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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!

Mastcam-Z has passed its Preliminary Design Review!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 23, 2015

A panel of outside experts reviewed the design of the Mars 2020 rover's color cameras, and approved the progress of Mastcam-Z. It still exists only as an idea in the cloud, but it's one significant step closer to being sent to Mars.

Watch the entire Cassini mission image catalog as a movie

Emily Lakdawalla • November 20, 2015 • 2

If you were to download the entire catalog of photos taken at Saturn to date by Cassini and then animate them like a flipbook, how long would it take to watch them all pass by? The Wall Street Journal's Visual Correspondent Jon Keegan has your answer: nearly four hours.

Two JAXA mission updates: Akatsuki Venus orbit entry and PROCYON Earth flyby coming up!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2015

Akatsuki is finally approaching its second attempt to enter Venus orbit, on December 7; let's all wish JAXA the best of luck! And PROCYON, whose ion engines have failed, is still an otherwise perfectly functional spacecraft that is taking photos of Earth and the Moon as it approaches for a flyby.

DPS 2015: A little science from Rosetta, beyond perihelion

Emily Lakdawalla • November 18, 2015 • 2

Updated numbers for physical properties of the comet, and a few interesting images of surface features and surface changes on Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Curiosity update, sols 1109-1165: Drilling at Big Sky and Greenhorn, onward to Bagnold Dunes

Emily Lakdawalla • November 16, 2015 • 4

Since my last update, Curiosity drilled two new holes, at Big Sky and Greenhorn, and is now approaching Bagnold Dunes.

DPS 2015: First reconnaissance of Ceres by Dawn

Emily Lakdawalla • November 12, 2015 • 7

This is the first major meeting since Dawn's arrival at Ceres, and despite competition with Pluto surface science there was a well-attended Ceres talk session on Monday and poster session on Tuesday.

DPS 2015: Pluto's small moons Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra [UPDATED]

Emily Lakdawalla • November 10, 2015 • 7

For my first post on results from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, I'm going to tell you about Pluto's small moons: Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra, their bright colors and wacky rotation states.

Reporting from the 47th annual Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting, DPS15

Emily Lakdawalla • November 08, 2015

I'll be reporting all week from Washington, D.C. from the 47th annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. Expect lots of news from New Horizons, Dawn, Cassini, MAVEN, WISE, and Rosetta missions, not to mention ground-based telescopes, plus a variety of other sources.

ESA mission updates

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2015

There have been several important pieces of news about European missions in the last month: Rosetta's fate has been determined; ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter's launch is slightly delayed; and they have selected a landing site for the ExoMars rover.

The round worlds in the solar system: An updated graphic

Emily Lakdawalla • November 02, 2015 • 9

I have a newly updated scale comparison graphic to share: all the round worlds in the solar system smaller than 10,000 kilometers in diameter, now with added Pluto, Charon, and Ceres.

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Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

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