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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!

DSCOVR mission releases first EPIC global view of Earth, more to come in September

Emily Lakdawalla • July 20, 2015 • 17

Five months after its launch, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) mission has successfully journeyed to the region of space where Sun and Earth gravitational attraction offset each other. From the vantage point of L1, DSCOVR's EPIC camera has captured its first full-globe view of Earth, and it's well, epic.

New Horizons: Awaiting the data

Emily Lakdawalla • July 19, 2015 • 32

New Horizons' encounter and data downlinks have been going exactly as planned, but the raw image website has not been updated for many days. What's going on? I found out.

Latest New Horizons picture of Charon: oddly familiar

Emily Lakdawalla • July 16, 2015 • 14

The New Horizons team released one more picture from Tuesday's encounter, one of three high-resolution images from a mosaic that crossed the center of Charon's disk, and it took me a while to figure out what it reminded me of.

First look at New Horizons' Pluto and Charon images: "baffling in a very interesting and wonderful way"

Emily Lakdawalla • July 15, 2015 • 33

Today's press briefing at the Applied Physics Laboratory in California was preceded by hours of New Horizons team members cryptically dropping hints on Twitter at astonishing details in the seven images downlinked since the flyby. The images are, in fact, astonishing, as well as beautiful, surprising, and puzzling.

New Horizons "phones home" after Pluto flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • July 14, 2015 • 7

After a wait of more than 22 hours with no communication, New Horizons "phoned home" precisely on schedule after its flyby of Pluto. The signal was received at 00:52:37 UT | 20:52:37 ET | 17:52:37 PT. As planned, New Horizons returned no images with the Phone Home downlink. But every bit of telemetry indicated that the flyby executed successfully.

The not-planets

Emily Lakdawalla • July 14, 2015 • 37

Now that I have a reasonable-resolution global color view of Pluto, I can drop it into one of my trademark scale image montages, to show you how it fits in with the rest of the similar-sized worlds in the solar system: the major moons and the biggest asteroids.

New Horizons' best look at Pluto before close approach

Emily Lakdawalla • July 14, 2015 • 27

Feast your eyes upon it!

Pluto minus one day: Very first New Horizons Pluto encounter science results

Emily Lakdawalla • July 13, 2015 • 15

At a press briefing this morning, New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern divulged some extremely preliminary first science results from the New Horizons Pluto encounter. Science results include Pluto's diameter and information on its surface composition and atmospheric escape.

Zooming in to Pluto and Charon

Emily Lakdawalla • July 12, 2015 • 9

In the span of a few days, Pluto and Charon have turned from spots into worlds. The latest images from New Horizons are showing Pluto and Charon to have unique faces, distinct from any other icy worlds in the solar system.

Two more brief mission updates: Philae makes contact; Akatsuki to perform course correction

Emily Lakdawalla • July 10, 2015 • 6

As a followup to yesterday's post about Dawn, Juno, and OSIRIS-REx, I have updates on two more missions. With this post, I hope to have cleared the decks so that I can focus on Pluto for the next week!

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Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

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