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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!

Some beautiful new (old) views of Neptune and Triton

Emily Lakdawalla • September 20, 2016 • 4

Beautiful new amateur work with 27-year-old Voyager data.

Successful launch for China's Tiangong-2 space station

Emily Lakdawalla • September 15, 2016

Today, China launched its second modular space station, Tiangong 2.

One year remains in the Cassini mission

Emily Lakdawalla • September 15, 2016 • 6

Cassini ends a year from today, which is sad. But the final year of the mission is going to be awesome.

Gaia's first galaxy map

Emily Lakdawalla • September 14, 2016 • 3

The astronomy world is abuzz today because of ESA's announcement of the first release of data from the Gaia mission. Gaia is a five-year mission that will eventually measure the positions and motions of billions of stars; this first data release includes positions for 1.1 billion of them, and proper motions for 2 million.

Cassini's camera views of Titan's polar lakes in summer, processed into pseudocolor

Emily Lakdawalla • September 12, 2016 • 1

Titan's north polar lakes are well-lit by summer sun in these recent Cassini images. Image processing enthusiast Ian Regan shares his recipe for processing the longer-wavelength Titan images into visually pleasing "pseudocolor."

Rosetta end-of-mission update

Emily Lakdawalla • September 09, 2016 • 5

The European Space Agency has shared plans for the end of the Rosetta mission scheduled for September 30, just three weeks from now. The landing site will be located on the "head" of the comet, next to a prominent pit now named Deir el-Medina.

Philae spotted on the surface of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Emily Lakdawalla • September 06, 2016 • 1

Ever since its landing, Philae has been elusive. It went silent just three days later and never returned any more science data, though it made brief contact with the orbiter last summer. Now, just a month until the planned end of the Rosetta mission, the orbiter has finally located the lander in a stunning high-resolution view of the surface.

OSIRIS-REx is on the launch pad, ready for the big day

Emily Lakdawalla • September 02, 2016 • 6

The OSIRIS-REx mission passed its flight readiness review yesterday, clearing the way for the spacecraft to launch on Thursday, September 8. Here's a schedule of next week's NASA TV briefings and a photo album of the launch preparations.

Juno's instruments return riches from first perijove

Emily Lakdawalla • September 02, 2016 • 3

On August 27, Juno soared across Jupiter's cloud tops from pole to pole, with all instruments operating. NASA posted some terrific first results from several of the instruments today. And the JunoCam team released all 28 raw images taken during the close encounter.

What's up in the solar system, September 2016 edition: OSIRIS-REx launches, Rosetta ends

Emily Lakdawalla • August 31, 2016 • 1

The month of September begins with an annular solar eclipse visible from much of Africa on September 1. On or after September 8, we'll see OSIRIS-REx launch into a two-year cruise toward a rendezvous with asteroid Bennu. But September will close, sadly, with the end of the wonderful Rosetta mission.

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Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

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