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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.

Farewell, MESSENGER

Emily Lakdawalla • May 01, 2015

There is one less robot exploring the solar system today. MESSENGER, which has orbited Mercury for four years, finally ran out of fuel and crashed into the planet at 17:26 UT on Thursday, April 30, 2015.

LPSC 2015: MESSENGER's low-altitude campaign at Mercury

Emily Lakdawalla • March 25, 2015

At last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, the MESSENGER team held a press briefing to share results from the recent few months of incredibly low-altitude flight over Mercury's surface. The mission will last only about five weeks more.

Take My Free Online College Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy CSUDH Class

Bruce Betts • February 04, 2015

Our own Dr. Bruce Betts is once again teaching his Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy college course online. Come join him.

A Clearer Impression of Degas Crater

Bill Dunford • October 06, 2014

MESSENGER is revealing the first planet in sharp detail.

Europa: How Less Can Be More

Van Kane • August 26, 2014

Van Kane explains three factors that make exploring Europa hard—factors that can make a mission concept that seems like less actually be more.

Buzz Mercury's North Polar Region in This New MESSENGER Video

Jason Davis • August 05, 2014

A new video shows what a traveler aboard Mercury's MESSENGER spacecraft would see as they zipped over the planet's north polar region.

Skimming the inner planets: Updates on MESSENGER and Venus Express

Emily Lakdawalla • June 24, 2014

The two spacecraft currently orbiting the two innermost planets are both flying low in their orbits in the final phases of their missions. MESSENGER just performed a rocket burn to raise its orbit slightly, while Venus Express did the opposite.

Snapshots of Science from the 2014 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

Emily Lakdawalla • March 25, 2014

Vignettes from dozens of LPSC talks: GRAIL and LADEE at the Moon; ice and craters and conglomerates and organics and gullies on Mars; polar deposits and volatile elements on Mercury; tectonics on Enceladus; and more, until my brain was so full I could barely speak.

Intro Astronomy Class 4: Eclipses, Mercury, Venus-Earth-Mars Atmospheres, Venus

Bruce Betts • February 28, 2014

This video of class 4 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class discusses eclipses, Mercury, Venus, and a comparison of the atmospheres of Venus, Earth, and Mars.

A Spin Through the Inner Solar System

Bill Dunford • February 24, 2014

Animated maps of the planets show the spheres in motion.

What are Mercury's hollows?

Emily Lakdawalla • February 18, 2014

I've been fascinated by Mercury's hollows ever since MESSENGER discovered them. Two recent papers look at where they are found to try to figure out how they form.

Intro Astronomy Class 1: Tour of the Solar System

Bruce Betts • February 11, 2014

Take a tour of the Solar System in the video of class 1 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

Take My Free Online College Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy CSUDH Class

Bruce Betts • February 05, 2014

Our own Dr. Bruce Betts is once again teaching his Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy college course online. Come join him.

The Giant Spider of Mercury

Bill Dunford • January 27, 2014

Striking terrain discovered by the MESSENGER probe.

The Mercury Transit You Probably Missed

Karl Battams • December 30, 2013

Planetary transits of the Sun by Mercury and Venus don't come along very often, and when they do we make a big deal of it because, well, it's really cool!

DPS 2013: Some quick updates on Mercury

Emily Lakdawalla • October 07, 2013

Some notes from the first day of the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting on Mercury.

New Messages from Mercury

Bill Dunford • September 09, 2013

We have new pictures from planet one.

Terra Cognita

Bill Dunford • July 29, 2013

Pushing back the frontier, and filling in the blank spaces on the map.

Return of the Pale Blue Dot

Mat Kaplan • July 18, 2013

You can be part of a planetwide group photo as Cassini and MESSENGER turn their cameras Earthward on July 19.

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