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NASA counts down final month of Cassini’s tour of Saturn

15 August 2017 Stephen Clark

NASA’s Cassini orbiter sailed through the tenuous outermost reaches of Saturn’s atmosphere without trouble Monday, performing the first of five close swings nearer to the planet than any previous spacecraft before a final dive Sept. 15 to end the probe’s nearly 20-year mission.

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New Horizons’ next target might be a binary pair

8 August 2017 Stephen Clark

Ground observations of the New Horizons spacecraft’s next target last month revealed the distant object, lurking in the outer Solar System more than four billion miles from Earth, might have an unconventional elongated shape, or even consist of two icy bodies orbiting one another in an age-old cosmic dance.

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Haze on Saturn’s horizon

27 July 2017 Astronomy Now

This false-color view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft gazes toward the rings beyond Saturn’s sunlit horizon. Along the limb at left can be seen a thin, detached haze. This haze vanishes toward the left side of the scene.

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First close up Juno images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot reach Earth

12 July 2017 William Harwood

Two days after NASA’s Juno spacecraft streaked over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, pictures of the solar system’s largest, most powerful storm, have been transmitted to Earth, giving eager scientist close-up views of the 10,000-mile-wide anticyclone where 400-mph winds have been howling for at least 187 years and possibly much longer.

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NASA marks 20 years of continuous Mars exploration

4 July 2017 Stephen Clark

NASA’s Mars Pathfinder probe dropped to the surface of Mars for an airbag-cushioned landing 20 years ago Tuesday, bouncing 15 times across an ancient flood plain before deploying a mobile robot to usher in two decades of uninterrupted Martian exploration.

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Jupiter’s “String of Pearls”

26 June 2017 Astronomy Now

This enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s bands of light and dark clouds was created by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft.