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Talking to Pluto is hard! Why it takes so long to get data back from New Horizons

Emily Lakdawalla • January 30, 2015 • 13

As I write this post, New Horizons is nearing the end of a weeklong optical navigation campaign. The last optical navigation images in the weeklong series will be taken tomorrow, but it will likely take two weeks or more for all the data to get to Earth. Two weeks! Why does it take so long?

Don't Miss This Great New Video About Europa

Casey Dreier • November 21, 2014

JPL released a slick new video highlighting the significance of Europa, the moon of Jupiter with more liquid water than the Earth.

Rosetta NAVCAM's Shades of Grey

Claudia Mignone • October 27, 2014 • 1

What do “light” and “dark” mean for an object like Comet 67P/C-G? Here are some details on how Rosetta's NAVCAM images are taken and displayed to make a wide range of surface features possible.

Using Lasers to Lock Down Exoplanet Hunting

Bruce Betts • September 26, 2014

The Planetary Society is launching a new collaboration with Yale exoplanet hunter Debra Fischer and her team, the Exoplanets Laser project. We will support the purchase of an advanced, ultra stable laser to be used in a complex system they are designing to push radial velocity exoplanet hunting to a whole whole new level.

OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Passes First Major Qualification Test

Dante Lauretta • September 12, 2014

The development of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft continues to make great progress having recently completed static load testing.

Curiosity wheel damage: The problem and solutions

Emily Lakdawalla • August 19, 2014 • 29

Now that a Tiger Team has assessed the nature and causes of damage to Curiosity's wheels, I can finally answer your frequently-asked questions about what wheel damage means for the mission, and why it wasn't anticipated.

How CRISM picks the pixels that guide Opportunity's travels

Emily Lakdawalla • June 05, 2014 • 4

How scientists are working with CRISM, an aging but still exceptional spectrometer on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, to find the rocks where Opportunity's work will tell the story of ancient water on Mars.

The construction of OSIRIS-REx has begun!

Dante Lauretta • June 05, 2014

The construction of OSIRIS-REx has begun! Seeing the core structure being assembled demonstrated that OSIRIS-REx is no longer just a set of drawings and PowerPoint charts, it is starting to become a real spacecraft.

Complete 2014 Astronomy Course Online

Bruce Betts • May 19, 2014 • 6

Bruce Betts has completed the lectures for his online 2014 Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy Course at CSUDH: all are online and you can earn a Certificate of Achievement for watching them.

A new Earthrise over the Moon from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's pushframe camera

Emily Lakdawalla • May 13, 2014

Earth's brilliant colors shine above the drab lunar horizon in this new "Earthrise" photo from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. An animation that accompanied the image release helped me to write an explainer on how pushframe cameras like Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's Wide-Angle Camera works.

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