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Snapshots from Space

by Emily Lakdawalla

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

Curiosity update, sols 1675-1725: Traverse to Vera Rubin Ridge

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2017

Curiosity has had a busy eight weeks, driving south from the Bagnold Dunes toward Vera Rubin Ridge. The path has steepened and the rover is now rapidly climbing upward with every meter traveled. It's been a productive time for arm instruments, but the drill is still not working.

Saturn's small satellites, to scale

Emily Lakdawalla • May 17, 2017 • 3

Emily shares another of her popular size comparisons of solar system bodies, taking advantage of Cassini's recent views of Saturn's tiniest moons.

Saturn and Titan in the Milky Way

Emily Lakdawalla • May 08, 2017

An unusual photo of Saturn by astrophotographer Damian Peach shows the planet and its largest moon nestled among the star-filled lane of the Milky Way.

Trusty Cassini survives first dive between Saturn and its rings

Emily Lakdawalla • April 28, 2017 • 4

Cheers erupted in the Von Karman auditorium at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory early Thursday morning as a squiggly green line on a graph developed a crisp, tall peak, signifying that the Cassini spacecraft was calling home after surviving its first plunge between Saturn and its ring system.

Curiosity update, sols 1600-1674: The second Bagnold Dunes campaign

Emily Lakdawalla • April 25, 2017

The four-stop dune science campaign offered the engineers some time to continue troubleshooting the drill without any pressure to use it for science. They scooped sand at a site called Ogunquit Beach but couldn't complete the planned sample activity because of new developments in the drill inquiry. The rover has now headed onward toward Vera Rubin Ridge.

MAVEN dodges Phobos, with (maybe) a little help from Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • March 06, 2017 • 2

This week MAVEN had to execute a short rocket burn in order to prevent a future collision with Phobos. Curiosity (and other rovers) may have played a role in those trajectory predictions.

Curiosity update, sols 1548-1599: Serious drill brake problem as Curiosity drives through Murray red beds

Emily Lakdawalla • February 03, 2017

Since my last update, the Curiosity mission has developed a better understanding of the problem that prevented them from drilling at Precipice, but its intermittent nature has slowed the development of a workable solution that will allow them to use the drill again. In the meantime, the rover has driven onward, making good use of its other instruments.

A writing sabbatical

Emily Lakdawalla • January 24, 2017 • 6

Four years ago, I announced that I was writing a book about Curiosity, describing the mission from its inception through its nominal mission. I am still not done, so am taking a three-month break from other work -- including this blog -- in order to focus and finish. I'm seeking scientists and engineers to serve as guest bloggers.

Amazing photos of tiny moons as Cassini orbits among the rings

Emily Lakdawalla • January 19, 2017 • 6

Behold: Daphnis, the tiny, 8-kilometer moon that orbits within a ring gap, gently tugging on the edges of the gap to create delicate scallops.

Hidden Figures: Triumphant in the theater, sobering after

Emily Lakdawalla • January 10, 2017 • 5

Go see Hidden Figures, and bring your kids. Despite its serious subject matter, the movie is joyful, often funny, and, in the end, triumphant.

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Emily Lakdwalla
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