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Super-close supernova in M82

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/22 11:31 CST | 8 comments

The astronomy world is all a-twitter this morning over the discovery of a new supernova in M82, a galaxy that's in our astronomical backyard, "only" 12 million light-years away. And early word is that it appears to be a Type Ia supernova, the kind that's used as a standard candle to measure the expansion of the universe.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 10: The Edge of Forever
In which we contemplate the end of all things

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/21 06:55 CST | 11 comments

Carl Sagan takes us from the birth to the death of the universe. How do we reconcile our place within a universe that will die? Join us for the latest discussion on episode 10 of Cosmos.

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New version of panoramic view from Chang'e 3

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/21 05:02 CST

A higher-resolution version of the Chang'e 3 lander's panoramic view of the lunar surface has appeared on the Web, and artist Don Davis has cleaned it of artifacts to make a beautiful, seamless view. In other news, the mission has been reorganized to accommodate a possibly year-long adventure on the lunar surface.

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Rosetta update from mission control

Posted by Daniel Scuka on 2014/01/21 01:37 CST | 3 comments

We spoke with (a slightly tired but hugely happy) Rosetta Spacecraft Operations Manager Andrea Accomazzo earlier this afternoon and he reports the spacecraft is doing fine!

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Video: Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration sends Bill Nye over the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/21 01:23 CST | 1 comment

In this fun video, the Planetary Society worked with LADEE Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration team to communicate live over their lunar link.

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We Did It! Thank You!

Posted by Bill Nye on 2014/01/20 08:54 CST | 2 comments

I recently asked every Planetary Society Member to participate in our $75,000 matching gift challenge. I’m proud to announce that not only did you meet our goal, you exceeded it!

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Rosetta is awake!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/20 02:33 CST | 5 comments

It was a tense half an hour for Rosetta fans all over the world as we waited for a spike in a graph to inform us that Rosetta had awoken from a 31-month slumber to phone home.

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New Views of Martian Weather

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/01/20 12:03 CST | 3 comments

The latest postcards from Mars Express feature cloudy skies.

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[Updated] Let's Blitz Congress!
Space Exploration Legislative Blitz, Feb 23rd - 25th

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/17 04:08 CST | 7 comments

The Space Exploration Alliance is descending on the halls of Congress to advocate for space exploration. Join me and others on Feb 23rd - 25th in Washington, D.C. and speak up for space.

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How to get a satellite to geostationary orbit

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/01/17 09:24 CST | 8 comments

Mike Loucks helps provide a beginner's walk-through of the orbital mechanics behind geosynchronous and geostationary satellites.

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Continued Victories for Planetary Exploration
For the second year in a row Congress rejects cuts requested by the White House

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/16 07:33 CST | 5 comments

Pat yourself on the back. Planetary exploration will be more vibrant in 2014 thanks to you. More than fifty thousand messages were sent to Congress this year, and they listened, adding back a significant amount of money in the 2014 Omnibus spending bill.

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Winter 2013 Issue of The Planetary Report Now Available Online

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2014/01/16 11:29 CST

The Winter 2013 issue of The Planetary Report is finally on press and will be mailing soon. However, the electronic version is available online for members to start reading now!

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Dry Ice Snowfall at the Poles of Mars

Posted by Paul Hayne on 2014/01/16 11:23 CST | 1 comment

Paul Hayne takes a look at the mysterious polar caps of Mars, and what it would be like to ski there.

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"Secrets of the Kuiper Belt" in Sky & Telescope

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/16 11:17 CST | 2 comments

Woo hoo! I've got another cover story in the current (February 2014) issue of Sky & Telescope, in which I try to make sense of the Kuiper belt. This article was motivated by my observation that the discovery of many new things beyond Neptune had, through an ironic chain of events, resulted in our teaching children less about the solar system than we used to.

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Fly your name to an asteroid!

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/01/15 12:28 CST | 13 comments

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission and The Planetary Society invite people worldwide to fly their names on a round-trip ride to the target of the OSIRIS-REx mission, the asteroid Bennu.

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Do you want to learn more about the Universe?

Posted by Matthew Francis on 2014/01/15 12:08 CST

CosmoAcademy — a project from the CosmoQuest educational and citizen-science group — is offering three new online classes: Introduction to Dark Matter, Introduction to Astronomy via Color Imaging, and Life Beyond Earth: Introduction to Astrobiology.

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Updates on Chang'e 3: Rover and lander both awake, good science data received

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/14 05:01 CST | 8 comments

According to news reports from China, the Yutu rover woke up from its two-week nap at 5:09 Beijing time on January 11 (21:09 on January 10, UTC), successfully establishing communication with Earth. The lander woke up autonomously at 8:21 Beijing time / 00:21 UTC on January 12, and is also "in normal condition." UPDATED to note that the lander's camera apparently did not survive lunar night.

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Congress to NASA: Don't You Dare Steal Money Away from Planetary Science Again
A little congressional scolding to NASA and the White House

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/14 04:52 CST | 1 comment

Congress scolded NASA for abusing its operating plan to remove money from Planetary Science last year, giving them a warning to not try that again.

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Book Review: This Is Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/14 01:14 CST | 2 comments

This is Mars is a stunning book that treats the HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as an art photographer, exploring the variety of shapes and patterns created by wind, water, impacts, and gravity on the Martian surface.

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Blast from the past: Spirit sunrise panorama at Troy

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/14 11:53 CST

In honor of the 10th anniversary of Spirit's landing on Mars, here is a new view from near the end of that mission.

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