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Blog Archive

 

Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: Why orienting Mars Express is the heart of the challenge

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/02/28 12:25 CST

Today's post continues where we started last week with an update from the Mars Express Flight Control Team at ESOC on their preparations for the 19 October Comet Siding Springs flyby. Today: defining the challenge!

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Intro Astronomy Class 3: Telescopes, the Moon

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/02/21 04:35 CST

Explore optical, radio, and space telescopes and the Moon in the video of class 3 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Curiosity update: imaging the nonfunctioning REMS boom, closer to Dingo Gap

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/29 04:22 CST | 2 comments

At long last, on sol 526, Curiosity imaged the part of the weather instrument that was damaged during landing, but no obvious damage is visible, to me anyway. On sol 527 they drove even closer to Dingo Gap, with plans to drive onto the dune in the sol 528 drive.

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How to get a satellite to geostationary orbit

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/01/17 09:24 CST | 8 comments

Mike Loucks helps provide a beginner's walk-through of the orbital mechanics behind geosynchronous and geostationary satellites.

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Planetary Radio: NEOWISE PI Amy Mainzer
NEOWISE has reawakened to discover more asteroids and comets. The mission leader thanks the amateur astronomers who follow up.

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2014/01/01 12:56 CST | 1 comment

NEOWISE has reawakened to discover many more asteroids and comets. The mission leader thanks the amateur astronomers who follow up on these discoveries.

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Planetary Radio: Ten Years A Roving: The Mars Exploration Rovers

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/12/24 09:18 CST

This week's show looks back over ten years of exploration by Spirit and Opportunity. Writer A.J.S. Rayl recounts the challenges encountered early in the mission, and how an outstanding team triumphed.

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Planetary Dirt Sampling Success

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/12/04 01:17 CST | 3 comments

We present an update and a video about the successful design, construction, and testing in a vacuum chamber by Honeybee Robotics of a prototype PlanetVac system, a new planetary surface sampling technique, sponsored by The Planetary Society. PlanetVac is a reliable system that effectively vacuums up planetary surface materials.

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Why are MAVEN and Mars Orbiter Mission taking such different paths to Mars?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/22 12:15 CST | 20 comments

Two spacecraft launched for Mars this month: Mars Orbiter Mission on November 5, and MAVEN on November 18. MAVEN is now on an interplanetary trajectory, while Mars Orbiter Mission is still in Earth orbit and will not depart for Mars until the end of the month. A lot of people are asking me: why the difference? Here's your answer, with input from Dave Doody.

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about MAVEN's launch and mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/15 08:11 CST | 13 comments

MAVEN is just about to launch! The mission has just released their launch press kit. This post summarizes the press kit's high points, and hopefully answers most of your questions about NASA's next Mars orbiter, scheduled for liftoff Monday at 10:28 PT / 13:28 ET / 18:28 UT.

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Planetary Radio: Looking for Intelligence in a Flash
The All-Sky OSETI Search Gets Even Better

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/11/05 10:58 CST | 1 comment

An update on the Planetary Society's improved Optical SETI search, with Harvard's Paul Horowitz and Curtis Mead.

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Power From the Isotopes
The United States is trying to generate plutonium fuel for the first time in 25 years. Will it succeed?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/10/29 01:21 CDT | 2 comments

We report on the current state of Plutonium-238 production in the United States, a crucial fuel source for planetary exploration spacecraft.

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The Potential of CubeSats

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/10/23 09:17 CDT

Planetary spacecraft originally tended to be large missions. However, technology is shrinking, and before the decade is out, I expect that we will have at least one planetary mission based on a CubeSat.

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Alpha Centauri Planet Hunt Update

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/10/15 11:27 CDT | 2 comments

An update from Yale’s Debra Fischer about the Alpha Centauri planet hunt, partially sponsored by The Planetary Society, as well as her team’s efforts to remove “noise” from parent stars to help find exoplanets.

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Our Improved Optical Search for ET
New hardware processes terabytes of data every second

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/10/08 11:15 CDT

The Planetary Society Optical SETI (OSETI) Telescope was successfully upgraded and fully tested, and is now fully operational looking for aliens. Here are some updates on the performance and progress. In summary, the upgraded telescope is performing just as hoped and is scanning the skies.

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The "Starship Century" Beckons
Gregory and James Benford return to Planetary Radio

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/10/01 10:30 CDT

The Benford brothers provide inspiration and hard fact in their excellent new anthology about interstellar travel.

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Go LADEE!
Planetary Radio Live Launch Special

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/09/10 10:41 CDT

Listen to or watch the recording of our live celebration for LADEE as the spacecraft blasted off for the moon.

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Watch LADEE Launch to the Moon with The Planetary Society
Live Webcast Begins HERE at 7:30pm PDT / 10:30pm EDT

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/09/06 08:45 CDT

Starting at 7:30pm PDT/10:30pm EDT, we will webcast a special event around the launch of NASA's next lunar spacecraft. Watch our special coverage with lunar scientists and live video from the launch site, as well as NASA TV footage of the launch itself.

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Caution: Spacecraft Under Construction
Visiting JPL's high bay clean room with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/08/20 10:39 CDT | 1 comment

Join Emily Lakdawalla and Mat Kaplan inside JPL's High Bay 1, where two Earth-revealing missions are being readied for launch.

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Back to the Future With NIAC Program Exec Jay Falker

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/08/13 10:51 CDT

This week's Planetary Radio talks with the head of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program about its mission and 12 newly-funded projects that could change the world.

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Dawn Journal: Craving Power

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/07/30 01:12 CDT | 5 comments

Ion propulsion is not a source of power for Dawn. Rather, the craft needs a great deal of power to operate its ion propulsion system and all other systems. It needs so much that...we crave power!!

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