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Public service announcement by, and for, planetary grad students

Matthew Chojnacki • March 19, 2012

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.

"How Much Would You Pay for the Universe?"

Charlene Anderson • March 08, 2012

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.

LeetUp Reconnaissance Report

Emily Lakdawalla • March 06, 2012

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

Big Bend designated International Dark Sky Park

Neil Patrick Stewart • February 16, 2012

Last week, I received a press release with the headline "Big Bend National Park Designated As International Dark Sky Park." I asked my brother Neil to write something about this announcement for me.

Reflections on Phobos LIFE

Bruce Betts • January 13, 2012

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.

Anahita's first eclipse

Emily Lakdawalla • December 13, 2011

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

365 Days of Astronomy Celebrates Sagan's Birthday

Mat Kaplan • November 10, 2011

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.

The fish that sent us to the moon

Jason Davis • October 20, 2011

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

A Distant View of Triton

Ted Stryk • September 26, 2011

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

The Cornell Clock

Emily Lakdawalla • August 26, 2011

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.

Vesta, a revelation

Pablo Gutierrez-Marques • August 09, 2011

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.

A visit with Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • July 11, 2011

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.

Observing at the WIYN

Meg Schwamb • June 08, 2011

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.

A rare direct hit from a meteorite

Emily Lakdawalla • May 09, 2011

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.

Shuttle LIFE is go for launch with Endeavour!

Bruce Betts • April 29, 2011

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.

Happy Earth Day!

Bill Nye • April 22, 2011

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

Face-to-face with Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • April 04, 2011

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.

Nick Schneider: Notes on an earthquake

Nick Schneider • March 16, 2011

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."

My day with Hawking and Aldrin

Louis D. Friedman • February 02, 2011

I was very fortunate to be able to meet with Stephen Hawking and Buzz Aldrin over lunch at Hawking's temporary home in Pasadena this week. We got together to discuss views on the future of human space exploration.

"A genuinely weird experience": A video of Steve Squyres explaining a photo of Steve Squyres

Emily Lakdawalla • January 12, 2011

In a lovely talk, in his uncommonly engaging way, Steve Squyres presents the portrait of him that now hangs in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

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