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Blog Archive

 

The 2014 Legislative Blitz is at Capacity!

Casey Dreier • February 11, 2014

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

Discovery Next

Van Kane • February 08, 2014

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.

Mars 2020 Is No Redo

G. Scott Hubbard • January 28, 2014

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.

Russia's Ambitious Planetary Exploration Goals

Van Kane • January 22, 2014

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.

A Note on the State of Planetary Science

Heidi Hammel • January 22, 2014

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.

Continued Victories for Planetary Exploration

Casey Dreier • January 16, 2014

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.

NASA’s New Planetary Mission Woes

Van Kane • December 27, 2013

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.

Top NASA Scientists Grapple with Budget Cuts

Casey Dreier • December 10, 2013

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.

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Bill Nye • December 05, 2013

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

NASA Just Cancelled its Advanced Spacecraft Power Program

Casey Dreier • November 15, 2013

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.

Europe Bypasses Solar System for Upcoming Science Missions

Van Kane • November 06, 2013

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.

Laser Bees Update

Bruce Betts • October 29, 2013

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.

Google+ Hangout with ESA about Europe's Mars exploration

Emily Lakdawalla • October 04, 2013

The European Space Agency invited me to join Mars Express project scientist Olivier Witasse, and spacecraft oeprations manager Michel Denis for a Hangout on Europe's recent and future exploration of Mars and Phobos.

The "Starship Century" Beckons

Mat Kaplan • October 01, 2013

The Benford brothers provide inspiration and hard fact in their excellent new anthology about interstellar travel.

Europe Will Select Its Next Major Science Mission in November

Van Kane • September 25, 2013

The European Space Agency will announce two major science missions this November, one of which is likely to be devoted to solar system exploration.

NASA's Europa Mission Concept Rejects ASRGs -- May Use Solar Panels at Jupiter Instead

Casey Dreier • September 05, 2013

The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) is no longer an option for powering a potential Europa mission. The ASRG uses Plutonium-238 to generate electricity, but is far more efficient than past RTGs.

Small Could Be Beautiful - Planetary SmallSats

Van Kane • August 23, 2013

A new breed of small planetary spacecraft may allow for more frequent flights to the planets for highly focused missions.

Laser Bees Papers

Bruce Betts • July 11, 2013

For those wishing to bore into more details of our Laser Bees project itself, graduate student Alison Gibbings from the University of Strathclyde has sent their technical paper that resulted from the 2013 Planetary Defense Conference.

Dueling Op-Eds on NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission

Casey Dreier • July 11, 2013

NASA Administrator Bolden and the Chairman of the House Science Committee published opposing op-eds in The Hill newspaper today, illustrating the uphill battle NASA faces to sell Congress on this mission.

Mars 2020 Science Announcement Live-blog

Casey Dreier • July 09, 2013

Follow along as NASA reacts to the recommendations of the science definition team for the next Mars rover.

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