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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!

Zooming in to Pluto and Charon

Emily Lakdawalla • July 12, 2015 • 9

In the span of a few days, Pluto and Charon have turned from spots into worlds. The latest images from New Horizons are showing Pluto and Charon to have unique faces, distinct from any other icy worlds in the solar system.

New Horizons "back in action" after safe mode event, ready to resume encounter science

Emily Lakdawalla • July 06, 2015 • 10

NASA held a press briefing today to explain the nature and cause of the spacecraft anomaly that halted science on New Horizons for four days as it was on its terminal approach to Pluto. As of the moment that I write this post, New Horizons is not yet performing science observations, but it will resume them tomorrow, July 7.

New Horizons enters safe mode 10 days before Pluto flyby [UPDATED]

Emily Lakdawalla • July 05, 2015 • 18

New Horizons decided to put on a little 4th of July drama for the mission's fans. It's currently in safe mode, and it will likely be a day or two before it recovers and returns to science, but it remains on course for the July 14 flyby. Here's the mission update in its entirety.
[UPDATE]: Normal operations are planned to resume July 7.

Pluto's progression: Third-to-last Pluto day before encounter

Emily Lakdawalla • July 03, 2015 • 6

Only two days remain until New Horizons' historic encounter with Pluto....two Pluto days, that is. Pluto and Charon rotate together once every 6.4 days, so as New Horizons has approached the pair over the last week, we've been treated to one stately progression of all of their longitudes.

What to expect when you're expecting a flyby: Planning your July around New Horizons' Pluto Pictures (version 2)

Emily Lakdawalla • June 24, 2015 • 22

Three months ago, I posted an article explaining what to expect during the flyby. This is a revised version of the same post, with some errors corrected, the expected sizes of Nix and Hydra updated, and times of press briefings added.

New Horizons update: Resolving features on Charon and seeing in color

Emily Lakdawalla • June 23, 2015 • 13

Only about three weeks remain until the flyby — it's getting really close! I almost don't want the anticipation to end. New Horizons is now getting color images and is seeing features on Charon. Deep searches have yielded no new moons.

Pluto and Charon spin among the stars

Emily Lakdawalla • June 16, 2015 • 7

I've spent a happy couple of days playing with raw data downloaded from the New Horizons website, making animations of the dances of Pluto and Charon.

An enigmatic line across Pluto: Plutonian canali!?

Emily Lakdawalla • June 09, 2015 • 17

Pluto and Charon are growing larger in New Horizons' forward view, beginning to develop distinct personalities. A version of recent New Horizons photos processed by Björn Jónsson reveals an enigmatic dark line. Our maps of Pluto's surface are now as good as our maps of Mars and Venus, circa 1900!

A (very) few more details on Pluto

Emily Lakdawalla • June 01, 2015 • 9

Last week the New Horizons mission released a few new processed versions of their latest and greatest images of Pluto. They're the best images of Pluto that Earth has ever seen, but they're still a long way from what New Horizons will be able to show us, six weeks from now.

New Horizons spots Kerberos and Styx

Emily Lakdawalla • May 12, 2015 • 3

New Horizons has now spotted every one of Pluto's satellites...all the ones we know about, that is.

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