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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!

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.

Two epic photos of Earth -- but which one is truer?

Emily Lakdawalla • December 29, 2015 • 1

Two images of Earth taken from different spacecraft at the same time illustrate differences in "true" color imaging among spacecraft.

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander travel safely to Baikonur

Emily Lakdawalla • December 28, 2015 • 3

Europe's second mission to Mars has begun its journey from its birthplace in Cannes to its planned arrival at Mars on October 19. Since December 17 we've been able to watch every step of its journey via Twitter.

For the first time ever, a Curiosity Mastcam self-portrait from Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • December 22, 2015 • 1

In a remarkable and wholly unexpected gift to Curiosity fans, the rover has just taken the first-ever color Mastcam self-portrait from Mars.

December solstice: Viewing Earth's seasonal shifts from space

Emily Lakdawalla • December 22, 2015 • 2

It's fun to watch the seasons shift from space, and as of this year we have new ways to do that.

Pluto updates from AGU and DPS: Pretty pictures from a confusing world

Emily Lakdawalla • December 21, 2015 • 7

Pluto is reluctant to give up its secrets. Last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting I attended sessions featuring results from the New Horizons mission, and most of the presentations could be summed up thusly: the data sets are terrific, but there are still a lot of Pluto features that have scientists scratching their heads.

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Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

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