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International Astronautical Congress 2012 Recap

Bill Nye • October 09, 2012

Again this year I represented The Planetary Society at the International Astronautical Congress. This year, we met in Naples, Italy. This meeting brings together space scientists, rocket people, and spacecraft engineers from all over the world.

Mars Program Update from MEPAG

Bruce Betts • October 05, 2012

Bruce Betts reports on the status of the current and future Mars program and on acronyms from a meeting of NASA's MEPAG (Mars Exploration Analysis Program Analysis Group).

NASA's New Direction For Mars (Maybe)

Casey Dreier • September 26, 2012

The future of the Mars Exploration Program exists as multiple mission plans straining to exist in the brutal new cost cap from the FY13 budget, pushed far into the future.

A New Direction for Mars? CAPS Meeting 2012 Coverage

Casey Dreier • September 24, 2012

The Mars Program Planning Group presents its new plan for Mars exploration in lieu of recent cuts to its budget on Tuesday, Sept 25th. We also get updates on the Europa Mission study at CAPS 2012 in Irvine, CA.

Manned Missions to Mars Aren't Just Sci-Fi

Louis D. Friedman • August 24, 2012

Space exploration is not just valuable to scientists; it is also popular with the public who pays taxes. And why not? The exploration of Mars is not only a search for signs of alien life. It is an exploration of the human future.

A Bittersweet Day for Planetary Exploration

Casey Dreier • August 20, 2012

A new Mars mission was announced today, which is cause for celebration. But two other exciting missions where not selected, why? Money, or lack thereof. All we need is a little bit more, and we could be exploring the solar system, not just Mars.

Zapping Rocks with Lasers to Save the World

Bruce Betts • June 25, 2012

The Planetary Society Laser Bees project in Scotland is studying in the lab a potential new technique for deflecting dangerous asteroids: laser ablation.

NRO gives NASA two hand-me-down telescopes

Jason Davis • June 07, 2012

The National Reconnaissance Office has donated two, partially-completed space telescopes to NASA, revealed at a National Academies' Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics meeting this week.

JUICE: Europe's next mission to Jupiter?

Emily Lakdawalla • April 18, 2012

The Twitterverse is buzzing this morning with news that the Science Programme Committee of the European Space Agency has recommended that the next large European mission be JUICE, a mission to explore the three icy Galilean satellites and eventually to orbit Ganymede.

Cool stuff brewing at Honeybee Robotics

Emily Lakdawalla • March 15, 2012

Yesterday I was treated to a little tour (little, because it's a little building) of Honeybee Robotics' office here in Pasadena. Honeybee is developing some great technology for future space missions for Earth, Mars, and beyond.

SLS updates: tower crawl, engine burn and flight test

Jason Davis • November 21, 2011

A few updates on the Space Launch System, NASA's next-generation deep exploration vehicle.

Mars Exploration Endangered by Bureaucratic (In)Action

Charlene Anderson • October 07, 2011

The road to Mars just seems to get longer and harder every day. The Planetary Society has just asked its Members to contact the White House and ask John Holdren, the President's Science Advisor, to make sure that NASA and ESA are allowed to work together on the 2016 and 2018 missions to Mars.

Decoding SpaceX's re-usable spacecraft concept

Jason Davis • October 07, 2011

Breaking down the futuristic technologies for SpaceX's reusable Grasshopper spacecraft, as shown in a recent promotional video.

Notes from EPSC/DPS NASA Night

Emily Lakdawalla • October 07, 2011

It's already the last day of the DPS/EPSC meeting in Nantes, France, and I've fallen seriously behind on writing up my notes. I thought I'd get some less pleasant notes out of the way before I returned to science.

Russia's Venera-D mission (DPS-EPSC 2011)

Ted Stryk • October 05, 2011

During the afternoon poster session at the Division of Planetary Sciences / European Planetary Science Congress meeting, I had a long talk with Ludmila Zasova (IKI) about Russia's Venera-D mission to Venus.

Everybody says we need a NEO survey telescope

Emily Lakdawalla • August 30, 2011

The next thing needed by both the small bodies science community and people interested in human exploration is a space-based telescope capable of surveying (and following up on) near-Earth space for asteroids that, for a variety of reasons, haven't been found yet.

PAMELA finds some antimatter

Jason Davis • August 19, 2011

A team of international scientists has discovered an antiproton belt around the Earth, using data obtained from PAMELA, a particle identification instrument aboard a Russian Earth observation satellite.

What's up in human spaceflight: the gas station edition

Jason Davis • August 15, 2011

An update on human spaceflight, including orbital propellant depots, suborbital test flights and an Orion crew capsule test aboard a Delta IV Heavy.

Europa on the Ropes

James Wray • June 11, 2011

For now, Mars continues to eclipse Jupiter's moon Europa (shown here to scale) in NASA's flagship mission plans, but not in its appeal to many planetary scientists.

Just Released: The Planetary Science Decadal Survey for 2013-2022

Charlene Anderson • March 07, 2011

The embargo has just been lifted on the National Research Council's "Visions and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013 -- 2022 (PDF)," which sets out priorities for which planetary missions should be undertaken in next ten years.

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