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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!

Philae is awake! What's next for the comet lander's scientific mission?

Emily Lakdawalla • June 17, 2015 • 5

I woke up early Sunday morning to the dramatic news: Philae is back! With a few days to consider the telemetry, the Philae team is now talking about the science they hope to do. With comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko approaching perihelion in August, it's going to be an exciting ride.

Pluto and Charon spin among the stars

Emily Lakdawalla • June 16, 2015 • 7

I've spent a happy couple of days playing with raw data downloaded from the New Horizons website, making animations of the dances of Pluto and Charon.

Welcome home, AstroSamantha

Emily Lakdawalla • June 15, 2015 • 2

Three astronauts have returned to Earth, and while I'm happy that they landed safely, I'm very sad that astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is not in space anymore to wish us "buona notte dallo spazio" with her lovely photos and piquant comments.

Curiosity update, sols 978-1011: Into Marias Pass; ChemCam back in action; solar conjunction

Emily Lakdawalla • June 10, 2015 • 7

It’s been an eventful few weeks for Curiosity on Mars. From sols 981 to 986, Curiosity’s human pilots tried and failed to drive the rover southward; but, retracing their steps to Logan's Run, they quickly found a way up and into a beautiful geological amphitheater named Marias Pass, where they will stay throughout Mars solar conjunction. They also returned ChemCam to normal operations.

An enigmatic line across Pluto: Plutonian canali!?

Emily Lakdawalla • June 09, 2015 • 17

Pluto and Charon are growing larger in New Horizons' forward view, beginning to develop distinct personalities. A version of recent New Horizons photos processed by Björn Jónsson reveals an enigmatic dark line. Our maps of Pluto's surface are now as good as our maps of Mars and Venus, circa 1900!

A (very) few more details on Pluto

Emily Lakdawalla • June 01, 2015 • 9

Last week the New Horizons mission released a few new processed versions of their latest and greatest images of Pluto. They're the best images of Pluto that Earth has ever seen, but they're still a long way from what New Horizons will be able to show us, six weeks from now.

Four mission assembly progress reports: ExoMars TGO, InSight, OSIRIS-REx, and BepiColombo

Emily Lakdawalla • May 28, 2015 • 4

2015 has seen few deep-space-craft launches, but 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year with three launches, followed quickly by a fourth in early 2017. All of the missions under development have reported significant milestones recently.

Real-time sunset on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • May 24, 2015 • 7

Pause your life for six minutes and watch the Sun set....on Mars. Thank you, Glen Nagle, for this awe-inspiring simulation based on Curiosity's sol 956 sunset images.

Tons of fun with the latest Ceres image releases from Dawn

Emily Lakdawalla • May 22, 2015 • 20

Fantastic new images of Ceres continue to spill out of the Dawn mission, and armchair scientists all over the world are zooming into them, exploring them, and trying to solve the puzzles that they contain.

Rover eyes on rock layers on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • May 19, 2015 • 2

Digging in to mission image archives yields similar images of layered Martian rocks from very different places.

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Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

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