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Slate's Misleading Hit Piece on the Future of NASA
Instead of a thoughtful essay, they published an uninformed screed

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/02/06 04:44 CST | 17 comments

A response to Slate's recent piece on the future of NASA, correcting many of its myths and misconceptions about how NASA works.

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The Mars Exploration Family Portrait is expanding, and I need your help

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/02/06 06:03 CST | 14 comments

The Mars Exploration Family Portrait is expanding to cover the entire solar system! But before we proceed, I'm asking for feedback.

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Looking Backward: Curiosity gazes upon the setting Earth

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/02/05 11:58 CST | 8 comments

A few days ago, Curiosity looked westward after sunset and photographed Earth setting toward the mountainous rim of Gale crater.

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Take My Free Online College Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy CSUDH Class

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/02/05 05:02 CST | 8 comments

Our own Dr. Bruce Betts is once again teaching his Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy college course online. Come join him.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 12: Encyclopedia Galactica
In which we ponder the existence of others

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/02/05 04:55 CST | 8 comments

Cosmos returns in fine form in its penultimate episode. Sagan explores the historical and scientific precedents for the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI) and our human desires to not be alone in the universe.

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Curiosity update, sols 521-533: Assessing Dingo Gap

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2014/02/04 05:08 CST | 3 comments

While continuing to perform regular wheel health assessments, Curiosity took a sharp right turn and headed for Dingo Gap. On sol 533, they performed a "toe dip" that parked the rover atop the dune with a good view down into the valley.

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ExoMars baby pictures: Spacecraft core module delivered to assembly site

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/02/04 03:03 CST | 3 comments

The European Space Agency announced yesterday a significant milestone in the development of the next Mars mission: the core module of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has been delivered.

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Naming asteroids in honor of Nelson Mandela

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/02/04 02:13 CST | 4 comments

In which I ask the Internet to tell me about people who deserve to have an asteroid named for them because of their work to promote racial equality, human rights, and social justice.

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The Faces of Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/02/03 10:49 CST | 5 comments

Portraits of a planet.

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An extended mission for LADEE

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/02/03 09:39 CST | 2 comments

The LADEE team has managed their fuel frugally enough to permit a one-month mission extension; they now plan to impact the Moon on or around April 21, 2014.

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Dawn Journal: Onward to Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/02/01 10:58 CST | 4 comments

The majority of Dawn's time in the Ceres approach phase will be devoted to continuing ion-powered flight. Let’s take another look at how this remarkable technology is used to deliver the adventurer to the desired orbit around Ceres.

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Beautiful view into the valley beyond Dingo Gap, Curiosity sol 528

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/31 02:41 CST | 6 comments

A beautiful Mastcam panorama from sol 528 shows a landscape so much more like Earth than anything we've explored on the Martian surface before.

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Conspiracy Theorist Sues NASA, Wastes Everybody's Time
The "jelly doughnut" rock found next to Opportunity is the focus of a new lawsuit

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/31 01:30 CST | 16 comments

The "jelly doughnut" rock found next to Opportunity is the focus of a new lawsuit alleging that NASA is not properly looking for life.

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The New Cosmos Has a New Trailer

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/30 01:14 CST | 4 comments

Fox just released a new trailer for Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey, which will debut March 9th and feature Neil deGrasse Tyson as host.

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Curiosity update: imaging the nonfunctioning REMS boom, closer to Dingo Gap

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/29 04:22 CST | 2 comments

At long last, on sol 526, Curiosity imaged the part of the weather instrument that was damaged during landing, but no obvious damage is visible, to me anyway. On sol 527 they drove even closer to Dingo Gap, with plans to drive onto the dune in the sol 528 drive.

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LADEE spotted by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/29 03:11 CST

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has managed to snap a photo of the other current lunar orbiter, LADEE, at the Moon.

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I'm on All Things Considered today, talking about poor Yutu

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/28 05:06 CST | 7 comments

As a lifetime listener of National Public Radio, it's beyond strange to hear my voice on All Things Considered! I wish it were for a happier reason, but I was invited on by Geoff Brumfiel to talk about the fate of poor Yutu.

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Mars 2020 Is No Redo
The next major mission to Mars will push the envelope in technology

Posted by G. Scott Hubbard on 2014/01/28 01:02 CST | 9 comments

The next major mission to Mars will push the technological envelope in way that preserves its budget and fulfills the scientific goals set by the planetary community for this decade.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 11: The Persistence of Memory
In which we don't understand intelligence

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/27 11:55 CST | 7 comments

Cosmos stumbles with an episode that is plodding, scattered, and more than a little preachy. This episode will only persist in my memory as a shadow of what could have been.

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A new comet observing campaign for C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring)
You thought you were rid of us...but we're baa-aaack!

Posted by Karl Battams on 2014/01/27 11:22 CST | 1 comment

You thought you were rid of us...but we're back! Following the spectacular and, quite frankly unprecedented, success of the Comet ISON Observing Campaign, we are launching a similar venture for another unique cometary encounter that's happening this year. In October 2014, comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will pass extremely close to Mars.

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