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In Memoriam: David S. McKay

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/02/21 06:11 CST | 1 comments

NASA planetary scientist David S. McKay has passed away. He had an enormous impact on planetary studies over the course of his career. He also was a co-investigator on The Planetary Society LIFE experiments.

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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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Phobos-Grunt: all but over, a letter from IKI

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/09 07:14 CST

A letter sent by Lev Zelenyi, director of the Russian Space Research Institute (IKI) to participants in the Phobos-Soil project about the mission's failure.

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Brief contact made with Phobos-Grunt after two weeks of silence

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/23 11:29 CST

On Tuesday, November 22 at 20:25 UTC, a European Space Agency ground station in Perth, Australia, successfully made brief radio contact with Phobos-Grunt.

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Phobos-Grunt status, launch plus six days

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/14 06:37 CST

I said I wasn't going to post again unless the spacecraft talked to us, but I changed my mind because finally there were official comments today about the status of the mission from Roskosmos head Vladimir Popovkin.

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Phobos-Grunt summary, three days after launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/11 02:51 CST

I can summarize the news about the last day's efforts to save Phobos-Grunt in three words: there is none. At least nothing official.

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Phobos-Grunt status, two days after launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/10 12:07 CST

When I last left Phobos-Grunt, Roscosmos had not yet commented on the results of a planned attempt to communicate with the wayward spacecraft at 19:00 UT on November 9.

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Phobos-Grunt, the morning after

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/09 09:04 CST

I repeatedly rewrote yesterday's post on the problem suffered by Phobos-Grunt after its apparently perfect Zenit launch and thought it was time to begin fresh.

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A serious problem on Phobos-Grunt

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/08 05:29 CST

It looks like something has gone wrong with Phobos-Grunt.

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Phobos-Grunt and Phobos LIFE, with Yinghuo-1, have launched!

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/11/08 02:12 CST

I am ecstatic to report that at 20:16 UTC, millions of passengers on board the Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE biomodule launched into space inside the Phobos Sample Return (also known as Phobos Grunt or Phobos Soil) spacecraft.

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Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 poised for liftoff

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/08 08:00 CST

Russia's Phobos-Grunt sample return spacecraft, carrying the Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE experiment, plus China's Yinghuo-1 Mars minisatellite, are poised for launch at Baikonur! The launch window opens in less than six hours, at 20:16 UTC.

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Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 now encapsulated in their fairing (lots of photos)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/04 03:24 CDT

About a week after Curiosity passed through the same milestone, Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 -- still slated for a November 8 launch -- were encapsulated in their payload fairing in preparation for being stacked on their rocket. And, of course, our little Phobos LIFE capsule is inside there too!

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Phobos-Grunt unpacked! With Yinghuo-1 and LIFE!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/18 02:01 CDT | 1 comments

I know I just posted about Phobos-Grunt on Friday, but there are lots of new pictures from Baikonur Cosmodrome (Russia's main launch facility in Kazakhstan) showing Phobos-Grunt being removed from its shipping crate and tipped upright in preparation for its launch in early November.

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Phobos LIFE Ready to Launch

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/09/01 12:00 CDT

Years in the making, our Phobos LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) is nearing launch this November. Phobos LIFE will send millions of passengers on a 34-month journey to Mars’ moon Phobos and back.

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Launch Window Approaching!

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/08/21 12:00 CDT

We are super excited that the Planetary Society’s Phobos LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) is about ready to launch to Mars’ moon Phobos and back. We have been working for years preparing this unique test of the effects of long term exposure to deep space on a wide variety of life.

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Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 have completed thermal vacuum testing

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/30 02:20 CDT

The Russian Phobos sample return mission, Phobos-Grunt, has passed a key milestone in its preparation for launch: it successfully completed its thermal vacuum testing in June.

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Shuttle LIFE Organisms Return from Space

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/06/09 05:40 CDT

In the middle of the night on June 1, 2011, millions of passengers returned safely to Earth as part of the great conclusion to space shuttle Endeavour's last flight, STS-134. Many of those millions of passengers were part of the Planetary Society's Shuttle LIFE experiment. Five different kinds of creatures from all three domains of life are part of Shuttle LIFE.

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Welcome Home Shuttle LIFE and Space Shuttle Endeavour

Posted by Susan Lendroth on 2011/06/01 04:04 CDT

The Planetary Society welcomes home space shuttle Endeavour and the microscopic passengers it carried in Shuttle LIFE an experiment designed to test aspects of the transpermia hypothesis -- the ability of microbial life to survive an interplanetary voyage.

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We did it -- Shuttle LIFE launches!

Posted by Bill Nye on 2011/05/16 09:39 CDT

Today at 8:56 a.m. EDT, Space Shuttle Endeavour launched on its final mission, and we are part of this historic moment!

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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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