Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
Regular readers of this blog will find the content of today's 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast familiar, because it's an update on what the solar system exploration spacecraft are up to, based on my monthly
April 2011 will see MESSENGER begin the science phase of its orbital mission at Mercury, and should, I think, also see the start of Dawn's approach observations of Vesta. At Mars, Opportunity is back on the road again, rolling inexorably toward Endeavour. At Saturn, Cassini will continue its focus on Saturn and Titan science.
I don't think there's any question what the big event of this month will be: MESSENGER is finally, finally entering orbit at Mercury on March 18 at 00:45 UTC (March 17 at 16:45 for me).
I've spent the day noodling around in the current issue of Icarus, following up some of the more interesting stories within its table of contents, and came across a picture of this very cool crater -- actually, set of craters -- on Mars.
I am such a nerd. This new map of Mars just brought tears to my eyes. Honestly.
I think a goodly proportion of you readers have already figured this out for yourselves since it was launched last March, but I didn't download and install it until last weekend, so this is new to me: Google Mars is awesome.
This was so cute I had to repost it -- and record it too.
I just received one of those chillingly-titled missives from JPL:
Last week, the Mars Odyssey team announced that their mission is being extended another two years. This mission extension will be slightly different from previous mission phases due to a planned change in the spacecraft's orbit.
Don Davis is a space artist who takes the question of color in space very seriously.
It's time to check in on what's going on with our trusty robots around the solar system.
Here's what's happening on active planetary missions this week.
I thought it would be fun to start the week by taking stock of what's going on with all the active planetary missions out there.
Exploring another planet is an expensive business. We all know this, but sometimes it hits home harder than others. Today was one of those times.
In the fourth installment in my look at one spot on Mars as seen through the eyes of different spacecraft, we finally get to a mission that is still operational: 2001 Mars Odyssey.
There have been so many missions to Mars, which have sent back so much data, that figuring out how to find images of places on Mars can be really overwhelming.
According to an update posted on the Athena website by Steve Squyres this morning, the Mars Odyssey orbiter has gone in to safe mode.
This week's releases from the Mars Odyssey THEMIS team included a gorgeous one of the layered interior of Gale crater.
Back in August, there was a false alarm being circulated by email that Mars was going to be super-close to Earth on August 27.
During April 2005, the Mars Global Surveyor happened to pass relatively close to Odyssey and Mars Express. What resulted were remarkably clear pictures of human-made spacecraft orbiting and alien world.