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First-ever high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar image of Enceladus

Emily Lakdawalla • December 01, 2011

On the November 6, 2011 flyby of Enceladus -- the third such flyby in just a few weeks -- the Cassini mission elected to take a SAR swath instead of using the optical instruments for once. So here it is: the first-ever SAR swath on Enceladus. In fact, the only other places we've ever done SAR imaging are Earth, the Moon, Venus, Iapetus, and Titan.

One-astronaut game of baseball in the International Space Station

Emily Lakdawalla • December 01, 2011

A fun video of Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa playing baseball aboard the ISS.

Dawn Journal: Riding gravitational currents to LAMO

Marc Rayman • December 01, 2011

In this update on the Dawn mission, project system engineer Marc Rayman reports that the probe is headed for its low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO), where it will focus on making a census of the atomic constituents and on mapping the gravity field in order to determine Vesta's interior structure.

At last, I've finished my scale solar system presentation slide/poster

Emily Lakdawalla • December 01, 2011

A presentation providing a correctly scaled, reasonably correctly colored view of the largest bodies in the solar system is made available for use by teachers, professors, and informal educators.

Reviews of space-themed books & products for young children

Emily Lakdawalla • November 30, 2011

As I do every year, I've collected a bunch of new (or relatively new) books and other products on space themes for children.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update:Opportunity Crunches Homestake, Scouts Locales for Winter

A.J.S. Rayl • November 30, 2011

Opportunity roved toward the end of its eighth year of exploration on the Red Planet and chalking up yet another "exciting" textbook discovery for the Mars mission.

What's up in the solar system in December 2011

Emily Lakdawalla • November 29, 2011

What's going on with our planetary explorers in December?

Bye-bye, Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • November 29, 2011

A few fortunate (and forward-thinking) skywatchers looked upward in the hours after Curiosity's launch and were able to see the spacecraft leaving Earth.

The 70-meter dishes of the Deep Space Network

Emily Lakdawalla • November 28, 2011

I was inspired by my recent trip to Goldstone to put together this poster showing all three of the great 70-meter dishes of the Deep Space Network. There's one at each of the three complexes, at Goldstone, at Robledo (near Madrid, Spain), and at Tidbinbilla (near Canberra, Australia).

How did they make the nuclear power source for the Curiosity rover?

Emily Lakdawalla • November 28, 2011

Maybe it's because I was a kid during the Cold War; I always assume that information about anything nuclear only comes out on that "need-to-know basis."

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