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Snapshots from Space

by Emily Lakdawalla

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Emily Lakdawalla

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Follow the thrilling adventures of planetary missions, past and present, and see the stunningly beautiful photos that they return from space!

A few new images of MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • January 15, 2019 • 4

New Horizons is back in action after going quiet for a period of solar conjunction following the 1 January flyby of 2014 MU69 (informally nicknamed "Ultima Thule"). The spacecraft is returning new data, as exemplified by these images.

InSight Update, sols 25-42: Seismometer sensors working!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 09, 2019 • 2

Engineers have leveled the seismometer and made progress on adjusting the position of the tether so that it doesn't interfere for the experiment. Most significantly for the mission, they have balanced the Very Broad Band sensors -- 3 of SEIS’ 6 seismic sensors -- and confirmed that they are generating good data.

MU69 appears as a bi-lobed baby comet in latest New Horizons images

Emily Lakdawalla • January 02, 2019 • 8

The latest images downlinked from New Horizons show MU69 to be a textbook example of a contact binary. How do contact binaries form? Updated with images released on 3 January.

Happy New Year! The New Horizons flyby was successful!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 01, 2019 • 2

New Horizons has "phoned home" as expected, 4 hours after its closest approach to 2014 MU69. Its brief transmission contained no science data, but gave the scientists welcome news: New Horizons has successfully pulled off the most distant flyby ever.

News brief: OSIRIS-REx arrives in orbit at Bennu

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2018 • 1

Today at 19:43 UTC, OSIRIS-REx entered orbit at asteroid Bennu. In so doing, it accomplished both the tightest orbit (at an altitude under 2 kilometers) and the orbit of the smallest object ever. UPDATE: Early science results from OSIRIS-REx discussed at New Horizons MU69 flyby event.

New Horizons fast approaching 2014 MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • December 27, 2018 • 3

Unaffected by the shutdown of the U.S. government, New Horizons is still on course for its New Year’s encounter with 2014 MU69 (nicknamed “Ultima Thule”). This post collects the latest images from New Horizons' approach to the tiny Kuiper belt object and will be updated regularly.

InSight update, sols 1-24: Operations begin, first instrument deployed

Emily Lakdawalla • December 21, 2018 • 5

It’s been a busy first three weeks on the InSight mission, and they’ve already achieved a major milestone: placing the seismometer on the ground. They've also gathered a self-portrait and 360-degree panorama.

The December Solstice 2018 Issue of The Planetary Report Is Out!

Emily Lakdawalla • December 18, 2018

I’m very proud to announce the publication of the December Solstice 2018 issue of The Planetary Report, “Where Life Began.”

What to Expect When New Horizons Visits 2014 MU69, Ultima Thule

Emily Lakdawalla • December 17, 2018 • 5

New Horizons is rapidly approaching its New Year’s encounter with the most distant world ever visited, 2014 MU69. Closest approach will be at a distance of 3,500 kilometers at about 05:33 on 1 January UTC.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spots InSight Hardware on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • December 13, 2018

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has finally spotted the InSight lander, its parachute, and its heat shield resting on the Martian surface. The images confirm the location of InSight's landing site, a little to the north and west of the center of the landing ellipse. The lander is located at 4.499897° N, 135.616000° E.

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Emily Lakdwalla
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