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Pictures of Spacecraft

Curiosity wheel survey, sol 708

Curiosity wheel survey, sol 708

On sol 708 (August 3, 2014), Curiosity performed a series of short drives followed by MAHLI imaging of each of the wheels, to survey their condition. Here, the images have been sorted and the inter-cleat spaces numbered to make it easier to survey the locations of specific marks, tears, and punctures.

Filed under pretty pictures, spacecraft, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)

Curiosity mobility system, labeled

Curiosity mobility system, labeled

Curiosity's wheels are supported by a "rocker-bogie suspension system." Each side has two arms (a rocker and a bogie) that can pivot, connected to each other through a differential bar and pivot on top of the rover. When one rocker tilts in one direction, the linkage through the differential causes the other rocker to tilt in the opposite director, keeping the rover body relatively level even when the wheels are climbing large obstacles.

Filed under pretty pictures, spacecraft, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)

Diagram of a Curiosity wheel

Diagram of a Curiosity wheel

A Curiosity wheel before it was attached to the rover and flown to Mars, labeled with all of its component parts.

Filed under pretty pictures, spacecraft, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)

I'll save you, robots!

I'll save you, robots!

Never let it be said that Mars does not care about its robot companions.

(Mars shelters its orbiters from comet Siding Spring.)

Filed under Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), pretty pictures, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, comet Siding Spring, MAVEN, spacecraft, Mars, art, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mars 2020 RIMFAX

Mars 2020 RIMFAX

Artist’s concept of how the RIMFAX surface penetrating radar aboard the Mars 2020 rover will study rock formations below the surface.

Filed under Mars 2020, pretty pictures, spacecraft, Mars, art

Deep Space 1

Deep Space 1

Artist's conception of the Deep Space 1 spacecraft. Deep Space 1 flew by asteroid 9969 Braille (formerly known as 1992 KD) on July 28, 1999, at an altitude of only 26 kilometers. However, the only images of Braille were captured from much farther away, about 14,000 kilometers. It went on to fly by comet 19P/Borrelly on September 22, 2001. It flew within 2,171 km of the nucleus at 22:29:33 UT.

Filed under pretty pictures, spacecraft, art, Deep Space 1

Dawn spacecraft, a million kilometers away

Dawn spacecraft, a million kilometers away

This blink animation consists of two 14-minute exposures. The faint speck that moves between the two images is the Dawn spacecraft, a million kilometers from Earth (about three times the Earth-Moon distance), and moving very fast. The telescope tracked Dawn during the long exposures, so the stars in the field of view form long and much brighter trails; the spacecraft glinted at only 20th magnitude at the time of the observation.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, Dawn, spacecraft, optical telescopes, animation

Photo of Deep Space 1

Photo of Deep Space 1

Using the 5-meter Hale telescope on Palomar mountain, astronomers captured the faint dot of the Deep Space 1 spacecraft in motion through the constellation Gemini on November 16, 1998, 23 days after its launch. At the time, the spacecraft was 3.7 million kilometers (2.3 million miles) from Earth, and receding at 1.7 kilometers per second (1.1 miles per second).

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, spacecraft, Deep Space 1, optical telescopes

Instruments selected for the Mars 2020 rover

Instruments selected for the Mars 2020 rover

On the mast are upgraded versions of instruments on Curiosity: Mastcam-Z (color, stereo, 3D, zoom-capable cameras); and SuperCam (upgraded version of ChemCam). On the arm are PIXL, an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer and imager, and SHERLOC, a Raman spectrometer and imager. RIMFAX is a ground-penetrating radar; MEDA is a meteorological package; and MOXIE will advance goals in in-situ resource utilization by producing oxygen from carbon dioxide.

Filed under Mars 2020, pretty pictures, spacecraft, art

Curiosity drives over a ripple, sol 683

Curiosity drives over a ripple, sol 683

On sol 683 (July 8, 2014), Curiosity took many Hazcam images while performing a test drive over a sand ripple.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, amateur image processing, spacecraft, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), animation

Curiosity from HiRISE on June 27, 2014

Curiosity from HiRISE on June 27, 2014

HiRISE captured Curiosity as the rover sat at the edge of a small ripple field on June 27, 2014 (sol 672). The original photo was grayscale, and has been colorized with an earlier image.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, spacecraft, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Yutu on the Moon

Yutu on the Moon

A photo of the Yutu rover taken by the Chang'e 3 lander on December 21, 2013, when the rover was to the southeast of the lander.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, spacecraft, the Moon, Chang'E program

Akatsuki and IKAROS on the launch pad

Akatsuki and IKAROS on the launch pad

Taken on May 17, 2010, about 24 hours before the planned launch of Akatsuki and IKAROS toward Venus. They are stacked aboard an H-IIA rocket.

Filed under IKAROS, pretty pictures, Akatsuki (Planet-C), spacecraft

Dawn at Ceres

Dawn at Ceres

Artist’s concept of Dawn in its high altitude mapping orbit at dwarf planet Ceres.

Filed under pretty pictures, Dawn, spacecraft, asteroid 1 Ceres

Curiosity self-portrait, looking at Windjana, sol 613 (official version)

Curiosity self-portrait, looking at Windjana, sol 613 (official version)

Curiosity took a self-portrait with her MAHLI camera as she gazed upon the Windjana drill site on sol 613 (April 27, 2014). She would drill at Windjana on sol 621. On sol 627 (May 5), she took another few photos of the drill site and the cascades of sand below it; those later images have been merged into this mosaic to create a photo document of her scientific work at the site.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, best of, spacecraft, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)

Curiosity wheel survey, sol 660

Curiosity wheel survey, sol 660

On sol 660 (June 15, 2014), Curiosity performed a series of short drives followed by MAHLI imaging of each of the wheels, to survey their condition. Here, the images have been sorted and the inter-cleat spaces numbered to make it easier to survey the locations of specific marks, tears, and punctures.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, amateur image processing, explaining technology, spacecraft, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)

OSIRIS-REx primary structure

OSIRIS-REx primary structure

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft structure marks the beginning of building the system that will fly to Bennu.

Filed under pretty pictures, OSIRIS-REx, spacecraft

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