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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. In 2018, she became editor of the Society's member magazine, The Planetary Report.

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

News brief: Voyager 2 has passed beyond the heliopause

December 10, 2018

Voyager 2 is now outside the reach of the solar wind, traveling in the interstellar medium. Unlike Voyager 1, Voyager 2 has a working plasma spectrometer so will be doing exciting new science. It is expected to last another 5 to 10 years, though not with all instruments operating.

Liftoff for Chang'e-4!

December 07, 2018

At 02:22 local time 8 December (18:22 on 7 December UTC), a Long March 3B lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center, carrying the Chang'e-4 lander and rover toward the Moon.

New Cameras on Mars!

November 27, 2018

There was jubilation when InSight landed, but I'm just as happy to be writing about a distinct InSight event: The flow of raw images sent from Mars, straight to the Web, has begun.

InSight has landed (UPDATED)

November 26, 2018

InSight touched down on Mars today, bringing NASA's total of successful Mars landers to 8 and total number of active NASA Mars missions to 6.

We're going to Jezero!

November 20, 2018

NASA announced this morning the selection of Jezero crater for the landing site of the Mars 2020 mission. Jezero is a 45-kilometer-wide crater that once held a lake, and now holds a spectacular ancient river delta.

Emily Lakdawalla's Recommended Space Books for Kids, 2018

November 14, 2018

Welcome to my 10th annual list of recommended space books for kids! Fiction, nonfiction, biography; poetry, prose, and pictures; it's all here.

What to Expect When InSight Lands on Mars

November 12, 2018

If all goes well, anxious space fans on Earth will learn of a successful InSight landing on Mars on Monday, 26 November 2018, at 19:53 UTC. Here's a preview of all the landing day events.

Following perfect launch, BepiColombo takes self-portraits from space

October 22, 2018

BepiColombo's launch was nominal -- the best thing any launch can be. Following launch, the spacecraft documented successful solar array and antenna deployments with self-portraits.

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.

Dumping the rest of the Highfield sample, Curiosity sol 2240

December 06, 2018

After it had finished delivering samples to CheMin and SAM, Curiosity dumped the rest of the Highfield sample to the ground on sol 2240 (24 November 2018). The rover delivered one portion of sample at a time to the ground, helping the team understand how many portions the new feed-extended sample transfer (FEST) technique can deliver to instruments.

OSIRIS-REx's approach surveys of asteroid Bennu (enhanced contrast)

December 03, 2018

This montage includes images from two full rotation surveys of asteroid Bennu by OSIRIS-REx on 25 and 27 November. The 25 November set was taken from a slightly longer distance than the 65 kilometer-range of the 27 November set. The images were taken from an animation released by the mission. The contrast has been enhanced to emphasize differences among surface materials.

astronaut on Phobos
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