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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3431 - September 18, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/09/18 11:27 CDT | 2 comments

On sol 3425 Opportunity "waded ashore" at Solander Point after crossing a sea of sand between here and Cape York. Cape York was an "island" remnant of the rim of Endeavour crater that Opportunity left back in May. Since then it has been driving south to the next largest and mountainous remnant of the crater rim, Solander Point.

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ICE is returning to Earth; but do we have the will to regain control?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/18 05:37 CDT | 8 comments

After a journey of more than 30 years, ICE is coming back to Earth next year. But do we know how to regain control of it, and can we find the means to do so?

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Antares and Cygnus blast off to International Space Station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/09/18 11:09 CDT | 1 comment

Orbital Sciences Corporation's Antares rocket lifted off from the Virginia coast this morning, successfully carrying the first operational Cygnus resupply spacecraft into orbit.

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Working Together - Scientists & Historians, Professionals & Amateurs

Posted by Fran Bagenal on 2013/09/18 10:53 CDT

From October 6 to 11, two divisions of the American Astronomical Society - Planetary Science and History - are meeting together for a combined annual conference. There will be several opportunities for the public to participate: a free public talk, several webcast lectures, a special online event for the Juno flyby of Earth, and a pro-am workshop on how amateur astronomers can contribute to planetary science.

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Mission Leader Bruce Jakosky's MAVEN Prepares for Mars
Exploring the Red Planet's Climate History

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/09/17 11:06 CDT

Pay attention! This Mars orbiter, headed for launch in November, is a terrific science mission, as Mat Kaplan learned in a recent workshop, and in this week's Planetary Radio.

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Riding Along With Mars Express

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/09/16 06:03 CDT | 1 comment

Take a spin around the Red Planet with the trusty orbiter.

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Cygnus ready to spread its wings, fly to ISS

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/09/16 01:43 CDT

Orbital Sciences Corporation's Cygnus spacecraft will launch to the International Space Station Wednesday atop an Antares rocket.

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Two new ways to browse Vesta: 2. Vesta Image data browser

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/16 10:57 CDT

A few weeks ago I received an email pointing me to a really cool new map-based browser to Dawn's Vesta image data.

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Two new ways to browse Vesta: 1. Vesta Low-Altitude Mapping Orbit (LAMO) Atlas

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/16 10:57 CDT

Last week was the European Planetary Science Congress in London, and there's been a lot of science news. One thing that caught my eye Friday was the publication of a new atlas for Vesta.

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LADEE checkout phase successfully completed!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/13 07:25 CDT

Some good news to start your weekend: the newest member of our deep-space fleet, LADEE, has successfully completed its checkout phase and is now officially in its cruise phase. It is still in Earth orbit, headed for Lunar Orbit Insertion on Sunday, October 6.

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The Energy Department is Full of Hugely Wasteful Spending, But Can't Afford to Make Plutonium for NASA
Congressional Energy Committees Should Focus More On Waste, Less on Making NASA Pay

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/13 11:49 CDT | 2 comments

A recent report shows that major programs within the Department of Energy are billions of dollars over budget due to lax oversight, yet the congressional committees responsible for the Department

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Has Voyager 1 left the Solar System?

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/09/12 07:26 CDT | 3 comments

Has Voyager 1 left the Solar System? NASA announced it has entered interstellar space. What does that mean? Check out this short video discussing the answers.

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Taking a close look at MAVEN assembly and testing videos

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/11 06:33 CDT | 1 comment

I noticed something funny while examining MAVEN assembly and testing videos.

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Expedition 36 crew returns to Earth

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/09/10 11:45 CDT | 3 comments

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin returned to Earth following a five-and-a-half month stay aboard the International Space Station.

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Still no contact with Deep Impact

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/10 06:59 CDT | 4 comments

Oh, that dreaded phrase, "mission status report." It sounds so neutral, but it almost always means bad news. In this case, it's really bad: Deep Impact is not communicating with Earth.

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Our Debt to NASA - Fighting the Pernicious Myth of NASA as Unnecessary

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/10 04:08 CDT | 10 comments

A recent article in the NY Times Sunday Magazine highlights how the pernicious myth of NASA as wasteful spending perpetuates through our culture.

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Mars' valley networks tell us of a dry, then wet, then dry Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/10 03:43 CDT | 1 comment

Was there rainfall on Mars? Recent work mapping valley networks suggests there probably was -- but only for about 200 million years. What does this mean for life, and the Curiosity mission?

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Go LADEE!
Planetary Radio Live Launch Special

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/09/10 10:41 CDT

Listen to or watch the recording of our live celebration for LADEE as the spacecraft blasted off for the moon.

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A Division of Planetary Science
When Scientists Can't Agree on Priorities, Should Politicians Listen?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/10 09:31 CDT | 3 comments

When scientists can't agree on priorities, will politicians listen? A reflection on a recent public policy session from the European Planetary Science Congress in London.

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New Messages from Mercury

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/09/09 10:12 CDT | 7 comments

We have new pictures from planet one.

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