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Blog Archive

 

Selecting the Next Creative Idea for Exploring the Solar System

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/12/01 07:39 CST

With the release of the official Announcement of Opportunity (AO) early in November, NASA has officially begun the competition to select its next low cost ($450M) Discovery program planetary mission. Because planetary scientists are free to propose missions to any destination in the solar system other than the sun and Earth, these competitions bring out the creativity in the planetary science program.

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Join me in Washington, D.C. for a post-Thanksgiving Celebration of Planetary Exploration

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/11/26 11:54 CST

See Bill Nye, Europa scientist Kevin Hand, and Mars scientist Michael Meyer speak at a special event on Capitol Hill on December 2nd.

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A Rich Potpourri of Future Mission Concepts

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/11/26 05:01 CST

The past few months have brought announcements for new missions from India and China as well as a wealth of creative ideas for future missions.

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Don't Miss This Great New Video About Europa

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/11/21 02:38 CST

JPL released a slick new video highlighting the significance of Europa, the moon of Jupiter with more liquid water than the Earth.

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Lunar Polar Volatile Puzzle

Posted by Deepak Dhingra on 2014/11/21 09:17 CST

Deepak Dhingra gives an exciting update from the recent Lunar Exploration and Analysis Group (LEAG) meeting at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (JHU-APL) in Baltimore.

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Planetary Society President Testifies Before Congress

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/09/29 11:38 CDT | 2 comments

Society President Dr. Jim Bell provided expert testimony at a September hearing on the state (and fate) of planetary science.

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Europa: How Less Can Be More

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/08/26 06:55 CDT | 6 comments

Van Kane explains three factors that make exploring Europa hard—factors that can make a mission concept that seems like less actually be more.

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Mars 2020 Instruments – A Plan for Sample Return

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/08/08 04:45 CDT | 14 comments

Van Kane gives us a tour of the instruments selected for the Mars 2020 rover.

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Watch Bill Nye and Special Guests in The Lure of Europa
Video from The Planetary Society's recent congressional event

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/08/04 09:21 CDT

We've posted the full video of our Washington, D.C. event exploring the lure of Europa, the moon of Jupiter with more liquid water than the Earth.

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[Updated]: NASA Selects 7 Science Instruments for its Next Mars Rover

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/07/31 01:16 CDT | 12 comments

Seven science instruments will help the Mars 2020 rover identify biosignatures and understand the history of the rocks it encounters on the surface of the red planet.

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NASA Announces the Suite of Science Instruments on its Next Mars Rover Today
Will search for signs of past life

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/07/31 04:13 CDT

Today marks the unveiling of the suite of science instruments that will travel to Mars to look for signs of past life and help determine samples to store for possible return to Earth. The next rover mission will launch in 2020.

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Mars and Europa: Contrasts in Mission Planning

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/07/19 02:08 CDT | 30 comments

Several announcements for proposed missions to Mars and on the planning for a NASA return to Europa that highlight the contrasts in planning missions for these two high priority destinations.

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Capitol Hill Responds to the Lure of Europa
The Planetary Society held a massively successful event to increase awareness of Europa

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/07/18 01:54 CDT | 2 comments

A standing-room only crowd learned the lure of Europa, the moon of Jupiter with more liquid water than the Earth, at a special Planetary Society event on capitol hill.

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Our Pathway to Exploration Should Start with the Asteroid Redirect Mission

Posted by Louis D. FriedmanTom Jones on 2014/06/30 06:01 CDT | 51 comments

Despite its rejection by the NRC Committee, we argue that the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) is an affordable and logical first step in such a sequence. ARM is not only consistent with the NRC Committee’s own principles, but is also the only near- term initiative that can shape their recommendations into a sustainable human space exploration program. ARM would launch U.S. explorers into deep space beyond the Moon, and fits logically into an exploration program aimed at Mars.

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A Checkup on Future Mars Missions

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/06/09 04:59 CDT | 3 comments

NASA’s Mars Exploration Analysis Group (MEPAG) recently reviewed plans by Europe, the Japanese, and NASA for future Mars exploration. The prognosis is for another exciting decade of Mars exploration.

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The Planetary Society Supports NASA's Asteroid Initiative
But we need to know the cost

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/05/27 01:02 CDT | 22 comments

The Planetary Society strongly supports NASA's asteroid initiative, including the goal of redirecting an asteroid to the vicinity of the Moon. But an independent cost estimate is needed, and needed soon.

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A Reluctant Dance Towards Europa
or, Why A Credible Europa Mission is Likely to Cost ~$2B

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/05/14 12:42 CDT | 15 comments

For the last two years, NASA has been the shy partner refusing to get on the dance floor, and Congress has been the aggressive partner insisting on a dance now. Recently, NASA has said maybe on another night but only if it’s a cheap date. While NASA says no for now, Congress looks to be willing to slip the band a cool $100M – on top of $150M already paid – to keep the music playing, but (to keep the metaphor going) has not been willing to fully commit itself to paying the bigger bill to rent the dance hall. The dance, of course, is the continuing attempt by Congress to have NASA commit to a mission to explore Europa, and NASA’s attempts to delay a mission well into the 2020s.

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Wow, an Increase of $170 million for Planetary Exploration
The House comes through yet again

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/05/07 01:56 CDT | 3 comments

The House revealed details of its draft NASA budget today, including an increase of $170 million to Planetary Science above the White House's request for 2015, putting it within spitting distance of our goal of $1.5 billion.

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The House Proposes an Extra $435 million for NASA next year
A powerful statement of support for NASA, will the Senate follow?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/05/03 01:43 CDT | 2 comments

Budget season is in full swing in Washington, D.C., and we're starting to see indications of how NASA will fare this year. I have to say, things are looking pretty promising.

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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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