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Planetary discovery over the past quarter century

Steven Hauck • December 20, 2016

2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of what has become one of the primary venues for the publication of research in planetary science: the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. This occasion is a good opportunity to look back at what we have learned in this era of expanded exploration and to try to take a peek at the future.

Connecting with Carl Sagan at the Library of Congress

Mark Hilverda • December 20, 2016

Whether you explore The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive online or at the Library of Congress during a visit to Washington, D.C., you’ll learn something new and have a deeper understanding of Carl Sagan.

These are not my Martians

Mat Kaplan • December 19, 2016

Mat Kaplan explains his beef with the National Geographic Mars documentary-drama series.

Future fear, loathing and predjudice: Star Trek VI turns 25

Jason Davis • December 16, 2016

On the 25th anniversary of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Jason Davis says the societal topics the film explores are still relevant today.

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter takes in a rarely-imaged view of Phobos

Emily Lakdawalla • December 15, 2016

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter's science team enjoyed the opportunity in November to test out their science instruments on Mars. One of the tests involved imaging Phobos from an unusual angle.

Lunar orbit beckons: NASA’s next four years of human spaceflight

Jason Davis • December 14, 2016

Our six-part Horizon Goal series concludes with a look at the future of NASA's human spaceflight program. As NASA prepares to set up shop beyond low-Earth orbit for the first time since 1972, are changes coming for the agency's Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule?

Curiosity update, sols 1489-1547: Drilling at Sebina, driving up through Murray, drill problems at Precipice

Emily Lakdawalla • December 12, 2016

It's been a drive-heavy two months for Curiosity. Since my last update, the rover has drilled at a site named Sebina, then traveled about 500 meters to the south across increasingly chunky-looking Murray rocks to a new attempted drill site at Precipice. They were planning to attempt a new drilling technique at Precipice, but encountered a new problem with the drill instead.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 4577 - December 9, 2016

Larry Crumpler • December 09, 2016

Opportunity has begun the ascent of the steep slopes here in the inner wall of Endeavour crater after completion of a survey of outcrops close to the crater floor. The goal now is to climb back to the rim, drive south, and arrive at the next major mission target on the rim before the next Martian winter.

Congress Delays Action on NASA's 2017 Budget

Casey Dreier • December 09, 2016

Congress stands ready to punt on NASA's budget, meaning the space program will have to operate on a short budgetary leash until April of next year.

Countdown to the Next NASA Discovery Mission Selection

Van Kane • December 08, 2016

If NASA’s managers hold to their schedule, we will learn sometime this month what NASA’s next planetary mission will be.

European Space Agency Announces Budgetary Commitments

Ruth McAvinia • December 07, 2016

ESA has committed to continuing its ExoMars programme and participation with the International Space Station, but cut funding for its Asteroid Impact Mission.

Ground finale? Deployment test moves LightSail 2 closer to handoff

Jason Davis • December 06, 2016

LightSail 2 successfully demonstrated all of its critical functions during what may have been the CubeSat's final end-to-end systems test at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Review: New book brings artistry of Apollo photos to your living room

Jason Davis • December 05, 2016

Jason Davis reviews a new photo book showcasing a stunning collection of images taken by NASA's Apollo astronauts from 1968 through 1972.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Departs Spirit Mound, Embarks on Toughest Exit Ever

A.J.S. Rayl • December 02, 2016

Opportunity worked along Endeavour Crater's western rim through November, taking pictures, hiking slopes, and finishing work in the depths of Cape Tribulation.

What's the matter with Russia's rockets?

Jason Davis • December 02, 2016

Fifteen Russian rockets have failed in the past 6 years. Of those mishaps, all but two involved upper stages. So what's going on? The problem may actually lie far beyond the country's aerospace industry.

TeamIndus Announces Launch Contract with ISRO

Sandhya Ramesh • December 01, 2016

TeamIndus, India’s only entry for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, just announced their launch contract with ISRO. If successful, TeamIndus would be the first private company from India to land a craft on an extraterrestrial body.

ISS-bound Progress spacecraft fails to reach orbit, breaks apart over southern Siberia

Jason Davis • December 01, 2016

This morning's launch of an uncrewed Russian Progress cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station went awry. Following a third-stage failure, the vehicle reentered Earth's atmosphere and broke apart over southern Siberia in Russia.

Review: Arrival’s surprising message of happiness and hope for humanity

Jason Davis • November 30, 2016

In a review of the new sci-fi film Arrival, Jason Davis says there's a lot to like about the movie's surprising message of happiness and hope for humanity.

Dawn Journal: Maneuvering for Science

Marc Rayman • November 29, 2016

Dawn is completing another elegant spiral around dwarf planet Ceres, maneuvering to its sixth science orbit. Chief Engineer and Mission Manager Marc Rayman brings us his latest update.

Rocket Road Trip: Watch a new video series on NASA's human spaceflight program

Jason Davis • November 28, 2016

The Planetary Society debuts a new, five-part video series on NASA's human spaceflight program. We went on a 10-day, 450-mile journey throughout the southern U.S. to see how the agency is preparing to send humans beyond low-Earth orbit for the first time since 1972.

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