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Sampling Mars, Part 3: Key Challenges in Drilling for Samples

Daniel Limonadi • August 21, 2012

Continuing a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 3 explains why drilling is hard, and what the team is doing to prevent things from going wrong.

Sampling Mars, Part 2: Science Instruments SAM and Chemin

Daniel Limonadi • August 20, 2012

Continuing a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 2 explains the science instruments SAM and Chemin.

Sampling Mars, Part 1: The Hardware

Daniel Limonadi • August 16, 2012

The opening of a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 1 explains the robotic arm and the Sample Acquisition, Processing and Handling subsystem.

See What's NEXT for Humanity

Mat Kaplan • August 16, 2012

A new monthly series of Southern California Public Radio events begins with a look at how intelligent machines and virtual humans will change what it means to be a real human. Attend or watch the live webcast tonight, Thursday, August 16.

Curiosity's MAHLI camera: Much more than a microscopic imager

Emily Lakdawalla • August 07, 2012

Today's press briefing featured the first image from MAHLI, the Mars Hand Lens Imager, so it's time for me to dive in to this camera's capabilities.

Videos: Where are Curiosity's science instruments and how do they work?

Emily Lakdawalla • August 01, 2012

Mat Kaplan and I recently recorded a couple of videos giving a tour of the science instruments on the Curiosity Mars rover.

The Planetary Report, June 2012: Dark Skies?

Emily Lakdawalla • July 25, 2012

The June Solstice issue of our member magazine The Planetary Report is out! The feature article, by W. Scott Kardel of the International Dark-Sky Association, looks at the ecological, economic, and philosophical problem of light pollution. My inside-the-cover Snapshots from Space features image processing work by Gordan Ugarkovic. Bill Nye's Planetary Society Kids section shows you how to build your own MarsDial, and on its back page I share some weird and interesting facts about Mars' moons.

Curiosity's seventeenth camera: MARDI

Emily Lakdawalla • July 20, 2012

Curiosity is equipped with seventeen cameras. One of them, the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) will capture a movie as the rover descends to the surface.

Got questions about Curiosity? I've got answers for you

Emily Lakdawalla • July 19, 2012

Whether you are a scientist or a layman, if you have ever asked yourself any question about Curiosity, I strongly suggest that you read the newly published press kit!

How Curiosity Will Land on Mars, Part 3: Skycrane and Landing

Emily Lakdawalla • July 06, 2012

The final phase of Curiosity's landing on Mars involves the "skycrane maneuver" and will leave the rover on its wheels ready for its mission on Mars to begin.

How Curiosity Will Land on Mars, Part 2: Descent

Emily Lakdawalla • June 29, 2012

When people first hear about how Curiosity will land on Mars, their first question always is: are they nuts? This is the second in a multi-part series describing how -- and why -- Curiosity will land this way, in excruciating detail.

How Curiosity Will Land on Mars, Part 1: Entry

Emily Lakdawalla • June 22, 2012

When people first hear about how Curiosity will land on Mars, their first question always is: are they nuts? This is the first in a multi-part series describing how -- and why -- Curiosity will land this way, in excruciating detail.

Cosmoquest Science Hangout Wednesday June 20 2300 UTC: Ravi Prakash, Curiosity engineer

Emily Lakdawalla • June 18, 2012

This Cosmoquest Science Hangout featured Ravi Prakash, Curiosity Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems Engineer. He explained how Curiosity will land on Mars, and why they've changed things since Spirit and Opportunity landed.

In which I visit Mojave Spaceport and meet WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo

Emily Lakdawalla • May 29, 2012

It was just a coincidence, but a cool one, that I got a chance to visit the Mojave Spaceport so soon after the dramatic "New Space" success of the launch and Space Station docking of SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Dragon.

Virtual Exploration, Virtually Everywhere

Jim Bell • May 14, 2012

I had the pleasure of participating in a symposium at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center called "Space Exploration via Telepresence: A New Paradigm for Human-Robotic Cooperation."

Examining India's new RISAT 1 Earth observation satellite

Jason Davis • May 02, 2012

Last week, India launched RISAT 1, a new Earth-observing satellite. How does its synthetic aperture radar compare to that of Envisat, which has fallen silent?

Planets around Alpha Centauri?

Bruce Betts • April 24, 2012

Do planets circle our closest stellar neighbors, the system loved by science fiction: Alpha Centauri? We don’t know. But, Debra Fischer, Julien Spronck, and their colleagues at Yale University, in part with Planetary Society support, are trying to find out.

Pioneer Anomaly Solved!

Bruce Betts • April 19, 2012

With the latest piece of the puzzle just published in a scientific journal, a solar system mystery that has perplexed people for more than 20 years has been solved, truly thanks to the support of Planetary Society members.

Of inclinations and azimuths

Jason Davis • April 11, 2012

A classified U.S. military satellite recently launched into an orbital inclination of 123 degrees. What makes this trajectory so unique? Pondering the answer affords the opportunity to learn some deceptively tricky concepts about the nature of all spacecraft orbits.

Visiting a Solar Sail in the OC

Mat Kaplan • March 16, 2012

The city of Tustin is about an hour's drive from Planetary Society HQ in Pasadena. That's when the freeway gods are kind, which they never are. The trip I made there yesterday was well worth the trouble.

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