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Dawn Journal: Thrusting to a new personal best

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/06/02 12:07 CDT | 2 comments

Traveling from one alien world to another, Dawn is reliably powering its way through the main asteroid belt with its ion propulsion system. Vesta falls farther and farther behind as the spacecraft gently and patiently reshapes its orbit around the sun, aiming for a 2015 rendezvous with dwarf planet Ceres.

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Say "hi!" to asteroid -- actually, asteroids -- (285263) 1998 QE2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/30 06:51 CDT | 8 comments

A large asteroid is passing reasonably close to Earth in a few hours, and astronomers at the great radio telescopes at Goldstone and Arecibo are zapping it. The latest discovery: QE2, like many asteroids, is a binary.

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Planetary Defense Conference 2013 Part 2
Shoemaker NEO Grants

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/05/29 05:25 CDT

Second part of a three part wrap up to April's Planetary Defense Conference: a report on Planetary Shoemaker NEO Grant related activities and people at the Planetary Defense Conference 2013

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Planetary Defense Conference 2013 Part 1
State of Research and Videos to Watch

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/05/24 05:29 CDT | 2 comments

First part of a 3 part wrap up to April's Planetary Defense Conference: a very brief review of the status of research in asteroid threat related fields based on the conference, report on special activities at the conference, and links to video and audio related to the conference.

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Asteroids – what you can do

Posted by Alex Karl on 2013/05/23 01:52 CDT | 2 comments

Partnering with our friends from The Planetary Society, the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), whose members hail from all over the globe, is bringing you an update on our activities and something you can join in on—at least if you are a student or young professional aged 18–35.

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Saving the Planet can be Exciting!
The Asteroid Emergency Response Tabletop Exercise at the Planetary Defense Conference

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/05/07 05:02 CDT

Planetary Radio for the week of May 6 visits the Planetary Defense Conference one last time to join a "tabletop" simulation of a killer asteroid threat.

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Dawn Journal: A low-orbit shortcut to Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/05/02 02:11 CDT

Marc Rayman's latest Dawn Journal explains why Dawn is currently closer to the Sun than both Ceres and Vesta.

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An Amazing Evening for Planetary Defense
Join us via Planetary Radio and complete video coverage.

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/04/23 07:12 CDT | 1 comment

Bill Nye, Bruce Betts, Mat Kaplan, Meteorite Man Geoffrey Notkin and stars of planetary science at the Planetary Defense Conference public event in Flagstaff.

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Dawn Journal: Staying warm en route to Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/03/30 10:05 CDT | 4 comments

Marc Rayman's latest Dawn journal explains the temperature adjustments engineers make to save power and keep the spacecraft warm.

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LPSC 2013: The Smaller They Are, The Better They Shake

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/25 08:04 CDT | 1 comment

Really cool movies from Jim Richardson propose to explain how the same physics of impact cratering can produce such differently-appearing surfaces as those of the Moon, large asteroids like Eros, and teeny ones like Itokawa.

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Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: the Giant ALMA Observatory, and Asteroid Tracking

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/03/20 01:31 CDT

Bruce Betts, Mat Kaplan, and asteroid tracker Robert Holmes on the Planetary Society Weekly Google Hangout. Mat discussed and showed pictures from his trip to the giant ALMA observatory and we'll be joined by asteroid tracker extraordinaire, Robert Holmes.

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Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: Being WISE about asteroids, comets, and brown dwarfs with Amy Mainzer

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/14 02:00 CDT

This week I'll be talking with NEOWISE principal investigator Amy Mainzer about moving objects that the WISE mission has spotted both inside and outside our solar system.

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Galileo's images of Gaspra

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/01 06:43 CST | 2 comments

Last week I trawled the archives to find all of Galileo's images of asteroid Ida; this week, I turned to Gaspra.

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Dawn Journal: Revisiting orbital mechanics

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/03/01 09:02 CST | 1 comment

Now that Dawn has changed its speed by nearly eight kilometers per second, Marc Rayman revisits the concept of orbital velocity.

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Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: Studying Asteroids from Earth with Andy Rivkin

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/28 01:25 CST | 5 comments

Emily Lakdawalla's guest this week was Applied Physics Laboratory asteroid astronomer Andy Rivkin. We talked about the menagerie of rocks in the asteroid belt, how many of them travel in pairs and triples, how some of them are surprisingly wet, and how much you can learn about asteroids using Earth-based telescopes.

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Galileo got so many more images of Ida than I realized

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/22 04:14 CST | 1 comment

While writing up the cruise-phase issues of the Galileo Messenger a couple of weeks ago, I came across a fuzzy montage of images of Ida that I had not seen before. So I decided to spend some time digging into the Planetary Data System to see if there were more images to be found. I found lots and lots pictures that I'd never seen before!

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Webcast Tonight! Planetary Scientist and Society President Jim Bell
Watch It Live or Later On Demand

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/02/20 07:59 CST

Professor Bell's topic is "Exploring Mars, the Moon, Asteroids, and Comets with Rovers and Landers," and there is no one better to talk about this subject.

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Why don't we have any photos of asteroid 2012 DA14 if it came so close?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/19 03:13 CST | 2 comments

A frequently-asked question last week was: if asteroid 2012 DA14 is coming so close to Earth, why hasn't anyone taken any pictures of it? Now that 2012 DA14 has whizzed past us, we do finally have some radar pictures of it, but they still may not satisfy everyone.

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Observing 2012 DA14

Posted by Edward Gomez on 2013/02/18 05:14 CST | 4 comments

Mostly the Universe stays unchanged for hundreds, thousands or even millions of years. There are some cases however when some things change really rapidly. Recently I observed one of these rapidly changing, transient phenomena, as asteroid called 2012 DA14. I work for Las Cumbres Observatory and we have been trying to observe this asteroid since 5 February.

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