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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 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, is due out from Springer-Praxis in 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

HiRISE image coverage of the Curiosity field site on Mars, Version 4.0

January 15, 2018

The latest and greatest update of Emily's list of all the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE images that contain Curiosity hardware, tracks, or traverses.

Curiosity update, sols 1814-1926: Vera Rubin Ridge Walkabout

January 06, 2018

Curiosity is climbing across the top of Vera Rubin Ridge, spying varicolored rocks. It's getting closer to being ready to drill again, and has performed a wet chemistry experiment for the first time.

What's Up in Solar System Exploration in 2018

December 27, 2017

Three launches to the Moon and one each to Mercury and Mars; two arrivals at near-Earth asteroids; and an approach to an encounter with a distant Kuiper belt object are highlights we anticipate in 2018.

These are a few of our favorite things: Top 2017 planetary stories

December 22, 2017

Looking back on 2017, we here at The Planetary Society are proud of what we have accomplished during this orbit of the Sun. Emily Lakdawalla, Jason Davis, Casey Dreier, and Mat Kaplan reflect on the year that was.

#AGU17: Spherical harmonics, gravity, and the depth of winds at Jupiter

December 20, 2017

Results from the Juno gravity science experiment presented at last week's American Geophysical Union meeting suggest Jupiter's winds penetrate only to 3000 kilometers deep.

#AGU17: JunoCam science

December 18, 2017

JunoCam may be an outreach instrument, but its superb photos of storms on Jupiter are providing plenty of data for scientists to talk about.

Brief note from #AGU17: Juno observes volcanism on Io

December 13, 2017

At the American Geophysical Union meeting, members of the Juno team showed observations of active volcanism on Jupiter's moon Io.

South Korea's first lunar mission planned for 2020

December 07, 2017

South Korea's first mission to the Moon, the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter KPLO, is now planned for launch in December 2020.

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.

Apollo 11 image of a nearly full Moon

October 30, 2017

One of the Apollo 11 astronauts took this photo of an almost fully illuminated Moon on July 21, 1969, during their journey home. The command module was nearly 20,000 kilometers away from the Moon at the time. The egg-shaped dark area above center is Mare Crisium. The rayed crater Giordano Bruno is near the top of the frame. Near the bottom are two small rayed craters that bracket a larger crater, Stevinus. High-sun images like this one emphasize albedo differences (like crater rays and mare basins) over topography (like crater bowls).

Discovery image of Enceladus' plumes

October 26, 2017

One of the photos from the sequence of Cassini images that proved Enceladus was a geologically active moon, taken on November 28, 2005.

astronaut on Phobos
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