Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
Today I received an email notification of new public releases of some image data sets. I always love seeing new public space image data, but this notification was bittersweet: it included the first public release of the very last image data returned to Earth by Deep Impact, of a distant comet ISON.
Efforts to regain contact with Deep Impact have been ended. The last contact with the spacecraft was on August 8, 2013.
Oh, that dreaded phrase,
Communication with the Deep Impact spacecraft was lost some time between August 11 and August 14. The team has determined the cause of the problem, and is trying to figure out how to restore communication.
Space blogger Daniel Fischer provides a preview of the exciting interplanetary observing campaign that has recently begun to study comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) from vantage points across the solar system.
Just messing around with a recently released processed version of the Deep Impact Hartley 2 data set.
A reader comment inspired me to dig up an oldie but a goodie: a sequence of photos of the Moon transiting Earth, seen from a very long way away,
Deep Impact has made the first space-based observations of comet ISON.
My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.
Yesterday, Deep Impact performed a trajectory correction maneuver, firing its thrusters to line up for a flyby seven years from now. Here's a preview of that encounter.
Welcome to the monthly roundup of our solar system's envoy of electronic explorers! All eyes are on Curiosity as it approaches Mars this weekend. Who will lend support at the Red Planet?
Last week, the team put all of the data from Deep Impact's deep-sky imaging session online, and challenged visitors to see what they could make from it. I made some photos of M51, but there were some challenges.
It's been a very full day at the DPS-EPSC 2011 joint meeting. My day was less full than it might have been, because I overslept and missed most of the morning's session. I really needed the rest though so I think it was probably for the best!
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.
Kirby Runyon, a second-year grad student at Temple University, offered to send me some writeups of selected presentations from last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, and I enthusiastically agreed.
Wednesday's sessions at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) on the Deep Impact flyby of Hartley 2 were one of two that I was most looking forward to, the other being this morning's talks on Hayabusa's samples from Itokawa, about which I don't yet have any notes. I am again grateful to Franck Marchis and Andy Rivkin for sending me their notes on Hartley 2.
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 a day with the Stardust images from Tempel 1, and had a chat with co-investigator Jessica Sunshine, so here are a bunch of images with some preliminary scientific commentary.
It was a very happy science team at this afternoon's press briefing following the Stardust encounter with Tempel 1.