Emily Lakdawalla's blogs from 2010
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/03 03:29 CST
There has been big news from Moon and Mars here at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, but I can't find the time to wrap that stuff up into a properly illustrated blog post; while I'm still on site at the conference I'll be tossing the easier-to-digest bits into the blog.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/02 05:49 CST
This is just a brief note to advertise this evening's edition of NOVA on public television here in the U.S. The show is "The Pluto Files" and is hosted by former Planetary Society president Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/18 03:27 CST
As I mentioned on Tuesday, we organized a UStream chat today where Bill Nye and Lou Friedman discussed the proposed NASA budget.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/16 03:20 CST
My enormously long page describing the details of Cassini's tour -- each and every Cassini orbit of Saturn -- is now updated to include the entire Solstice Mission, which doubles its length.
On Sunday comes the twentieth anniversary of an iconic image from the Voyager mission: the "Pale Blue Dot" photo of Earth caught in a sunbeam, which was captured by Voyager 1 as part of a Solar System Family Portrait.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/11 05:28 CST
I think a goodly proportion of you readers have already figured this out for yourselves since it was launched last March, but I didn't download and install it until last weekend, so this is new to me: Google Mars is awesome.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/09 10:39 CST
This week the Carnival of Space is over at one of my favorite new blogs, Lights in the Dark. Actually it's not so new -- evidently this week marks its first anniversary!
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/08 02:21 CST
Although I am not suffering under the "snowpocalypse" on the East Coast, I woke up to Monday absolutely buried under a massive pile of things to do for both home and work, and it looks like it's going to take me a few days to dig out. So, with apologies, I'm going to make today's post a linky one.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/06 08:14 CST
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory posted a video to YouTube today showing what seems to be a remarkable amount of motion out of Spirit lately, especially given that she's supposed to be a "stationary science platform" now.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/04 02:17 CST
I just posted my writeup of today's press briefing on a new map of Pluto produced from Hubble images. The main conclusion was that Pluto has shown an astonishing amount of changes across its surface between 1994 and 2002 -- more, in fact, than any other solid surface in the solar system.
NASA has just announced that once Cassini's Equinox Mission runs out in June of this year, they will extend it a further seven more years, long enough for the spacecraft to see Saturn through its solstice!!
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/02 01:25 CST
Hubble has caught an astonishing view of something that's never before been observed, the aftermath of a collision between two asteroids in the main belt.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/02 12:08 CST
For the first time ever, Mars Express' Visual Monitoring Camera has imaged the shadow of Mars' moon Phobos crossing the surface of Mars.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/01 01:56 CST
Probably the biggest topic of discussion this month will concern the news contained within the President's proposed fiscal year 2011 budget, about which there was a NASA press conference this morning.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/01 10:37 CST
It looks like the rover team thinks Concepcion is pretty enough (in both aesthetic and a scientific senses) to be worthy of the full-color Pancam panorama treatment; color frames started arriving on Earth over the weekend.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/29 10:59 CST
Since leaving Marquette Island on sol 2,122, Opportunity has been barreling southward on her journey toward Endeavour crater. On her horizon for the last several sols has been a very small but very fresh looking crater named Concepción.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/26 03:22 CST
There was a press briefing today that announced the official end of efforts to extricate Spirit from her sand trap at Troy. Instead, the rover drivers will now focus on improving the chances that Spirit will survive the coming winter so that she can carry on doing science once the power situation improves in the spring.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/26 11:36 CST
There's a press briefing going on right now that marks today, January 26, 2010, more than six years after she landed, the day that NASA decided that Spirit's roving days were over.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/22 04:14 CST
The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) just took its lens cap off on December 29, and posted its "first light" image on January 6. Now, just two weeks later, WISE has bagged its first near-Earth object.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/20 11:48 CST
The HiRISE public suggestion tool, called HiWish, is a Web site that allows you to log in and select a spot on Mars as a suggestion for where the HiRISE instrument should take an image.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/19 01:31 CST
An amateur named Bernhard Braun ("nirgal" on unmannedspaceflight) has been posting the results from a new piece of software he's developed that generates 3-D models of landscapes from single photos.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/18 10:48 CST
Data from all science instruments on all of NASA's and ESA's space missions, not just cameras, is archived in the Planetary Data System and Planetary Science Archive, and almost all of that data is available online.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/15 04:21 CST
The science team for Mars Orbiter Camera, or "MOC" (pronounced "mock") has just published a paper that attempts to summarize an investigation that spanned more than two decades.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/13 03:43 CST
The January 1, 2010 Cassini imaging data release includes everything acquired by Cassini from January 1 to March 30, 2009 in all its high-quality glory.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/13 10:30 CST
2010 AL30 zipped past us harmlessly about five hours ago. Because of its one-year orbital period, many people speculated it might be a manmade object, but 2010 AL30 might, in fact, be artificial.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/12 10:05 CST
Radio scientist Lance Benner posted to the Minor Planets Mailing list this evening the following message: "We have detected STRONG radar echoes from 2010 AL30 at Goldstone."
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/12 11:52 CST
In less than 24 hours, a newly discovered asteroid known as 2010 AL30 will be zipping past Earth at an altitude of approximately a third the Earth-Moon distance. There's no chance it'll hit us, but it's generating a lot of excitement in the community of amateur and professional near-Earth asteroid observers.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/11 01:12 CST
Last week in Science magazine appeared the first peer-reviewed article on the results of Rosetta's September 2008 encounter with the smallish main-belt asteroid Steins. This morning I got a chance to sit down and read the article, and I wrote up a summary.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/06 12:51 CST
Congratulations are due to the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) team on their lovely "First Light" image, unveiled at the 215th American Astronomical Society meeting.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/04 01:29 CST
While we don't have Moon bases, we do have plenty of spacecraft. Before I get into my more detailed look at the activities of the 20-odd spacecraft wandering about the solar system, I thought I'd look ahead to 2010 more generally and see what the year has in store for us.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/01 10:37 CST
I know I already posted Earth once before. But I could not resist winding up the calendar with this view of a new Earth, for the new year.
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.