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Emily Lakdawalla

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla (2017, alternate)

Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist

[email protected]

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 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 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

#LPSC2018: A full week of planetary science

March 15, 2018

It's time for the 49th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC), a geology-focused meeting of planetary scientists. Here's a preview, and a call for help from attendees. I'll be presenting at two lunchtime workshops.

Moon Monday: Tethys from Voyager

March 12, 2018

To start the week, Voyager 2's best image of Tethys.

Image processing trick: How to open PDS-formatted images in Photoshop

March 07, 2018

Emily explains to amateur image processors how to open archival NASA science data directly in Photoshop without needing to use any other software tools.

InSight delivered to Vandenberg launch site

March 06, 2018

InSight, NASA's next Mars mission, has arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in preparation for a May 5 launch.

Sketching a science meeting

March 02, 2018

The Planetary Society has always enjoyed the connections between science and art, so when I saw Leila Qışın's sketches pop up on her Twitter feed during the recent New Horizons team meeting, I knew I had to share them with you.

Hayabusa2 has detected Ryugu!

March 01, 2018

In a milestone for the mission, JAXA's Hayabusa2 sample return spacecraft has sighted its destination, asteroid Ryugu.

Curiosity update, sols 1927-1971: Ready to resume drilling

February 21, 2018

After a hiatus of nearly 500 sols, Curiosity is ready to attempt drilling into a Mars rock again.

Opportunity's sol 5000 self-portrait

February 20, 2018

Last week the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity celebrated its 5000th sol on Mars, and it celebrated by taking the first complete Mars Exploration Rover self-portrait.

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.

Voyager's best image of Tethys

March 12, 2018

Voyager 2 captured this photo of Tethys at 02:04 on 26 August 1981. It is the highest-resolution image of Tethys from the Voyager mission.

Apollo 11 image of a nearly full Moon

October 30, 2017

One of the Apollo 11 astronauts took this photo of an almost fully illuminated Moon on July 21, 1969, during their journey home. The command module was nearly 20,000 kilometers away from the Moon at the time. The egg-shaped dark area above center is Mare Crisium. The rayed crater Giordano Bruno is near the top of the frame. Near the bottom are two small rayed craters that bracket a larger crater, Stevinus. High-sun images like this one emphasize albedo differences (like crater rays and mare basins) over topography (like crater bowls).

astronaut on Phobos
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