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Galileo Messengers: Cruise to Venus, Earth, Gaspra, Earth, Ida, and almost to Jupiter

Emily Lakdawalla • February 05, 2013

It's taken me a year to face the emotionally draining task of reading and writing about Galileo's cruise phase as chronicled in the mission's newsletters.

Blast from the past: Mariner 4's images of Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • December 10, 2012

While hunting for photos to use in a presentation, I came across a couple of different amateur takes on the Mariner 4 photo catalog.

Visiting Viking at Seattle's Museum of Flight

Tom Dahl • November 14, 2012

One of the nicest aerospace museums in the United States is the Museum of Flight, outside Seattle, Washington. I traveled cross-country in order to visit the "Flight Capsule 3" Viking lander, a backup unit that was never completed. Its partially built state exposes its internal structures, making it a boon to study.

A Night To Remember: Celebrating Carl Sagan

Mat Kaplan • November 13, 2012

On the evening of November 9, which would have been Carl Sagan's 78th birthday, the Planetary Society brought together some of his best friends to share their memories. We were also joined by four young scientists whose career choices were influenced by Carl.

Join Our Sagan Celebration

Mat Kaplan • November 09, 2012

The Planetary Society has invited a few friends of Carl Sagan's to a celebration of his birth and his legacy. Watch the live webcast featuring physicist Kip Thorne, Contact Executive Producer Lynda Obst and much more!

Curiosity, Endeavour, and Bill Nye on Your Phone

Mat Kaplan • November 07, 2012

This week's Planetary Radio episode presents highlights of the first Curiosity press briefing about the Martian atmosphere, and then takes you to the opening day ceremony for Shuttle Endeavour. You have till Friday, November 9, at 10am Pacific to send your 10th anniversary message to the show and possibly win Bill Nye on your answering machine.

An unheralded anniversary

Emily Lakdawalla • August 28, 2012

Yesterday, August 27th, 2012, was, in a sense, the 50th anniversary of interplanetary travel. Fifty years ago yesterday, Mariner 2 launched toward Venus, and became the first object to leave Earth and travel to another world.

Curiosity's landing site named for Ray Bradbury

Jim Bell • August 22, 2012

Ray Bradbury explored Mars, and the future of humanity, through words and ideas--vehicles of the imagination. He was a visionary author and, through his writings and lectures, was a direct or indirect mentor to so many of us involved with designing, building, and operating the actual space vehicles of today. I think it is so fitting, then, that the MSL team has memorialized Ray's contributions to the exploration of the planets -- and especially Mars -- by naming Curiosity's landing site in his honor.

Transit of Venus June 5: Why Should You Care and How to Observe

Bruce Betts • June 02, 2012

A rare astronomical event occurs June 5/6. Find out why you should care and how to observe it.

New views of Lunokhod 1 and Luna 17 from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Emily Lakdawalla • March 14, 2012

It is always thrilling to see relics of human exploration out there on other worlds. Today, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team posted some new photos of two defunct spacecraft: the Luna 17 lander and the Lunokhod 1 rover. I've posted images of the two craft before, but the ones released today are much better.

Blast from the past: The Galileo Messenger

Emily Lakdawalla • January 20, 2012

From 1981 to 1997, the Galileo mission published an approximately quarterly newsletter called the Galileo Messenger. It eventually ran to 45 issues, until the end of the Prime Mission. The first 20 were published before Galileo ever got off the ground. That period is the subject of this post.

Steno's principles and planetary geology

Emily Lakdawalla • January 11, 2012

The Google Doodle for January 11, 2012 celebrates Nicholas Steno, one of the founding fathers of modern geology, on the occasion of his 374th birthday. This article describes Steno's set of rules that guide geologists in reading rocks to tell the story of how a place came to be and how the rules are currently used in geology.

Curiosity, from a 1935 perspective

Jason Davis • December 03, 2011

With a new rover, Curiosity, on its way to Mars, Jason Davis takes a look at what we knew - or thought we knew - about the planet back in 1935.

365 Days of Astronomy Celebrates Sagan's Birthday

Mat Kaplan • November 10, 2011

The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast celebrated Carl Sagan's birthday yesterday by reposting my conversation with Ann Druyan, Sagan's Co-creator and life-partner. Links inside.

The fish that sent us to the moon

Jason Davis • October 20, 2011

The tale of NASA's Super Guppy aircraft, which ferried parts of America's space program to their launch pads.

In Focus retrospective on the shuttle program

Emily Lakdawalla • July 01, 2011

Since jumping from the Boston Globe to the Atlantic with his signature galleries of striking images, Alan Taylor has continued to regularly feature space-themed photos. This week his In Focus feature looks back at the shuttle program with 61 images -- check it out!

Historical PDF: "The Voyager Flights to Jupiter and Saturn"

Emily Lakdawalla • April 20, 2011

A while ago I posted all 99 issues of the Voyager Mission Status Bulletins in PDF format, and now I have another cool item to add to that collection: NASA EP-191, "The Voyager Flights to Jupiter and Saturn."

Happy 50th birthday of human spaceflight

Emily Lakdawalla • April 12, 2011

On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to see firsthand the blackness of space above our home planet's thin atmosphere. Since there's lots of thoughtful reporting and commentary being posted on this anniversary, I thought it'd be more useful to link to some particularly interesting posts than to add in my comments.

Uranus and Challenger

Emily Lakdawalla • January 28, 2011

In the past week there have been 25th anniversaries of two events in 1986, one great, one terrible: the closest approach of Voyager 2 to Uranus on January 24, and the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger upon liftoff on January 28.

Bye bye, Kodachrome, but "Kodak moments" will live on in space

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2010

This week is the end for Kodachrome film. It's a casualty of the digital revolution.

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