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Emily Lakdawalla

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla (2017, alternate)

Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist

[email protected]
+1-626-793-5100

Extended biography and head shots
List of publications

Emily is available for speaking engagements.

Emily Lakdawalla is an internationally admired science communicator and educator, passionate about advancing public understanding of space and sharing the wonder of scientific discovery.

Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in geology from Amherst College and a Master of Science degree in planetary geology from Brown University. She came to The Planetary Society in 2001. She has been writing and editing the Planetary Society Blog since 2005, reporting on space news, explaining planetary science, and sharing beautiful space photos. Emily has been an active supporter of the international community of space image processing enthusiasts as Administrator of the forum UnmannedSpaceflight.com since 2005. She is also a contributing editor to Sky & Telescope magazine.

Her first book, titled The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job, was published by Springer-Praxis in March, 2018. The book explains the development, design, and function of Curiosity with the same level of technical detail that she delivers in the Planetary Society Blog. A second book, Curiosity and Its Science Mission: A Mars Rover Goes to Work will follow in 2019.

She was awarded the 2011 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award from the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society for her blog entry about the Phoebe ring of Saturn. Asteroid 274860 was formally named "Emilylakdawalla" by the International Astronomical Union on July 12, 2014. She received an honorary doctorate from The Open University in 2017 in recognition of her contributions in communicating space science to the public.

Emily can be reached at [email protected] or @elakdawalla on Twitter.

Latest Blog Posts

Eleven perijoves

May 18, 2018

Seán Doran has made a cool visual index to the images that JunoCam took during Juno's first 12 closest approaches to Jupiter.

#Mercury2018: From MESSENGER to BepiColombo and beyond

May 17, 2018

A Mercury meeting held May 1-3 summarized the current and future science of the innermost planet. Emily Lakdawalla was there and shares her notes.

Book Excerpt: The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the radioisotope power system works

May 14, 2018

Readers, colleagues, friends: it's finally happened. My first book is finally out in the world. Here's an excerpt that explains the design and operation of Curiosity's MMRTG, (it also applies to the future Mars 2020 rover power supply).

Juno's 12th perijove in lifelike color

May 11, 2018

With the help of some preprocessing of JunoCam images by Mattias Malmer, Don Davis shows us how Jupiter might have looked on April 1, 2018, if we'd been aboard Juno.

Philae science results: Comet 67P is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside

May 09, 2018

What is the surface of a comet like? That's one of the main questions that motivated Philae's mission to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. We now know the comet has a rigid crust about 10 to 50 centimeters thick, below which the comet is much more fluffy.

Go Atlas, go Centaur, go InSight!

May 05, 2018

NASA’s next Mars mission launched successfully from Vandenberg Air Force Base today!

MarCO: CubeSats to Mars!

May 01, 2018

MarCO or Mars Cube One is an experimental mission that is sending two tiny spacecraft along with InSight to Mars. If successful, they will relay real-time telemetry from InSight to Earth during the landing.

Moon Monday: Prometheus

April 23, 2018

Happy Monday! Here's a picture of Prometheus. You may think it's a picture of Saturn. Look hard, toward the bottom, and you'll see Prometheus, doing its part to keep the F ring in line.

Latest Processed Space Images

Map of HiRISE anaglyph image coverage for the Opportunity traverse

Not published yet

Blue boxes denote digital terrain models (DTMs). Green boxes are stereo pairs that are also available as anaglyphs. Purple box indicates an image pair that could potentially be converted into an anaglyph/DTM. Yellow line indicates Opportunity's traverse as of February 2014. Underlying CTX image is at 10 meters per pixel.

Teeny impact on the OSIRIS-REx sample return capsule heat shield

April 20, 2018

A comparison of two images taken by StowCam on September 22, 2016 and March 2, 2017 shows the mark of a tiny impactor having struck the sample return capsule's heat shield some time in the intervening six months. A detail is shown inset at upper left.

Arm workspace at Bressay, sol 2014

April 17, 2018

On sol 2014, Curiosity pulled up to an odd and apparently random collection of "greatest hits" of Gale crater float rock types at a site the team named Bressay.

astronaut on Phobos
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