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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!

Conversations with an interplanetary spacecraft: "Hi, Juno!"

Emily Lakdawalla • December 17, 2013 • 6

Juno's Earth flyby represented the first opportunity for many of the science instruments to be used on a planetary target. There were terrific photos of Earth and the Moon, plus a cool project to see if Juno could detect intelligent life on Earth.

First image from India's Mars Orbiter Mission

Emily Lakdawalla • November 20, 2013 • 6

Here, for your enjoyment, is the first image of Earth taken by the mission's Mars Colour Camera.

Juno is in Safe Mode again, but still okay

Emily Lakdawalla • October 16, 2013 • 6

After entering safe mode last week during its Earth flyby, Juno returned to normal operations and downlinked all engineering and science instrument data. It entered safe mode again on Sunday night, but it is expected to re-resume normal operations late next week.

Juno's flying by Earth today, and images of the Moon are already on the ground!

Emily Lakdawalla • October 09, 2013 • 1

Juno flies past Earth for a gravity assist at 19:22 UTC today, and the first images from the encounter are already on the ground and processed by amateurs!

Relative and absolute ages in the histories of Earth and the Moon: The Geologic Time Scale

Emily Lakdawalla • September 30, 2013 • 1

A few days ago, I wrote a post about the basins of the Moon -- a result of a trip down a rabbit hole of book research. Here's the next step in that journey: the Geologic Time Scales of Earth and the Moon.

Pretty picture: Looking backward

Emily Lakdawalla • July 23, 2013 • 15

Here it is: the view from Saturn of our Earthly home, one and a half billion kilometers away. We see Earth and the Moon through a thin veil of faintly blue ice crystals, the outskirts of Saturn's E ring. Earth is just a bright dot -- a bit brighter than the other stars in the image, but no brighter than any planet (like Saturn!) in our own sky.

Earth and Moon from MESSENGER

Emily Lakdawalla • July 22, 2013 • 3

A new picture of the Earth-Moon system from MESSENGER, taken the same day we were told to "Wave at Saturn." Updated with a neat photo taken from much closer to Earth from a similar perspective.

A rare clear day in Alaska

Emily Lakdawalla • July 12, 2013 • 3

NASA recently shared a gloriously detailed image of an unusual clear day in Alaska as seen from the Terra satellite.

Stationkeeping in Mars orbit

Emily Lakdawalla • June 27, 2013 • 15

It had never occurred to me to think about geostationary satellites in Mars orbit before reading a new paper by Juan Silva and Pilar Romero. The paper shows that it takes a lot more work to maintain a stationary orbit at an arbitrary longitude at Mars than it does at Earth.

Pretty picture: a moon transit

Emily Lakdawalla • February 21, 2013 • 5

A reader comment inspired me to dig up an oldie but a goodie: a sequence of photos of the Moon transiting Earth, seen from a very long way away,

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