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Snapshots from Space

by Emily Lakdawalla

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Emily Lakdawalla

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Follow the thrilling adventures of planetary missions, past and present, and see the stunningly beautiful photos that they return from space!

Students Design Human Asteroid Mission in Caltech Space Challenge

Louis D. Friedman • September 19, 2011

I spent much of the past week attending the Caltech Space Challenge, a student-organized international competition to design a human mission to a Near-Earth asteroid. It was a great week, and one of the most positive, upbeat and hopeful programs I have participated in concerning the future of space exploration.

Video: Zooming around Vesta

Emily Lakdawalla • September 16, 2011

The Dawn team released today a nice little video that flies around a shape model of Vesta produced by DLR, the German Aerospace Corporation, who built and operate Dawn's camera.

Scale solar system presentation slide, a provisional version for you to review

Emily Lakdawalla • September 15, 2011

I'm preparing a talk for the Pacific Astronomy and Telescope Show here in Pasadena on Sunday afternoon at 1:45. I have spent the morning putting together a slide that I have long wanted to have for presentations.

Dawn's cryptic image release titles

Emily Lakdawalla • September 14, 2011

Every day's image release from the Dawn spacecraft shows something on Vesta that is weird and cool and difficult to explain. The images come out with very little information describing what is going on to make those weird landscapes.

New Horizons Day 2: Liquids on Pluto's surface?

Emily Lakdawalla • September 13, 2011

Jeff Moore's presentation was cool because of the discussion it stimulated. He considered what exogenic processes might be operating on Pluto's surface. What's an exogenic process? It's something that modifies the shape of the surface from the outside, and doesn't require the body to be geologically active inside.

Pretty picture: Talking to GRAIL

Emily Lakdawalla • September 12, 2011

Here's a lovely picture from the Canberra DSN this morning, showing two of the workhorse 34-meter antennas communicating with the nearby GRAIL spacecraft. In the distance, the huge DSS-43 talks to the solar observatory STEREO-B.

GRAIL A and B are on their way to the Moon!

Emily Lakdawalla • September 10, 2011

After some exasperating delays due to pesky and changeable high-level winds, the twin GRAIL spacecraft launched this morning on their trip to the Moon.

Here we go again: GRAIL set to launch today

Emily Lakdawalla • September 10, 2011

GRAIL is trying for launch today at 8:29 PDT / 12:29 UT or 9:08 PDT / 6:08 UT., and here I am at 5:00 am my time ready to watch. As before, I'm watching the feed through Spaceflight Now's GRAIL mission status center.

Weekend watching: 3D Movie from Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • September 09, 2011

There's one Mars landed mission for which there is a long 3D film, and that's Viking. Grab your 3D glasses, and be prepared to be transported to Mars.

New Horizons Day 2: Tectonic features on icy worlds

Emily Lakdawalla • September 09, 2011

The second day of the New Horizons Workshop on Icy Surface Processes was about geology and geophysics. This long post just covers the first talk of that day.

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