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Blog Archive

 

Congress to NASA: Don't You Dare Steal Money Away from Planetary Science Again

Casey Dreier • January 14, 2014

Congress scolded NASA for abusing its operating plan to remove money from Planetary Science last year, giving them a warning to not try that again.

Pretty picture: newly processed high-res view of a fractured icy moon, Dione

Emily Lakdawalla • December 04, 2013

Here's a lovely new view of Dione, one of the lovely mid-sized icy moons of Saturn, assembled by Daniel Macháček.

One Year on Mars: My Favorite Moments from Planetfest 2012

Casey Dreier • August 06, 2013

It seems like it was just yesterday that 2000 people gathered in the Pasadena Convention Center to celebrate Curiosity's landing on Mars. All of Planetfest 2012 is online for your enjoyment.

Remembering the Pluto Campaign: A Success Story

Casey Dreier • July 22, 2013

The New Horizons mission to Pluto survived many near-death encounters with cancellation during its development. The Planetary Society worked the whole time to ensure it would launch.

Better conference talks

Emily Lakdawalla • April 04, 2013

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.

An Eventful 2012

Casey Dreier • December 31, 2012

We threw a number of great events for our members and the public. Here's a list of some of my favorite, with links to ways to see or hear them yourself.

My ever-popular asteroids-and-comets montage, now in color, with bonus Toutatis

Emily Lakdawalla • December 18, 2012

My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.

Isostasy, gravity, and the Moon: an explainer of the first results of the GRAIL mission

Emily Lakdawalla • December 11, 2012

Last week the GRAIL mission published their first scientific results, and what they have found will send many geophysicists back to the drawing board to explain how the Moon formed and why it looks the way it does now. To explain how, I'm going to have to back way up, and explain the basic science behind gravity data.

More than you probably wanted to know about Curiosity's SAM instrument

Emily Lakdawalla • November 30, 2012

With all the hoopla surrounding the unknown results of the first analysis of a soil sample by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, I thought an explainer would be useful. What is SAM, what is it designed to measure, and what is the nature of its results? Here you go.

A Voyager 1 anniversary mosaic

Björn Jónsson • September 06, 2012

Back in 1979 the twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft flew by Jupiter. Some of their images were processed into color images and mosaics that have appeared countless times in books, magazines, on TV and on the Internet. Many of these images and mosaics are spectacular but they were processed more than 30 years ago using computers that are extremely primitive by today's standards. It's possible to get better results by processing the original, raw images from the Voyagers using modern computers and software.

Pretty picture: A sunset postcard and a special shadow from Opportunity

Emily Lakdawalla • February 21, 2012

It took Don Davis many hours of meticulous labor to assemble this beautiful postcard from Mars.

Has Mars Express MARSIS data proved that Mars once had a northern ocean?

Emily Lakdawalla • February 07, 2012

There's been a bit of buzz on the Web this week regarding an ESA press release titled "ESA's Mars Express radar gives strong evidence for former Mars ocean." I don't ordinarily write about press-released science papers, but am making an exception for this one.

At last, I've finished my scale solar system presentation slide/poster

Emily Lakdawalla • December 01, 2011

A presentation providing a correctly scaled, reasonably correctly colored view of the largest bodies in the solar system is made available for use by teachers, professors, and informal educators.

Eris and embargoes (or: don't fear Ingelfinger!)

Emily Lakdawalla • October 12, 2011

Last Tuesday at the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting Bruno Sicardy presented the results of his research group's observations of a stellar occultation by Eris.

Tethys and Dione don't seem to be active after all

Emily Lakdawalla • September 23, 2011

About four years ago I wrote a blog entry about an ESA press release about paper published in Nature that suggested that Saturn's moons Tethys and Dione might have volcanic activity, like Enceladus. A new paper published in Icarus casts doubt on that conclusion.

Pretty picture: five moons for Cassini

Emily Lakdawalla • August 03, 2011

Explaining how to combine the red, green and blue images from a recent Cassini image session containing five of Saturn's moons: Janus, Pandora, Enceladus, Mimas and Rhea.

Butterfly crater on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • January 27, 2011

I've spent the day noodling around in the current issue of Icarus, following up some of the more interesting stories within its table of contents, and came across a picture of this very cool crater -- actually, set of craters -- on Mars.

Possibly the best view of the Great Red Spot ever

Björn Jónsson • September 01, 2010

This is a new, big mosaic of Voyager 1 images, this time showing the Great Red Spot at high resolution.

Lutetia -- and Saturn!!

Emily Lakdawalla • July 10, 2010

A quick post of just one of the gorgeous images from Rosetta's flyby of Lutetia today; for more, see the Rosetta Blog. But this one was just too pretty to wait for.

Pretty picture: Messier 83

Emily Lakdawalla • May 19, 2010

What does a barred spiral galaxy look like? THIS is what a barred spiral galaxy looks like.

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