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LPSC 2013: watery Martian minerals

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/28 12:26 CDT | 3 comments

Some interesting results from the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference on clay minerals on Mars and what they might mean about ancient water.

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LPSC 2013: License to Chill (or, the solar system's icy moons)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/27 11:52 CDT

Reports from the March 19 session at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference covering eight icy moons in the outer solar system: Ganymede, Europa, Dione, Rhea, Mimas, Tethys, Enceladus, and Miranda.

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LPSC 2013: Do we have a meteorite from Mercury?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/21 06:14 CDT | 7 comments

Before yesterday, my answer to this question would be "no." Now my answer is "probably." But it's not clear if we know which of the meteorites in our collections is from the innermost planet.

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LPSC 2013: Sedimentary stratigraphy with Curiosity and Opportunity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/20 04:19 CDT | 4 comments

A mind-boggling quantity of information is being presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. In my first report from the meeting, I try to make sense of the Curiosity and Opportunity sessions.

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Yes, it was once a Martian lake: Curiosity has been sent to the right place

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/12 05:36 CDT | 7 comments

The news from the Curiosity mission today is this: Curiosity has found, at the site called John Klein, a rock that contains evidence for a past environment that would have been suitable for Earth-like microorganisms.

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Webcast Tonight! Planetary Scientist and Society President Jim Bell
Watch It Live or Later On Demand

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/02/20 07:59 CST

Professor Bell's topic is "Exploring Mars, the Moon, Asteroids, and Comets with Rovers and Landers," and there is no one better to talk about this subject.

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"Sand" means something different to me than it does to you, probably

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/24 01:28 CST | 2 comments

I had one of those "A-ha" moments last week where I suddenly realized that I had run afoul of a common problem in science communication: when the words I'm using mean something different to me than they do to almost everyone I'm talking to. The confusing word of the week: "sand."

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Curiosity update, sol 157: Glenelg isn't just a test site anymore; it's a scientific "candy store"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/15 05:30 CST | 5 comments

The Curiosity mission held a press briefing this morning for the first time since the American Geophysical Union meeting, and it was jam-packed with science. The biggest piece of news is this: it was worth it, scientifically, to go to Glenelg first, before heading to the mountain.

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Planetary Radio Live Celebrates Curiosity/Truly Haute Cuisine!
Listen to or watch the webcast recorded Saturday, December 15th, and enjoy a neat little French animation.

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/12/20 04:06 CST

Listen to or watch the webcast recorded Saturday, December 15th with MSL Project Manager Richard Cook and Project Scientist John Grotzinger. Bonus: enjoy a neat little French animation.

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Watch Planetary Radio LIVE on Saturday!
Saturday's webcast is all about Curiosity on Mars

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/12/15 11:10 CST | 1 comment

Watch the live show at 2pm Pacific on Saturday, December 15 to see Bill Nye, Emily Lakdawalla and the leaders of the Mars Science Laboratory rover mission.

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Isostasy, gravity, and the Moon: an explainer of the first results of the GRAIL mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/11 01:04 CST | 15 comments

Last week the GRAIL mission published their first scientific results, and what they have found will send many geophysicists back to the drawing board to explain how the Moon formed and why it looks the way it does now. To explain how, I'm going to have to back way up, and explain the basic science behind gravity data.

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Curiosity update, sol 117: Progress report from AGU

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/05 07:58 CST | 4 comments

Monday was the big Curiosity day at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. A morning press briefing was followed by an afternoon science session. I traveled to San Francisco briefly just to attend those two events. Here's my notes on the first science reports from the mission.

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Water ice and organics at Mercury's poles

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/29 02:16 CST | 9 comments

Water ice at Mercury's poles? That's crazy, right? The MESSENGER team has made a very good case that radar-bright material seen by the Arecibo telescope is, in fact, water ice, covered in most places by a veneer of dark organic material.

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Making an ugly rock beautiful

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/02 08:03 CDT | 1 comment

Today I stumbled upon the Lunar and Planetary Institute's Lunar Sample Atlas, and was reminded of how much I love petrographic thin sections. They can make unassuming, cruddy looking rocks beautiful.

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Book Review: Planetary Surface Processes, by H. Jay Melosh

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/23 12:18 CDT | 2 comments

Planetary Surface Processes provides a rigorous overview of every process that shapes the appearance of planetary surfaces, and I'll be referring to it to help me explain everything from impact cratering to isostasy.

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DPS 2012, Day 5: How to make asteroids crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/19 07:53 CDT | 2 comments

A summary of just one talk from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, by Lindy Elkins-Tanton, which provided a neat explanation for how asteroids can be melted and layered on the inside yet have a primitive-looking exterior.

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DPS 2012, Monday: Icy moons and a four-star exoplanet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/15 11:31 CDT | 1 comment

In the first full day of the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, I listened to scientific sessions on icy worlds and on an exoplanet in a four-star system.

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First science reports from Curiosity's APXS and ChemCam: Petrology on Jake Matijevic

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/12 01:18 CDT | 16 comments

A Curiosity press briefing yesterday gave some of the first results from ChemCam and APXS on the rock "Jake Matijevic." It was a little too much petrology for most people; I do my best to explain.

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Sturzstroms on Saturn's Moon Iapetus

Posted by Kelsi Singer on 2012/10/01 04:31 CDT

Long-runout landslides (sturzstroms) are found across the Solar System. They have been observed primarily on Earth and Mars, but also on Venus, and Jupiter’s moons Io and Callisto. I have just published a paper about sturzstroms on Iapetus.

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Cosmoquest Science Hour, Wednesday: A virtual field trip to the hills on Curiosity's horizon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/25 04:50 CDT | 2 comments

I'm hosting this week's Cosmoquest Science Hour, and plan to take viewers on a virtual tour of those mountains on Curiosity's horizon, and show you where Curiosity is likely to go. Join me and Fraser Cain here at 1600 PDT / 2300 UTC Wednesday.

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