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Pictures of Spacecraft

Hazcam views of Spirit's wheels, sols 2079 and 2088

Hazcam views of Spirit's wheels, sols 2079 and 2088

On sol 2088, Spirit executed the first "baby steps" in the attempt to extricate her from her sand trap at Troy. The day's commands consisted of two drives of 2.5 meters apiece. Comparisons of the wheels before and after the commanded drive show virtually no change, only a very slight shift in perspective between each pair of images to indicate any motion of the rover. From left to right, the images show the left front, right front, left rear, and right rear wheels. The right front wheel does not roll, so did not become embedded. The rear wheels are deeply embedded in soil.

Filed under pretty pictures, amateur image processing, Spirit, Mars Exploration Rovers, spacecraft, Mars, animation

Spirit's cleaning event: Before and after

Spirit's cleaning event: Before and after

These two pictures show Spirit's calibration target (the "Marsdial") before and after a cleaning event wiped Spirit's deck and solar arrays clean of the dust that had accumulated during the first 400-plus Mars days of its operations within Gusev crater. The pictures were taken ten days apart, on March 5 (left) and March 15 (right). On the "before" image, the only spot that is not completely covered in reddish Martian dust is the center of the sweep magnet, located immediately to the right of the Marsdial.

Filed under pretty pictures, Spirit, Mars Exploration Rovers, spacecraft, Mars

A dusty start to Spirit's winter

A dusty start to Spirit's winter

This image juxtaposes two "deck pans" captured by the Pancam instrument on Spirit at different times in the mission. On the left is the self-portrait from the top of Husband Hill, when Spirit's deck was nearly as clean as the day the rover landed. On the right is a view taken in October of 2007, following the summer's dust storm. Dust from the sky has settled on both the rover deck and the surrounding landscape, coloring the rover the same rust color as the dirt around it. The dust-covered solar cells cannot be able to generate as much power as when they were clean. Spirit survived the following Martian winter despite the high dust levels, and the rover team got very useful practice surviving through periods of very low power during the height of the dust storm. Now, though, even more dust may be falling on Spirit.

Filed under pretty pictures, Spirit, Mars Exploration Rovers, spacecraft, Mars

Planetary Society DVD on Mars Exploration Rover lander

Planetary Society DVD on Mars Exploration Rover lander

Planetary Society DVD assembly bolted to one of the petals of the Mars Exploration Rover lander. The rover's wheels can be seen in the background.

Filed under Planetary Society Projects, fun, Mars Exploration Rovers, spacecraft, past projects

New Horizons launches for Pluto

New Horizons launches for Pluto

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft roared off the launch pad aboard an Atlas V 551 rocket on January 20, 2006. Liftoff was on time at 2 p.m. EST from Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This was the third launch attempt in as many days after scrubs due to weather concerns.

Filed under New Horizons, pretty pictures, spacecraft

The GRAIL twins meet their rocket

The GRAIL twins meet their rocket

The twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft are lifted to the top of their launch pad at Space Launch Complex 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on August 18, 2011.

Filed under pretty pictures, GRAIL, spacecraft

Twin GRAIL spacecraft preparing for launch

Twin GRAIL spacecraft preparing for launch

The twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar spacecraft are attached to the spacecraft adapter ring in their launch configuration in Astrotech Space Operation's payload processing facility in Titusville, Florida, on August 10, 2011.

Filed under pretty pictures, GRAIL, spacecraft

Chang'e 3 and Yutu seen from orbit

Chang'e 3 and Yutu seen from orbit

On December 25, 2013, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spied Chang'e 3 and Yutu on the lunar surface. It was near sunset on the pair's first lunar day of operations. In its extended mission, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is in an elliptical orbit whose altitude over the Chang'e 3 landing site is 150 kilometers, so its highest-resolution images have about 1.5 meters per pixel.

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

Dawn in the Asteroid Belt

Dawn in the Asteroid Belt

Artist William K. Hartmann's depiction of the spacecraft Dawn in the asteroid belt.

Filed under pretty pictures, Dawn, spacecraft, art

Chang'e 3 on the surface of the Moon

Chang'e 3 on the surface of the Moon

Yutu took this photo of Chang'e 3 on December 21 or 22. You can see the rover's tracks in the lunar soil behind the lander at the right.

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

3D view of Chang'e 3 on the surface of the Moon

3D view of Chang'e 3 on the surface of the Moon

Two views of the Chang'e 3 lander taken by the Yutu rover on December 22, 2013 were processed to create this 3D view.

Filed under pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, amateur image processing, spacecraft, the Moon, Chang'E program, 3D

Yutu rolling on the Moon

Yutu rolling on the Moon

China's Yutu rover makes tracks on the surface of the Moon, taken on December 21, 2013. This sequence was taken from a television broadcast, aligned to correct for the motion of the camera, and its color adjusted.

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

Yutu begins her lunar journey

Yutu begins her lunar journey

The Chang'e 3 lander took this photo of the rover Yutu on December 22, 2013. The rover had completed a semicircular tour of the lander and was departing the lander due south. This version of the image has been white-balanced and color-corrected.

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

Yutu on the Moon

Yutu on the Moon

Taken December 22, 2013 when the rover was 18 meters from the lander.

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

Curiosity's wheels on sol 463: tear in left front wheel

Curiosity's wheels on sol 463: tear in left front wheel

Curiosity took these photos of her wheels with the MAHLI arm-mounted camera on sol 463 (November 24, 2013) A large rip has appeared above the Morse-code holes in the left front wheel. Several smaller punch-holes are visible in it and the middle wheel in this view.

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

Curiosity monitors wheels during a drive, sol 474

Curiosity monitors wheels during a drive, sol 474

On sol 474, Curiosity took a short drive while shooting photos of the wheels with her Navcams and Hazcams. From left to right, the images are: left front wheel from left front Hazcam; right front wheel from right front Hazcam; left front wheel from right Navcam; left middle and rear wheels from right Navcam; and left rear wheel from left rear Navcam. Because the mast is located on the right front corner of the rover, the Navcam is only capable of seeing the wheels on the rover's right side. The Hazcams get partial views of three of the four corner wheels. (The only instrument that can see the right middle and rear wheels is the MAHLI camera on the robotic arm.)

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

Video of Chang'e 3's descent and landing on the Moon

Video of Chang'e 3's descent and landing on the Moon

This version of the video has been flipped 180 degrees to put sky above ground. The mountains on the horizon are the Montes Recti. The lander is decelerating at an angle until about 2:50 when it can be seen to rotate vertical. This was at an altitude of about 2000 meters. It then lowered to an altitude of 100 meters, where it came to a hovering standstill (at about 5:15). It used imaging and laser ranging to determine a safe place for the landing, then continued the descent. At an altitude of about 4 meters, it cut the engines and fell to the surface.

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

Chang'e 3 lander on the Moon

Chang'e 3 lander on the Moon

This screen capture from Chinese state television on December 15, 2013 shows the Chang'e 3 lander sitting on the lunar surface, photographed by the Yutu rover.

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

Jade Rabbit on the Moon

Jade Rabbit on the Moon

Aired live on state television, the Chang'e 3 lander took a photo of the recently-deployed Yutu rover, bearing the bright red Chinese national flag, on December 15, 2013.

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

Chang'e 3 rover Yutu rolls onto the lunar surface

Chang'e 3 rover Yutu rolls onto the lunar surface

Screen caps taken from a Chinese state television feed show the view from a side-looking camera mounted to the lander of the Yutu rover deploying from a ramp onto the surface of the Moon on December 14, 2013

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

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