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Blog Archive

 

Skimming the inner planets: Updates on MESSENGER and Venus Express

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/06/24 11:52 CDT | 1 comments

The two spacecraft currently orbiting the two innermost planets are both flying low in their orbits in the final phases of their missions. MESSENGER just performed a rocket burn to raise its orbit slightly, while Venus Express did the opposite.

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The latest on NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/23 06:01 CDT | 3 comments

During televised updates on June 18 and 19, NASA showcased its progress on Orion and ARM. Here's the latest news.

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Of Rings and Resolution

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/06/23 09:36 CDT | 3 comments

Seeing Saturn before and after Cassini.

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Book Review: Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity's Chief Engineer, by Rob Manning and William Simon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/06/20 10:00 CDT | 1 comments

I am both elated and relieved that Rob Manning and William Simon have written Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity's Chief Engineer. The book delivers on the promise of its title, in a slender volume that is full of great stories you'll read nowhere else.

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The Senate's Flawed NASA Bill Hits a Bump in the Road

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/06/19 10:09 CDT | 2 comments

For the second day in a row, the Senate failed to vote on a bill that would fund NASA and other agencies in 2015. Without passage, no progress can be made addressing the flaws contained within.

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NASA selects Planetary Society LIFE Proposal
To study flight of LIFE experiment on ARM (Asteroid Redirect Mission)

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/06/19 06:10 CDT | 5 comments

NASA has selected a Planetary Society proposal to study accommodation of the Society’s LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) biomodule on NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM).

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We could find life on another planet, but do we have the will?

Posted by Bill Nye on 2014/06/19 10:46 CDT | 21 comments

Are we alone in the universe? This month’s National Geographic cover story takes a look at the question, and I weighed in on the subject.

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Rosetta completes another rocket burn, spies decreasing activity on comet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/06/19 10:42 CDT

Rosetta has now completed its three largest rendezvous burns as it approaches ever closer to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Beginning on July 2, Rosetta will now conduct weekly burns, through August 6. Meanwhile, the cometary activity of April and May has quieted again, leaving the comet looking smaller than it did before.

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LightSail update: Three steps forward, one step back

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/18 05:55 CDT

The LightSail team has found potential workarounds to solve the spacecraft’s boom deployment problems, but more analysis lies ahead.

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One Number, Two Budgets
The Senate and House have both agreed to increase NASA's budget to $17.9B, but they have very different ways of spending that money

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/06/17 01:03 CDT | 2 comments

The Senate and House have both agreed to increase NASA's budget to $17.9 billion, but they have very different ways of spending that money. The House bill would add additional funding to almost every category of the Planetary Science budget and would greatly strengthen NASA’s program of planetary exploration. The Senate bill would add substantial funds to the Mars program but pay for this by cuts to other portions of the planetary budget.

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Hubble to the rescue! The last-ditch effort to discover a Kuiper belt target for New Horizons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/06/17 11:59 CDT | 5 comments

Will New Horizons have a mission after Pluto? Ground-based searches have failed to turn up anything that New Horizons can reach. Now Hubble is joining the search, but time is running out: a discovery must be made within the next two months.

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Curiosity update, sols 645-661: Driving, driving, driving

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/06/16 04:44 CDT

Curiosity has been busy. The rover has traveled more than half a kilometer since my last update, making steady progress beyond the Kimberley toward Murray Buttes. There hasn't been much time for science, but they sneaked in an observation of a Mercury transit across the sun, and a neat MARDI video of the rover driving.

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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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Walking the Blue Carpet with Samsung

Posted by Bill Nye on 2014/06/12 06:32 CDT | 1 comments

Bill Nye reports from the Samsung Hope for Children gala event in New York City.

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The OSIRIS-REx Design Reference Mission

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/06/12 06:18 CDT

This week the OSIRIS-REx team gathered at the Lockheed Martin facility in Denver to perform a “Design Reference Mission (DRM)” walkthrough. The DRM is basically the battle plan for OSIRIS-REx for accomplishing our goal of returning pristine samples from asteroid Bennu.

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Mars-bound mission updates: Mars Orbiter Mission maneuvers, MAVEN detects Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/06/11 10:59 CDT | 12 comments

India's Mars Orbiter Mission has accomplished its second trajectory correction manuever, a small rocket burn lasting only 16 seconds. Meanwhile, NASA's MAVEN is testing out its instruments, with one obtaining "first light" on Mars.

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LightSail update: Boom deployment diagnosis continues

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/11 10:57 CDT | 2 comments

The LightSail team continues to investigate problems with the spacecraft’s boom deployment system that postponed a flight system test earlier this month.

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Rosetta update: Both "big burns" completed successfully

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/06/10 10:16 CDT | 7 comments

Rosetta is now in the final phase of its approach to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko after a decade-long journey. The two largest burns have now succeeded, and Rosetta reported this morning via Twitter that the second burn was close to perfect.

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A Checkup on Future Mars Missions

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/06/09 04:59 CDT | 3 comments

NASA’s Mars Exploration Analysis Group (MEPAG) recently reviewed plans by Europe, the Japanese, and NASA for future Mars exploration. The prognosis is for another exciting decade of Mars exploration.

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Building Our Community by Being Part of it

Posted by Jennifer Vaughn on 2014/06/06 05:56 CDT | 1 comments

The last six weeks have been especially busy due to an unusually high number of conferences and festivals, so I thought I'd summarize what's been going on and how The Planetary Society has been involved.

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