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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. In 2018, she became editor of the Society's member magazine, The Planetary Report.

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

Chandrayaan-2 launch delayed to 3 January 2019

August 13, 2018

Chandrayaan-2, expected to launch in October, will now be launching no earlier than 3 January 2019, with its lander and rover touching down in February.

Hayabusa2 descends again, this time to lower than 1000 meters above Ryugu

August 10, 2018

This week Hayabusa2 completed its closest approach yet to asteroid Ryugu. In a successful gravity measurement experiment on August 6, the spacecraft dipped to within 1 kilometer of the asteroid.

A second successful medium-altitude operation for Hayabusa2

August 03, 2018

For the second time, JAXA navigators have zoomed their cameras and other instruments in on asteroid Ryugu. The August 1 operation was quicker than the previous one, requiring only 26 hours for the descent, science, and ascent.

Curiosity's organics on Mars

July 30, 2018

What does it mean that the Mars rover Curiosity found organics in Martian rocks? Emily Lakdawalla translates the science.

Liquid Water on Mars! Really for Real This Time (Probably)

July 25, 2018

A radar instrument on one of the oldest operational Mars orbiters has discovered possible evidence of present-day liquid water on Mars.

Hayabusa2 descends from Home Position to take its first close look at Ryugu

July 25, 2018

Last week, Hayabusa2 approached to within 6000 meters of the surface of Ryugu, taking new photos. The team has developed a set of terminology to describe Hayabusa2's navigational positions around the asteroid.

Hello from the new editor of The Planetary Report

July 23, 2018

I'm honored to be the new editor of The Planetary Society's flagship magazine, The Planetary Report.

Programming note

July 01, 2018

Emily Lakdawalla is on vacation from 1 to 22 July. Jason Davis will reign over the blog in her absence.

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.

Full rotation of Ryugu from optical navigation images

August 10, 2018

These 16 images of Ryugu taken with the optical navigation camera cover a full rotation of the asteroid, which takes 7.6 hours. The images were taken during Hayabusa2's closest-yet approach to the asteroid on 6 August 2018 with its wide-angle camera.

Optical navigation animation from Hayabusa2's first gravity measurement of Ryugu

August 10, 2018

54 images from Hayabusa2's first gravity measurement descent toward Ryugu, which brought it as low as 851 meters away from the surface of the asteroid. These images were taken with the wide-angle camera; the spacecraft also obtained much higher-resolution images from the telescopic camera.

astronaut on Phobos
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