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Blog Archive

 

SpaceX and the Blank Slate
Starting anew vs. tried and true

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/09/28 10:20 CDT | 11 comments

SpaceX's plans to colonize Mars differ considerably from NASA's Journey to Mars ambitions. But direct comparison is difficult. SpaceX is able to wipe the slate clean and start fresh with a bold new approach to humans in space. NASA has no such luxury, and must use existing pieces and people to make their goals a reality.

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Promise, Transition, and Transformation
Reflections on a Rocket Road Trip

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/09/19 07:22 CDT | 4 comments

After 10 days, four NASA centers, two contractors, and hundreds of miles, Casey Dreier shares his initial reflections on the state of NASA's Space Launch System rocket and its future.

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Selecting the Next New Frontiers Mission

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/08/29 08:09 CDT | 12 comments

NASA’s managers have begun the process for a competition to select a new planetary mission to launch in the mid-2020s that will address one of the most important questions in planetary science.

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Plans for China's farside Chang'e 4 lander science mission taking shape

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/06/22 12:09 CDT | 3 comments

The future Chang'e 4 lunar farside landing mission is rapidly taking shape. Now the mission's team is coming to a consensus on the landing location, as well as on the mission's instrument package.

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Red Dragon and Planetary Exploration

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/06/10 12:07 CDT | 5 comments

If SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft becomes a standard catalog item that could ordered, the way a launch vehicle is, what might the impact be on planetary exploration?

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ExoMars Domino Effect

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/05/30 08:10 CDT | 5 comments

A difficult but necessary decision by ESA and Roskosmos to postpone the launch of the ExoMars rover from 2018 to 2020 raises a question about the fate of other planetary exploration programs in the pipelines of both space agencies.

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Lockheed Proposes to have Humans Orbiting Mars by 2028
Their new concept shares core values with the Society's report from last year

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/05/19 05:30 CDT | 7 comments

Lockheed Martin proposed a system to send humans to orbit Mars in the year 2028—a concept that shares many core values with The Planetary Society's report, Humans Orbiting Mars, we released last year.

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What NASA Can Learn from SpaceX
A man, a plan, Mars

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/04/28 11:42 CDT | 23 comments

SpaceX's announcement that it will send Dragon capsules to Mars demonstrates the advantage of having a clear plan to explore the red planet. NASA should take note.

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Defining the Missions for the Ocean Worlds

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/04/12 10:03 CDT | 2 comments

At a recent meeting of an advisory group for NASA, the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS), Jim Green, the head of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, and Barry Goldstein from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, provided updates on plans to explore our solar system's ocean worlds.

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Challenges to Enabling a Richer Planetary Exploration Program

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/03/21 08:01 CDT | 5 comments

This past week brought to the fore two challenges for NASA’s managers as they try to enable the richest possible mix of coming planetary missions. At stake are whether the agency will be able to select two Discovery missions from the current competition, and whether there will be the possibility of a mission selected for Enceladus and/or Titan in the next decade.

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Continuing the Hunt for Exoplanets

Posted by Meg Schwamb on 2016/03/04 10:04 CST | 6 comments

Meg Schwamb highlights some of the upcoming space-based missions that will search for planets beyond our solar system.

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What Does a 'Good' Budget for Planetary Science Look Like?
How to evaluate the coming 2017 budget request and projections

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/02/08 05:31 CST | 1 comments

NASA's 2017 budget request comes out on Tuesday, here's how you can evaluate if the budget for the Planetary Science Division is good or not. It's not just about 2017, but the next five years.

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InSight's Problems: Possible Impacts

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/12/23 08:57 CST | 4 comments

Van Kane details the potential repercussions of the launch delay of InSight Mars lander on the rest of NASA's Discovery mission program.

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[Updated] An Extraordinary Budget for NASA in 2016
Congressional omnibus increases the space agency's budget by $1.3 billion

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/12/18 08:00 CST | 14 comments

Congress's plan to fund the U.S. government in 2016 includes a stellar $1.3 billion increase for NASA over last year, nearly $730 million above the President's request.

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Discovery Finalists

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/10/09 07:04 CDT | 6 comments

Van Kane rounds up the missions selected to move onto the next round in NASA's Discovery proposal process.

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NASA announces five Discovery proposals selected for further study

Posted by Casey DreierEmily Lakdawalla on 2015/09/30 03:39 CDT | 21 comments

NASA announced the first-round selections for its next Discovery mission today. A total of five planetary mission concepts -- three targeted at asteroids, two at Venus -- will move to the next stage of the competition.

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Mars Week Continues: We've Released Our 'Humans Orbiting Mars' Workshop Report

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/09/29 04:08 CDT | 2 comments

Learn all about a sustainable, affordable path to get humans to the Red Planet—a path that goes through Mars orbit and Phobos.

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Searching for the Origins of Earth’s Water

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/09/17 10:03 CDT | 1 comments

Three recently proposed low-cost space missions all aim to answer the same question: Where did Earth's abundant water come from?

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IceBreaker: The Search for Life on Mars

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/09/08 09:19 CDT | 3 comments

The IceBreaker mission, proposed to NASA's Discovery program for low-cost missions, would seek out life on the northern plains of Mars.

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CubeSats to the Moon
An interview with the scientist behind NASA’s newest planetary exploration mission

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/09/02 10:52 CDT | 1 comments

Casey interviews Dr. Craig Hardgrove about his lunar CubeSat, how it came together, and how NASA’s support for small missions are important for early career scientists like himself.

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