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Blog Archive


The story behind Curiosity's self-portraits on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/08/19 03:52 CDT | 2 comments

How and why does Curiosity take self-portraits? A look at some of the people and stories behind Curiosity's "selfies" on the occasion of the official release of the sol 1065 belly pan self-portrait at Buckskin, below Marias Pass, Mars.

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No Major Problems with SLS Design, NASA Managers Say

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/08/19 06:31 CDT | 3 comments

A key review of NASA’s Space Launch System did not uncover any major problems with the rocket's design, officials said at Stennis Space Center near Gulfport, Mississippi.

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LightSail Lands New Hardware for Laser Ranging

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/08/18 08:16 CDT | 2 comments

A cluster of small mirrors will be added to LightSail's aft hull to allow engineers to precisely track its position as it sails around the planet next year.

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Curiosity update, sols 1012-1072: Sciencing back and forth below Marias Pass

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/08/14 07:14 CDT

Since my last update, Curiosity has driven back and forth repeatedly across a section of rocks below Marias pass. The rover finally drilled at a spot named Buckskin on sol 1060, marking the drill's return to operations after suffering a short on sol 911. Now the rover is driving up into Marias Pass and onto the Washboard or Stimson unit.

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SLS Engine Roars through Flight Test in Mississippi

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/08/13 04:48 CDT | 6 comments

NASA completed the sixth and next-to-last test firing of its RS-25 engine Thursday in Mississippi. Four RS-25 engines power the Space Launch System core stage.

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ESA's cool new interactive comet visualization tool based on amateur imaging work with open data

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/08/13 01:49 CDT | 2 comments

A terrific new visualization tool for comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko demonstrates the value of sharing mission image data with the public. The browser-based tool lets you spin a simulated 3D view of the comet. It began with a 3D model of the comet created not by ESA, but by a space enthusiast, Mattias Malmer.

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Community service: Vetting my local library's children's space books

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/08/12 07:31 CDT | 8 comments

Space fans, here is a valuable community service that you can perform in your neighborhood: Vet your school library's space book collections. My kids' elementary school librarian asked me to take a look at the nonfiction space book collection and cull any outdated or just wrong books. I culled quite a few, and am now recommending some replacements.

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The Planetary Society Visits Camp Imgur

Posted by Merc Boyan on 2015/08/12 03:35 CDT

Last weekend Imgur hosted a weekend camp for their members and invited Merc Boyan to come out and talk about space and The Society!

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Video: NASA Prepares for Sixth SLS Engine Test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/08/12 04:03 CDT

The Planetary Society will be at NASA's Stennis Space Center this Thursday for the sixth test firing of the RS-25 engine, which powers the Space Launch System.

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New Curiosity Self-Portrait

Posted by Damia Bouic on 2015/08/11 01:03 CDT | 3 comments

Amateur image processor Damia Bouic shares new stunning images from Curiosity—including a "selfie" from a whole new angle.

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LightSail Nominated for SmallSat Mission of the Year

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/08/11 04:03 CDT | 2 comments

The Planetary Society’s LightSail spacecraft has been nominated for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Small Satellite Technical Committee Mission of the Year 2015 award.

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What's up in solar system exploration: August 2015 edition

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/08/10 07:31 CDT | 5 comments

I'm back from two weeks' vacation, so it's time to catch up on the status of all our intrepid planetary missions, from Akatsuki to the Voyagers and hitting the Moon, Mars, asteroids, comets, and Saturn in between.

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MERLIN: The Creative Choices Behind a Proposal to Explore the Martian Moons

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/08/10 09:29 CDT | 4 comments

Van Kane presents one of the three missions from the latest round of NASA Discovery proposals with the goal of exploring Mars' moons.

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Space Station Update: Launch Logistics

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/08/07 04:13 CDT | 2 comments

Orbital ATK says they are making progress returning Antares to flight, NASA buys more Soyuz seats and the ISS program manager moves on to private industry.

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New Robotic Spacecraft Posters

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2015/08/06 12:20 CDT | 2 comments

Another round of posters to celebrate historic planetary missions.

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Update on NASA Mars Rover Plans

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/08/05 03:55 CDT | 17 comments

The second in a series of meetings to select the landing site for the Mars 2020 rover is in progress. Van Kane gives us an update.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Enters Marathon Valley, Begins Walkabout
Sols 4065 - 4095

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/08/03 05:20 CDT | 11 comments

Nearly seven Earth years after Opportunity set its sites on Endeavour Crater, the rover cruised into Marathon Valley, the once-but-a-dream destination.

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Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Star Stream

Posted by Adam Block on 2015/07/31 10:00 CDT | 1 comments

Award-winning astrophotographer Adam Block presents the first-ever high-resolution color images of the "star stream halo" of the spiral galaxy NGC 4414.

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Our Global Volunteers: July 2015 Update

Posted by Kate Howells on 2015/07/31 09:00 CDT | 2 comments

The Planetary Society's volunteers around the world have been busy these past few months, with all the excitement surrounding Asteroid Day, the LightSail test mission, the New Horizons and Dawn missions, and other space milestones!

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Dawn Journal: Descent to HAMO

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2015/07/30 09:45 CDT | 26 comments

With a wonderfully rich bounty of pictures and other observations already secured, Dawn is now on its way to an even better vantage point around dwarf planet Ceres.

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