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Spring Issue of The Planetary Report Has Arrived!

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2016/04/15 09:17 CDT

The Spring 2016 edition of The Planetary Report has just printed and will arrive at our mail house this week. Any member who wants a digital copy can download the issue through our website.

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Favorite Astro Plots #4: Classifying Exoplanets

Posted by Jingjing Chen on 2016/04/15 08:04 CDT | 6 comments

Until just a few years ago, a plot of mass versus size of other worlds would have looked pretty sparse and uninformative. But thanks to the tireless efforts of exoplanet astronomers, we now know fairly precise masses and radii for hundreds of distant worlds.

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LPSC 2016: The Moon Keeps on Giving

Posted by Ryan Clegg-Watkins on 2016/04/14 08:04 CDT | 1 comments

There was no shortage of interesting lunar science talks at last month’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Dr. Ryan Clegg-Watkins highlights some of the interesting results for us.

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Does Presidential Intervention Undermine Consensus for NASA?
Being on the presidential agenda may induce opposition that could have been avoided

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/04/13 05:54 CDT | 14 comments

Presidents induce polarization on topics they choose to promote. So is the best way for a President to promote consensus in NASA to speak quietly?

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Curiosity update, sols 1250-1310: Across the Naukluft Plateau

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/04/13 02:57 CDT | 8 comments

Curiosity has driven onward from Namib dune across a highstanding unit of rock called the Naukluft Plateau. Despite some frustrating sols lost to a short circuit in the RTG and DSN troubles, the rover has made progress, and performed lots of 3D imaging of weirdly wind-eroded rocks.

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Full-circle ceremony sends last shuttle tank to sea

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/13 11:20 CDT

The last unflown space shuttle fuel tank is underway to California, following a full-circle ceremony in view of hardware built for the shuttle's heavy lift successor, the Space Launch System.

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Opposition surge comet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/04/12 10:43 CDT | 1 comments

Today, the Rosetta OSIRIS team's Image of the Day is this highly unusual view of the comet with the Sun very nearly behind the spacecraft.

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Defining the Missions for the Ocean Worlds

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/04/12 10:03 CDT | 2 comments

At a recent meeting of an advisory group for NASA, the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS), Jim Green, the head of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, and Barry Goldstein from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, provided updates on plans to explore our solar system's ocean worlds.

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LPSC 2016: Differentiated meteorites provide a glimpse of the early solar system and planets

Posted by Helen Ashcroft on 2016/04/11 01:07 CDT | 2 comments

This year's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference included a session devoted to a group of rocks from space called differentiated meteorites, and their proposed parent bodies.

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Last unflown space shuttle tank heads seaward for new mission

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/11 04:03 CDT

The last unflown space shuttle external fuel tank was loaded onto a barge at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility Sunday in New Orleans. It will ship to the California Science Center in Los Angeles to be joined with space shuttle Endeavour.

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Follow along: SpaceX CRS-8 launch and landing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/08 11:56 CDT

Follow along with The Planetary Society as SpaceX launches a Dragon spacecraft to the ISS and attempts to land a used booster rocket on a drone ship in the ocean. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:43 p.m. EDT (20:43 UTC).

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How to Make a Pluto Globe

Posted by Sarah Morrison on 2016/04/08 08:02 CDT | 3 comments

Want to make your own globe of Pluto? Here's how!

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Live mice, cabbage, and a drone ship: Your SpaceX Dragon launch preview

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/07 05:36 CDT | 5 comments

Tomorrow afternoon, SpaceX plans to launch its Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station for the first time since a catastrophic accident last June.

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Fog Detection from the Surface of Titan: New Findings From Old Data

Posted by Brittney CooperChristina SmithJohn Moores on 2016/04/07 08:02 CDT | 4 comments

Huygens may have landed on Titan over a decade ago, but a group of researchers from York University were able to make a new and unexpected discovery with this older dataset.

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LPSC 2016: Icy Satellite Science

Posted by Jessica Noviello on 2016/04/05 08:01 CDT

This year’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference devoted two oral presentation sessions to questions related to icy satellites in our solar system. Jessica Noviello reports back from the conference.

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All about BEAM, the space station's new inflatable module launching Friday

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/05 06:31 CDT

This Friday, SpaceX plans to launch a Dragon cargo spacecraft to the ISS. Packed inside Dragon's trunk is a new inflatable station module called BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module.

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What's up in solar system exploration: April 2016 edition

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/04/04 10:58 CDT | 2 comments

This month (actually, today), Cassini had a relatively close flyby of Titan, and New Horizons will observe a very distant Kuiper belt object named 1994 JR1. Akatsuki has just fine-tuned its orbit around Venus, and Hayabusa2 has begun an 800-hour ion engine thrusting phase to steer it toward near-Earth asteroid Ryugu.

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LPSC 2016: Martian Geomorphology

Posted by Tanya Harrison on 2016/04/04 08:01 CDT

Scientists showcased a wide range of features and processes on Mars' surface at last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Soldiers through Martian March Madness
Sols 4303 - 4331

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/04/04 05:04 CDT | 4 comments

As March Madness on Earth sent sports fans into their annual kinetic frenzy watching more than 60 American teams battle it out for college basketball’s grandest title, Opportunity was experiencing her own Martian brand of March Madness.

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Dawn Journal: Sharper Views of Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/04/01 09:21 CDT | 1 comments

One year after taking up its new residence in the solar system, Dawn is continuing to witness extraordinary sights on dwarf planet Ceres. Mission Director Marc Rayman brings us his monthly update on Dawn's status.

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