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Blog Archive


The latest on NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/23 06:01 CDT | 3 comments

During televised updates on June 18 and 19, NASA showcased its progress on Orion and ARM. Here's the latest news.

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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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Bringing Orion Home: How the U.S. Navy will pluck our future astronauts from the sea

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/02/14 12:16 CST | 19 comments

When our future astronauts splash down into the Pacific Ocean aboard an Orion capsule, Mike Generale, NASA, and the U.S. Navy will be waiting for them.

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Shaping the Search for Life

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/01/14 09:24 CST | 1 comments

A short film on the Giant Magellan Telescope, which could revolutionize exoplanet research and shape the search for life in the Universe.

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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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Mars Needs Plutonium! (And so do Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Points Beyond)
Planetary Radio Talks With Casey Dreier About Restoring Production of an Isotope

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/10/29 10:38 CDT

Society Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator Casey Dreier visits Planetary Radio with the tale of an element that is essential to exploration of deep space.

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Origami Nanosats: The Future of Space Telescopes?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/10/01 05:04 CDT | 1 comments

We interview Dr. Franck Marchis from the SETI Institute about nanosats that can unfold in space to create sensitive telescopes that are orders of magnitudes cheaper than current hardware.

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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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Plutonium-238 is Crucial for Space Exploration – and it's Running Out
The Planetary Society works to maintain plutonium availability for deep space missions

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/09/20 11:29 CDT | 3 comments

Plutonium-238 provides electricity to deep space missions, but NASA only has a little bit left. A new article in Wired highlights the disastrous consequences of no plutonium for use in space, something the Planetary Society is currently fighting for in Washington, D.C.

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Dream Chaser mini-shuttle prepares for free flight tests

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/08/15 03:42 CDT | 4 comments

Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser spacecraft recently completed a series of range and taxi tow tests, which pave the way for free flights that could begin this fall.

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Back to the Future With NIAC Program Exec Jay Falker

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/08/13 10:51 CDT

This week's Planetary Radio talks with the head of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program about its mission and 12 newly-funded projects that could change the world.

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J-2X: A Distant Dot Lights Up the Night

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/07/18 09:51 CDT | 3 comments

On Tuesday, NASA released new high-definition video of a June 26 nighttime J-2X engine test at Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi.

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In-flight entertainment: cameras aboard the Space Launch System

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/07/09 06:04 CDT | 1 comments

When the Space Launch System lifts off on its inaugural flight in 2017, eight engineering cameras will collect crucial in-flight data while providing breathtaking views for the public.

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Deflecting the flames of a monster rocket

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/07/01 12:24 CDT | 3 comments

Work continues to prepare Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39B for the Space Launch System, as a flame trench deflector originally built for the Space Shuttle is removed.

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Stationkeeping in Mars orbit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/06/27 10:55 CDT | 10 comments

It had never occurred to me to think about geostationary satellites in Mars orbit before reading a new paper by Juan Silva and Pilar Romero. The paper shows that it takes a lot more work to maintain a stationary orbit at an arbitrary longitude at Mars than it does at Earth.

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Morpheus lander gets back off its feet

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/06/07 01:58 CDT | 4 comments

NASA's Project Morpheus lander completed a 74-second flight yesterday, marking the second tethered test of the new vehicle.

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Planetary Resources' Crowdfunded Space Telescope

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/31 11:25 CDT | 2 comments

A fan-funded space telescope, usable by the public? It's an awesome idea, and it appears that a wide swath of the public agrees. Planetary Resources, headed by president and chief engineer Chris Lewicki, announced a Kickstarter project yesterday, with the goal of raising $1 million toward one of their ARKYD space telescopes.

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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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