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Snapshots from Space

by Emily Lakdawalla

Follow the thrilling adventures of planetary missions, past and present, and see the stunningly beautiful photos that they return from space!

InSight has a new launch date: May 5, 2018

Emily Lakdawalla • March 09, 2016

NASA has decided to move forward with the InSight mission after its delay last December, setting a new launch date of May 5, 2018. That will put the landing on Mars on November 26, 2018. In order to launch in two years, one of its two science instruments must be redesigned.

"Planet Nine" update: Possible resonances beyond the Kuiper belt?

Emily Lakdawalla • March 08, 2016 • 27

A new paper by Renu Malhotra proposes that an undiscovered distant planet could have organized extremely distant Kuiper belt objects into orbital resonances.

Mars Express VMC is back online

Emily Lakdawalla • March 04, 2016

Mars Express' Visual Monitoring Camera is taking photos again! The camera was turned on for the first time in six months on Leap Day to take some lovely photos of Mars.

What's up in solar system exploration: March 2016 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • February 29, 2016 • 4

Welcome to my monthly inventory of the 20-plus spacecraft actively exploring our solar system. Highlights of this month include the impending launch of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander, currently planned for March 14, and the resumption of regular VMC Mars images by Mars Express.

Curiosity Rover: Design, Planning, and Field Geology on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • February 26, 2016 • 6

Emily is back to work on her Mars Science Laboratory book, which has a new publication date and a new title.

Pretty pictures: Cassini views of Titan's poles (with bonus Enceladus)

Emily Lakdawalla • February 25, 2016 • 4

Image processing enthusiast Ian Regan produced a pretty view of Titan's lake-filled north pole, now visible to Cassini's cameras in the summer sun.

UPDATED: ESA activates a new old space camera

Emily Lakdawalla • February 19, 2016 • 2

Inspired by the Mars Webcam on Mars Express, ESA's Cluster mission has turned on a camera on the Cluster spacecraft for the first time since their launch more than 15 years ago. UPDATE: It has now acquired images of Earth.

Light plays on a Martian crater rim

Emily Lakdawalla • February 16, 2016

Recently, space image processing enthusiast Thomas Appéré noticed that Curiosity had taken five photos of exactly the same spot on the rim of Gale crater, identical but for being taken at different times of day. That spot was due north of the rover, so the rising and lowering Sun illuminates the rounded hummocks of the crater rim differently from early morning to early afternoon.

Curiosity update, sols 1218-1249: Digging in the sand at Bagnold Dunes

Emily Lakdawalla • February 10, 2016 • 4

Curiosity has spent the last month sampling and processing dark sand scooped from the side of Namib Dune. The rover has now departed Namib and is preparing to cross the Bagnold dune field, while working to diagnose an anomaly with the CHIMRA sample handling mechanism.

HiRISE image coverage of the Curiosity field site on Mars, Version 3.0

Emily Lakdawalla • February 05, 2016 • 1

There have been tons and tons of HiRISE images of the Curiosity landing region, and it has taken quite a lot of work for me to find, locate, and catalogue them. This post is a summary of what I've found; after five revisions and updates, it's now version 3.0 of the list.

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Emily Lakdwalla
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