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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!

The story behind Curiosity's self-portraits on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • August 19, 2015 • 2

How and why does Curiosity take self-portraits? A look at some of the people and stories behind Curiosity's "selfies" on the occasion of the official release of the sol 1065 belly pan self-portrait at Buckskin, below Marias Pass, Mars.

Curiosity update, sols 1012-1072: Sciencing back and forth below Marias Pass

Emily Lakdawalla • August 14, 2015

Since my last update, Curiosity has driven back and forth repeatedly across a section of rocks below Marias pass. The rover finally drilled at a spot named Buckskin on sol 1060, marking the drill's return to operations after suffering a short on sol 911. Now the rover is driving up into Marias Pass and onto the Washboard or Stimson unit.

ESA's cool new interactive comet visualization tool based on amateur imaging work with open data

Emily Lakdawalla • August 13, 2015 • 2

A terrific new visualization tool for comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko demonstrates the value of sharing mission image data with the public. The browser-based tool lets you spin a simulated 3D view of the comet. It began with a 3D model of the comet created not by ESA, but by a space enthusiast, Mattias Malmer.

Community service: Vetting my local library's children's space books

Emily Lakdawalla • August 12, 2015 • 8

Space fans, here is a valuable community service that you can perform in your neighborhood: Vet your school library's space book collections. My kids' elementary school librarian asked me to take a look at the nonfiction space book collection and cull any outdated or just wrong books. I culled quite a few, and am now recommending some replacements.

What's up in solar system exploration: August 2015 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • August 10, 2015 • 5

I'm back from two weeks' vacation, so it's time to catch up on the status of all our intrepid planetary missions, from Akatsuki to the Voyagers and hitting the Moon, Mars, asteroids, comets, and Saturn in between.

Looking back at Pluto

Emily Lakdawalla • July 24, 2015 • 17

I don't think anyone was prepared for the beauty -- or the instant scientific discoveries -- in this "lookback" image of Pluto, captured by New Horizons shortly after it flew by.

Jupiter's changing face, 2009-2015

Emily Lakdawalla • July 24, 2015 • 4

Damian Peach's photo-documentation of Jupiter helps us monitor the giant planet's ever-changing patterns of belts, zones, storms, and barges, during a time when no orbiting missions are there to take pictures.

Name Hayabusa2's asteroid target!

Emily Lakdawalla • July 22, 2015 • 3

Have you ever wanted to name an asteroid? JAXA is offering the opportunity to name Hayabusa2's target asteroid, 1999 JU3 to the public through a contest that runs through August 31.

New Horizons encounter plus one week: Weird and wonderful images from the Pluto system

Emily Lakdawalla • July 21, 2015 • 23

So many new image goodies from the Pluto system!

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.

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Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

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