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Blog Archive


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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Google+ Hangout with ESA about Europe's Mars exploration

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/04 09:00 CDT

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.

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The "Starship Century" Beckons
Gregory and James Benford return to Planetary Radio

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/10/01 10:30 CDT

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

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Europe Will Select Its Next Major Science Mission in November

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/09/25 01:22 CDT | 2 comments

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

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Small Could Be Beautiful - Planetary SmallSats

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/08/23 11:05 CDT | 4 comments

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

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Laser Bees Papers

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/07/11 06:17 CDT | 5 comments

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.

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Dueling Op-Eds on NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/07/11 01:29 CDT | 9 comments

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.

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Mars 2020 Science Announcement Live-blog
NASA's next Mars rover now has a mission

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/07/09 01:57 CDT | 6 comments

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

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Uranus or Bust (and on a budget)

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/07/09 12:38 CDT | 3 comments

New plans may make a mission to Uranus affordable within NASA's new, constrained budget.

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Planetary Society Hangout: Arkyd Telescopes, Planetary Resources, Chris Lewicki
Thursday, Jun 27, noon PDT/1900 UTC

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/06/27 11:15 CDT | 2 comments

We talked to Chris Lewicki, President of Planetary Resources, about their upcoming Arkyd telescopes including one for the public, asteroid mining, and more. Hosted by Bruce Betts with Jennifer Vaughn.

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POSTPONED: Planetary Society Hangout, Planetary Resources' Chris Lewicki

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/06/05 11:23 CDT

The Hangout has been postponed because of technical difficulties. Stay tuned for rescheduling information.

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NASA Administrator Highlights Advanced Propulsion Systems at JPL
An ion engine will be used on the proposed asteroid retrieval mission

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/05/23 06:18 CDT | 6 comments

Charles Bolden stopped by JPL to highlight research being done on advanced propulsion techniques that would be used in the proposed asteroid retrieval mission.

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Report from the Starship Century Conference: Tuesday

Posted by Jon Lomberg on 2013/05/22 06:54 CDT | 5 comments

This week Jon Lomberg is attending the Starship Century conference, which brings together scientists, writers, and futurists to imagine the future of interstellar travel. Here he reports on presentations by Freeman Dyson, Peter Schwartz, Robert Zubrin, Geoff Landis, Neal Stephenson, and Patti Grace Smith.

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Report from the Starship Century Conference: Monday

Posted by Jon Lomberg on 2013/05/21 10:42 CDT | 11 comments

This week Jon Lomberg is attending the Starship Century conference, which brings together scientists, writers, and futurists to imagine the future of interstellar travel. The organizers are Greg and Jim Benford, and among the attendees are: David Brin, Neal Stephenson, Vernor Vinge, Joe Haldeman, Alan Steele, Geoffrey Landis, Freeman Dyson, Jill Tarter, Paul Davies, Nalaka Gunawardene, and Daniel Richter.

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ISIS: Blasting a Crater on Asteroid Bennu

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/05/16 08:00 CDT | 2 comments

An exciting new option to enhance NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid mission has been proposed by Steve Chesley at JPL. The ISIS spacecraft would impact asteroid Bennu to expose its interior structure to OSIRIS-REx.

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Mars One astronaut selection announcement

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/04/21 08:29 CDT | 26 comments

Today I am on my way to New York City, where I will be serving as the moderator for Mars One's first press briefing.

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Bringing an Asteroid Home

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/04/03 01:08 CDT | 6 comments

Aviation Week and Space Technology reports that the President’s next budget request for NASA will include funds to begin developing a mission to bring an asteroid to the Earth-moon system.

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LPSC 2013: Future Planetary Exploration

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/03/26 12:20 CDT | 2 comments

Last week, planetary scientists gathered for the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Van Kane rounds up some of the future mission concepts presented.

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