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Revitalized 0.81m telescope studying properties of NEOs

Bruce Betts • March 31, 2015

Thanks to a new focal reducer and re-aluminized mirror from a Shoemaker NEO grant, a 0.81-meter telescope in Italy is performing astrometric follow-up observations and physical studies of asteroids.

Ceres Gets Real; Pluto Lurks

Paul Schenk • March 27, 2015

Although we are still along way from understanding this fascinating little body, Ceres is finally becoming a real planet with recognizable features! And that's kinda cool.

LPSC 2015: MESSENGER's low-altitude campaign at Mercury

Emily Lakdawalla • March 25, 2015

At last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, the MESSENGER team held a press briefing to share results from the recent few months of incredibly low-altitude flight over Mercury's surface. The mission will last only about five weeks more.

LPSC 2015: First results from Dawn at Ceres: provisional place names and possible plumes

Emily Lakdawalla • March 19, 2015

Three talks on Tuesday at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference concerned the first results from Dawn at Ceres. Chris Russell showed a map of "quads" with provisional names on Ceres, Andreas Nathues showed that Ceres' bright spot might be an area of plume-like activity, and Francesca Zambon showed color and temperature variations across the dwarf planet.

How Do We Know When We Have Collected a Sample of Bennu?

Kevin Walsh • March 17, 2015

A huge amount of effort goes into deciding where to try to collect a sample on Bennu. There are roughly nine months to survey, map and model the asteroid to help make this decision.

An internal ocean on Ganymede: Hooray for consistency with previous results!

Emily Lakdawalla • March 12, 2015

A newly published paper confirms a subsurface ocean at Ganymede. An ocean there was already suspected from its magnetic field and predicted by geophysics; new Hubble data confirms it, and even says it is in the same place we thought it was before. Such consistency is rare enough in planetary science to be worth celebration.

Planet Formation and the Origin of Life

Dante Lauretta • February 09, 2015

To understand the possible distribution of life in the Universe it is important to study planet formation and evolution. These processes are recorded in the chemistry and mineralogy of asteroids and comets, and in the geology of ancient planetary surfaces in our Solar System.

A second ringed centaur? Centaurs with rings could be common

Emily Lakdawalla • January 27, 2015

Chiron, which is both a centaur and a comet, may also have rings.

At last! A slew of OSIRIS images shows fascinating landscapes on Rosetta's comet

Emily Lakdawalla • January 26, 2015

The first results of the Rosetta mission are out in Science magazine. The publication of these papers means that the OSIRIS camera team has finally released a large quantity of closeup images of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken in August and September of last year. I explain most of them, with help from my notes from December's American Geophysical Union meeting.

Fountains of Water Vapor and Ice

Deepak Dhingra • January 22, 2015

Deepak Dhingra shares some of the latest research on Enceladus' geysers presented at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco last month.

Curiosity results from AGU: Methane is there, and it's variable

Emily Lakdawalla • December 30, 2014

At the American Geophysical Union meeting, the Curiosity mission announced that an instrument had finally definitively detected methane in Mars' atmosphere. It exists at a low background level, but there was a spike to about ten times that, which lasted for a couple of months before disappearing. What that means is unclear.

Random Space Fact Videos

Bruce Betts • December 19, 2014

Enjoy Random Space Fact Videos this holiday season. Each is designed in to give you at least one space fact and one laugh in about one minute. Here are the videos and the background on the concept.

Like A Bad Penny: Methane on Mars

Nicholas Heavens • December 16, 2014

With the announcement of Curiosity's detection of methane on Mars, Nicholas Heavens gives us a guide to the history of methane detection on Mars, a discussion of its scientific significance, and a few things to consider when hearing about and asking about the detection.

The YORP Effect and Bennu

Dante Lauretta • December 11, 2014

The YORP effect is a phenomenon that affects the rotation rate and pole orientation of an asteroid. YORP is an acronym that combines four scientist’s names: Yarkovsky, O’Keefe, Radzievskii, and Paddack.

Join me in Washington, D.C. for a post-Thanksgiving Celebration of Planetary Exploration

Casey Dreier • November 26, 2014

See Bill Nye, Europa scientist Kevin Hand, and Mars scientist Michael Meyer speak at a special event on Capitol Hill on December 2nd.

The Science of “Bennu’s Journey”

Dante Lauretta • November 25, 2014

The OSIRIS-REx project released Bennu’s Journey, a movie describing one possible history of our target asteroid – Bennu. The animation is among the most highly detailed productions created by Goddard’s Conceptual Image Laboratory.

Don't Miss This Great New Video About Europa

Casey Dreier • November 21, 2014

JPL released a slick new video highlighting the significance of Europa, the moon of Jupiter with more liquid water than the Earth.

Report from Darmstadt: Philae status and early Rosetta results from DPS

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2014

I'm reporting live from the press room at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. There's little news on Philae yet except that its status is good. Meanwhile, Rosetta scientists presented their first early comet results at the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Tucson, Arizona, which I watched from afar using Twitter.

GSA 2014: The puzzle of Gale crater's basaltic sedimentary rocks

Emily Lakdawalla • October 23, 2014

At the Geological Society of America conference this week, Curiosity scientists dug into the geology of Gale crater and shared puzzling results about the nature of the rocks that the rover has found there.

Collaboration Between OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2

Dante Lauretta • October 20, 2014

The University of Arizona (UA) hosted representatives of the Hayabusa2 asteroid sample return mission to explore opportunities for collaboration with the OSIRIS-REx team.

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