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Video: We Must Explore

Posted by Andrew Chaikin on 2012/05/04 11:36 CDT | 2 comments

Planetary exploration is in trouble. Massive budget cuts threaten to starve NASA’s planetary program for years to come. If you are as angered and frightened by this situation as I am, I ask you to make your voice heard. Please share this video. And tell Washington, “We Must Explore.”

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Nearly the last view of Endeavour with its life-blood flowing

Posted by Ben Cooper on 2012/04/08 11:59 CDT

After 12 years of photographing the space shuttle, and even getting to work for NASA as a photographer for the final three years of the program, I never had the privilege of going inside the cockpit until the program was over.

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Interesting times for young planetary researchers

Posted by Matt Siegler on 2012/03/21 05:16 CDT

After NASA Night at the 2012 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas, a group of young scientists (most of us just out of graduate school) met to discuss what we could do both in the near and far term to revive NASA's ability to continue the flagship mission program we would all like to see in our future.

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Public service announcement by, and for, planetary grad students

Posted by Matthew Chojnacki on 2012/03/19 04:58 CDT

The President's proposed 2013 NASA budget calls for deep cuts to the nation's very successful planetary science program. These cuts not only threaten the future of planetary science, but also impact our ability to conduct deep space missions. As the next generation of planetary scientists, the graduate student community is deeply concerned about the ramifications of these budget cuts, and we must voice our concerns to policymakers in Washington, D.C.

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"How Much Would You Pay for the Universe?"

Posted by Charlene Anderson on 2012/03/08 05:53 CST | 1 comments

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." -- Antoine St. Exupery. Currently, NASA's Mars science exploration budget is being decimated, we are not going back to the Moon, and plans for astronauts to visit Mars are delayed until the 2030s -- on funding not yet allocated, overseen by a congress and president to be named later.

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LeetUp Reconnaissance Report

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/03/06 02:08 CST

A recap of the "carnival of nerdly delights" that is LeetUp.

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Reflections on Phobos LIFE

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/01/13 10:35 CST

We explore space for the noblest goals of science and exploration, and we often persevere in spite of challenges. But space exploration is fraught with bad things happening, or, to use the technical term, ouchies. The Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE biomodule will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere in the next few days with the rest of the Phobos-Grunt mission.

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Anahita's first eclipse

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/13 10:29 CST

Emily wakes up her 5-year-old daughter to experience her first lunar eclipse.

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365 Days of Astronomy Celebrates Sagan's Birthday

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2011/11/10 02:09 CST

The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast celebrated Carl Sagan's birthday yesterday by reposting my conversation with Ann Druyan, Sagan's Co-creator and life-partner. Links inside.

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The fish that sent us to the moon

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/10/20 06:16 CDT

The tale of NASA's Super Guppy aircraft, which ferried parts of America's space program to their launch pads.

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A Distant View of Triton

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2011/09/26 01:19 CDT

Ted Stryk reminisces on how he was turned on to astronomy.

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The Cornell Clock

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/26 07:42 CDT

Bill Nye, the Executive Director of the Planetary Society will be at his alma mater, Cornell University, this Saturday, August 27, for the dedication of a remarkable Solar Noon Clock that has been installed on the front face of Rhodes Hall on the Cornell campus.

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Vesta, a revelation

Posted by Pablo Gutierrez-Marques on 2011/08/09 12:19 CDT

I have to admit it: three months ago I did not understand why space science is important. This is a pretty bold statement coming from a practicing aerospace engineer, but recent events have corrected this lack of understanding, and I am not embarrassed to correct myself in this blog. But let us not get ahead of the story.

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A visit with Curiosity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/11 02:32 CDT

I had an amazing opportunity back in April: an invitation to go inside the fabled Spacecraft Assembly Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to see the next Mars rover up close.

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Observing at the WIYN

Posted by Meg Schwamb on 2011/06/08 02:43 CDT

On May 5 and 6, I had a run on the WIYN (Wisconsin-Indiana-Yale-NOAO) telescope, a 3.5 m telescope, the second largest telescope on Kitt Peak in Arizona.

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A rare direct hit from a meteorite

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/09 12:21 CDT

Meteorites hit Earth all the time, but they almost never score direct hits on human-built structures (or humans, for that matter). Once in a while, though, direct hits do happen, and it looks like this recent event in Poland was the real thing.

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Shuttle LIFE is go for launch with Endeavour!

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/04/29 04:02 CDT

The Planetary Society's Shuttle LIFE experiment is now go for launch on Endeavour's STS-134 mission. I came down to Florida for the loading of our tiny sample tubes into the CREST-1 (Commercial Reusable Experiments for Science & Technology) payload block.

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Happy Earth Day!

Posted by Bill Nye on 2011/04/22 02:30 CDT | 1 comments

The Earth is important, and sometimes we need a reminder as to just how fragile it is.

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Face-to-face with Curiosity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/04 04:54 CDT

I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity today for a face-to-face visit with one of the biggest celebrities in my world: Curiosity, the next Mars rover. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory gave members of the media a chance to suit up in the white coveralls known as "bunny suits" and enter the Spacecraft Assembly Facility, the clean room in which Curiosity is being assembled and prepared for launch.

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Nick Schneider: Notes on an earthquake

Posted by Nick Schneider on 2011/03/16 10:39 CDT

I was heading south to Tokyo with Seiko and Ishi, two students from the conference. We were planning a dinner together, maybe catching the nighttime skyline from the top of Tokyo Tower. I dozed off as the train flew silently through the countryside. Next thing I knew, Seiko was shaking me awake saying "Earthquake! Earthquake."

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