the desert, just waiting to be retrieved...

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Hayabusa's return: a review

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/13 04:47 CDT

Hayabusa's return: round up some of the amazing photos, movies, and artworks that were posted and shared and Tweeted and re-Tweeted over the previous dozen hours or so.

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Welcome home, Hayabusa!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/13 09:18 CDT

At 13:51 UTC, the Hayabusa spacecraft -- having traveled to an asteroid and back, surviving countless challenges-- broke up into a fiery meteor over the midnight, midwinter Australian sky.

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3QD Finalist!

Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2010/06/12 04:35 CDT

It looks like my MSL: Mars Action Hero post is a finalist in the 3 Quarks Daily science blogging contest. The winners will be chosen by none other than Richard Dawkins.

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Preparing for Hayabusa's return

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/11 06:10 CDT

Only about 40 hours remain for the Hayabusa mission. Its dramatic entry will take place at 14:00 UTC on Sunday, June 13.

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Titan's rivers are square

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/11 01:07 CDT

There's a new "planetary gromorphology image of the month" posted at the International Association of Geomorphologists' Planetary Geomorphology Working Group page, and it's a cool post about the shapes of the river networks on Titan.

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IKAROS: Successful sail deployment and solar power generation! Hooray!!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/10 10:46 CDT

JAXA finally issued the formal announcement: they successfully expanded IKAROS' square sail!

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Big hunks of carbonate rock on Mars at last

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/10 04:33 CDT

Carbonate rocks should be all over Mars. But it's been hard to find carbonates—surprisingly so.

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Hayabusa: Waiting

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/10 09:08 CDT

We're in the final days of the Hayabusa mission, but until Sunday I think we're in a state of "no news is good news."

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U.S. Citizens: Please write your elected representatives about restarting plutonium-238 production!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/09 04:34 CDT

I'm hereby posting a request that was sent earlier today to members of the Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society by its chair, Candy Hansen.

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Hayabusa's final approach on target; Japan's ready to receive samples

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/09 12:34 CDT

Hayabusa's final maneuver, a three-hour "firing" of its ion thrusters to fine-tune the spacecraft's trajectory toward Australia, was successful.

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Progress -- with pictures! -- on IKAROS' sail deployment

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/09 09:19 CDT

Several pictures from the sail deployment monitoring cameras showed up on the IKAROS blog overnight.

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A brief history of Hayabusa

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/08 09:17 CDT

For those of you who found my Hayabusa mission recap too long, here's a graphical version of the history of the Hayabusa mission.

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Full Triple-J Laser Interview

Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2010/06/08 04:35 CDT

Hey, remember when I was randomly interviewed by the Australian radio station triple j a few weeks ago as part of their feature on the 50th anniversary of the laser?

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Hayabusa: "I did my best!"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/08 02:26 CDT

While he was in Japan to observe IKAROS' sail deployment, Lou Friedman couldn't help but notice the country's excitement over the impending return of Hayabusa.

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Apply for a Shoemaker NEO Grant! Deadline extended to June 24

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/08 02:00 CDT

Amateur astronomers, get your proposals in for this year's round of Shoemaker NEO Grants!

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IKAROS team proceeds with final stage of sail deployment!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/08 11:32 CDT

Just a brief update on IKAROS: According to their blog, JAXA has decided to proceed with the final stage of IKAROS' sail deployment.

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Bill Nye Signs on as Planetary Society's New Executive Director

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/07 05:32 CDT

Bill Nye the Science Guy® will take the helm as the new Executive Director of the Planetary Society.

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Six days left for Hayabusa: A recap of the mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/07 05:27 CDT

The Hayabusa spacecraft is about to die. On Sunday, June 13, at 14:00 UTC, Hayabusa will burn up in Earth's atmosphere, bringing its dramatic seven-year mission to an end.

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IKAROS update: Rotation rate inexplicably increasing

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/07 11:53 CDT

JAXA's end-of-Sunday update on IKAROS' status gives more details about an issue they are working on the spacecraft. The spacecraft itself is in perfect health, but its dynamics are different from what was expected.

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