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!
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Every year, I write a feature article for the year's final issue of The Planetary Report titled "The Year in Pictures." Because The Planetary Report is a printed product, I have to compose the article before the year has ended. So here is an addendum to the printed article, a few images that came in November and December that mark significant events of 2013.
As part of the Planetary Society's celebration of the Mars Exploration Rovers' ten years on Mars, Jim Bell and I got together to look back at and tell stories about some of the great images they took.
A baby Moon and aging Venus crescents are positioned close in the sky today, and lots of people are taking beautiful photos.
With the New Year upon us, what can we look forward to in 2014? For me, the main event of 2014 is that ESA's Rosetta mission finally -- finally! -- catches up to the comet it has been chasing for a decade. We will lose LADEE, gain two Mars orbiters, and launch Hayabusa 2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.
As promised, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's sharp eyes spotted the Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover on the lunar surface on December 25. The hardware shows up as a few bright pixels throwing long, dark shadows, clearly visible in a before-and-after comparison.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/27 08:00 CST
When Spirit and Opportunity landed in 2004, I was with the science team in charge of a group of high-school students called the Red Rover Goes to Mars Student Astronauts. We're coming up on the 10th anniversary of the landings -- what have those "kids" grown up into?
There was a lot of action on Chang'e 3 over the weekend! I have lots of pictures to share, including the highest-quality one I've seen of the rover on the surface, plus video of the rover making tracks on the Moon and a 3D view of the lander.
I've got some books to recommend on astrobiology, planet Earth and its living creatures, impact cratering, and Mars rovers.
Chinese state television broadcast a display of a Chang'e 3 lander image; the Yutu rover is awake; and LADEE reports a surprising non-detection of the Chang'e 3 landing.