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Pictures of Spacecraft

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

Dawn in survey orbit at Ceres

Dawn in survey orbit at Ceres

Artist’s concept of Dawn in its survey orbit at dwarf planet Ceres.

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

Trailblazer

Trailblazer

The Mars Pathfinder mission included the Sojourner rover, the first to make wheel tracks on the Martian surface, seen here inspecting the rock dubbed "Yogi".

Filed under pretty pictures, Mars Pathfinder and Sojourner, spacecraft, Mars

Curiosity at the north edge of the Kimberley, sol 581

Curiosity at the north edge of the Kimberley, sol 581

The HiRISE photo of Curiosity at the Kimberley was taken from orbit on March 26, 2014. It was sol 581 on the Curiosity mission, and the rover had just bumped a couple of meters toward the north edge of the outcrop of the "striated unit" at the Kimberley. The photo has been colorized with data from an earlier HiRISE image taken on August 4, 2010.

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

Before & after: Opportunity's deck gets cleaned on Endeavour's rim

Before & after: Opportunity's deck gets cleaned on Endeavour's rim

Two self-portraits of Opportunity show effects of wind events that cleaned much of the accumulated dust off the rover's solar panels between sols 3538 and 3611 (January 6 and March 22, 2014).

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, Opportunity, amateur image processing, Mars Exploration Rovers, spacecraft, Mars

Before & after: Curiosity at Rocknest and the Kimberley

Before & after: Curiosity at Rocknest and the Kimberley

At pivotal moments in her mission to Gale crater, Curiosity captures a self-portrait using the MAHLI camera at the end of her robotic arm. In the time separating her self-portraits at Rocknest (sol 84) and the Kimberley (sol 613), the rover has accumulated lots of dust and a few holes in her wheels.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, amateur image processing, spacecraft

Venus Express aerobraking video

Venus Express aerobraking video

Visualization of the Venus Express aerobraking maneuver, which will see the spacecraft orbiting Venus at an altitude of around 130 kilometers from June 18 to July 11, 2014. In the month before, the altitude will gradually be reduced from around 200 km to 130 km. If the spacecraft survives and fuel permits, the elevation of the orbit will be raised back up to approximately 450 km, allowing operations to continue for a further few months. Eventually, however, the spacecraft will plunge back into the atmosphere and the mission will end.

Filed under podcasts and videos, Venus Express, spacecraft, art, animation

Venus Express aerobraking

Venus Express aerobraking

After finishing its scientific mission at Venus, Venus Express was commanded to test aerobraking, requiring the spacecraft to descend to an altitude of 130 kilometers, within the upper atmosphere, from June 18 to July 11, 2014.

Filed under pretty pictures, Venus Express, spacecraft, art

Venus Express aerobraking

Venus Express aerobraking

After finishing its scientific mission at Venus, Venus Express was commanded to test aerobraking, requiring the spacecraft to descend to an altitude of 130 kilometers, within the upper atmosphere, from June 18 to July 11, 2014.

Filed under pretty pictures, Venus Express, spacecraft, art

Curiosity's work at Windjana, sols 609-629

Curiosity's work at Windjana, sols 609-629

Hazcam images document three weeks of work at Windjana, the drill site at the Kimberley, from sols 609 to 629 (April 23 to May 14, 2014). Activity included a "mini-drill" on sol 615 and a full drill -- Curiosity's third -- on sol 621. APXS and MAHLI images of the Windjana drill site and another location named Stephen occurred throughout.

Filed under pics of spacecraft in space, mission status, spacecraft, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), animation

Video: Philae touchdown!

Video: Philae touchdown!

Visualisation of the deployment of the Philae lander from Rosetta at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014. Rosetta will come to within 2.5 km of the comet’s surface to deploy Philae, which will then take around 2 hours to reach the surface.

Filed under Rosetta and Philae, explaining technology, spacecraft, art

Rosetta (artist's concept)

Rosetta (artist's concept)

Artist view of ESA's Rosetta cometary probe. The spacecraft is covered with dark thermal insulation in order to keep its warmth while venturing into the coldness of the outer Solar System, beyond Mars orbit.

Filed under Rosetta and Philae, pretty pictures, spacecraft, art

Philae touchdown (artist's concept)

Philae touchdown (artist's concept)

Still image from animation of Philae separating from Rosetta and descending to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014.

Filed under Rosetta and Philae, pretty pictures, spacecraft, art

Philae descent (artist's concept)

Philae descent (artist's concept)

Still image from animation of Philae separating from Rosetta and descending to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014.

Filed under Rosetta and Philae, pretty pictures, spacecraft, art

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