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Blog Archive

 

How far they'll go: Moana shows the power of Polynesian celestial navigation

Duane W. Hamacher and Carla Bento Guedes • November 21, 2017

The Polynesian peoples' astronomical knowledge helped them colonize the vast Pacific Ocean.

American R&D Policy and the Push for Small Planetary Missions at NASA

Jason Callahan • October 11, 2017

Planetary Society Policy Adviser Jason Callahan summarizes his paper he presented at the 2017 International Astronautical Congress in Australia, where he examined NASA's low-cost Discovery program and how federal policies directed at higher education initially bolstered planetary science into a viable field.

Doing SETI Better by Understanding Ourselves

Jason Wright • October 06, 2017

One of the reasons SETI is hard is that we don’t know exactly what we are looking for, and part of that difficulty is that we still aren’t sure of who we are. An astronomer and an anthropologist team up to explore how cultural myopia shape what we can find in the cosmos.

Voyager 40th Anniversary: Summer of '79

Paul Schenk • September 08, 2017

Planetary scientist Paul Schenk shares his story of working on the Voyager missions as a JPL intern back in 1979.

Five Earth Years on Mars

Casey Dreier • August 05, 2017

Five (Earth) years ago today, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity landed in a dramatic fashion on the surface of the Red Planet. We look back at a mission that advanced humanity's understanding of Mars and provided a priceless return on a modest investment.

Extraterrestrial culture: How we express ourselves through space exploration

Felipe Cervera • April 11, 2017

Planetary Performance scholar Felipe Cervera brings a perspective on "extraterrestrial-ity" in terrestrial cultures—from rituals to technology.

On Cosmic Discovery and Human Significance

Jake Rosenthal • December 28, 2016

Jake Rosenthal takes us on a tour of the history of discovery of our place in the cosmos.

Connecting with Carl Sagan at the Library of Congress

Mark Hilverda • December 20, 2016

Whether you explore The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive online or at the Library of Congress during a visit to Washington, D.C., you’ll learn something new and have a deeper understanding of Carl Sagan.

Lunar Farside Landing Plans

Phil Stooke • May 27, 2016

Phil Stooke describes a research trip to the Regional Planetary Image Facility at the USGS in Flagstaff, where he discovered Jack Schmitt's proposed plans for a farside landing site for Apollo 17.

Space Exploration: Leaving the Earth to Understand It

Jake Rosenthal • May 13, 2016

Looking back at Earth from beyond helps to give perspective on our place in the cosmos.

New lunar mosaics emerge as Surveyor digitization project continues

Jason Davis • May 06, 2016

A team of scientists at the University of Arizona continue their efforts to extract data from more than 90,000 images captured during NASA's Surveyor program. In the meantime, new first-look images and an animation have been released.

Shuttle tank, meet canal: Engineering wonders cross paths in Panama

Jason Davis • April 28, 2016

Two modern engineering marvels crossed paths this week here in Central America, as the last unflown space shuttle external fuel tank passed through the Panama Canal during a multi-week voyage from New Orleans to Los Angeles.

Full-circle ceremony sends last shuttle tank to sea

Jason Davis • April 13, 2016

The last unflown space shuttle fuel tank is underway to California, following a full-circle ceremony in view of hardware built for the shuttle's heavy lift successor, the Space Launch System.

The Pioneer Plaque: Science as a Universal Language

Jake Rosenthal • January 20, 2016

In 1972, an attempt to contact extraterrestrial life was cast into space with the launch of the Pioneer 10 spacecraft. What exactly was the message we sent into the cosmos?

Back from the Brink: Akatsuki Returns to Venus

Ralph Lorenz • December 04, 2015

Perhaps forgotten by the general public in the West, a long-lost spacecraft is set to enter orbit around our sister planet in December, picking up where ESA’s Venus Express left off when its operations ended last year.

Surveyor Digitization Project Hints at Long-Lost Lunar Treasures

Jason Davis • November 23, 2015

A project to digitize more than 90,000 images taken by NASA’s five Surveyor spacecraft in the 1960s has revealed early hints of never-before-seen treasures captured by America’s first robotic lunar landers.

Desert Moon, Narrated by Former Astronaut Mark Kelly, Now Available Online

Jason Davis • March 23, 2015

Desert Moon, a 35-minute documentary that tells the story of Dr. Gerard Kuiper and the dawn of planetary science, is now available online.

Remembering Charles Townes

Mat Kaplan • January 31, 2015

Mat Kaplan honors the memory of a scientific pioneer.

Dawn Journal: History of Ceres

Marc Rayman • December 29, 2014

As Dawn looks toward the new world of Ceres, Mission Director Marc Rayman looks back on Ceres' discovery.

Want Funding? Then Be a National Priority

Jason Callahan • November 14, 2014

On Monday, Jason Callahan published an article in The Space Review discussing the importance of aligning the goals of federally funded scientific communities with national priorities. This post highlights some of the main points of the article and suggests a possible role for The Planetary Society.

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