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Blog Archive

 

Your Europa Mission Primer of the Day

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/04/08 09:35 CDT | 1 comments

Trying to understand NASA's current efforts to explore Europa? Read this excellent piece on the recent, frustrating history to scout out this watery moon of Jupiter.

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Discovery Missions for an Icy Moon with Active Plumes

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/04/02 07:31 CDT | 8 comments

In December, scientists announced the discovery of possible plumes of water being ejected from Jupiters’s moon Europa. If confirmed, Europa would be the second moon with confirmed plumes after Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Two Discovery mission proposals for Enceladus suggest the types of missions that may be proposed for Europa.

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Further Analysis of NASA's FY15 Budget Proposal: Steady As She Goes?

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/03/22 10:23 CDT

The President’s proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget details were released last week. For the next several years, the budget proposes a steady as she goes plan, but with two “what are they thinking?” surprises.

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[Updated] To Europa!...Slowly. First Impressions of NASA's New Budget Request
My first impressions of the 2015 NASA Budget Request from the White House

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/03/07 11:20 CST | 5 comments

Europa may get a mission...eventually. We give our first take on the 2015 NASA Budget request. How does Planetary Exploration fare? Which projects were cancelled? Will NASA capture an asteroid? And most importantly, what can you do about it?

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NASA Wants to Explore Europa On the Cheap
Will science suffer with this arbitrary cost-cap?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/03/05 11:49 CST | 10 comments

NASA announced today that their Europa mission concept studies will be for a sub-$1 billion spacecraft, a lower level than previously imagined for a mission to this watery moon.

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Mission to a Metallic World: A Discovery Proposal to Fly to the Asteroid Psyche

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/02/19 07:45 CST | 1 comments

Imagine flying deep within the asteroid belt to study the most unreachable location in the solar system: the deep core of a terrestrial world.

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The 2014 Legislative Blitz is at Capacity!

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/02/11 06:25 CST | 1 comments

A tremendous response to our call for space advocates has pushed our small team to the limit. A great problem.

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Discovery Next

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/02/08 08:36 CST | 5 comments

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, the Discovery program is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. The creativity of the scientific community has given us a wide assortment of missions in the past and is likely to surprise and delight us again.

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Mars 2020 Is No Redo
The next major mission to Mars will push the envelope in technology

Posted by G. Scott Hubbard on 2014/01/28 01:02 CST | 9 comments

The next major mission to Mars will push the technological envelope in way that preserves its budget and fulfills the scientific goals set by the planetary community for this decade.

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Russia's Ambitious Planetary Exploration Goals

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/01/22 11:58 CST | 5 comments

Roscosmos has ambitious planetary exploration plans in the coming decades, including a series of solo lunar missions and joint missions to Mars with the European Space Agency.

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A Note on the State of Planetary Science

Posted by Heidi Hammel on 2014/01/22 05:14 CST | 6 comments

Heidi Hammel, the Chair of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Science, reacts to the recent budget news and the uncertain future for planetary science at NASA.

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Continued Victories for Planetary Exploration
For the second year in a row Congress rejects cuts requested by the White House

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/16 07:33 CST | 5 comments

Pat yourself on the back. Planetary exploration will be more vibrant in 2014 thanks to you. More than fifty thousand messages were sent to Congress this year, and they listened, adding back a significant amount of money in the 2014 Omnibus spending bill.

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Europa New Frontiers Mission? (Or why I like the Europa Clipper concept even more now)

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/01/07 05:14 CST | 3 comments

Europa remains a top priority for a future mission to explore whether it could host life. While the Europa Clipper mission, remains the current front runner, a senior NASA manager has suggested that the agency may look at still lower cost options. Van Kane looks at what those options might be.

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NASA’s New Planetary Mission Woes
Budget cuts slow down the rate of new missions

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/12/27 04:49 CST | 2 comments

NASA’s planetary science program depends on regular missions to solar system bodies to gather data. A combination of budget cuts and previous commitments to develop missions currently in the pipeline means that development of follow on missions may slow to a crawl. Van Kane looks at the current situation and NASA’s plans and then look at options the agency may consider if budgets remain tight into the next decade.

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Europa: No Longer a "Should," But a "Must"

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/12 07:51 CST | 10 comments

We've waited long enough, Europa cries out for exploration and discovery. It's time to heed that cry.

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Top NASA Scientists Grapple with Budget Cuts
A struggle to keep new missions coming

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/12/10 05:52 CST | 3 comments

Ellen Stofan, NASA's Chief Scientist, and John Grunsfeld, the head of the Science Mission Directorate and a Hubble repair astronaut, highlighted recent NASA science discoveries at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

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An Open Letter to President Barack Obama
Mr. President, be bold and embrace a vision of planetary exploration at NASA

Posted by Bill Nye on 2013/12/05 06:15 CST | 16 comments

Bill Nye writes President Obama arguing that the President should embrace a bold future of planetary exploration.

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NASA Just Cancelled its Advanced Spacecraft Power Program
The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator was to use less Plutonium for cheaper missions.

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/15 04:06 CST | 32 comments

The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Program (ASRG) was just cancelled by NASA. This was to be the saving grace for Plutonium-238 availability, as it was a much more efficient way to generate electricity than classic RTG systems.

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Europe Bypasses Solar System for Upcoming Science Missions

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/11/06 08:44 CST | 3 comments

The European Space Agency has selected two astrophysics observatories as its next large science missions, overlooking every proposed planetary mission. ESA's current selection of planetary missions, however, means it will still be a major player in solar system exploration for the next two decades.

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Laser Bees Update

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/10/29 05:42 CDT | 3 comments

An update from University of Strathclyde researchers about the Planetary Society sponsored laboratory Laser Bees asteroid deflection project including a new laser and other lab equipment, and the start of new related projects.

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