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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!

Chang'e 3 update: Rocket shipped to launch site; ten possible rover names announced

Emily Lakdawalla • October 28, 2013 • 5

China's Chang'e 3 lunar soft lander and rover are proceeding toward a planned December launch. The Long March-3B rocket departed Beijing for the Xichang launch facility yesterday, and is expected to arrive November 1. Meanwhile, 190,000 contest entries have been winnowed to a list of ten possible names for the rover.

Noachian, Hesperian, and Amazonian, oh my! --Mars' Geologic Time Scale

Emily Lakdawalla • October 25, 2013 • 4

The Martian Geologic Time Scale is a lot more complicated than the Moon's.

New opportunity to name an asteroid!

Emily Lakdawalla • October 24, 2013 • 6

The Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) has just announced a new asteroid naming competition, open to anyone, so if you've ever wanted to name an asteroid, now's your chance.

Book review: LEGO Space: Building the Future

Emily Lakdawalla • October 23, 2013 • 4

This book is so great. I cannot imagine how many hours of happy building went into the development of the various LEGO ships and space bases included in this book, but I wish I could have participated.

India's Mars Orbiter Mission now set for November 5 launch date

Emily Lakdawalla • October 22, 2013 • 7

The launch of ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission has been delayed by about a week due to bad weather in the Indian Ocean. The new launch date is November 5 at 14:36 IST (09:06 UTC / 01:06 PST). Their launch opportunity stretches to November 19.

Good morning, Moon

Emily Lakdawalla • October 21, 2013 • 1

What a happy way to start the week: a new video for Marian Call's astronaut wakeup song, "Good Morning Moon!" It was filmed in part at Space Expo, ESA's visitor center in Noordvijk, the Netherlands.

DPS 2013: The fascination of tiny worlds

Emily Lakdawalla • October 17, 2013 • 7

In which I summarize Joe Veverka's Kuiper Prize talk at the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting: "Small is NOT Dull: Unravelling the Complexity of Surface Processes on Asteroids, Comets and Small Satellites."

One for the history books: Stunning Saturn mosaic captured last week by Cassini

Emily Lakdawalla • October 16, 2013 • 5

I try to be measured in my praise for spacecraft images. Not every photo can be the greatest space image ever. But this enormous mosaic showing the flattened globe of Saturn floating within the complete disk of its rings must surely be counted among the great images of the Cassini mission.

Juno is in Safe Mode again, but still okay

Emily Lakdawalla • October 16, 2013 • 6

After entering safe mode last week during its Earth flyby, Juno returned to normal operations and downlinked all engineering and science instrument data. It entered safe mode again on Sunday night, but it is expected to re-resume normal operations late next week.

DPS 2013: Confusing Curiosity SAM results

Emily Lakdawalla • October 15, 2013 • 7

What did I learn about Curiosity at last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting? There were a few talks, most of which concerned soil and atmsospheric chemistry. I can summarize their conclusions with one sentence: More data is needed.

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