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Blog Archive

 

How Curiosity Will Land on Mars, Part 2: Descent

Emily Lakdawalla • June 29, 2012

When people first hear about how Curiosity will land on Mars, their first question always is: are they nuts? This is the second in a multi-part series describing how -- and why -- Curiosity will land this way, in excruciating detail.

Celebrate Curiosity at Planetfest 2012

Bill Nye • June 28, 2012

Join me at Planetfest™ 2012: Curiosity Knows No Bounds, August 4 and 5 in Pasadena, California!

Virtual Star Parties

Emily Lakdawalla • June 28, 2012

Hang out with Fraser Cain and amateur astronomers all over the world in Cosmoquest's Virtual Star parties conducted over Google+. Here's how -- plus an inspiring video produced by Google to show just how cool this is.

Salacia: As big as Ceres, but much farther away

Emily Lakdawalla • June 26, 2012

A newly published paper shows trans-Neptunian object Salacia to be unexpectedly large; it's somewhere around the tenth largest known thing beyond Neptune. It has a companion one-third its size, making it appear similar to Orcus and Vanth.

A geochemist's Periodic Table of Elements

Emily Lakdawalla • June 25, 2012

The Periodic Table of Elements that hangs in chemistry classrooms doesn't include a lot of the information about elements that's most important to geologists. Here's one that does.

Zapping Rocks with Lasers to Save the World

Bruce Betts • June 25, 2012

The Planetary Society Laser Bees project in Scotland is studying in the lab a potential new technique for deflecting dangerous asteroids: laser ablation.

How Curiosity Will Land on Mars, Part 1: Entry

Emily Lakdawalla • June 22, 2012

When people first hear about how Curiosity will land on Mars, their first question always is: are they nuts? This is the first in a multi-part series describing how -- and why -- Curiosity will land this way, in excruciating detail.

Pretty picture: Meet Tethys

Emily Lakdawalla • June 20, 2012

Just a pretty global view of one of Saturn's flock of icy moons, newly processed from archival data by Gordan Ugarkovic.

Every Planet in the Galaxy!

Mat Kaplan • June 20, 2012

Okay, just the ones we know about. xkcd does it again.

Cosmoquest Science Hangout Wednesday June 20 2300 UTC: Ravi Prakash, Curiosity engineer

Emily Lakdawalla • June 18, 2012

This Cosmoquest Science Hangout featured Ravi Prakash, Curiosity Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems Engineer. He explained how Curiosity will land on Mars, and why they've changed things since Spirit and Opportunity landed.

HiWishing for 3D Mars images, part I

Alfred McEwen • June 18, 2012

Hundreds of images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera are publicly available, if you know where to look.

Shenzhou-9 reaches orbit

Jason Davis • June 16, 2012

China’s fourth human spaceflight mission got underway this morning after a Long March 2F rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 10:37 UTC.

Hunting Asteroids from a Field in Kansas

Bruce Betts • June 15, 2012

TPS Shoemaker NEO Grant Winner Gary Hug hunts near Earth objects from his back yard in Kansas. NPR's Morning Edition picked up on this fascinating story.

Pretty picture: Halo on a halo?

Emily Lakdawalla • June 15, 2012

An interesting set of images of Titan that Cassini took recently shows a peculiar cap at Titan's south pole.

Update on yesterday's post about Chang'E 2 going to Toutatis

Emily Lakdawalla • June 15, 2012

I have a couple of updates on my post from yesterday: confirmation that Chang'E 2 is indeed gone from L2, and more specifics on encounter dates with Toutatis.

Chang'E 2 has departed Earth's neighborhood for...asteroid Toutatis!?

Emily Lakdawalla • June 14, 2012

According to a Chinese spaceflight forum, Chang'E program chief scientist Ouyang Ziyuan recently announced that Chang'E 2 has departed the Sun-Earth L2 point and is now en route to asteroid 4179 Toutatis!

Weekly Space Hangout

Emily Lakdawalla • June 14, 2012

This week's Cosmoquest Google+ Space Hangout, featured me, Fraser Cain, Amy Teitel, and Nicole Gigliucci. We talked about Curiosity's landing, exoplanets, the Fermi Paradox, and tropical lakes on Titan.

Yet more planet transits

Emily Lakdawalla • June 14, 2012

A reader comment on Jay Pasachoff's post last week about Venus transits viewed from other planets had me asking whether transits of other planets were also interesting to astronomers. Jay provided some answers!

Planetary Radio is Back on iTunes!

Mat Kaplan • June 14, 2012

With help from Apple, we've once again made Planetary Radio, our weekly podcast and public radio series, available from the most popular spot on the Net to find and subscribe to podcasts.

China readies three taikonauts for station visit

Jason Davis • June 13, 2012

The stage is set for China’s space program to make history this weekend, as it prepares to send three taikonauts to visit Tiangong-1, the country’s first space station.

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