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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!

Juno's first Jupiter close approach successful; best JunoCam images yet to come

Emily Lakdawalla • August 27, 2016 • 13

NASA announced this afternoon that Juno passed through its first perijove since entering orbit successfully, with science instruments operating all the way. This is a huge relief, given all the unknowns about the effects of Jupiter's nasty radiation environment on its brand-new orbiter.

How big is that butte?

Emily Lakdawalla • August 23, 2016 • 4

Whenever I share images from Curiosity, among the most common questions I’m asked is “what is the scale of this image?” With help from imaging enthusiast Seán Doran, I can answer that question for some of the Murray buttes.

JunoCam "Marble Movie" data available

Emily Lakdawalla • August 22, 2016 • 11

Since a few days after entering orbit, JunoCam has been taking photos of Jupiter every fifteen minutes, accumulating a trove of data that can be assembled into a movie of the planet.

OSIRIS-REx launch preview

Emily Lakdawalla • August 17, 2016 • 1

Launch day is coming for NASA's next interplanetary explorer! OSIRIS-REx is on schedule for launch on September 8, 2016 at 19:05 EDT (16:05 PDT, 23:05 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. OSIRIS-REx is the first NASA planetary launch since MAVEN in 2013, and will be the last until InSight in 2018.

Photos: OSIRIS-REx prepares for launch

Emily Lakdawalla • August 15, 2016

Only 24 days remain until the opening of OSIRIS-REx's launch period, and final preparations are underway. There is a lot to do in the final months before a launch, but things seem to be going well.

Curiosity update, sols 1373-1427: Driving up to Murray buttes, drilling at Marimba

Emily Lakdawalla • August 11, 2016 • 1

Curiosity has now covered most of the flat ground that lay between the Naukluft plateau and the Murray buttes. The mission took only 11 days to complete drilling work at Marimba, despite a recurrence of a problematic short in the drill. The rover is ready to drive in among the buttes, shooting spectacular photos along the way.

Yutu is NOT dead (probably)

Emily Lakdawalla • August 10, 2016 • 2

Despite what you may have read on other websites last week, China's Yutu lunar rover is probably still functional on the surface of the Moon.

JunoCam raw data from the Juno approach movie

Emily Lakdawalla • August 09, 2016 • 1

As it approached Jupiter from June 12 to 29, JunoCam captured an animation of the major moons orbiting the planet. The mission released a processed version of the animation on the day of orbit insertion, but took a few weeks to release the raw image data. I've prepared a page hosting all the raw data, and share a few processed versions.

What's up in the solar system, August 2016 edition: Juno to get Jupiter close-ups, Rosetta descending, road-tripping rovers

Emily Lakdawalla • July 29, 2016 • 5

This month we'll finally see JunoCam's first high-resolution images of Jupiter. We'll also see OSIRIS-REx making progress toward its September 8 launch. Both rovers are road-tripping at Mars, while ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has completed a major mid-course correction ahead of its October arrival.

Rosetta end-of-mission plans: Landing site, time selected

Emily Lakdawalla • July 26, 2016 • 2

ESA's comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft is nearing the end of its mission. Last week, ESA announced when and where Rosetta is going to touch down. And tomorrow, it will forever shut down the radio system intended for communicating with the silent Philae lander.

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