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Emily Lakdawalla

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist

blog@planetary.org
+1-626-793-5100

Extended bio
Appearance calendar
and head shots

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 UnmannedSpaceflight.com 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 Rover: Design, Planning, and Field Geology on Mars, due out from Springer-Praxis in 2017. 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 blog@planetary.org or @elakdawalla on Twitter.

Latest Blog Posts

Curiosity update, sols 1675-1725: Traverse to Vera Rubin Ridge

June 13, 2017

Curiosity has had a busy eight weeks, driving south from the Bagnold Dunes toward Vera Rubin Ridge. The path has steepened and the rover is now rapidly climbing upward with every meter traveled. It's been a productive time for arm instruments, but the drill is still not working.

Saturn's small satellites, to scale

May 17, 2017

Emily shares another of her popular size comparisons of solar system bodies, taking advantage of Cassini's recent views of Saturn's tiniest moons.

Saturn and Titan in the Milky Way

May 08, 2017

An unusual photo of Saturn by astrophotographer Damian Peach shows the planet and its largest moon nestled among the star-filled lane of the Milky Way.

Trusty Cassini survives first dive between Saturn and its rings

April 28, 2017

Cheers erupted in the Von Karman auditorium at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory early Thursday morning as a squiggly green line on a graph developed a crisp, tall peak, signifying that the Cassini spacecraft was calling home after surviving its first plunge between Saturn and its ring system.

Curiosity update, sols 1600-1674: The second Bagnold Dunes campaign

April 25, 2017

The four-stop dune science campaign offered the engineers some time to continue troubleshooting the drill without any pressure to use it for science. They scooped sand at a site called Ogunquit Beach but couldn't complete the planned sample activity because of new developments in the drill inquiry. The rover has now headed onward toward Vera Rubin Ridge.

MAVEN dodges Phobos, with (maybe) a little help from Curiosity

March 06, 2017

This week MAVEN had to execute a short rocket burn in order to prevent a future collision with Phobos. Curiosity (and other rovers) may have played a role in those trajectory predictions.

Curiosity update, sols 1548-1599: Serious drill brake problem as Curiosity drives through Murray red beds

February 03, 2017

Since my last update, the Curiosity mission has developed a better understanding of the problem that prevented them from drilling at Precipice, but its intermittent nature has slowed the development of a workable solution that will allow them to use the drill again. In the meantime, the rover has driven onward, making good use of its other instruments.

A writing sabbatical

January 24, 2017

Four years ago, I announced that I was writing a book about Curiosity, describing the mission from its inception through its nominal mission. I am still not done, so am taking a three-month break from other work -- including this blog -- in order to focus and finish. I'm seeking scientists and engineers to serve as guest bloggers.

Latest Processed Space Images

Vera Rubin Ridge, Curiosity sol 1720

June 13, 2017

On sol 1720 (8 June 2017), Curiosity was approaching Vera Rubin Ridge, which was formerly known as Hematite Ridge. This view is directly to the south from the rover's position. From orbit, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has seen a strong hematite signal on the top of this ridge.

Saturn's small satellites at 100 meters per pixel

May 17, 2017

A comparison of the sizes of Saturn's smallest satellites as viewed by Cassini over the course of its 13-year mission. When fully enlarged, the comparison has a resolution of 100 meters per pixel.

How far down does Saturn's D ring go?

April 27, 2017

An observation of the shadowed side of Saturn's taken by Cassini on September 2, 2010 was designed to see just how far the dusty D ring extends toward the planet. The sensitive camera exposed this image for 1.2 seconds in order to see the faint D ring, overexposing the outermost F ring. (Typical Cassini image exposure lengths to see moons and planet are tens to a few hundred milliseconds.) The set of observations showed that Cassini needed to pass within 2000 kilometers of the planet's cloud tops in order to be reasonably safe from D ring dust.

astronaut on Phobos
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