Category Archive: Other Planets

Jan 12 2016

Latest from Pluto

When one has spent the last week and a half gallivanting about eating bon-bons and such, it always pays to swing by NASA’s New Horizons page because there is usually something cool there. I was not disappointed: ‘X’ Marks a Curious Corner on Pluto’s Icy Plains. They postulate that big chunks of liquid nitrogen slowly …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2016/01/12/latest-from-pluto/

Dec 30 2015

Gotcher Pluto…nium fix right here!

U.S. demonstrates production of fuel for missions to the solar system and beyond. 50 grams of plutonium-238 doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the first batch of plutonium we’ve produced in 30 years. They plan to ramp up to 3 pounds of plutonium per year (27 times 50 grams). This is very good news for …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/30/gotcher-pluto-nium-fix-right-here/

Dec 23 2015

A heck of a commute, but look at the view!!

First High-Resolution Images Released of Ceres From Dawn’s New Lowest Orbit. Dawn is now in its final orbit at 240 miles above the surface of Ceres. Resolution is about at 120 feet / pixel.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/23/a-heck-of-a-commute-but-look-at-the-view/

Dec 20 2015

Still less than halfway done downloading data

NASA’s New Horizon page. New Findings from NASA’s New Horizons Shape Understanding of Pluto and its Moons. Key to understanding activity on Pluto is the role of the deep layer of solid nitrogen and other volatile ices that fill the left side of Pluto’s ‘heart’—a vast, 620-mile (1,000-kilometer) -wide basin, informally named Sputnik Planum. New …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/20/still-less-than-halfway-done-downloading-data/

Dec 10 2015

Turning a near miss into a hit

Japanese space probe goes into orbit around Venus. The mission is to observe Venus’ atmosphere and to hopefully confirm the existence of volcanoes on its surface.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/10/turning-a-near-miss-into-a-hit/

Dec 09 2015

Mmmmmmm…salty goodness

Mystery Solved? Ceres’ Bright Spots Likely Made of Salt. That’s pretty neat, but this article turns out to summarize two studies in one. The second study determines that Ceres was likely formed out past Neptune and migrated into the Asteroid Belt…which raises a ton of questions, starting with how much of the Asteroid Belt is …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/09/mmmmmmm-salty-goodness/

Dec 09 2015

Latest Pluto Images

From NASA’s New Horizons mission page:

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/09/latest-pluto-images-2/

Dec 04 2015

Pluto jonesin’ post

NASA’s New Horizons’ Mission Page First, New Horizons has observed a Kuiper Belt object, 1994 JR1, from its own Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) at a range of about 170 million miles. This is a potential secondary mission for New Horizons — observing various Kuiper Belt objects while flies through space. Next, JPL has put …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/04/pluto-jonesin-post/

Nov 16 2015

Latest Pluto images

From NASA’s New Horizons’ page.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/11/16/latest-pluto-images/

Nov 10 2015

Slides from New Horizons news conference available

Science Results from the New Horizons Encounter with Pluto. Pretty cool that they made this available. Some of the more interesting images: Pluto’s moons Pluto’s geology Cratering on Pluto Much more at the link — more than enough to satisfy your Pluto jones. Related: And here’s a video of the motion of Pluto’s moons:

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/11/10/slides-from-new-horizons-news-conference-available/

Nov 08 2015

New Horizons on course for 2014 MU69

New Horizons Completes Targeting Maneuvers. New Horizons completed the fourth of four maneuvers to set it on a course for 2014 MU69, and should intercept it on 1 January 2019. The maneuvers didn’t speed or slow the spacecraft as much as they “pushed” New Horizons sideways, giving it a 57 meter per second (128 mile …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/11/08/new-horizons-on-course-for-2014-mu69/

Nov 03 2015

ESA selects 5 CubeSat missions for Asteroid exploration

CubeSats to an asteroid. This is the Asteroid Impact mission that ESA is considering. The 5 CubeSat missions selected are AGEX (Royal Observatory of Belgium). A CubeSat touches down to assess the surface material, surface gravity, subsurface structure and of the DART impact effects. Another CubeSat in orbit deploys smaller ‘chipsats’ dispersed over the asteroid. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/11/03/esa-selects-5-cubesat-missions-for-asteroid-exploration/

Oct 30 2015

Cassini’s close encounter with Enceladus

Here are some raw images from NASA’s Cassini page: ============== Sorry for the general lack of activity today. It was Senior night for my youngest daughter (Captain of the Cheer squad), so didn’t get much time today to blog.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/30/cassinis-close-encounter-with-enceladus/

Oct 29 2015

Animation of Cassini Enceladus Flyby

Freaky music! Cassini survived the pass through Enceladus’ plumes with no incident.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/29/animation-of-cassini-enceladus-flyby/

Oct 27 2015

Close encounter on Halloween

Per SpaceWeather.com (which doesn’t lend itself to links very well): HALLOWEEN ASTEROID: An asteroid the size of a battleship will fly past the Earth-Moon system on Oct. 31st. There’s no danger of a collision. Asteroid 2015 TB145 will be 300,000 miles away from Earth at closest approach on Halloween. That’s too far for goosebumps, but …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/27/close-encounter-on-halloween/

Oct 27 2015

New Horizons completes longest maneuver in its history

New Horizons Team Reports Success In Second Of Four Targeting Maneuvers. The maneuver lasted 25 minutes. The final two maneuvers will take place on 28 Oct and 4 Nov. The 2014 MU69 mission hasn’t been formally approved yet, but I can’t believe that it won’t be. Video comes complete with creepy robot voice just in …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/27/new-horizons-completes-longest-maneuver-in-its-history/

Oct 27 2015

Plume Dive into Enceladus tomorrow

Seven Key Facts About Cassini’s Oct. 28 ‘Plume Dive’. Most interesting fact listed? The flyby will be Cassini’s deepest-ever dive through the Enceladus plume, which is thought to come from the ocean below. The spacecraft has flown closer to the surface of Enceladus before, but never this low directly through the active plume.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/27/plume-dive-into-enceladus-tomorrow/

Oct 24 2015

First pictures of Pluto’s moon Kerberos released

Last of Pluto’s Moons – Mysterious Kerberos – Revealed by New Horizons. All of the smaller moons have the same reflectivity, and speculation is that they are all covered with with relatively clean water ice. Because you can’t swing a dead cat in the Solar System without hitting water.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/24/first-pictures-of-plutos-moon-kerberos-released/

Oct 23 2015

New Horizons on its way to a new target

New Horizons Changes Course for Flyby of First Post-Pluto Destination on New Year’s Day 2019. We need to come up with a better name than 2014 MU69. According to a report today by the Associated Press, New Horizons fired its thrusters for the first in a series of course-correction changes this afternoon. Four such maneuvers …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/23/new-horizons-on-its-way-to-a-new-target/

Oct 14 2015

New pictures of Pluto’s moon Nix

New Horizons: the mission that keeps on giving!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/14/new-pictures-of-plutos-moon-nix/

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