Pictures of Spacecraft
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Our LightSail test mission was successfully completed and our Kickstarter campaign ended June 26th, raising $1.24 million dollars for LightSail's 2016 solar sailing mission! Miss the Kickstarter campaign, but still want to donate? You can!