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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!

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.

Updates on China's lunar missions

Emily Lakdawalla • January 14, 2016 • 2

It's official: China plans to send a lander mission to the lunar farside. A relay satellite will launch to the Earth-Moon L2 point in June of 2018, and a lander will follow at the end of 2018. The landing site may be within the south pole-Aitken basin.

JunoCam cruise data, and a look ahead to Jupiter

Emily Lakdawalla • January 13, 2016 • 2

Juno is now fewer than six months and 100 million kilometers away from Jupiter, and the Juno team is busily preparing for the arrival. Amateur astronomers are supporting them by taking lots of Jupiter photos.

Curiosity update, sols 1166-1217: First reconnaissance of Bagnold dunes

Emily Lakdawalla • January 07, 2016 • 4

In the six weeks since my last detailed Curiosity update, the rover has driven to, on, and around a couple of active barchan sand dunes on Mars. They are now searching for a site to scoop and sample sand on the western edge of Namib dune.

It's your data: Curating NASA's science treasures

Emily Lakdawalla • January 05, 2016 • 3

One of the great things about NASA is that all the data returned from all of the missions all over the solar system belong to you, the public. NASA shares all these data, and more, through the Planetary Data System, the Minor Planet Center, the Astromaterials Office, and the Astrogeology Science Center.

Planetary Exploration Timelines: A Look Ahead to 2016

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2015 • 19

How many planetary exploration missions are there, and where are they? These days, it's hard to keep track, because there are so many. I plan to begin the new year by taking stock of active missions, figuring out what each has set out to do and accomplished so far, but first I want to step back to consider the spread of missions across the solar system as a whole.

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Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

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