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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!

Mars orbiters plan for their October encounter with comet Siding Spring

Emily Lakdawalla • August 13, 2014 • 2

Now that we have reasonable confidence that our Mars orbiters will be safe from the close passage of comet Siding Spring, we are free to be excited about the opportunity that the encounter represents. At a community workshop on August 11, representatives from Mars missions shared their plans for great comet science.

Twinkling worlds in motion: New Horizons' first optical navigation images of Pluto and Charon

Emily Lakdawalla • August 07, 2014 • 15

What's that in the distance? A binary star? Those are two little round worlds dancing in circles, whirling around a point in space located between the two of them. It's Pluto and Charon, clearly separated by New Horizons' camera.

"We're at the comet!" Rosetta has arrived at comet 67P

Emily Lakdawalla • August 06, 2014 • 9

After a journey of more than a decade, Rosetta has finally arrived at comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Confirmation of the successful rocket firing came at about 9:30 UTC via a webcast from ESA's Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

Join me on "Virtually Speaking Science" August 6

Emily Lakdawalla • August 05, 2014

On Wednesday's "Virtually Speaking Science" podcast, The Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla and Space.com contributor Rod Pyle look back at the first two years of the Curiosity Rover’s mission on Mars, and look ahead to the future of Mars exploration. NBC News science editor Alan Boyle is the host for the show, which airs at 5pm Pacific / midnight UTC.

Today's the day Rosetta arrives at a comet!

Emily Lakdawalla • August 05, 2014 • 2

In less than a day, Rosetta will officially arrive, becoming the first spacecraft ever to orbit a comet! Watch an ESA Livestream of the arrival, and check out the latest photos.

A new angle on Churyumov-Gerasimenko brings circular features into focus

Emily Lakdawalla • August 04, 2014 • 4

It's just two days now until Rosetta arrives in its initial 100-kilometer "orbit" of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and the latest view from Rosetta's NavCam is fascinating. Circular features on the comet remind me of Tempel 1 as seen by Deep Impact and Stardust.

[UPDATED] New Rosetta images show comet's craggy shape

Emily Lakdawalla • August 02, 2014 • 1

A shift in position has brought shadows into view from Rosetta, outlining scarps and ridges on Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

New Rosetta view of the comet - and a comparison to other comets

Emily Lakdawalla • July 31, 2014 • 8

Rosetta's view of the comet is getting better and better. Today they released a new image from the high-resolution OSIRIS camera, and it's a very fresh one, taken only two days ago. Distinct features are coming into view. And it's finally detailed enough for me to compare it to the five other comets we've visited in the past.

Rosetta update: Long journey to a comet nearly complete

Emily Lakdawalla • July 29, 2014 • 4

A journey of nearly a decade is almost over. Rosetta is making its final approach to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and the comet's strange shape is beginning to come into focus. As of today, the spacecraft is only 2000 kilometers away from the comet, and 8 days away from arrival.

Dark mountain on Vesta: Aricia Tholus

Emily Lakdawalla • July 28, 2014 • 1

Newly processed images of one of the more puzzling features on the surface of Vesta: a dark mountain named Aricia Tholus.

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