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11 July 2010

Rosetta flies by Lutetia

You do know about ESA’s Rosetta probe don’t you? This european mission to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (say that three times fast!) launched in 2004 and has one of the most convoluted mission timelines I’ve seen. Here’s a graphical version, followed by a list of key events. You can also click the image to read the text better. First Earth flyby (March 4, 2005) Mars flyby (February 25, 2007) Second Earth …


2 June 2010

Barnstorming Mars

You need to check out this video that the ESA just posted: This was compiled from the small “Visual Monitoring Camera” on Mars Express, and it gives a beautiful view of what Mars looks like from the spacecraft’s highly elliptical orbit. I love the way the orbit clearly speeds up as the spacecraft swoops by the pole. Also, pay close attention at the very end and you can see a …


16 December 2009

AGU 2009 – Day 1

For those not familiar with the conference, the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union is a terrifyingly, overwhelmingly large conference. Each year, something like 16,000 geoscientists descend on San Francisco to share their work. It is also one of the major planetary science conferences, so a lot of new results are first presented here. This year, the first talks that I checked out on Monday were about radar observations …


4 December 2008

A single Mars program for the Earth?

One interesting tidbit that came out of the NASA presser on the MSL delay are comments made by NASA Assoc. Admin. for the Science Mission Directorate, Ed Weiler. Apparently, NASA and ESA have gotten clearance to start laying the groundwork for a joint Mars program. As Ed Weiler said: So David [Southwood – ESA Director of Science] and I sort of talked about the possibility of maybe we oughta think …