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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist

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Emily Lakdawalla is a passionate advocate for the exploration of all of the worlds of our solar system. Through blogs, photos, videos, podcasts, print articles, Twitter, and any other medium she can put her hand to, Emily shares the adventure of space exploration with the world.

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 to oversee a portion of the Society's Red Rover Goes to Mars project, an education and public outreach program on the Mars Exploration Rover mission funded by LEGO. She has been writing and editing the Planetary Society Blog since 2005, reporting on space news, explaining planetary science, and sharing beautiful space photos. She appears weekly on the Society's Planetary Radio podcast, answering listener questions or rounding up the latest space news from the blog.

Emily has been an Administrator of the forum since 2005, supporting a worldwide community of amateur space image processors. She is also a contributing editor to Sky & Telescope magazine.

She is now writing her first book, tentatively titled Curiosity on Mars: Design, Planning, and the First Mars Year of Operations, due out from Springer-Praxis in 2015. The book will explain the development, design, mission, and science of Curiosity with the same level of technical detail that she delivers in the Planetary Society Blog.

Emily can be reached at or @elakdawalla on Twitter.

Latest Blog Posts

New Horizons releases new color pictures of Charon, high-resolution lookback photo of Pluto

Posted 2015/10/02 06:05 CDT | 8 comments

Now that New Horizons is regularly sending back data, the mission is settling into a routine of releasing a set of captioned images on Thursdays, followed by raw LORRI images on Friday. The Thursday releases give us the opportunity to see lovely color data from the spacecraft's Ralph MVIC instrument. This week, the newly available color data set covered Charon.

Favorite Astro Plots #1: Asteroid orbital parameters

Posted 2015/10/01 03:42 CDT | 2 comments

This is the first in a series of posts in which scientists share favorite planetary science plots. For my #FaveAstroPlot, I explain what you can see when you look at how asteroid orbit eccentricity and inclination vary with distance from the Sun.

NASA announces five Discovery proposals selected for further study

Posted 2015/09/30 03:39 CDT | 20 comments

NASA announced the first-round selections for its next Discovery mission today. A total of five planetary mission concepts -- three targeted at asteroids, two at Venus -- will move to the next stage of the competition.

The solar system at 1 kilometer per pixel: Can you identify these worlds? The answers

Posted 2015/09/30 10:00 CDT | 13 comments

Last Friday I posted an image containing 18 samples of terrain, all shown at the same scale. Were you able to figure out which square was which? Here are the answers.

NASA's Mars Announcement: Present-day transient flows of briny water on steep slopes

Posted 2015/09/28 02:26 CDT | 27 comments

NASA held a press briefing today to publicize a cool incremental result in the story of present-day liquid water on Mars. How big a deal is this story? Was all the pre-announcement hype justified? Is this just NASA discovering water on Mars for the zillionth time? What does this mean for things many space fans care about: life on Mars or future human exploration?

The solar system at 1 kilometer per pixel: Can you identify these worlds?

Posted 2015/09/25 02:27 CDT | 13 comments

A look at the surfaces of 18 worlds in our solar system, all at the same scale.

Lose yourself in this high-resolution portrait of Pluto

Posted 2015/09/24 04:45 CDT | 13 comments

Enlarge this image to its full 8000-pixel-square glory and lose yourself in it.

Checking in on Uranus and Neptune, September 2015 edition

Posted 2015/09/22 01:28 CDT | 5 comments

There are no spacecraft at Uranus or Neptune, and there haven't been for 30 and 25 years, respectively. So we depend on Earth-based astronomers to monitor them, including Damian Peach.

Older blog posts »

Latest Processed Space Images

Swath across Charon

Swath across Charon

Posted 2015/09/27 | 1 comments

This is a mosaic of four images captured by New Horizons' Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) while the LEISA spectrometer was examining the color of Charon's surface. It has been rotated to place north approximately up. Charon's terrain is surprisingly diverse for such a relatively small world located so distant from the Sun.

Rhea on the rings with Prometheus and Janus

Rhea on the rings with Prometheus and Janus

Posted 2015/09/22 | 0 comments

Cassini was nearly two million kilometers away from Rhea on March 28, 2010 when it captured this approximately natural color view of the moon sitting in front of Saturn's rings. In the background are two much smaller moons, Prometheus (sitting in front of the F ring on the left) and Janus (above the rings to the right).



Posted 2015/09/22 | 0 comments

Three Cassini images of Janus captured on April 7, 2010 were stacked to compose this view.

More pictures processed by Emily Lakdawalla »

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