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Blog Archive

 

The "Starship Century" Beckons

Mat Kaplan • October 01, 2013

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

Go LADEE!

Mat Kaplan • September 10, 2013

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

Watch LADEE Launch to the Moon with The Planetary Society

Mat Kaplan • September 06, 2013

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.

Caution: Spacecraft Under Construction

Mat Kaplan • August 20, 2013

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

Back to the Future With NIAC Program Exec Jay Falker

Mat Kaplan • August 13, 2013

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.

Dawn Journal: Craving Power

Marc Rayman • July 30, 2013

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!!

Programmable Mars Watch for $50

Ara Kourchians • July 11, 2013

Time is kept differently on Mars. This is because Mars itself rotates a little slower than Earth. This proves to be a pain when it comes to timekeeping.

PlanetVac Moving Forward

Bruce Betts • July 03, 2013

Meet the PlanetVac team and learn their general plan and what they are doing now. PlanetVac is a newly started Planetary Society and Honeybee Robotics project to test a pneumatic system to sample planetary surfaces.

PlanetVac Project Underway

Bruce Betts • July 01, 2013

The Planetary Society's PlanetVac project with Honeybee Robotics is now fully underway. Here we provide a just released statement by Honeybee, and an introduction to this lab test of a new planetary surface sampling system.

How radar really works: The steps involved before getting an image

Alessondra Springmann • June 24, 2013

Arecibo Observatory is known for its 1000-foot diameter telescope and its appearances in Goldeneye and Contact. Aside from battling Bond villains and driving red diesel Jeeps around the telescope (grousing at the site director about the funding status of projects is optional), several hundred hours a year of telescope time at Arecibo go toward radar studies of asteroids.

Astronomy Enters a New Era

Mat Kaplan • May 26, 2013

A live conversation about just a few of the powerful new instruments that will revolutionize our knowledge of the cosmos once again.

Instruments for the JUICE Jovian Mission

Van Kane • March 07, 2013

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced the list of instruments selected for its JUICE mission to explore the Jovian system for three years starting in the 2030 following a 2022 launch.

Curiosity's Scoop Campaign, a Summary

Stephen Kuhn • January 08, 2013

Stephen Kuhn is the CHIMRA and the scoop systems lead on the Curiosity rover. He explains what the team was doing at Rocknest, and why it took so long!

SpaceX's Grasshopper makes leap toward reusability

Jason Davis • December 26, 2012

SpaceX's Grasshopper rocket passed its most ambitious test flight yet, rising 12 stories before hovering and settling gently back down onto its landing pad.

Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: present and future rovers

Emily Lakdawalla • December 05, 2012

The Planetary Society has a new weekly Google+ Hangout time slot, Thursdays at noon PT / 1800 UT. This week, Casey Dreier and I talked about the Curiosity kerfuffle and NASA's future rover plans. Here's the archived recording.

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.

Visiting Viking at Seattle's Museum of Flight

Tom Dahl • November 14, 2012

One of the nicest aerospace museums in the United States is the Museum of Flight, outside Seattle, Washington. I traveled cross-country in order to visit the "Flight Capsule 3" Viking lander, a backup unit that was never completed. Its partially built state exposes its internal structures, making it a boon to study.

Curiosity sol 38 update: arm tests done, on the road again, and an important question answered

Emily Lakdawalla • September 14, 2012

Curiosity has completed Commissioning Activity Period 2 and is on the road again. I asked Daniel Limonadi to explain a couple of the photos of tests being performed on CHIMRA, and took the opportunity to ask him an amusing question that came up during a previous Google+ Hangout.

Knots on Mars

David J. Fred • September 05, 2012

It might surprise most people to learn that multitudes of knots tied in cords and thin ribbons have probably traveled on every interplanetary mission ever flown. If human civilization ends tomorrow, interplanetary landers, orbiters, and deep space probes will preserve evidence of both the oldest and newest of human technologies for thousands, if not millions of years.

Sampling Mars, Part 4: Commissioning the Rover and Sampling System

Daniel Limonadi • August 22, 2012

Completing a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 4 explains the lengthy process of testing and using the system for the first time.

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