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Blog Archive

 

Atmospheric Waves Awareness: An Explainer

Anna Scott • April 20, 2016

There are two types of atmospheric waves that are critically important on Earth and other planets: gravity waves and planetary waves.

Synthesizing DSCOVR-like Images Using Atmospheric and Geophysical Data

Steve Albers • April 20, 2016

Why does our planet look the way it does from space? How does light interacting with land, clouds, water, snow, ice, gases, and various aerosols all come together? One way to learn the answer is to try and synthesize DSCOVR's view from various "building blocks" of geophysical and atmospheric data.

A new angle on Mars for Mars Odyssey

Emily Lakdawalla • April 19, 2016

Mars Odyssey has been in space for 15 years. It flies in a special "sun-synchronous" orbit, crossing the equator at roughly the same local time every day. Over time, the Odyssey mission has changed what that local time of day is, and I just realized something cool about how those changes show up in the geometry of its images.

LightSail 2 engineers continue to test for success

Jason Davis • April 18, 2016

It's been a busy two months of system testing for The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft. More trials are on the horizon, including a trip to a special magnetic cage at Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory.

Spring Issue of The Planetary Report Has Arrived!

Donna Stevens • April 15, 2016

The Spring 2016 edition of The Planetary Report has just printed and will arrive at our mail house this week. Any member who wants a digital copy can download the issue through our website.

Favorite Astro Plots #4: Classifying Exoplanets

Jingjing Chen • April 15, 2016

Until just a few years ago, a plot of mass versus size of other worlds would have looked pretty sparse and uninformative. But thanks to the tireless efforts of exoplanet astronomers, we now know fairly precise masses and radii for hundreds of distant worlds.

LPSC 2016: The Moon Keeps on Giving

Ryan Clegg-Watkins • April 14, 2016

There was no shortage of interesting lunar science talks at last month’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Dr. Ryan Clegg-Watkins highlights some of the interesting results for us.

Does Presidential Intervention Undermine Consensus for NASA?

Casey Dreier • April 13, 2016

Presidents induce polarization on topics they choose to promote. So is the best way for a President to promote consensus in NASA to speak quietly?

Curiosity update, sols 1250-1310: Across the Naukluft Plateau

Emily Lakdawalla • April 13, 2016

Curiosity has driven onward from Namib dune across a highstanding unit of rock called the Naukluft Plateau. Despite some frustrating sols lost to a short circuit in the RTG and DSN troubles, the rover has made progress, and performed lots of 3D imaging of weirdly wind-eroded rocks.

Full-circle ceremony sends last shuttle tank to sea

Jason Davis • April 13, 2016

The last unflown space shuttle fuel tank is underway to California, following a full-circle ceremony in view of hardware built for the shuttle's heavy lift successor, the Space Launch System.

Opposition surge comet

Emily Lakdawalla • April 12, 2016

Today, the Rosetta OSIRIS team's Image of the Day is this highly unusual view of the comet with the Sun very nearly behind the spacecraft.

Defining the Missions for the Ocean Worlds

Van Kane • April 12, 2016

At a recent meeting of an advisory group for NASA, the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS), Jim Green, the head of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, and Barry Goldstein from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, provided updates on plans to explore our solar system's ocean worlds.

LPSC 2016: Differentiated meteorites provide a glimpse of the early solar system and planets

Helen Ashcroft • April 11, 2016

This year's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference included a session devoted to a group of rocks from space called differentiated meteorites, and their proposed parent bodies.

Last unflown space shuttle tank heads seaward for new mission

Jason Davis • April 11, 2016

The last unflown space shuttle external fuel tank was loaded onto a barge at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility Sunday in New Orleans. It will ship to the California Science Center in Los Angeles to be joined with space shuttle Endeavour.

Follow along: SpaceX CRS-8 launch and landing

Jason Davis • April 08, 2016

Follow along with The Planetary Society as SpaceX launches a Dragon spacecraft to the ISS and attempts to land a used booster rocket on a drone ship in the ocean. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:43 p.m. EDT (20:43 UTC).

How to Make a Pluto Globe

Sarah Morrison • April 08, 2016

Want to make your own globe of Pluto? Here's how!

Live mice, cabbage, and a drone ship: Your SpaceX Dragon launch preview

Jason Davis • April 07, 2016

Tomorrow afternoon, SpaceX plans to launch its Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station for the first time since a catastrophic accident last June.

Fog Detection from the Surface of Titan: New Findings From Old Data

Brittney Cooper and Christina Smith and John Moores • April 07, 2016

Huygens may have landed on Titan over a decade ago, but a group of researchers from York University were able to make a new and unexpected discovery with this older dataset.

LPSC 2016: Icy Satellite Science

Jessica Noviello • April 05, 2016

This year’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference devoted two oral presentation sessions to questions related to icy satellites in our solar system. Jessica Noviello reports back from the conference.

All about BEAM, the space station's new inflatable module launching Friday

Jason Davis • April 05, 2016

This Friday, SpaceX plans to launch a Dragon cargo spacecraft to the ISS. Packed inside Dragon's trunk is a new inflatable station module called BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module.

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