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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 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.

Why are MAVEN and Mars Orbiter Mission taking such different paths to Mars?

Emily Lakdawalla • November 22, 2013 • 20

Two spacecraft launched for Mars this month: Mars Orbiter Mission on November 5, and MAVEN on November 18. MAVEN is now on an interplanetary trajectory, while Mars Orbiter Mission is still in Earth orbit and will not depart for Mars until the end of the month. A lot of people are asking me: why the difference? Here's your answer, with input from Dave Doody.

MAVEN is on the way to Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • November 18, 2013 • 8

A perfect launch on an Atlas V rocket has sent MAVEN on her way to Mars today at 10:28 PT (18:38 UT). Today's on-time launch puts the mission on course for a September 22, 2014 arrival at Mars.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about MAVEN's launch and mission

Emily Lakdawalla • November 15, 2013 • 13

MAVEN is just about to launch! The mission has just released their launch press kit. This post summarizes the press kit's high points, and hopefully answers most of your questions about NASA's next Mars orbiter, scheduled for liftoff Monday at 10:28 PT / 13:28 ET / 18:28 UT.

MAVEN has arrived at the launch pad

Emily Lakdawalla • November 08, 2013 • 3

As India's Mars Orbiter Mission continues to pump up the altitude of its orbit around Earth, NASA's MAVEN is making final preparations for its direct-to-Mars launch. All is proceeding acccording to schedule toward its November 18 launch at 1:28 EST / 10:28 PST / 18:28 UTC.

Taking a close look at MAVEN assembly and testing videos

Emily Lakdawalla • September 11, 2013 • 1

I noticed something funny while examining MAVEN assembly and testing videos.

Photo gallery: MAVEN being prepped for launch

Emily Lakdawalla • August 21, 2013 • 2

Watching MAVEN go through its final launch preparations via the photo gallery at the Kennedy Media Archive.

The road to Mars: updates on NASA's MAVEN and India's Mars Orbiter Mission

Emily Lakdawalla • July 29, 2013 • 4

The 2013 launch window for Mars is fast approaching. November represents the next chance to send spacecraft to the Red Planet; the next window doesn't open until early 2016. So NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are working hard to prepare their respective Mars missions for launch.

Looking ahead to spacecraft activities in 2013

Emily Lakdawalla • January 04, 2013 • 3

2013 is going to be a busy year in space exploration. Two missions launch to the Moon (LADEE and Chang'E 3), and another two to Mars (MAVEN and India's mission). Curiosity should drive to the Mountain, and Opportunity to the next site on Endeavour's rim. Cassini will be seeing rings and Titan. Others should continue routine operations, except maybe MESSENGER, whose fate after March is not yet decided.

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