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ExoMars Domino Effect

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/05/30 08:10 CDT | 1 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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Outer Planet News

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/08/25 08:20 CDT | 6 comments

NASA's Outer Planet Analysis Group is currently meeting to hear the agency's current plans and to provide the feedback of the scientific community on those plans.

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MERLIN: The Creative Choices Behind a Proposal to Explore the Martian Moons

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/08/10 09:29 CDT | 4 comments

Van Kane presents one of the three missions from the latest round of NASA Discovery proposals with the goal of exploring Mars' moons.

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Proposals to Explore the Solar System’s Smallest Worlds

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/07/27 12:14 CDT | 10 comments

Van Kane rounds up some of the latest NASA Discovery mission proposals aiming to explore our solar system's smallest bodies.

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A New Way to Prepare Samples of Mars for Return to the Earth
Mars 2020’s strategy to cache samples is evolving as the mission matures

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/07/23 02:18 CDT | 16 comments

Mars 2020, NASA’s next and yet-to-be-named Mars rover, will be the first mission to collect and prepare samples of the martian surface for return to Earth. The rover's engineering team has proposed a new sampling caching strategy that differs from previous concepts in some interesting ways.

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Mars Plans Advance (and Occasionally Fade)

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/05/08 04:05 CDT | 14 comments

In the last two months, there has been significant news about the European-Russian 2018 mission and about NASA’s 2020 rover. NASA also has announced that it would like to send a new orbiter to the Red Planet in the early 2020s.

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