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Snapshots from Space

by Emily Lakdawalla

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Emily Lakdawalla

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Follow the thrilling adventures of planetary missions, past and present, and see the stunningly beautiful photos that they return from space!

New Horizons fast approaching 2014 MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • December 27, 2018 • 3

Unaffected by the shutdown of the U.S. government, New Horizons is still on course for its New Year’s encounter with 2014 MU69 (nicknamed “Ultima Thule”). This post collects the latest images from New Horizons' approach to the tiny Kuiper belt object and will be updated regularly.

InSight update, sols 1-24: Operations begin, first instrument deployed

Emily Lakdawalla • December 21, 2018 • 5

It’s been a busy first three weeks on the InSight mission, and they’ve already achieved a major milestone: placing the seismometer on the ground. They've also gathered a self-portrait and 360-degree panorama.

The December Solstice 2018 Issue of The Planetary Report Is Out!

Emily Lakdawalla • December 18, 2018

I’m very proud to announce the publication of the December Solstice 2018 issue of The Planetary Report, “Where Life Began.”

What to Expect When New Horizons Visits 2014 MU69, Ultima Thule

Emily Lakdawalla • December 17, 2018 • 5

New Horizons is rapidly approaching its New Year’s encounter with the most distant world ever visited, 2014 MU69. Closest approach will be at a distance of 3,500 kilometers at about 05:33 on 1 January UTC.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spots InSight Hardware on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • December 13, 2018

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has finally spotted the InSight lander, its parachute, and its heat shield resting on the Martian surface. The images confirm the location of InSight's landing site, a little to the north and west of the center of the landing ellipse. The lander is located at 4.499897° N, 135.616000° E.

Curiosity Update, Sols 2163-2256: Hard Times Atop Vera Rubin Ridge

Emily Lakdawalla • December 11, 2018

Just after a failed drill attempt at Inverness, Curiosity suffered a serious computer problem. The mission has now recovered by switching computers, and has successfully drilled at Highfield. One last drill site in "red Jura" rocks is planned before leaving Vera Rubin ridge behind.

News brief: Voyager 2 has passed beyond the heliopause

Emily Lakdawalla • December 10, 2018 • 3

Voyager 2 is now outside the reach of the solar wind, traveling in the interstellar medium. Unlike Voyager 1, Voyager 2 has a working plasma spectrometer so will be doing exciting new science. It is expected to last another 5 to 10 years, though not with all instruments operating.

Liftoff for Chang'e-4!

Emily Lakdawalla • December 07, 2018

At 02:22 local time 8 December (18:22 on 7 December UTC), a Long March 3B lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center, carrying the Chang'e-4 lander and rover toward the Moon.

New Cameras on Mars!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 27, 2018 • 6

There was jubilation when InSight landed, but I'm just as happy to be writing about a distinct InSight event: The flow of raw images sent from Mars, straight to the Web, has begun.

InSight has landed (UPDATED)

Emily Lakdawalla • November 26, 2018 • 1

InSight touched down on Mars today, bringing NASA's total of successful Mars landers to 8 and total number of active NASA Mars missions to 6.

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