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Emily Lakdawalla

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla (2017, alternate)

Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist

blog@planetary.org
+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 blog@planetary.org or @elakdawalla on Twitter.

Latest Blog Posts

A new year's worth of Mars Orbiter Mission data

October 02, 2017

India's Mars Orbiter Mission has now completed three years in orbit at Mars, and ISRO celebrated the anniversary by releasing the mission's second-year data to the public. Emily Lakdawalla spent a week downloading and processing data for your enjoyment.

Earth flyby tests OSIRIS-REx's cameras

September 28, 2017

As expected, OSIRIS-REx's Earth flyby on September 22 was a success. The mission is slowly releasing beautiful images of our home worlds taken by its many cameras following the flyby.

An honor from The Open University

September 22, 2017

Today in London, Emily Lakdawalla was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of the University by The Open University.

OSIRIS-REx Earth flyby: What to Expect

September 19, 2017

OSIRIS-REx launched on September 8, 2016. Now, a year later, it's returning to its home to get a second boost on to its destination, the asteroid Bennu. It'll test all its cameras on Earth and the Moon in the 10 days after the flyby.

Cassini: The dying of the light

September 15, 2017

Cassini is no more. At 10:31 according to its own clock, its thrusters could no longer hold its radio antenna pointed at Earth, and it turned away. A minute later, it vaporized in Saturn’s atmosphere. Its atoms are part of Saturn now.

Curiosity update, sols 1726-1813: Surveying Vera Rubin Ridge from below

September 13, 2017

Curiosity had a productive three months driving along the front of Vera Rubin Ridge, gathering photos and data with its arm instruments, finally driving up on to the ridge on sol 1809.

What to expect during Cassini's final hours

September 11, 2017

A timeline of what to expect from the great mission during its final hours.

Curiosity's balky drill: The problem and solutions

September 06, 2017

Since December 1, 2016, Curiosity has been unable to drill into rocks because of a serious problem with one of the drill's motors. Emily Lakdawalla thoroughly explains the issues and the path forward for Curiosity.

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.

Tharsis Tholus, Mars

October 02, 2017

A mosaic of four Mars Orbiter Mission images captured on September 3, 2015. At 100 kilometers across, Tharsis Tholus is large on the scale of Earth volcanoes, but smaller than several of Mars'.

Olympus Mons, Mars

October 02, 2017

Few cameras can capture in one view the largest volcano in the solar system and all its associated flows and fracture systems. Mars Orbiter Mission took this photo on April 11, 2016. It covers an area about 2500 kilometers wide.

astronaut on Phobos
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