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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist

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 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 or @elakdawalla on Twitter.

Latest Blog Posts

Likely Schiaparelli crash site imaged by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Posted 2016/10/21 05:56 CDT | 1 comment

Just a day after the arrival of ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and its lander Schiaparelli, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken a photo of the landing site with its Context Camera, and things do not look good.

Brief update: Opportunity's attempt to image Schiaparelli unsuccessful

Posted 2016/10/19 05:35 CDT | 6 comments

Today, the Opportunity rover attempted a difficult, never-before-possible feat: to shoot a photo of an arriving Mars lander from the Martian surface. Unfortunately, that attempt seems not to have succeeded. Opportunity has now returned the images from the observation attempt, but Schiaparelli is not visible.

DPS/EPSC update: 2007 OR10 has a moon!

Posted 2016/10/19 11:46 CDT | 2 comments

The third-largest object known beyond Neptune, 2007 OR10, has a moon. The discovery was reported in a poster by Gábor Marton, Csaba Kiss, and Thomas Mueller at the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society (DPS/EPSC) on Monday.

Juno to delay planned burn

Posted 2016/10/16 04:28 CDT | 4 comments

The Juno mission posted a status report late Friday afternoon, indicating that they will not perform the originally planned period reduction maneuver during their next perijove (closest approach to Jupiter) on October 19. The delay changes the start date of the science mission and also all the future dates of Juno's perijoves.

ExoMars update: Timeline for separation and orbit insertion

Posted 2016/10/14 11:51 CDT | 3 comments

Schiaparelli is GO for landing, and ExoMars TGO is GO for orbit insertion! When to expect ExoMars events: Schiaparelli separation, final trajectory maneuvers, landing events, orbit insertion, and press briefings.

Curiosity Update, sols 1428-1488: Through the Murray Buttes, drilling at Quela, and beyond

Posted 2016/10/13 06:04 CDT | 0 comment

In the two months since my last Curiosity update, the rover has traversed the scenic Murray Buttes, drilled at Quela, and driven another 300 meters southward.

ExoMars arrives soon!

Posted 2016/10/11 01:37 CDT | 3 comments

ESA's ExoMars will arrive at Mars on Wednesday, October 19, with Schiaparelli touching down in Meridiani Planum, and the Trace Gas Orbiter entering orbit while Mars Express watches.

Fun with a new image data set: Mars Orbiter Mission's Mars Colour Camera

Posted 2016/10/06 06:16 CDT | 9 comments

It's always a delight to sink my teeth into a new data set, and I have spent this week playing with one I've been anticipating for a long time: ISRO's Mars Orbiter's Mars Colour Camera, or MCC. MCC is unique among current Mars cameras in its ability to get color, print-quality, wide-angle, regional views of Mars.

Older blog posts »

Latest Processed Space Images

Opportunity's unsuccessful attempt to image Schiaparelli

Opportunity's unsuccessful attempt to image Schiaparelli

Posted 2016/10/19 | 0 comments

The Opportunity rover stared hopefully above the horizon on October 19, 2016 to attempt to spot the Schiaparelli lander under parachute, taking several images, but the attempt was not successful. Some images do have stray specks but, like the one in this image, they are too long and angled wrong to be the European lander.

Changing light on a butte and distant crater rim, Curiosity sol 1447

Changing light on a butte and distant crater rim, Curiosity sol 1447

Posted 2016/10/13 | 0 comments

Curiosity performed three sets of observations of near and distant horizon and sky on sol 1447 to study the amount of dust in the atmosphere. The three images were taken at 07:27, 10:46, and 15:08 local mean solar time, seeing shadows shift on a nearby butte.

Fourteen Curiosity drill holes on Mars

Fourteen Curiosity drill holes on Mars

Posted 2016/10/13 | 0 comments

As of August 2016, Curiosity has drilled and sampled at thirteen 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; Greenhorn, on sol 1137; Lubango, on sol 1320; Okoruso, sol 1332, Oudam, sol 1361; Marimba, sol 1422; and Quela, on sol 1464. 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.

More pictures processed by Emily Lakdawalla »

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