Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
In its orbit around the Sun, the Red Planet has been returning to where it was when the Mars Exploration Rovers first landed back in January 2004, and, as the twin robot field geologists are marking the milestone of their first Martian year -- equivalent to almost two Earth years -- fireworks are flashing all around the planet. Although the cause of the fireworks is actually debris from Halley's comet, through which Mars is currently passing, the timing seems so metaphorically appropriate.
Hayabusa has been riding an incredible wave of luck lately, resulting in the dramatic success of the sample grab last week. But it looks as though Hayabusa's luck may be running out.
Remember how Hayabusa was virtually still for 30 minutes? JAXA is now saying that Hayabusa actually touched down -- and more than that, they may even have a sample.
A fun NASA explainer just crossed my email inbox and I thought I'd share it.
Hayabusa reached an altitude of about 560 meters above Hayabusa at 17:30 UTC. And at 18:00 UTC they are at 500 meters. This is still farther above the asteroid than the asteroid is big...there is still a long way to go before Hayabusa touches down...
If I understand the various sources(and my somewhat vague memory) correctly, it now appears that Earth has rotated far enough to take the Deep Space Network station at Goldstone, through which Hayabusa has been transmitting, out of line with Hayabusa.
In a further update on Hayabusa's status, we have been contacted by Kazuya Yoshida of the Space Robotics Laboratory at Tohuku University. Yoshida reports that the touchdown is now planned to take place
There has been a delay of just about a day in JAXA's plans for landing Hayabusa on Itokawa.
Tak Iyori from The Planetary Society of Japan has sent us a couple of updates on the status of Hayabusa and the mission's plans for landing on Itokawa.
The Society awards its first Cosmos Award for Public Presentation of Science director James Cameron.
These photos pretty much speak for themselves. They are amazing. Hayabusa saw its own shadow on Itokawa, and took a photo of the released target marker.
While I was at the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting in Cambridge in September I had a chance to chat with David Atkinson, who's a member of the Doppler Wind Experiment team on Huygens. They and the other instrument teams have been plugging away at analyzing their data.
After a 2-week delay in its schedule, the European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft is back on track for launch.
Almost since it was founded in 1980, The Planetary Society has been there for the search for other worlds.
The Mars Exploration Rovers science team witnessed a bit of an expansion down here on Earth this month, while up on the Red Planet Spirit and Opportunity continued roving along. As Halloween nears, the twin robot geologists have put in another solid month's worth of work, overcoming every occasional
I've just posted a very brief update on the upcoming Titan flyby, which will be the first to include RADAR imaging across the Huygens landing site.
I've just come home from Caltech, where I saw author Dava Sobel give a presentation on her latest book, The Planets.
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.
I just noticed this picture on the Cassini raw images website. I love these
The images from Cassini's Dione encounter yesterday have started coming back, and there is a really cool set of 16 pictures of Dione and Rhea.