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Pictures of Spacecraft

Dawn thrusting toward Ceres

Dawn thrusting toward Ceres

Artist's rendition of Dawn thrusting with its ion propulsion system as it approaches Ceres in 2015.

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

Phoenix landing

Phoenix landing

HiRISE took this photo of Phoenix under its parachute as it descended toward Mars on May 25, 2008.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, Phoenix, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Phoenix lander, parachute, and heat shield

Phoenix lander, parachute, and heat shield

As Phoenix descended, HiRISE captured a photo of the lander, its parachute, and the blackened heatshield that slowed Phoenix' entry into Mars' atmosphere, recently detached and falling ahead of the spacecraft.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, Phoenix, Mars, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Color version of the 'Phoenix Descending' HiRISE image

Color version of the 'Phoenix Descending' HiRISE image

When the HiRISE camera captured the image of Phoenix descending under its parachute, it also captured some color data, though unfortunately not on top of Phoenix. The gaps between the color strips are caused by the fact that the camera's detector is actually made up of 14 staggered CCDs, and the spacecraft had to slew at an angle in order not to capture a distorted view of Phoenix. Most of the color information indicates that the landscape is the usual red of Mars, but some blue spots indicate the presence of frost inside Heimdall crater.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, Phoenix, Mars, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Parts of the REMS boom

Parts of the REMS boom

This image was taken during the REMS integration into the rover, and shows two of the wind sensor boards. Each boom has three identical boards (Boards 1 and 3 on the sides, and 2 on the lower part of th boom). Board 1 and 3 are connected to Board 2 by a flexible circuit and this is connected to the integrated circuit board, in the back of the boom, by another flexible circuit. Each board has four hot dice and one cold die (the four hot dice are in the front of the board and the cold one is in the back). All dice are identical, manufactured in silicon, with three resistors printed on the upper side and thermally isolated from the board by four pillars with a low thermal conductance. In the hot dice, a resistor is used to heat it, another one is used as a sensor to measure the temperature, and the third one is used as reference sensor in the measurement circuit. In the cold die, the only resistor used is the reference resistor. The control loop compares the temperature of the hot dice with that of the cold die, to control the power injected to keep a constant predefined temperature difference (delta temperature) between them. Each board has an additional thermistor on its inside face to monitor the board’s temperature and evaluate the conductive thermal losses of the dice.

Filed under spacecraft, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)

Curiosity REMS sensor boom 1

Curiosity REMS sensor boom 1

On sol 526 (January 28, 2014) Curiosity used its MAHLI camera to investigate one of the two wind-sensor booms sprouting out of the rover mast, part of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) instrument suite. The wind sensors on Boom 1 have not worked properly since landing, although they checked out fine during cruise.

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

LADEE spotted by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

LADEE spotted by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

On January 15, 2014, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter managed to take a photo of LADEE streaking past, only 9 kilometers below.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, LADEE, spacecraft, the Moon

Curiosity wheel survey, sol 513

Curiosity wheel survey, sol 513

On sol 513 (January 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)

Panoramic view around the Chang'e 3 lander

Panoramic view around the Chang'e 3 lander

This panoramic view around the Chang'e 3 lander was captured on December 20, 2013. This version has been cleaned of vignetting and other artifacts to make a more seamless-looking panorama.

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

Many rovers on Mars

Many rovers on Mars

This version of the Mars Pathfinder "Presidential Panorama" has been composited with many images captured of Sojourner throughout the mission. This provides a visual scale for understanding the sizes and distances of rocks surrounding the lander as well as a record of the travels of the rover. Several of the rover images were captured in full color. The rest were colorized using color sampled from those frames.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, Mars Pathfinder and Sojourner, spacecraft, Mars

Mars Pathfinder and Sojourner rover

Mars Pathfinder and Sojourner rover

Artist's concept of Mars Pathfinder and Sojourner rover on Mars.

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

Sunrise on Yutu

Sunrise on Yutu

This is an artist's concept of the slow lunar sunrise on the Chang'e 3 rover. The faint inclined glow in the sky is the Zodiacal light, made of sunlit fine particles forming a flattened lens-shaped mass along the plane of the planets' orbits.

Filed under pretty pictures, spacecraft, the Moon, Chang'E program, art

Panoramic view around the Chang'e 3 lander

Panoramic view around the Chang'e 3 lander

Chang'e 3 captured the images for this panoramic view around the landing site on December 17 and 18, 2013. The images have been mosaicked into a polar azimuthal projection, showing the full 360 degrees of terrain around the lander.

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

Chang'e 3 lander from Yutu, December 15, 2013

Chang'e 3 lander from Yutu, December 15, 2013

This photo was captured during an imaging sequence of the lander from the rover on December 16 from 03:43 to 03:50 China time (December 15 from 19:43 to 19:50 UTC).

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

Front view of the Chang'e 3 lander, December 21, 2013

Front view of the Chang'e 3 lander, December 21, 2013

By December 21, Yutu had completed a semicircular traverse around the lander and was able to view its "front" (south-facing) side.

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

Panorama around the Chang'e 3 lander (unwrapped)

Panorama around the Chang'e 3 lander (unwrapped)

Chang'e 3 captured the images for this panoramic view around the landing site on December 17 and 18, 2013. The original image was in polar azimuthal projection; it has been reprojected into a more familiar landscape view here.

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

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