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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!

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.

30th anniversary images of Uranian moons

Emily Lakdawalla • February 02, 2016 • 6

January 24 was the 30th anniversary of the Voyager flyby of Uranus. Uranian moons have been on my mind ever since New Horizons sent us close-up images of Charon. On the occasion of the anniversary, Ted Stryk produced latest-and-greatest versions of the Voyager views of these worlds.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • January 29, 2016 • 2

What's going on with our robotic planetary missions? In February I count more than 20 planetary spacecraft exploring six targets beyond Earth or cruising to new destinations.

Fun with a new data set: Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover camera data

Emily Lakdawalla • January 28, 2016 • 26

Here, for the first time in a format easily accessible to the public, are hundreds and hundreds of science-quality images from the Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover.

Wide views of Mars from Mars Express

Emily Lakdawalla • January 27, 2016 • 4

Geologist and amateur space image processor Justin Cowart has dug into the Mars Express archives and located some lovely, wide views across great swaths of the Martian globe.

xkcd: Possible Undiscovered Planets

Emily Lakdawalla • January 22, 2016 • 3

Randall Munroe is a genius at disguising seriously educational infographics as funny jokes.

Theoretical evidence for an undiscovered super-Earth at the edge of our solar system

Emily Lakdawalla • January 20, 2016 • 37

It's looking likelier that there is an undiscovered planet orbiting beyond the Kuiper belt. If it's there, it's roughly 10 times the mass of Earth (or about half the mass of Neptune), likely never gets closer to the Sun than about 100 AU, and takes more than 10,000 years to orbit the Sun.

Pretty pictures: Bittersweet goodies from Cassini at Titan, Enceladus, and Telesto

Emily Lakdawalla • January 15, 2016 • 7

Tomorrow, Cassini will fly by Titan, picking up a gravity assist that will tilt its orbit slightly up and out of the ring plane. That will end what has been a wonderful year of frequent encounters with Saturnian moons.

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Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

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