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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!

Brief Philae "Morning After" update: First ÇIVA panorama from the surface

Emily Lakdawalla • November 13, 2014 • 1

I'm just getting up to speed on the news from overnight, which is mostly good: Philae remained in contact with the orbiter (which means the CONSERT radar sounding experiment was working), and it's sitting stably on the surface, although it's not anchored in any way. And they released the first ÇIVA image from the ground!

PHILAE HAS LANDED! [UPDATED]

Emily Lakdawalla • November 12, 2014 • 16

The landing happened on time just after 16:02 UT today! Philae mission manager Stephan Ulamec said: "Philae is talking to us! The first thing he told us was the harpoons have been fired and rewound. We are sitting on the surface." Those words later turned out not to be true; but we do know at least that Philae survived the landing and is returning good data.

Philae update: Photo documentation of Philae's separation!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 12, 2014 • 4

Here it is. We knew hours ago that Philae separation happened, but there's nothing like seeing a photo, seeing Philae's mothership receding into the distance.

Philae update: "Go" for landing, despite apparent failure of cold-gas jet system [UPDATED]

Emily Lakdawalla • November 12, 2014 • 4

Philae is "go" for landing. But there has been drama overnight. One of the steps to prepare for landing did not proceed as planned. UPDATE: At 09:03 UTC, the lander separated from the orbiter, beginning a 7-hour descent to the surface of the comet.

Philae update: First of four "go-no-go" decisions is a GO!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2014 • 3

It's been a day of calm before the storm here at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, as we get ready for the big event tomorrow: Philae's hoped-for landing on a comet. The first of four "go-no-go" decisions has been made, and it's a "go." Mission navigators have gotten data back from Rosetta that indicates that the spacecraft is on the correct trajectory to deliver Philae to the comet.

Report from Darmstadt: Philae status and early Rosetta results from DPS

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2014 • 3

I'm reporting live from the press room at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. There's little news on Philae yet except that its status is good. Meanwhile, Rosetta scientists presented their first early comet results at the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Tucson, Arizona, which I watched from afar using Twitter.

Philae landing preview: What to expect on landing day

Emily Lakdawalla • November 05, 2014 • 8

Earth's first-ever landing on a comet is a week away. On November 12 at 8:35 UT, Philae will separate from Rosetta. Seven hours later, it will arrive at the surface of the comet. Hopefully, Philae will survive the landing, and begin to return data.

Seven Mars spacecraft attempted observations of comet Siding Spring. How did they go?

Emily Lakdawalla • November 03, 2014 • 6

It's been two weeks since comet Siding Spring passed close by Mars, and six of the seven Mars spacecraft have now checked in with quick looks at their images of the encounter. I round up all the results.

Chang'e 5 test vehicle flying on to Earth-Moon L2

Emily Lakdawalla • November 03, 2014 • 3

The Chang'e 5 test vehicle service module did not follow the sample return capsule into Earth's atmosphere. Instead, it successfully performed a divert maneuver, and is now on its way to the Earth-Moon L2 point

Chang'e 5 test vehicle "Xiaofei" lands successfully

Emily Lakdawalla • October 31, 2014 • 1

The Chang'e 5 test vehicle landed successfully in Inner Mongolia today after an 8-day mission. It demonstrated technology that China plans to use for automated sample return by the Chang'e 5 mission in 2017.

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Emily Lakdwalla
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