Emily Lakdawalla's blogs from 2011
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/30 04:06 CST
Investing in NASA makes us smarter, improves our lives, and increases our capability to overcome technological challenges. Even more important, though, are the intangible benefits of pride, respect from other nations, respect for our place in the universe, and hope for a future in which we can accomplish even greater things.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/29 05:57 CST
There will be no planetary launches in 2012, but there is still plenty of deep-space activity to look forward to over the coming year.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/28 05:21 CST
The twin GRAIL spacecraft are nearly at the end of their three-month cruises to the Moon. Currently being discussed is an extended mission for GRAIL that would begin after the June eclipse and last through most of December 2012.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/27 10:34 CST
Just a few of the amazing photos of Comet Lovejoy that have been taken from the southern hemisphere over the last few days. Comet Lovejoy is the first Kreutz sungrazer to have been discovered from the ground in 40 years, and after its surprising survival of its passage close to the Sun, it has been putting on a spectacular show in southern skies.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/22 11:52 CST
Cassini flew close by Dione on December 12 and, as usual, the close pass provided opportunities for lots of dramatic photos, not just of Dione, but of other moons wandering by in the background.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/21 12:10 CST
When I posted about the really cool Cassini SAR images of Enceladus a few weeks ago, I initially wrote that this was the first-ever SAR image of an icy moon other than Titan. Several people (some readers and two members of the Cassini science team!) corrected that statement: Cassini has performed SAR imaging of other icy moons (including Enceladus) before.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/20 04:53 CST
A large team of researchers has announced in a Nature article the discovery of not one, but two, Earth-sized planets orbiting a star named Kepler-20. This article separates the observational facts from the quite-likely-to-be-true inferences from the downstream speculations.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/19 06:57 CST
The Hasbro my3D viewer turns your phone into an electronic View-Master, making it easy to view color images in stereo.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/15 11:18 CST
A summary of a new article by Matt Tiscareno about planetary ring systems that reviews the known ring systems of the four giant planets and the prospects for ring systems yet to be discovered.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/14 09:37 CST
An animation of comet Lovejoy entering the field of view of one of SOHO's Sun-monitoring cameras.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/09 01:32 CST
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Mariner 9's November 13, 1971 arrival at Mars, Daniel Macháček has produced a morphed animation of the images that Mars' first orbiter took while approaching the planet.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/08 03:19 CST
A report on the press briefing and talks from the Fall 2011 American Geophyisical Union meeting about the data on Vesta collected so far by Dawn.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/06 02:39 CST
Emily reports from the Fall 2011 American Geophyisical Union meeting about advancements in space weather prediction.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/05 04:13 CST
A report on a press briefing about Voyager 1 at the Fall 2011 American Geophyisical Union meeting. The spacecraft has entered a new region between our solar system and interstellar space, which scientists are calling the stagnation region.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/02 01:06 CST
Reviews of books about space for children ages 7 to 11 and 12 and up.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/02 12:04 CST
After modifying two antennas and attempting to send commands to Phobos-Grunt for weeks without success, ESA has made the decision to stop tracking support.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/01 07:22 CST
On the November 6, 2011 flyby of Enceladus -- the third such flyby in just a few weeks -- the Cassini mission elected to take a SAR swath instead of using the optical instruments for once. So here it is: the first-ever SAR swath on Enceladus. In fact, the only other places we've ever done SAR imaging are Earth, the Moon, Venus, Iapetus, and Titan.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/01 07:18 CST
A fun video of Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa playing baseball aboard the ISS.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/01 01:22 CST
A presentation providing a correctly scaled, reasonably correctly colored view of the largest bodies in the solar system is made available for use by teachers, professors, and informal educators.
Reviews of two modular toys: Modular Robotics Cubelets and Sifteo Cubes
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/30 01:13 CST
Reviews of space-themed books & products for young children
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/28 05:06 CST
I was inspired by my recent trip to Goldstone to put together this poster showing all three of the great 70-meter dishes of the Deep Space Network. There's one at each of the three complexes, at Goldstone, at Robledo (near Madrid, Spain), and at Tidbinbilla (near Canberra, Australia).
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/28 03:07 CST
Maybe it's because I was a kid during the Cold War; I always assume that information about anything nuclear only comes out on that "need-to-know basis."
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/23 11:29 CST
Brief contact made with Phobos-Grunt after two weeks of silence
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/21 06:51 CST
Curiosity in context: Not exactly "Viking on wheels," but close
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/18 12:59 CST
Book Review: Atlas of the Galilean Satellites, by Paul Schenk
Is Europa's ice thin or thick? At chaos terrain, it's both!
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/16 02:58 CST
Our friendly neighborhood asteroid, 2005 YU55 (an animation)
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/14 05:44 CST
Last week, the team put all of the data from Deep Impact's deep-sky imaging session online, and challenged visitors to see what they could make from it. I made some photos of M51, but there were some challenges.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/09 06:52 CST
Goldstone: Desert outpost performs radio imaging of close-passing asteroid 2005 YU55
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/08 03:45 CST
Live feeds on asteroid 2005 YU55 as it passes Earth
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/08 02:12 CST
Phobos-Grunt and Phobos LIFE, with Yinghuo-1, have launched!
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/04 03:24 CDT
Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 now encapsulated in their fairing (lots of photos)
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/04 12:43 CDT
Curiosity stacked for launch, still waiting for plutonium power source installation
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/02 02:12 CDT
Book Reviews: Otherworldly skies, real and imagined
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/28 06:17 CDT
NPP Earth observatory launched successfully, and I was there!
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/25 01:30 CDT
Mars Climate Sounder confirms a Martian weather prediction
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/24 05:55 CDT
Science from Vesta at the Geological Society of America meeting
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/21 05:39 CDT
NPP's launching next week, and I'll be there to see it! (Hopefully.)
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/20 12:35 CDT
Pretty pictures & movies: Eye candy from two recent Cassini Enceladus flybys
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/19 02:10 CDT
NOVA: Finding Life Beyond Earth airs tonight, with lots of planetary stars
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/18 07:55 CDT
Book Reviews: Two books that deliver knowledge in little chunks
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/14 05:39 CDT
Phobos-Grunt update; lots of new images and video!
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/11 11:27 CDT
Photos: Preparations for Curiosity's launch proceeding (don't show these to Blofeld!)
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/07 07:09 CDT
Notes from Day 5 of the EPSC/DPS meeting: Saturn's storm, Phobos, and Lutetia
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/05 11:04 CDT
Notes from Day 3 of the EPSC/DPS meeting (all about MESSENGER)
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/30 11:40 CDT
Off to France! DPS-EPSC 2011 (a big planetary meeting)
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/27 12:25 CDT
Finally, an official statement on UARS' exact reentry time and location
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/26 12:03 CDT
Readers: Help me identify "greatest hit" blog entries?
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/24 10:19 CDT
The latest HiRISE view of Opportunity, on Endeavour's rim
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/23 01:09 CDT
Tethys and Dione don't seem to be active after all
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/20 01:58 CDT
Reading Itokawa's life history from microscopic samples
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/19 11:55 CDT
Lou Friedman: Students design human asteroid mission in Caltech Space Challenge
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/15 02:18 CDT
Scale solar system presentation slide, a provisional version for you to review
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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