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Blog Archive


Bill Nye’s Earth Day Visit with the President of the United States

Posted by Erin Greeson on 2015/04/27 02:41 CDT

Last week, our CEO Bill Nye joined The President of the United States for an Earth Day visit to The Everglades, one of the country's renowned National Parks and a vital global ecosystem. The Washington Post covered the news, and we at The Planetary Society shared in the excitement.

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A few gems from the latest Cassini image data release

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/04/24 06:30 CDT | 4 comments

I checked out the latest public image release from Cassini and found an awesome panorama across Saturn's rings, as well as some pretty views looking over Titan's north pole.

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New Horizons One Earth Message

Posted by Mark Washburn on 2015/04/24 02:08 CDT | 3 comments

The One Earth Message Project is going to send a message to the stars, and we invite members of the Planetary Society to join us in this historic endeavor.

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LightSail Readiness Tests Prepare Team for Mission Operations

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/04/24 12:36 CDT | 3 comments

The LightSail team continues to prepare for the spacecraft's May test flight with a series of readiness simulations that mimic on-orbit operations.

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Can nuclear waste help humanity reach for the stars?

Posted by Tim Tinsley on 2015/04/23 04:07 CDT | 3 comments

With the shortage of plutonium-238 to power space missions, Europe has decided to focus on an accessible alternative material that could power future spacecraft: americium-241.

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Rosetta update: Two close flybys of an increasingly active comet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/04/21 03:07 CDT | 6 comments

In the two months since I last checked up on the Rosetta mission, the comet has heated up, displaying more and more jet activity. Rosetta completed very close flybys on February 14 and March 28, taking amazing photos. But comet dust is making navigation difficult, so the mission is now keeping a respectful distance from the comet and replanning its future path.

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Development of the OSIRIS-REx Sampling System: TAGSAM and the SRC

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2015/04/21 04:55 CDT

The OSIRIS-REx team has been busy assembling and testing the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) and the Sample Return Capsule (SRC).

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What Color Does the Internet Think Pluto Is?

Posted by Alex Parker on 2015/04/20 03:08 CDT | 2 comments

Astronomers have known for a long time that Pluto’s surface is reddish, so where did the common idea that Pluto is blue come from?

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The study team at JPL Will Present their Mars Program Concept at the 2015 Humans to Mars Summit

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/04/17 05:37 CDT

A study team at JPL will present their humans to Mars program concept at the Humans to Mars Summit and publish it as a peer-reviewed article in the New Space Journal.

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The Cosmic Microwave Oven Background

Posted by David Wilson on 2015/04/17 03:03 CDT | 2 comments

Over the past couple of decades the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia has been picking up two types of mysterious signals, each lasting just a few milliseconds. The source of one of these signals may have finally been found—and an unexpected source at that.

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Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Life and Death in the Universe

Posted by Adam Block on 2015/04/17 11:28 CDT

Astrophotographer Adam Block brings us images showcasing the evolutionary cycles in our universe.

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New views of three worlds: Ceres, Pluto, and Charon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/04/16 03:17 CDT | 7 comments

New Horizons took its first color photo of Pluto and Charon, while Dawn obtained a 20-frame animation looking down on the north pole of a crescent Ceres.

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Shoemaker NEO Grant Winners Announced: Saving the World

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2015/04/15 01:03 CDT

The six winners of the 2015 Shoemaker NEO Grants will use the grants to upgrade their observatories to improve their abilities to study potentially dangerous asteroids.

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Dragon Launches to Station, but Falcon Doesn't Stick Landing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/04/14 03:53 CDT | 5 comments

SpaceX's ISS-bound Dragon spacecraft is in orbit, but the drone ship landing of the company's Falcon 9 rocket was unsuccessful.

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Artist's Drive: A Sol 950 Colorized Postcard

Posted by Damia Bouic on 2015/04/14 02:15 CDT | 1 comments

Amateur image processor Damia Bouic shares the process behind creating stunning panoramas with Curiosity images.

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United Launch Alliance Pulls Back Curtain on New Rocket

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/04/13 07:00 CDT | 6 comments

ULA revealed its new Vulcan rocket system today, an Atlas and Delta mashup the company says will increase power, lower costs and broaden mission capabilities.

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PROCYON update: Asteroid 2000 DP107 target selected, ion engine stopped

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/04/13 12:15 CDT | 3 comments

PROCYON (PRoximate Object Close flYby with Optical Navigation) is a microsatellite that launched on December 3 as a secondary payload with Hayabusa2. The mission has now selected their asteroid flyby target -- a binary asteroid named 2000 DP107 -- but is reporting a problem with their ion engines.

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LightSail Launch Delayed until at least May 20

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/04/13 10:40 CDT

The Planetary Society’s LightSail spacecraft will have to wait at least two more weeks before setting sail on its maiden voyage.

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Planetary Defense Conference: Steps to Prevent Asteroid Impact

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2015/04/13 07:23 CDT | 1 comments

From Italy, Bruce Betts gives background and information at the start of the Planetary Defense Conference, which addresses the asteroid threat. Bruce summarizes steps to prevent asteroid impact.

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NASA's Mission to Europa May Get More Interesting Still

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/04/11 04:08 CDT | 7 comments

NASA officials have asked their European counterparts if they would like to propose contributing a small probe to NASA's Europa mission planned for the mid-2020s.

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