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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!

Solar conjunction: Holidays for Mars missions, and an Opportunity update

Emily Lakdawalla • November 21, 2008

The period of Mars solar conjunction has just begun, which means that a host of scientists and engineers whose day jobs entail interaction with the five active Mars spacecraft are getting a five-week break from the daily grind of operations.

High dust levels are making life tough for Spirit

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2008

There was a worrying update posted on the JPL website for Spirit today: an early-season dust storm has darkened its skies enough that its solar panels produced only 89 watt-hours of power yesterday, sol 1,725. Neither rover has ever, ever seen power production levels that low, not even during last year's massive dust storm.

Opportunity and Spirit updates: Both are now driving

Emily Lakdawalla • October 31, 2008

Another day, another drive: on sols 1,693 and 1,695 the Opportunity rover conducted two more lengthy drives to the south, totaling almost 200 meters. On the other side of the planet, Spirit is FINALLY in motion again.

Opportunity is really hitting the highway

Emily Lakdawalla • October 28, 2008

Victoria crater, the site of a Mars year's worth of study, is now far over the horizon, as Opportunity has lately completed a series of very long drives. Opportunity is once again sailing the sand seas of Meridiani Planum.

Why is only half of Mars magnetized?

Emily Lakdawalla • October 24, 2008 • 4

An article in the September 26 issue of Science neatly explains why only the southern half of Mars is strongly magnetized.

A shift in orbit for Mars Odyssey

Emily Lakdawalla • October 16, 2008

Last week, the Mars Odyssey team announced that their mission is being extended another two years. This mission extension will be slightly different from previous mission phases due to a planned change in the spacecraft's orbit.

Long drives at last for Opportunity (or, getting your kicks on sol 1,666)

Emily Lakdawalla • October 02, 2008

It's been way, way, way too long since the view from either rover's cameras has changed very much. So I hope you'll join me in a shout of "woo hoo!" or perhaps "yippee!" as I show you the latest view from Opportunity, from sol 1,666, as automatically composed in Mike Howard's Midnight Mars Browser software.

Opportunity's got a long road ahead

Emily Lakdawalla • September 19, 2008

Mars Exploration Rover principal investigator Steve Squyres announced on National Public Radio's Science Friday show the next goal for Opportunity, and it's a long, long, long way away: a huge crater about 12 kilometers southeast of its current location, which the team is referring to internally as "Endeavour."

Three great new pages on Don Davis' website

Emily Lakdawalla • August 24, 2008

Don Davis is a space artist who takes the question of color in space very seriously.

Looking back into Victoria crater

Emily Lakdawalla • August 08, 2008

Here's another wonderful self-portrait silhouette by Opportunity.

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