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Blog Archive


Curiosity Rover: Design, Planning, and Field Geology on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/02/26 12:09 CST | 6 comments

Emily is back to work on her Mars Science Laboratory book, which has a new publication date and a new title.

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How Can We Write About Science When People Are Dying?

Posted by Nadia Drake on 2015/11/25 05:42 CST | 6 comments

Stories about exploration and wonder can be powerful antidotes to seemingly endless suffering and destruction.

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Finding new language for space missions that fly without humans
Unmanned? Robotic? Unpiloted? Uncrewed? Unoccupied? Unhumaned? Drone? Autonomous? Crewless?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/10/05 11:14 CDT | 88 comments

Historically, human spaceflight was described using the words "manned" and "unmanned," but NASA has shifted to using gender-neutral words to describe human space exploration, even though the Associated Press has not. A recent discussion on Twitter among science writers and scientists highlighted some alternatives.

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LPSC 2015: "Bloggers, please do not blog about this talk."

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/03/19 06:29 CDT | 4 comments

One presenter at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference asked the audience not to blog about his talk because of the embargo policy of Science and Nature. I show how this results from an incorrect interpretation of those policies. TL;DR: media reports on conference presentations do not violate Science and Nature embargo policies. Let people Tweet!

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JPL Releases a Big, Bold Website Redesign

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/10/09 06:37 CDT | 2 comments

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory released a major overhaul of its website. Here's a closer look.

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A Glimpse Into NASA's New History Archives

Posted by Jason Callahan on 2014/09/23 02:29 CDT | 1 comments

NASA's immense reference collection got a makeover at its Washington, D.C. location recently. Jason Callahan gives you a glimpse behind the scenes as guests made their way into the new rooms while enjoying good conversation and, of course, Moon Pies.

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Data From the Rescued ISEE-3 Spacecraft Have a New Internet Home

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/08/14 03:00 CDT

"A Spacecraft for All" is a new website by Google Creative Labs that will host citizen science data from the ISEE-3 Reboot Project.

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Is Mainstream Space News Adrift?
The Houston Chronicle has a new, interactive web series on America’s space program. Why don’t we see more space coverage in this format?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/13 01:38 CDT | 8 comments

The Houston Chronicle has a new, interactive web series on America’s space program. Why don’t we see more space coverage in this format?

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Daily Mail plagiarizes Planetary Society Blog guest post by Katherine Mack

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/05/29 06:06 CDT | 5 comments

Planetary Society guest blogger Katherine Mack is just the latest of a great many writers whose work has been copied, uncredited, on the website of the British tabloid.

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The new Cosmos: Standing Up in the Milky Way

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/10 11:55 CDT | 78 comments

My daughters liked the new Cosmos and want to watch next week. I thought it was a successful beginning for a long series, and I think it'll become a weekly viewing event for our family. I hope other families think the same.

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Why Cosmos should matter, especially to Hollywood

Posted by Taryn O'Neill on 2014/03/07 01:52 CST | 3 comments

For a town dependent on Stars, there are far too few people here who look up at the sky. But come this Sunday, March 9, the epic series of science, space and humanity will return: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Why does it matter for Hollywood, specifically? I'll tell you why it will. And then why it should.

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"Secrets of the Kuiper Belt" in Sky & Telescope

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/16 11:17 CST | 2 comments

Woo hoo! I've got another cover story in the current (February 2014) issue of Sky & Telescope, in which I try to make sense of the Kuiper belt. This article was motivated by my observation that the discovery of many new things beyond Neptune had, through an ironic chain of events, resulted in our teaching children less about the solar system than we used to.

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Planetary Radio: Ten Years A Roving: The Mars Exploration Rovers

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/12/24 09:18 CST

This week's show looks back over ten years of exploration by Spirit and Opportunity. Writer A.J.S. Rayl recounts the challenges encountered early in the mission, and how an outstanding team triumphed.

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Results of ten Venus years of cloud tracking by Venus Express

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/08/29 10:55 CDT | 5 comments

What Venus Express' Visual Monitoring Camera images of Venus have taught us about the motions of Venus' atmosphere.

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"Water on Mars" in Sky & Telescope

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/08/08 11:44 CDT | 7 comments

A shameless plug for my article on "Water on Mars," the cover story in the September issue of Sky & Telescope.

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Is the study of astrophysics self-indulgent?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/23 09:55 CDT | 15 comments

Is the study of astrophysics self-indulgent? I was caught aback by that assertion, made by a recent graduate in the latest issue of the Brown University alumni magazine.

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Report from the Starship Century Conference: Monday

Posted by Jon Lomberg on 2013/05/21 10:42 CDT | 11 comments

This week Jon Lomberg is attending the Starship Century conference, which brings together scientists, writers, and futurists to imagine the future of interstellar travel. The organizers are Greg and Jim Benford, and among the attendees are: David Brin, Neal Stephenson, Vernor Vinge, Joe Haldeman, Alan Steele, Geoffrey Landis, Freeman Dyson, Jill Tarter, Paul Davies, Nalaka Gunawardene, and Daniel Richter.

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Better conference talks

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/04/04 11:37 CDT | 29 comments

I've been to a lot of conferences and seen a lot of talks and it's amazing to me how a bad presentation can get in the way of really exciting science. Here are my recommendations for how to approach a talk, and tips and tricks to make your talk better.

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An editorial on the LPSC 2013 oral sessions

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/28 12:26 CDT | 6 comments

In which I complain just a little bit about talks at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

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Scientists: Register to be a Lunar and Planetary Science Conference Microblogger!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/30 01:20 CST

Hey planetary scientists! Many of you know that the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) is a great meeting in a venue that is perfect except for one thing: Internet access is positively lousy. So I'm really excited that a solution that I advocated to conference organizers is being adopted.

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