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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!

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 • 38

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!

Three mission updates: Trouble for Dawn at Ceres; A new plan for Juno; OSIRIS-REx coming together

Emily Lakdawalla • July 09, 2015 • 6

With all the focus on Pluto it's hard to keep up with all the other space missions currently exploring other planets. Here are brief updates on three of them.

More than 2000 Rosetta NavCam images for your enjoyment

Emily Lakdawalla • July 07, 2015 • 2

Last week, the European Space Agency released the first set of images from Rosetta's navigational camera, or NavCam, from the phase of the mission that followed the Philae landing. That makes more than 3500 NavCam images that have been released from the comet phase of the mission.

New Horizons "back in action" after safe mode event, ready to resume encounter science

Emily Lakdawalla • July 06, 2015 • 10

NASA held a press briefing today to explain the nature and cause of the spacecraft anomaly that halted science on New Horizons for four days as it was on its terminal approach to Pluto. As of the moment that I write this post, New Horizons is not yet performing science observations, but it will resume them tomorrow, July 7.

New Horizons enters safe mode 10 days before Pluto flyby [UPDATED]

Emily Lakdawalla • July 05, 2015 • 18

New Horizons decided to put on a little 4th of July drama for the mission's fans. It's currently in safe mode, and it will likely be a day or two before it recovers and returns to science, but it remains on course for the July 14 flyby. Here's the mission update in its entirety.
[UPDATE]: Normal operations are planned to resume July 7.

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Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

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