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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Update: Getting Started

The Planetary Society solar sail team is working to try again to fly the world’s first solar sail spacecraft.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Achieves Martian Year Milestone while Opportunity Reveals Harsh Challenges for Past Martian Life

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.

Thruster trouble for Hayabusa

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.

A gap in the Hayabusa telemetry, as the Earth rotates

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.

Closer still to Itokawa

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...

Getting ready for Hayabusa's touchdown

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

A couple of Hayabusa updates

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.

Amazing Hayabusa images

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.

An update on the Huygens Doppler Wind Experiment

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.

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