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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!

What's up in the solar system, October 2016 edition: ExoMars arrives!

Emily Lakdawalla • October 04, 2016 • 2

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter arrives on October 19, and it will deliver the Schiaparelli lander to its brief life on the Martian surface. Juno's headed into its science orbit, MOM has released science data, and New Horizons will finally finish downlinking Pluto flyby data.

A new angle on Mars for Mars Odyssey

Emily Lakdawalla • April 19, 2016 • 4

Mars Odyssey has been in space for 15 years. It flies in a special "sun-synchronous" orbit, crossing the equator at roughly the same local time every day. Over time, the Odyssey mission has changed what that local time of day is, and I just realized something cool about how those changes show up in the geometry of its images.

What's up in solar system exploration: February 2016 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • January 29, 2016 • 2

What's going on with our robotic planetary missions? In February I count more than 20 planetary spacecraft exploring six targets beyond Earth or cruising to new destinations.

Seven Mars spacecraft attempted observations of comet Siding Spring. How did they go?

Emily Lakdawalla • November 03, 2014 • 6

It's been two weeks since comet Siding Spring passed close by Mars, and six of the seven Mars spacecraft have now checked in with quick looks at their images of the encounter. I round up all the results.

Status update: All Mars missions fine after Siding Spring flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • October 20, 2014 • 2

All seven Mars spacecraft are doing perfectly fine after comet Siding Spring's close encounter with Mars.

Mars orbiters plan for their October encounter with comet Siding Spring

Emily Lakdawalla • August 13, 2014 • 2

Now that we have reasonable confidence that our Mars orbiters will be safe from the close passage of comet Siding Spring, we are free to be excited about the opportunity that the encounter represents. At a community workshop on August 11, representatives from Mars missions shared their plans for great comet science.

What's up in planetary missions in 2014

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2013 • 4

With the New Year upon us, what can we look forward to in 2014? For me, the main event of 2014 is that ESA's Rosetta mission finally -- finally! -- catches up to the comet it has been chasing for a decade. We will lose LADEE, gain two Mars orbiters, and launch Hayabusa2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.

Noachian, Hesperian, and Amazonian, oh my! --Mars' Geologic Time Scale

Emily Lakdawalla • October 25, 2013 • 4

The Martian Geologic Time Scale is a lot more complicated than the Moon's.

What's Up in the Solar System in July 2012

Emily Lakdawalla • July 02, 2012

Welcome to my monthly roundup of the activities of our intrepid robotic emissaries across the solar system! Curiosity is about to land; Opportunity has rolled through sol 3000; Odyssey is back online, having switched to a spare reaction wheel; Dawn is now in High-Altitude Mapping Orbit 2; and Cassini is taking advantage of its newly inclined orbit to get spectacular series of images of Saturn's rings.

Curiosity's shrinking landing ellipse

Emily Lakdawalla • June 11, 2012 • 6

There was good news and bad news in this morning's press briefing about Curiosity rover's upcoming landing on Mars, just eight weeks from now. First, the good news: the landing ellipse has shrunk. The bad news: there's a contamination problem with the drill, and the Odyssey orbiter is in safe mode.

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Emily Lakdwalla
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