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Saturn and Titan in the Milky Way

Emily Lakdawalla • May 08, 2017

An unusual photo of Saturn by astrophotographer Damian Peach shows the planet and its largest moon nestled among the star-filled lane of the Milky Way.

Planetary Science Just Got Its Best Budget in Years

Casey Dreier • May 05, 2017

The President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, funding the U.S. government for the remainder of the fiscal year. NASA got a boost to $19.65 billion, and its Planetary Science Division saw a budget increase to $1.846 billion—its best budget in more than ten years.

Earth's ring system: This mosaic shows 46+ geostationary satellites in one image

Adam Block • May 05, 2017

Astrophotographer Adam Block captures 46 geostationary satellites, plus some unnamed stragglers, in one 10-frame image mosaic.

HERA crewmember shares thoughts ahead of simulated 45-day asteroid mission

Tim Evans • May 05, 2017

Tonight, a four-person crew will seal themselves inside a three-story habitat at NASA's Johnson Space Center, kicking off a simulated 45-day mission to an asteroid. One crewmember shares his thoughts before entering.

Learn the rocket equation, part 2

David Shortt • May 05, 2017

In the second and final chapter of our series, we’ll explore what the rocket equation has to say about travel through the solar system, using the example of launching a rocket to Pluto.

Old documents shine new light on NASA's plan to send a solar sail to Halley's Comet

Jason Davis • May 04, 2017

The Planetary Society's LightSail project has roots in a late-1970s NASA plan to send a giant solar sail spacecraft to Halley's Comet. Now, a cache of archival documents adds new depth to the audacious plan.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Closes in on Perseverance Valley

A.J.S. Rayl • May 03, 2017

Opportunity spent the month of April 2017 outside the western rim of Endeavour Crater, cruising toward Cape Byron and Perseverance Valley, the centerpiece of its tenth extended mission.

A Tribute to Nathan Bridges

Casey Dreier and Mark Hilverda • May 03, 2017

Last week, the planetary science community lost Nathan Bridges, a leading scientist whose work studied how wind sculpts the surface of Mars. Nathan was a prolific scientist involved in many Mars exploration missions, a charter member of The Planetary Society, a friend, husband, and father.

Dawn Journal: On Course for Opposition

Marc Rayman • May 01, 2017

The Dawn spacecraft is about to swing into a new orbital path to observe the enigmatic "bright spots" in Occator Crater on Ceres—among other targets.

Trusty Cassini survives first dive between Saturn and its rings

Emily Lakdawalla • April 28, 2017

Cheers erupted in the Von Karman auditorium at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory early Thursday morning as a squiggly green line on a graph developed a crisp, tall peak, signifying that the Cassini spacecraft was calling home after surviving its first plunge between Saturn and its ring system.

Learn the rocket equation, part 1

David Shortt • April 28, 2017

Have you ever wanted to learn the fundamental physics behind one of the most basic concepts of rocket science? In part one of our two-part series, we explore the foundations of the famous rocket equation.

The first Space Launch System flight will probably be delayed

Jason Davis • April 26, 2017

NASA's new heavy lift rocket is currently scheduled to launch the Orion spacecraft on a test flight next year. But all signs are pointing to a probable delay.

Curiosity update, sols 1600-1674: The second Bagnold Dunes campaign

Emily Lakdawalla • April 25, 2017

The four-stop dune science campaign offered the engineers some time to continue troubleshooting the drill without any pressure to use it for science. They scooped sand at a site called Ogunquit Beach but couldn't complete the planned sample activity because of new developments in the drill inquiry. The rover has now headed onward toward Vera Rubin Ridge.

This weekend, it's the beginning of the end for Cassini

Jason Davis • April 19, 2017

NASA's long-lived Cassini spacecraft is about to buzz Titan for the final time, putting it on course for a spectacular mission finale that concludes in September.

Spring 2017 issue of The Planetary Report now available

Donna Stevens • April 18, 2017

The Spring 2017 issue of The Planetary Report is in the mail and available online now to our members!

Our asteroid hunters are trying to save the world. Here’s what they’ve been up to

Jason Davis • April 17, 2017

Here are some recent reports from our NEO Shoemaker Grant program asteroid observers, who are quite literally trying to save the world.

Postcard from the Space Symposium: Planetary Society outreach coordinator finds her place in space

Harriet Brettle • April 14, 2017

The annual Space Symposium brings together space leaders from around the world to discuss, address and plan for the future of space.

Another smoking gun in the search for life in Enceladus’ ocean

Franck Marchis • April 13, 2017

NASA's Cassini spacecraft sniffed out molecular hydrogen spewing from Enceladus' subsurface ocean. The discovery means Saturn's moon has all the basic ingredients needed to support life.

Fossils or good-looking rocks? Why searching for life on other worlds is hard

Elias Nakouzi • April 13, 2017

If you find a structure that looks like ancient life, can you be really sure that it is ancient life?

Extraterrestrial culture: How we express ourselves through space exploration

Felipe Cervera • April 11, 2017

Planetary Performance scholar Felipe Cervera brings a perspective on "extraterrestrial-ity" in terrestrial cultures—from rituals to technology.

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