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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:

The road to Mars: updates on NASA's MAVEN and India's Mars Orbiter Mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/29 08:00 CDT | 4 comments

The 2013 launch window for Mars is fast approaching. November represents the next chance to send spacecraft to the Red Planet; the next window doesn't open until early 2016. So NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are working hard to prepare their respective Mars missions for launch.

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Pluto on the Eve of Exploration by New Horizons: Small moons, dust, surfaces, interiors

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/24 09:04 CDT | 5 comments

My roundup from notes on the day's presentations on dust in the Pluto system and the surfaces and interiors of Pluto and Charon.

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Is the study of astrophysics self-indulgent?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/23 09:55 CDT | 15 comments

Is the study of astrophysics self-indulgent? I was caught aback by that assertion, made by a recent graduate in the latest issue of the Brown University alumni magazine.

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Pretty picture: Looking backward

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/23 05:03 CDT | 15 comments

Here it is: the view from Saturn of our Earthly home, one and a half billion kilometers away. We see Earth and the Moon through a thin veil of faintly blue ice crystals, the outskirts of Saturn's E ring. Earth is just a bright dot -- a bit brighter than the other stars in the image, but no brighter than any planet (like Saturn!) in our own sky.

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Earth and Moon from MESSENGER

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/22 05:03 CDT | 3 comments

A new picture of the Earth-Moon system from MESSENGER, taken the same day we were told to "Wave at Saturn." Updated with a neat photo taken from much closer to Earth from a similar perspective.

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Pretty picture: An Atlas launch and a very surprised bird

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/19 12:30 CDT

If you take hundreds of photos of every single spacecraft launch you can get to, you will eventually get lucky shots like this one. It was taken by Ben Cooper at today's launch of the U.S. Navy satellite MUOS-2 and features a very surprised turkey vulture in a striking pose in front of the American flag.

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Planetary Geomorphology Image of the Month: Water tracks on Earth and Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/18 09:57 CDT | 3 comments

The International Association of Geomorphologists' "planetary geomorphology image of the month," contributed by Joe Levy, features water tracks on Earth and compares them to recurring slope lineae on Mars.

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A new HiRISE view of Opportunity (sol 3361)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/17 06:14 CDT

The HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has snapped a lovely color photo of the rim of Endeavour crater, catching Opportunity midway between Nobby's Head and Solander Point.

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New names for Pluto's little moons Kerberos and Styx; and a new moon for Neptune

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/15 01:37 CDT | 4 comments

Pluto's moons, formerly known as "P4" and "P5," are now named Kerberos and Styx; I thought I'd help place them into context with a little help from Cassini. Also, Neptune now has a 14th known moon.

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