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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. 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

Hayabusa2 update: New views of Ryugu and corkscrew course adjustments

June 21, 2018

Ryugu has continued to grow in Hayabusa2's forward view, resolving into a diamond-shaped body with visible bumps and craters! They've done hazard searches, optical navigation imaging, and measured the rotation rate at 7.6 hours.

Hayabusa2: Ryugu takes shape

June 14, 2018

Hayabusa2 is now less than 1000 kilometers away from Ryugu, and the tiny asteroid is beginning to betray its shape.

Get ready for OSIRIS-REx at Bennu! ...but be patient.

June 12, 2018

NASA's OSIRIS-REx will get the first sight of its target Bennu in August and go into orbit in December.

Hayabusa2's Approach phase has begun with a new photo of Ryugu!

June 07, 2018

On June 3, Hayabusa2 ended use of its ion engines, for now, and is coasting the remaining distance toward Ryugu. It's using an optical navigation camera to image the asteroid's position against a field of background stars to help it navigate.

So you need questions answered about space

June 01, 2018

A post for kids whose teachers have told them to send emails to scientists asking questions.

How long is a day on Saturn?

May 30, 2018

One of the Cassini mission's goals was to figure out how long a day on Saturn is. We still don't know. A new paper reports a measurement of the rotation period of Saturn that is different from past measurements.

How to keep up with Hayabusa2

May 25, 2018

Hayabusa2 is approaching asteroid Ryugu! Here's how to stay on top of mission news and the mission's planned schedule for 2018.

Approaching Mars on Spaceship Earth

May 24, 2018

One of the great things about space exploration is how it can shift your perspective. And you don't even need to leave home.

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.

Teeny impact on the OSIRIS-REx sample return capsule heat shield

April 20, 2018

A comparison of two images taken by StowCam on September 22, 2016 and March 2, 2017 shows the mark of a tiny impactor having struck the sample return capsule's heat shield some time in the intervening six months. A detail is shown inset at upper left.

Arm workspace at Bressay, sol 2014

April 17, 2018

On sol 2014, Curiosity pulled up to an odd and apparently random collection of "greatest hits" of Gale crater float rock types at a site the team named Bressay.

astronaut on Phobos
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