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Pictures of Spacecraft

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 15 from 20:44 to 20:52 China time (12:44 to 12:52 UTC).

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

Opportunity's first photo from the surface of Mars

Opportunity's first photo from the surface of Mars

This Navcam image was returned by Opportunity shortly after its landing in Meridiani Planum on January 25, 2004. The rover's mast had not yet been deployed, so the Navcams looked down the mast (the cylinder at left), across the pristine solar panels on the deck of the rover, at the wall of Eagle Crater, which contained a bright-colored outcrop of rock.

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

Opportunity's

Opportunity's "Lion King" panorama, sols 58 and 60

Opportunity took the photos for this panorama -- the largest obtained to date by either rover -- after exiting Eagle Crater on sol 58 (March 25, 2004). This panorama depicts a story of exploration including the rover's lander, a thorough examination of the outcrop, a study of the soils at the near-side of the lander, a successful exit from Eagle Crater and finally the rover's next desination, the large crater dubbed "Endurance".

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

Spirit Sol 2 DVD photo: L4 (red) filter

Spirit Sol 2 DVD photo: L4 (red) filter

On Sol 2, the rover's second Martian day, mission engineers commanded the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) instrument to capture four images of the DVD assembly. The four images were captured through four different filters: a red filter, a green filter, a blue filter, and an "empty" filter. This is the "L4" or red filter image.

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

Simulated view of Spirit's Home Plate North parking spot

Simulated view of Spirit's Home Plate North parking spot

On sol 1,793, Spirit captured a Navcam panorama containing a view of Home Plate North, the spot where it spent its third Martian winter (and all of the Earth year 2008). Michael Howard has dropped in a computer model of Spirit at the winter parking spot, providing a sense of scale and of the steep angle at which Spirit was tilted in order to catch the wan winter sunlight.

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

Right front wheel motion on Spirit?

Right front wheel motion on Spirit?

Against all expectations, an extremely tiny bit of motion was visible in Spirit's "stuck" right front wheel on sol 2113.

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

Free Spirit progress as of sol 2090 (rear Hazcam view)

Free Spirit progress as of sol 2090 (rear Hazcam view)

This animation consists of four frames from the right eye of Spirit's rear belly-mounted Hazcam. A full-resolution version of this animation (2 MB) may be downloaded here.

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

Free Spirit progress as of sol 2090 (forward Hazcam view)

Free Spirit progress as of sol 2090 (forward Hazcam view)

This animation consists of four frames from the right eye of Spirit's forward belly-mounted Hazard Avoidance Camera, or Hazcam. The Hazcam gives a fisheye view of the world in front of the rover encompassing the ground between its front wheels, all the way out to the horizon, with Husband Hill in the background. The animation begins on sol 2078, with Spirit bogged down in dust at Troy, and covers the extraction efforts up to sol 2090, when a drive moved Spirit forward slightly, and more importantly, caused the horizon to drop very slightly, meaning that the rover was tipping upward. A full-resolution version of this animation (3 MB) may be downloaded here.

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

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

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