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Emily's Blog

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!

Emily Lakdawalla

Latest Blog Posts:

Multiple views of comet ISON from solar-observing spacecraft

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/02 07:50 CST | 6 comments

When comet ISON passed through perihelion last week, solar observing spacecraft had a ringside view. Here are several animations of ISON's perilous passage from the SOHO and two STEREO spacecraft.

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Chang'e 3 departs for the Moon, with amazing images and video

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/02 12:18 CST | 3 comments

On December 1 at 17:30 UTC, Chang'e 3 launched atop a Long March 3B rocket on a direct lunar transfer trajectory. It is scheduled to enter orbit December 6 and land December 14. The rocket was equipped with cameras that recorded thrilling video of the launch and final departure of the probe.

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Comet ISON Hangouts November 25 and December 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/02 11:00 CST | 3 comments

Two Hangouts bookended comet ISON's perihelion, hosted by Chuck Beuter of Comet Festival South Bend. On November 25, it was I and Ron Kaitchuck. On December 2, Alex Filippenko and I discussed what happened to the comet over Thanksgiving.

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Congratulations due to India: Mars Orbiter Mission is on the way to Mars!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/30 02:51 CST | 35 comments

Today I am delighted to welcome India into the ranks of interplanetary travelers: Mars Orbiter Mission has successfully propelled itself onto an interplanetary trajectory, departing Earth forever and setting sail for Mars. Congratulations to India, to the Indian Space Research Organisation, to the mission's scientists and engineers, and to the people of India.

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Chang'e 3 ready to launch to the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/30 10:05 CST | 5 comments

A brief update on Chang'e 3, which is scheduled for launch December 2 at 01:30 China time, or December 1 at 17:30 UT / 09:30 PT.

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Mars Orbiter Mission ready to fly onward from Earth to Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/30 09:25 CST | 10 comments

Today is the day when India's Mars Orbiter Mission will fire its rocket to depart Earth and begin its 300-day journey to Mars. The rocket burn begins on December 1 at 00:49 IST (today at 19:19 UT / 11:19 PT).

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Chang'e 3 may launch December 1 with Yutu rover, will not harm LADEE mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/27 12:20 CST | 8 comments

Yesterday the Chinese space agency held a press briefing about the Chang'e 3 lunar lander. They announced that the rover has been named Yutu (or "Jade Rabbit," a legendary companion of the goddess Chang'e). Although it will land during the LADEE mission, it will not harm LADEE's goals -- quite the opposite, in fact.

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A case of the measles for Jupiter?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/26 03:09 CST | 1 comment

Amateur astronomer Christopher Go has found Jupiter to be putting on a fun show for observers: it's sprouting little red spots "like it has a measles attack!"

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Reviews of toys for kids of space geeks

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/25 10:00 CST

Have kids to buy gifts for? I review some space-themed toys for kids age 1 to 12 or so: the Snap Circuits Deluxe Rover; astronaut costume accessories; the latest incarnation of Astronaut Barbie; and Lift Off Rocket Play Set. I also have a few construction toys to recommend.

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Why are MAVEN and Mars Orbiter Mission taking such different paths to Mars?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/22 12:15 CST | 20 comments

Two spacecraft launched for Mars this month: Mars Orbiter Mission on November 5, and MAVEN on November 18. MAVEN is now on an interplanetary trajectory, while Mars Orbiter Mission is still in Earth orbit and will not depart for Mars until the end of the month. A lot of people are asking me: why the difference? Here's your answer, with input from Dave Doody.

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