Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/31 05:28 CDT
September is going to start with a bang: the twin GRAIL spacecraft are set for launch on September 8. I would love to be able to attend the launch but my older daughter's first day of kindergarten is September 7! That's a launch of a different kind.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/30 11:27 CDT
Today and tomorrow I'm attending the New Horizons Workshop on Icy Surface Processes. The first day was all about the composition of the surface and atmosphere of Pluto, Charon, Triton, and other distant places.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/30 03:25 CDT
The next thing needed by both the small bodies science community and people interested in human exploration is a space-based telescope capable of surveying (and following up on) near-Earth space for asteroids that, for a variety of reasons, haven't been found yet.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/28 06:14 CDT
Two weeks ago I posted an awesome video of Martian clouds in motion. Last week I explained how I accessed the Mars Express images that comprise the animation. Today I'm going to explain how I turned the five-frame animation of Mars Express images into a smooth movie.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/26 07:42 CDT
Bill Nye, the Executive Director of the Planetary Society will be at his alma mater, Cornell University, this Saturday, August 27, for the dedication of a remarkable Solar Noon Clock that has been installed on the front face of Rhodes Hall on the Cornell campus.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/26 05:43 CDT
Yesterday Cassini passed unusually close by Hyperion, the oddly shaped moon that orbits Saturn just beyond Titan. Among the many cool images captured during this flyby were three that I used to make this neato view of Hyperion's crescent.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/25 01:45 CDT
NASA funds regular meetings of scientists who work on different parts of the solar system to provide scientific input into NASA's future plans. These "analysis groups" are known by their acronyms, all of which sound kind of horrible, but none has quite as terrible-sounding an acronym as "SBAG," usually pronouced "ess-bag," the Small Bodies Assessment Group.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/24 05:13 CDT
I haven't checked in on Cassini lately. I went to the raw images page and found the frames for this very lovely, very close view of Saturn. It was taken by Cassini two days ago, as it was approaching periapsis.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/23 09:33 CDT
365 Days of Astronomy is a daily podcast that is almost entirely user-driven. Each podcast, which can cover astronomical, cosmological, planetological, or educational topics, is written, recorded, and submitted by people like you who are excited about space.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/22 08:39 CDT
Last Friday I posted an awesome video of Martian clouds in motion. This week I'll tell you how I made it. The how-to is split up into two parts. The first, today, is how to access Mars Express HRSC image data and process it into the individual animation frames, from which you can make an animated GIF.
Posted by Jaime Nomen on 2011/08/22 04:41 CDT
In spite of some bad weather conditions during the first part of this year, the new camera bought with funds from a Planetary Society Shoemaker Near Earth Object grant helped us to discover and confirm ten new near-Earth objects.
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/08/21 12:00 CDT
We are super excited that the Planetary Society’s Phobos LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) is about ready to launch to Mars’ moon Phobos and back. We have been working for years preparing this unique test of the effects of long term exposure to deep space on a wide variety of life.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/18 04:45 CDT
This is a bit of a departure from space science, but was so awesome, I had to share. I've always loved Tom Lehrer's "The Elements." Well, Youtube user Oortkuiper has done him an order of magnitude better.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/17 07:33 CDT
Much has been made of the "enigmatic mound" within Gale crater, which will be the target of the Curiosity Mars rover's investigations. The 5,000-meter-thick section rocks in Gale's central mound will be fascinating to study, but the fact that Gale has a central mound that's taller than its rim is not at all unusual on Mars.