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Blog Archive

 

How we would explore Uranus or Neptune

Van Kane • July 06, 2017

One fact dominates the planning for any mission to Uranus or Neptune: They lie far from the sun. A newly released NASA report looks at how we can explore these icy giants.

A guide to Cassini's remaining orbits

Emily Lakdawalla • July 05, 2017

Sadly, the Cassini mission ends soon. We're halfway through the "Grand Finale" orbits. Only eleven and a half orbits remain until Cassini meets its fate on September 15. Here's a look at the great mission's final science orbits.

President Trump formed a national space council. Now it needs a NASA administrator

Jason Davis • July 03, 2017

Tomorrow, NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot will have served longer than any other temporary head of NASA without having a successor nominated to fill the position.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Sprains ‘Ankle’ but Perseveres on Walkabout

A.J.S. Rayl • July 02, 2017

The autumn skies over Endeavour Crater remained hazy as dust from the summer storms continued to rain down, but Opportunity encountered some unexpected and serious June gloom when her right front steering wheel jammed during the walkabout atop Perseverance Valley.

This giant, flower-shaped starshade creates an artificial eclipse to see distant exoplanets

Jason Rhodes • June 23, 2017

Starshade is a proposed flower-shaped spacecraft that can create an artificial eclipse, allowing space telescopes to spot planets orbiting distant stars.

Planetary Society volunteers host SpaceUp London 2017

Harriet Brettle • June 22, 2017

Earlier this month, The Planetary Society brought together space enthusiasts at Queen Mary University of London for “SpaceUp London 2017”—the first large-scale event organized by Planetary Society volunteers in Europe.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 4766

Larry Crumpler • June 21, 2017

Opportunity is doing a geologic walkabout at the entrance to Perseverance Valley, an ancient and potentially water-carved feature.

Revisiting the ice giants: NASA study considers Uranus and Neptune missions

Jason Davis • June 21, 2017

Only one spacecraft has ever visited Uranus and Neptune: Voyager 2, in the late 1980s. A new NASA report explores the reasons to go back, and what type of mission might take us there.

When New Horizons' next target passed in front of a star, this scientist was watching from Argentina

Alejandro Soto • June 16, 2017

A team of scientists recently traveled to rural Argentina in the hopes of catching New Horizons' next target—Kuiper Belt object MU 69—crossing in front of a distant star.

Curiosity update, sols 1675-1725: Traverse to Vera Rubin Ridge

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2017

Curiosity has had a busy eight weeks, driving south from the Bagnold Dunes toward Vera Rubin Ridge. The path has steepened and the rover is now rapidly climbing upward with every meter traveled. It's been a productive time for arm instruments, but the drill is still not working.

Did a Planetary Society citizen scientist help find one of Earth’s biggest impact craters?

Jason Davis • June 12, 2017

Scientists have found what appears to be a 250-kilometer-wide crater near the Falkland Islands. Is it ground zero for Earth's largest-ever extinction event?

Despite setbacks, SpaceX continues to gain momentum

Jason Davis • June 09, 2017

SpaceX lost rockets in both 2015 and 2016. But an analysis of Falcon 9 launch data shows the company continues to gain momentum, while making giant strides forward in reusability.

Space station partners weigh in on NASA’s Deep Space Gateway plans

Anatoly Zak • June 08, 2017

In March, NASA officials revealed updated plans for a small space station near the Moon called the Deep Space Gateway. Anatoly Zak reports the plans threw a monkey wrench into years-long planning efforts by NASA’s international partners.

Recap: India's new GSLV-MK3 rocket completes successful test

Sridhar Narayanan • June 07, 2017

The first operational launch of the Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark 3 rocket, or GSLV-MK3, developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), was successfully conducted on Monday.

Remembering planetary scientist Michael A’Hearn

William Blume • June 07, 2017

Planetary scientist Michael A’Hearn passed away on Monday, May 29, leaving a remarkable legacy in cometary science—but even more importantly in the careers of many younger scientists who flourished with his encouragement and mentorship.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Shoots the Moon on Arrival at Perseverance Valley

A.J.S. Rayl • June 06, 2017

In another dynamic demonstration of what can be achieved when a team works together, Opportunity cruised to the top of Perseverance Valley, shot the moon, and drove into her 160th month of surface operations in May.

Announcing a New Paper on NASA's Mars Exploration Program

Casey Dreier • June 06, 2017

NASA’s robotic Mars Exploration Program is on a troubling path of decline—and decisions must be made now in order to stop it. A new report by the Society explains why.

India enters the big league with new, powerful rocket

Sridhar Narayanan • June 02, 2017

The countdown has begun for the first fully operational flight of the Indian Space Research Organization’s most powerful rocket to date: the Geostationary Launch Vehicle Mark 3, or GSLV-MK3.

LightSail 2 partner spacecraft ships safely to New Mexico

Jason Davis • June 02, 2017

Georgia Tech's Prox-1 spacecraft has arrived at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it will be integrated with LightSail 2. The SmallSats will ride to orbit on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in December 2017 or later.

Parker Solar Probe: NASA renames upcoming mission to touch the Sun

Jason Davis • May 31, 2017

NASA's Parker Solar Probe spacecraft will repeatedly dive through the Sun's corona, giving scientists their first-ever up-close look at our star.

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