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Congress to NASA: Don't You Dare Steal Money Away from Planetary Science Again
A little congressional scolding to NASA and the White House

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/14 04:52 CST | 1 comment

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/04 11:38 CST | 4 comments

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

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One Year on Mars: My Favorite Moments from Planetfest 2012

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/08/06 04:28 CDT | 1 comment

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.

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Remembering the Pluto Campaign: A Success Story
The Society Worked for Years to Help Launch a Mission to Pluto

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/07/22 02:11 CDT | 3 comments

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.

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Better conference talks

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/04/04 11:37 CDT | 29 comments

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.

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An Eventful 2012
The Society hosted many great events in 2012, come take a look back with us

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2012/12/31 04:53 CST

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/18 04:26 CST | 9 comments

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/11 01:04 CST | 15 comments

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/30 12:31 CST | 25 comments

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.

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A Voyager 1 anniversary mosaic

Posted by Björn Jónsson on 2012/09/06 11:58 CDT

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/21 04:31 CST

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

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/07 05:46 CST

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

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/01 01:22 CST

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/12 04:49 CDT | 2 comments

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/23 01:09 CDT

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.

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Pretty picture: five moons for Cassini

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/03 09:57 CDT

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.

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Butterfly crater on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/27 05:32 CST

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.

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A bit of fun with Mars Express images of Phobos

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/04/16 05:59 CDT

I recently found the focus to work on a big project: namely, downloading and examining every Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera image of Mars' two moons, Phobos and Deimos.

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Rosetta Was Here

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/02/25 10:27 CST

This amazing view was captured by the CIVA camera on Rosetta's Philae lander just four minutes before its closest approach to Mars on February 25, 2007. The spacecraft was only 1,000 kilometers above the planet.

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News: Radio Astronomers Rescue Science Results for Huygens' Doppler Wind Experiment

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/02/09 10:00 CST

Earth's radio astronomers have saved the day for one of the Huygens instrument teams. Today, the Doppler Wind Experiment (DWE) team announced their first science results, despite losing nearly all of their expected data.

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