Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/29 02:35 CDT
Time again for my monthly look at what's going on with the robots exploring the solar system! It'll be a month full of routine activities for our intrepid explorers performing ongoing science at Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, and Saturn.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/24 10:12 CDT
I am pretty sure that the Dawn team put nearly every image they've taken of Vesta so far in the animation they released yesterday, which is awesome. It hasn't taken long for the amateur image processing community to pick that animation apart into its component frames and process the heck out of the individual images to produce some very fine looking images and animations.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/23 12:08 CDT
Nature News is reporting that the Mars Science Laboratory mission has made its recommendation for the landing site for the next great Mars rover, and it's Gale crater.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/21 08:23 CDT
A guest blogger here recently rounded up the large number of participatory research projects that are collectively known as citizen science. I think these are all very cool and I encourage you to check them out but none of them has yet inspired me to spend my precious time as grunt labor on a gigantic collective project. Until now.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/20 04:41 CDT
Cassini has finally achieved gorgeous global imaging of Helene with a spectacular flyby on Saturday, in which they got Helene to pose prettily for the camera from beginning to end of the encounter. And what a wacky, wacky world Cassini has revealed Helene to be!!
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/20 03:53 CDT
Remember that neat picture and movie of Phobos passing by Jupiter that I posted last week? Several people asked me where Jupiter's moons were, and I just assumed that they weren't visible. I was wrong; Mars Express spotted Jupiter's moons along with the planet and Mars' moon!
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/17 09:27 CDT
Here is a really cool view of Phobos in the foreground with gigantic (but very distant) Jupiter sitting in the background, a fortuitous alignment that the Mars Express High-Resolution Stereo Camera team took advantage of on June 1.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/17 09:02 CDT
It's not easy to wrap a ginormous rover for shipping. I was glued to the feed from the Curiosity Cam all day yesterday, as they prepared Curiosity for shipping to Kennedy Space Center. Here's a low-budget time-lapse of the rover being wrapped.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/16 03:44 CDT
There was a press briefing today giving some early science results from MESSENGER and it was surprisingly meaty. I'm going to focus on just one set of the results that they presented.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/16 02:39 CDT
According to an article published a week ago by the Xinhua news service, Chang'E 2 departed the Moon on June 9 at 09:10 UTC. It's now headed toward a Lagrangian point in space, but not the one I thought it was headed for.
Posted by Ken Kremer on 2011/06/15 01:17 CDT
After a 16 day journey of more than sixteen million miles, Space Shuttle Endeavour and her six man crew glided to a safe nighttime landing at 2:35 a.m. EDT on June 1 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I watched from close by the shuttle landing strip as the ghostly ship flew past, preceded by shocking twin sonic booms.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/14 02:21 CDT
I just got the following email from the American Geophysical Union (AGU), requesting anyone whose Congressperson sits on the Appropriations Committee to place a phone call to support the production of Plutonium-238, the isotope of plutonium that powers spacecraft that cannot run on solar power.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/14 12:25 CDT
One big space event that I missed while I was on vacation was Rosetta's entry into hibernation. Rosetta is the biggest interplanetary spacecraft that has been launched by ESA, and it has the groundbreaking goal of entering orbit around a comet and dropping a lander onto it.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/13 04:33 CDT
What do you know! I spend my last pre-vacation post whining about the lack of image releases from Dawn as it approaches Vesta and what do I find in my Inbox on the morning of my return to work but: an image release from Dawn!