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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!

Explore spinnable Saturn and Jupiter moons with Google Maps

Emily Lakdawalla • October 27, 2017 • 2

Google Maps released several new map products that allow you to see the locations of named features on many solar system planets and non-planets, spinning them around in space with your mouse.

#DPS2017: Progress report on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter images of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring

Emily Lakdawalla • October 20, 2017 • 1

Three years ago, on October 19, 2014, comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring passed within 138,000 kilometers of Mars. At the 2017 meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, we heard a progress report on Mars orbiter imaging of the comet's nucleus.

A new year's worth of Mars Orbiter Mission data

Emily Lakdawalla • October 02, 2017 • 1

India's Mars Orbiter Mission has now completed three years in orbit at Mars, and ISRO celebrated the anniversary by releasing the mission's second-year data to the public. Emily Lakdawalla spent a week downloading and processing data for your enjoyment.

Curiosity update, sols 1726-1813: Surveying Vera Rubin Ridge from below

Emily Lakdawalla • September 13, 2017 • 2

Curiosity had a productive three months driving along the front of Vera Rubin Ridge, gathering photos and data with its arm instruments, finally driving up on to the ridge on sol 1809.

Curiosity's balky drill: The problem and solutions

Emily Lakdawalla • September 06, 2017 • 3

Since December 1, 2016, Curiosity has been unable to drill into rocks because of a serious problem with one of the drill's motors. Emily Lakdawalla thoroughly explains the issues and the path forward for Curiosity.

Curiosity update, sols 1675-1725: Traverse to Vera Rubin Ridge

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2017

Curiosity has had a busy eight weeks, driving south from the Bagnold Dunes toward Vera Rubin Ridge. The path has steepened and the rover is now rapidly climbing upward with every meter traveled. It's been a productive time for arm instruments, but the drill is still not working.

Curiosity update, sols 1600-1674: The second Bagnold Dunes campaign

Emily Lakdawalla • April 25, 2017

The four-stop dune science campaign offered the engineers some time to continue troubleshooting the drill without any pressure to use it for science. They scooped sand at a site called Ogunquit Beach but couldn't complete the planned sample activity because of new developments in the drill inquiry. The rover has now headed onward toward Vera Rubin Ridge.

MAVEN dodges Phobos, with (maybe) a little help from Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • March 06, 2017 • 2

This week MAVEN had to execute a short rocket burn in order to prevent a future collision with Phobos. Curiosity (and other rovers) may have played a role in those trajectory predictions.

Curiosity update, sols 1548-1599: Serious drill brake problem as Curiosity drives through Murray red beds

Emily Lakdawalla • February 03, 2017

Since my last update, the Curiosity mission has developed a better understanding of the problem that prevented them from drilling at Precipice, but its intermittent nature has slowed the development of a workable solution that will allow them to use the drill again. In the meantime, the rover has driven onward, making good use of its other instruments.

Curiosity update, sols 1489-1547: Drilling at Sebina, driving up through Murray, drill problems at Precipice

Emily Lakdawalla • December 12, 2016 • 1

It's been a drive-heavy two months for Curiosity. Since my last update, the rover has drilled at a site named Sebina, then traveled about 500 meters to the south across increasingly chunky-looking Murray rocks to a new attempted drill site at Precipice. They were planning to attempt a new drilling technique at Precipice, but encountered a new problem with the drill instead.

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