Since I last wrote about Curiosity drilling at Pink Cliffs, the rover has visited and studied two major sites, drilling at one of them. It has also suffered a short in the drill percussion mechanism that presents serious enough risk to warrant a moratorium on drill use until engineers develop a plan to continue to operate it safely.
As I write this post, New Horizons is nearing the end of a weeklong optical navigation campaign. The last optical navigation images in the weeklong series will be taken tomorrow, but it will likely take two weeks or more for all the data to get to Earth. Two weeks! Why does it take so long?
The Planetary Society is launching a new collaboration with Yale exoplanet hunter Debra Fischer and her team, the Exoplanets Laser project. We will support the purchase of an advanced, ultra stable laser to be used in a complex system they are designing to push radial velocity exoplanet hunting to a whole whole new level.
Now that a Tiger Team has assessed the nature and causes of damage to Curiosity's wheels, I can finally answer your frequently-asked questions about what wheel damage means for the mission, and why it wasn't anticipated.
How scientists are working with CRISM, an aging but still exceptional spectrometer on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, to find the rocks where Opportunity's work will tell the story of ancient water on Mars.
The construction of OSIRIS-REx has begun! Seeing the core structure being assembled demonstrated that OSIRIS-REx is no longer just a set of drawings and PowerPoint charts, it is starting to become a real spacecraft.
Bruce Betts has completed the lectures for his online 2014 Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy Course at CSUDH: all are online and you can earn a Certificate of Achievement for watching them.
Earth's brilliant colors shine above the drab lunar horizon in this new "Earthrise" photo from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. An animation that accompanied the image release helped me to write an explainer on how pushframe cameras like Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's Wide-Angle Camera works.
Explore the physical characteristics and inner workings of the Sun and then learn all about Stars and Stellar Evolution in this video of class 12 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.