There are now several white spots appearing on Ceres as Dawn makes it’s final approach to the dwarf planet. Any knee-jerk expectation say that there is merely a brighter material beneath the surface that was revealed by ancient impacts. Why the surface is darker and the underneath material is brighter (see Iapetus) would be a mystery… but perhaps they still may be related to the active geysers scientists have previously predicted due to data provided by The Herschel Infrared Space Observatory.
We shall soon see.
The Dawn spacecraft is approaching Ceres and has begun observations, including this first animation. Ceres is a dwarf planet that resides within the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter and is the last unexplored spherical body (that we know of) that resides within the orbit of Neptune. Read the rest of this entry »
This was the view from Rosetta’s Philae lander when it came to rest upon Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. What is shown is one of the landers feet (bottom center) and a very craggy surface beyond. After bouncing 3-4 times, scientists assume that Philae finally came to rest set precariously upon an uneven surface. Despite these images and images taken from Rosetta orbiting above — they have yet to find exactly where the lander has settled. Read the rest of this entry »
All three designs are published for our Kickstarter project. Back us today and get this Curiosity poster, Voyager or Cassini (or all three) as large scale screen-printed posters.
Consider backing our Kickstarter project and get this Cassini poster, Voyager or Curiosity (or all three) as large scale screen-printed posters.
The poll is complete and the most popular robotic spacecraft in history have been selected. Thanks to the efforts by The Planetary Society. The top three missions selected here now represent the themes of our series of screen-printed posters celebrating the history of robotic space exploration. To support this effort please see our campaign page at Kickstarter.
The Voyager Program
As we expected the Voyager Program came into the top spot with 507 votes (18.5%). The poster for this design is already complete and available for viewing on the campaign page.
Cassini / Huygens
Cassini takes poster #2 with 432 votes (15.7%), effectively eclipsing it’s sister probe Galileo. This design is expected to be completed on or before October 23rd.
Mars Science Lab (aka Curiosity)
The newest member of the robotic Martian community of surface rovers, Curiosity arrived in 2012 and has stolen the thunder of the previous Mars Exploration Rovers with 340 votes (12.4%). This design is expected to be completed on or before October 31st.
Even though this sunset lacks the tiny disc of the sun, this image beats the previous sunset image for my hard-earned-cash.
Our new Kickstarter project proposes the creation of three screen-printed posters celebrating the most popular and notable interplanetary robotic space missions in history. Going into this, we knew that poster #1 had to go to the hugely popular Voyager missions (shown above). However, we need your help selecting the themes of posters #2 and #3. So head over to The Planetary Society now to vote on your three favorite missions, but do it by the 19th to have it count for the poster selection. If this goes better than expected we could even wind up designing a fourth or fifth.
You know how your Mother will always take the most predictable pictures at the holidays? Well, the Mars Orbiter Mission has done exactly that with it’s recent global image of Mars and it turns out to actually be quite a rare image. Despite so many probes being active at Mars at once, most are too close to the planet to be able to capture a full disc image like this. Read the rest of this entry »
It is hard to imagine that this is a 3D model by Matthias Malmer. Not a series of 120 images released by the Rosetta team and stitched into a movie, but rendered from just 4 images. I processed this quick animated gif and looking at the individual frames, cannot detect the difference between the individual frames and still images taken by Rosetta.
There is so little to see here, but to think that New Horizons arrives at this impossibly distant world next year is unreal. Other than some fairly minor bodies, after Pluto and Ceres are visited in 2015 — every major target of interest in the solar system that most of us grew up with will have been visited at least once by robotic spacecraft.