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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!

Happy 32! Happy New Mars Year!

Emily Lakdawalla • July 31, 2013 • 4

They're too far apart to have a party, but today Curiosity and Opportunity could have rung in the New Mars Year. Today Mars reached a solar longitude of zero degrees and the Sun crossed Mars' equator, heralding the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere.

A new HiRISE view of Opportunity (sol 3361)

Emily Lakdawalla • July 17, 2013

The HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has snapped a lovely color photo of the rim of Endeavour crater, catching Opportunity midway between Nobby's Head and Solander Point.

Is Opportunity near Lunokhod's distance record? Not as close as we used to think!

Emily Lakdawalla • June 21, 2013 • 4

A few weeks ago, a press release from the Opportunity mission celebrated Opportunity's surpassing of the previous NASA off-world driving record. That record was set in December 1972 by the Apollo 17 astronauts aboard their Lunar Roving Vehicle. They seem very close to Lunokhod 2's stated 37-kilometer driving record, but hold your horses -- we now know Lunokhod went longer than we thought.

Ten years since Spirit's launch

Emily Lakdawalla • June 10, 2013 • 1

Ten years ago, Spirit launched on a Delta II rocket toward Mars, and I was there to see it.

Opportunity and Curiosity updates: Rolling and drilling and a little wear on the wheels

Emily Lakdawalla • May 20, 2013 • 3

For most of April, while Mars scuttled behind the Sun as seen from Earth, both Mars rovers were pretty inactive. Now that conjunction has ended, both are doing what rovers should be doing: roving and exploring. As of sol 3312 Opportunity had moved more than 300 meters southward toward Solander Point, while on her sol 279 Curiosity drilled at a second site, Cumberland.

Blast from the Past: Spirit's tracks at the "End of the Rainbow"

Emily Lakdawalla • April 09, 2013 • 3

Doug Ellison shared this lovely panorama via Twitter over the weekend. It's from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, taken back in 2004. The drunken path in the foreground is a visual record of just how exciting it was for Spirit to have finally made it to the Columbia Hills, and to rocks that were not fragments of basalt.

LPSC 2013: Sedimentary stratigraphy with Curiosity and Opportunity

Emily Lakdawalla • March 20, 2013 • 4

A mind-boggling quantity of information is being presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. In my first report from the meeting, I try to make sense of the Curiosity and Opportunity sessions.

Columbia, ten years on

Emily Lakdawalla • February 01, 2013

Remembering Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon on the tenth anniversary of the loss of the space shuttle Columbia.

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.

Planetary Society Weekly Hangout, Thu Jan 3 1200PT/2000UT: Jim Bell

Emily Lakdawalla • January 02, 2013 • 3

Join Emily Lakdawalla and Casey Dreier for a chat with Jim Bell, a scientist who wears many hats. He's the team lead for the Pancam color cameras on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers; he's a member of the Curiosity science team; and he's the esteemed President of the Planetary Society's Board of Directors. We'll talk about the great science being done by both Curiosity and Opportunity, and about what's in store for the future.

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