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Pictures of Spacecraft

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

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

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

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

Philae separation (artist's concept)

Philae separation (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

Curiosity sol 613 MAHLI self-portrait: component images

Curiosity sol 613 MAHLI self-portrait: component images

Curiosity's arm-mounted MAHLI camera took 75 individual photos in order to cover the entire rover (with mast head in two different positions) as well as the east side of the Kimberley field site and Mount Sharp in the background.

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

Curiosity sol 613 MAHLI self-portrait: desktop background

Curiosity sol 613 MAHLI self-portrait: desktop background

Curiosity captured this view of itself at the Kimberley on sol 613 (April 27, 2014), as it prepared to drill at Windjana.

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

Curiosity sol 613 self-portrait animation

Curiosity sol 613 self-portrait animation

On sol 613, Curiosity captured a new MAHLI self-portrait at the Kimberley. The self-portrait included images shot with the mast head in two different positions.

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

Hayabusa 2, robotic asteroid explorer

Hayabusa 2, robotic asteroid explorer

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency unveils the "Hayabusa-2," an unmanned asteroid explorer, at the JAXA Sagamihara Campus, southwest of Tokyo, on Wednesday, December 26, 2012. Hayabusa 2 is under construction for a planned launch in late 2014.

Filed under pretty pictures, Hayabusa-2, spacecraft

Curiosity at Mount Remarkable from the ground and from orbit, sol 601

Curiosity at Mount Remarkable from the ground and from orbit, sol 601

On sol 601, Curiosity had driven up on top of the "striated unit" and was investigating the "middle unit" at the Kimberley. HiRISE took a photo of the rover from orbit at the same position.

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

Philae CIVA portrait of Rosetta's solar panels, April 14, 2014

Philae CIVA portrait of Rosetta's solar panels, April 14, 2014

During Rosetta's post-hibernation instrument commissioning phase, the CIVA cameras on the Philae lander were powered on and commanded to take photos. From their position on the lander, they saw sunlight glinting off of edges in Rosetta's two solar panels.

Filed under Rosetta and Philae, pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, spacecraft

Phobos-Grunt imaged in orbit

Phobos-Grunt imaged in orbit

Ralf Vandebergh is an amateur astronomer who specializes in imaging spacecraft. He took several photos of the wayward Phobos-Grunt, stuck in low-Earth orbit.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, Phobos and Shuttle LIFE, Planetary Society Projects, amateur astrophotos, spacecraft, Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1

Scanning electron microscope images of two pieces of Surveyor 3

Scanning electron microscope images of two pieces of Surveyor 3

Left: a part that was not exposed to the sandblasting of Apollo 12’s lunar module, showing the original form of the paint texture. Right: a part that was sandblasted by Apollo 12’s lunar module, showing paint texture that has been crushed and mixed with lunar dust, with a crack propagating across its surface.

Filed under NASA lunar missions before 2005, pretty pictures, spacecraft

Curiosity departs Earth

Curiosity departs Earth

Austrian amateur astronomer Gerhard Dangl captured this video of the Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory) spacecraft departing Earth about 10.5 hours after its November 26 launch. A still image is available from his website.

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

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