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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!

Planetary exploration in 2015: The Year of the Dwarf Planet

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2014 • 8

Looking ahead to what we can expect from Earth's exploration of the rest of the solar system in 2015, there's an obvious theme: Dwarf planets.

The New Horizons science mission to the Pluto-Charon system is about to begin

Emily Lakdawalla • December 03, 2014 • 7

It's been a long journey, but it's nearly over: New Horizons is just about ready to begin its science mission to Pluto, Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. I'll remind you of New Horizons' capabilities and simulate how Pluto will appear in optical navigation images.

Finally! New Horizons has a second target

Emily Lakdawalla • October 15, 2014 • 20

What a huge relief: there is finally a place for New Horizons to visit beyond Pluto. A team of researchers led by John Spencer has discovered three possible targets, all in the Cold Classical part of the Kuiper belt. One is particularly easy to reach. New Horizons would fly past the 30-45-kilometer object in January 2019.

Twinkling worlds in motion: New Horizons' first optical navigation images of Pluto and Charon

Emily Lakdawalla • August 07, 2014 • 15

What's that in the distance? A binary star? Those are two little round worlds dancing in circles, whirling around a point in space located between the two of them. It's Pluto and Charon, clearly separated by New Horizons' camera.

New Horizons to take new photos of Pluto and Charon, beginning optical navigation campaign

Emily Lakdawalla • July 18, 2014 • 7

Technically, Pluto science observations don't begin for New Horizons until 2015, but the spacecraft will take a series of photos of Pluto and Charon from July 20 to 27 as it begins the first of four optical navigation campaigns.

Hubble to the rescue! The last-ditch effort to discover a Kuiper belt target for New Horizons

Emily Lakdawalla • June 17, 2014 • 5

Will New Horizons have a mission after Pluto? Ground-based searches have failed to turn up anything that New Horizons can reach. Now Hubble is joining the search, but time is running out: a discovery must be made within the next two months.

When will we know which is bigger, Pluto or Eris?

Emily Lakdawalla • April 30, 2014 • 8

We don't currently know whether Pluto is the biggest thing in the Kuiper belt or not. When will New Horizons give us the answer?

Predicting Pluto's moons and moondust

Emily Lakdawalla • February 19, 2014 • 2

Why didn't we discover Pluto's moons until more than a decade after Hubble launched? Mark Showalter helps me answer this question.

MER
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Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

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