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Video: Zooming around Vesta

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/16 08:44 CDT

The Dawn team released today a nice little video that flies around a shape model of Vesta produced by DLR, the German Aerospace Corporation, who built and operate Dawn's camera.

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Scale solar system presentation slide, a provisional version for you to review

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/15 02:18 CDT

I'm preparing a talk for the Pacific Astronomy and Telescope Show here in Pasadena on Sunday afternoon at 1:45. I have spent the morning putting together a slide that I have long wanted to have for presentations.

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NASA unveils Space Launch System

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/09/15 11:58 CDT

After months of political wrangling, NASA has finally unveiled the design of the Space Launch System, America's next deep space transportation system.

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Dawn's cryptic image release titles

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/14 04:44 CDT

Every day's image release from the Dawn spacecraft shows something on Vesta that is weird and cool and difficult to explain. The images come out with very little information describing what is going on to make those weird landscapes.

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Guest Post: Ray Sanders: What's Up in the Night Sky This Fall?

Posted by Ray Sanders on 2011/09/13 04:14 CDT

The summer heat is starting to cool off and the swarms of mosquitoes are nearly survivable without heavy artillery. For some backyard astronomers, fall offers cool nights and comfortable weather to enjoy the stars by.

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New Horizons Day 2: Liquids on Pluto's surface?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/13 01:27 CDT

Jeff Moore's presentation was cool because of the discussion it stimulated. He considered what exogenic processes might be operating on Pluto's surface. What's an exogenic process? It's something that modifies the shape of the surface from the outside, and doesn't require the body to be geologically active inside.

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Pretty picture: Talking to GRAIL

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/12 07:47 CDT

Here's a lovely picture from the Canberra DSN this morning, showing two of the workhorse 34-meter antennas communicating with the nearby GRAIL spacecraft. In the distance, the huge DSS-43 talks to the solar observatory STEREO-B.

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GRAIL A and B are on their way to the Moon!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/10 09:55 CDT

After some exasperating delays due to pesky and changeable high-level winds, the twin GRAIL spacecraft launched this morning on their trip to the Moon.

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Here we go again: GRAIL set to launch today

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/10 07:02 CDT

GRAIL is trying for launch today at 8:29 PDT / 12:29 UT or 9:08 PDT / 6:08 UT., and here I am at 5:00 am my time ready to watch. As before, I'm watching the feed through Spaceflight Now's GRAIL mission status center.

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Weekend watching: 3D Movie from Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/09 07:07 CDT

There's one Mars landed mission for which there is a long 3D film, and that's Viking. Grab your 3D glasses, and be prepared to be transported to Mars.

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New Horizons Day 2: Tectonic features on icy worlds

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/09 01:05 CDT

The second day of the New Horizons Workshop on Icy Surface Processes was about geology and geophysics. This long post just covers the first talk of that day.

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GRAIL update: Next launch attempt planned for Saturday

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/08 10:57 CDT

Just a brief update: SpaceflightNow reports no attempt will be made to launch GRAIL tomorrow. The next launch opportunity is Saturday.

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From the "Just Plain Cool" department: Time-lapse photo of GRAIL's Delta 2 tower rollback

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/08 01:01 CDT

The terrific launch photographer Ben Cooper is at the Cape waiting for GRAIL's Delta 2 rocket to take off, and last night he took this very cool photo.

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New Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photos show Apollo sites in sharpest detail yet

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/09/08 11:58 CDT

On September 6, NASA released new high-resolution photos from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) showing the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 landing sites from vantage points as close as 21 kilometers.

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Blast from the past: Pioneer 10 and 11 pictures of Jupiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/07 02:06 CDT

Here's a few pretty pictures that were recently dusted off by Ted Stryk. Pioneer 10 and 11 passed by Jupiter on December 4, 1973, and December 3, 1974, respectively. Here are three pictures from those two encounters, in versions newly processed by Ted from scanned photographic prints found during a research trip to NASA's Ames Research Center.

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Outside In

Posted by Bill Nye on 2011/09/07 02:05 CDT | 1 comment

Outside In, a film made from real space images that takes you on a soaring journey past our nearby worlds.

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How to watch the GRAIL launch on Thursday

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/06 01:23 CDT

The twin spacecraft of the GRAIL lunar gravity mission are set to launch side-by-side on a Delta II rocket on Thursday, September 8. Here's all the places where you can find information about the upcoming launch.

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Express Mail to Low Earth Orbit

Posted by Pablo Gutierrez-Marques on 2011/09/06 12:38 CDT

Concern about the supply chain for the ISS has been growing steeply over the last months. The final flight of Atlantis turned the ominous shadow of a future without the shuttle into a glum reality. And only a few weeks later, we have witnessed, with some degree of a shock, the first failure of a Progress mission in many years.

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Titan crater and programming note

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/02 11:58 CDT

The summer is winding to a close but it's not quite over for me -- by which I mean my children -- yet.

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Dawn Journal: Spiraling Down from Survey Orbit

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/09/02 11:39 CDT

Dawn has completed the first phase of its exploration of Vesta with tremendous success, and the peripatetic adventurer is now in powered flight again, on its way to a new location from which to scrutinize its subject.

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