JPL Blog


Slice of History: Mariner Mars 1964 Solar Panel Test

Slice of History: Mariner Mars 1964 Solar Panel Test
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By Julie Cooper Each month in “Slice of History” we feature a historical photo from the JPL Archives. See more historical photos and explore the JPL Archives at https://beacon.jpl.nasa.gov/. Mariner Mars 1964 Solar Panel Test — Photograph Number 293-6725Bc “Most space projects live nine lives on the test bench before they are allowed one life […]

It’s No Seven-Year Itch for Dawn: The Dwarf Planet Awaits

It’s No Seven-Year Itch for Dawn: The Dwarf Planet Awaits

By Marc Rayman As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes its journey to its second target, the dwarf planet Ceres, Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer, shares a monthly update on the mission’s progress. This illustration shows landmarks on Dawn’s voyage. After leaving Earth, the spacecraft flew past Mars to the giant protoplanet Vesta, where it spent 14 […]

How Dawn Will Get the Low-Down on the First Dwarf Planet Ever Discovered

How Dawn Will Get the Low-Down on the First Dwarf Planet Ever Discovered

By Marc Rayman As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes its journey to its second target, the dwarf planet Ceres, Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer, shares a monthly update on the mission’s progress. This image illustrates Dawn’s spiral transfer from high altitude mapping orbit (HAMO) to low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO). The trajectory turns from blue to […]

Using the Force: Dawn Engineers Put to the Test

Using the Force: Dawn Engineers Put to the Test

By Marc Rayman As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes its journey to its second target, the dwarf planet Ceres, Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer, shares a monthly update on the mission’s progress. Artist’s comparison of the Dawn spacecraft, which has three ion engines, and a “Star Wars” TIE (Two Ion Engine) Fighter. Image credit: NASA/JPL Dear […]

Dawn’s Downward Spiral to Reveal New World Views

Dawn’s Downward Spiral to Reveal New World Views

By Marc Rayman As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes its journey to its second target, the dwarf planet Ceres, Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer, shares a monthly update on the mission’s progress. Artist’s concept of Dawn in its high altitude mapping orbit at dwarf planet Ceres. Credit: NASA/JPL Dear Mastodawns, Deep in the main asteroid belt, […]

Survey Orbit: A Truly Extaordinary View

Survey Orbit: A Truly Extaordinary View

By Marc Rayman As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes its journey to its second target, the dwarf planet Ceres, Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer, shares a monthly update on the mission’s progress. Dear Dawnosaurs, Silently streaking through the main asteroid belt, emitting a blue-green beam of xenon ions, Dawn continues its ambitious interplanetary expedition. On behalf […]

Slice of History: VRM/Magellan

Slice of History: VRM/Magellan

By Julie Cooper Each month in “Slice of History” we feature a historical photo from the JPL Archives. See more historical photos and explore the JPL Archives at https://beacon.jpl.nasa.gov/. 271-2549Bc Magellan Mission to Venus (VRM) Venus Radar MapperRequested by: Mona Jasnow This artist’s conception of the Magellan spacecraft was created in about 1983, when it […]

Slice of History: Advanced Lunar Studies Field Test

Slice of History: Advanced Lunar Studies Field Test

By Julie Cooper Each month in “Slice of History” we feature a historical photo from the JPL Archives. See more historical photos and explore the JPL Archives at https://beacon.jpl.nasa.gov/. Advanced Lunar Studies Field Test — Photograph number 292-525Ac The last of the Surveyor lunar landers, Surveyor 7, was launched on January 7, 1968, and operated […]

Riding the Spiral: Navigating a New World

Riding the Spiral: Navigating a New World

By Marc Rayman As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes its journey to its second target, the dwarf planet Ceres, Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer, shares a monthly update on the mission’s progress. Dawn will use its ion propulsion system to change orbits at Ceres, allowing it to observe the dwarf planet from different vantage points. Image […]

So Close, Yet So Far Away: Dawn’s Trajectory Explained

So Close, Yet So Far Away: Dawn’s Trajectory Explained

By Marc Rayman As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes its journey to its second target, the dwarf planet Ceres, Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer, shares a monthly update on the mission’s progress. Artist’s concept depicting the Dawn spacecraft thrusting with its ion propulsion system as it travels from Vesta (lower right) to Ceres (upper left). The […]