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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!

Pretty picture: Jupiter photo from an unusual source

Emily Lakdawalla • December 26, 2012 • 4

A recently launched Earth-observing satellite is using the stars to practice its pointing, and caught a neat animation of Jupiter.

Planetary Society Weekly Hangout, Thu Dec 20 1200PT/2000UT: Making Titan in the laboratory with Sarah Hörst

Emily Lakdawalla • December 19, 2012 • 3

Join us for our weekly Google+ Hangout Thursday at noon PT / 2000 UT. This week, I'm excited to have as a guest Sarah Hörst. Sarah is a postdoc at the University of Colorado whose current line of research involves experimental work on the complex atmospheric chemistry of Titan. She is also applying to be an astronaut!

Mars Express VMC resumes raw data posting

Emily Lakdawalla • December 19, 2012 • 2

ESA brought Mars Express' VMC back online in May, but hasn't been posting the images. This week, they launched a new process to release VMC images automatically to a Flickr page.

My ever-popular asteroids-and-comets montage, now in color, with bonus Toutatis

Emily Lakdawalla • December 18, 2012 • 9

My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.

Chang'E 2 imaging of Toutatis succeeded beyond my expectations!

Emily Lakdawalla • December 14, 2012 • 19

The Chang'E 2 mission flyby of Toutatis succeeded in acquiring images. Oh my goodness, did they succeed. These, in combination with the incredible radar images still being acquired from Goldstone and innumerable optical observations, make Toutatis one of the best-studied asteroids in the solar system.

How GRAIL will meet its end

Emily Lakdawalla • December 13, 2012 • 2

The twin GRAIL spacecraft are nearly out of fuel, and are being directed to a controlled impact near the north pole on the near side of the Moon on December 17. Before the end, though, they did some cool things, including flying within 2000 meters of mountaintops, and catching video of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in flight.

More recommended nonfiction and activity space books for children

Emily Lakdawalla • December 11, 2012 • 2

My final set of reviews of children's books for 2012: five recommended nonfiction books for a range of ages.

Isostasy, gravity, and the Moon: an explainer of the first results of the GRAIL mission

Emily Lakdawalla • December 11, 2012 • 16

Last week the GRAIL mission published their first scientific results, and what they have found will send many geophysicists back to the drawing board to explain how the Moon formed and why it looks the way it does now. To explain how, I'm going to have to back way up, and explain the basic science behind gravity data.

Reviews of nonfiction book series for children

Emily Lakdawalla • December 10, 2012

Here are four recommended space nonfiction book series that would make excellent additions to any children's library.

Blast from the past: Mariner 4's images of Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • December 10, 2012 • 5

While hunting for photos to use in a presentation, I came across a couple of different amateur takes on the Mariner 4 photo catalog.

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