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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist

Extended bio
Appearance calendar
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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

2015 Reviews of childrens' books about space

Posted 2015/11/24 10:13 CST | 2 comments

Continuing an annual tradition, Emily Lakdawalla reviews children's books about space -- what's out there, how we explore, and why. Many of the books on this list aren't just for kids!

Mastcam-Z has passed its Preliminary Design Review!

Posted 2015/11/23 09:13 CST | 0 comment

A panel of outside experts reviewed the design of the Mars 2020 rover's color cameras, and approved the progress of Mastcam-Z. It still exists only as an idea in the cloud, but it's one significant step closer to being sent to Mars.

Watch the entire Cassini mission image catalog as a movie

Posted 2015/11/20 09:43 CST | 2 comments

If you were to download the entire catalog of photos taken at Saturn to date by Cassini and then animate them like a flipbook, how long would it take to watch them all pass by? The Wall Street Journal's Visual Correspondent Jon Keegan has your answer: nearly four hours.

Two JAXA mission updates: Akatsuki Venus orbit entry and PROCYON Earth flyby coming up!

Posted 2015/11/19 05:51 CST | 0 comment

Akatsuki is finally approaching its second attempt to enter Venus orbit, on December 7; let's all wish JAXA the best of luck! And PROCYON, whose ion engines have failed, is still an otherwise perfectly functional spacecraft that is taking photos of Earth and the Moon as it approaches for a flyby.

DPS 2015: A little science from Rosetta, beyond perihelion

Posted 2015/11/18 07:47 CST | 2 comments

Updated numbers for physical properties of the comet, and a few interesting images of surface features and surface changes on Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Curiosity update, sols 1109-1165: Drilling at Big Sky and Greenhorn, onward to Bagnold Dunes

Posted 2015/11/16 01:31 CST | 3 comments

Since my last update, Curiosity drilled two new holes, at Big Sky and Greenhorn, and is now approaching Bagnold Dunes.

DPS 2015: First reconnaissance of Ceres by Dawn

Posted 2015/11/12 08:55 CST | 7 comments

This is the first major meeting since Dawn's arrival at Ceres, and despite competition with Pluto surface science there was a well-attended Ceres talk session on Monday and poster session on Tuesday.

DPS 2015: Pluto's small moons Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra [UPDATED]

Posted 2015/11/10 02:18 CST | 6 comments

For my first post on results from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, I'm going to tell you about Pluto's small moons: Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra, their bright colors and wacky rotation states.

Older blog posts »

Latest Processed Space Images

Big Sky and Greenhorn drill sites, Stimson unit, Curiosity sol 1142

Big Sky and Greenhorn drill sites, Stimson unit, Curiosity sol 1142

Posted 2015/11/16 | 0 comments

Curiosity drilled at two sites on sols 1119 and 1137: Big Sky (right side) and Greenhorn (left side). Big Sky is in the middle of a typical exposure of the Stimson unit. Greenhorn is located very close to a vein, a location enriched in silica. By drilling these two sites close to each other, the Curiosity team hoped to understand the geologic process responsible for silica enrichment in the area. The photos for this mosaic were captured on October 23, 2015.

Nine Curiosity drill holes on Mars

Nine Curiosity drill holes on Mars

Posted 2015/11/06 | 0 comments

As of November 2015, Curiosity has drilled and sampled at eight locations on Mars. They are (left to right and top to bottom): John Klein, drilled on sol 182; Cumberland, on sol 279; Windjana, on sol 621; Confidence Hills, on sol 759, Mojave, on sol 882; Telegraph Peak, on sol 908; Buckskin, on sol 1060; Big Sky, on sol 1119; and Greenhorn, on sol 1137. All of these images were taken with the MAHLI camera on the end of the arm from a distance of about 5 centimeters. The drill holes are 1.6 centimeters wide.

Churyumov-Gerasimenko on April 21, 2015

Churyumov-Gerasimenko on April 21, 2015

Posted 2015/11/04 | 0 comments

Rosetta took this photo of the comet on April 21, 2015 from a distance of 139 kilometers. Only a few months from perihelion, the comet is jetting material from much of its sunlit surface.

More pictures processed by Emily Lakdawalla »

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