June 12th, 2015
Pluto is starting to reveal it’s face.
This is the last visit of this kind for the forseeable future. Apart from a few of the other larger Kuiper Belt objects, this is the only planned exploration of a major body in our solar system left that has never been seen by human eyes before. Every planet, all the major moons and the most significant asteroids have all been revealed if not globally mapped. There would have to be a new mission planned to Eris, Makemake or to one of the other Kuipers to see something like this again. Even if a mission like that was approved, it would be years of development plus another 10 year slog before arriving at such distant targets.
It is worth noting that as soon as 2017, New Horizons is expected to make another flyby of a much smaller Kuiper Belt object and then again in 2019 — with a possibility of a third if one can be found. So even after Pluto is over… there will still be a few encores.
May 13th, 2015
New images of Ceres show the bright spots as a series of smaller spots in close proximity. This makes it fairly certain that the source is a highly reflective surface — such as ice.
May 13th, 2015
The first time we had one of these it was shot by Spirit in 2006 and then this one last year also by Curiosity.
March 1st, 2015
Finally found a colorized version of Don P. Mitchell’s work on the Soviet Venera mission which reveals Venus as one would see it standing upon the surface. The color was added to the image by someone better qualified than myself and is most likely closer to the reality than what I had posted a few years ago. According to the Italian Astronomy Photo of the Day, “this job carried out by the Italian Researcher Dr Paolo C. Fienga”.
February 9th, 2015
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.
January 26th, 2015
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 »
January 10th, 2015
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 »
November 28th, 2014
It is rare that an Earth images graces these pages because they are so much more common. But take a look at this. Something you do not see very often because the view requires a fairly rare polar orbit. Get the super-hires here. Thanks to Sploid/Gizmodo.
October 30th, 2014
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.
October 21st, 2014
Consider backing our Kickstarter project and get this Cassini poster, Voyager or Curiosity (or all three) as large scale screen-printed posters.
October 20th, 2014
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.
Read the rest of this entry »
October 18th, 2014
Even though this sunset lacks the tiny disc of the sun, this image beats the previous sunset image for my hard-earned-cash.
October 16th, 2014
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.