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A Look Back at an Amazing Year

Jennifer Vaughn • December 31, 2014

As excited as we are to jump into 2015, I want to take time to reflect on the year coming to a close and applaud all that we’ve accomplished working together.

NASA selects Planetary Society LIFE Proposal

Bruce Betts • June 19, 2014

NASA has selected a Planetary Society proposal to study accommodation of the Society’s LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) biomodule on NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM).

Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 13: Galaxies, the Universe, Life

Bruce Betts • May 08, 2014

Discover the Universe including the Big Bang, dark matter, dark energy, galaxies, life and more in this video of class 13 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

In Memoriam: David S. McKay

Bruce Betts • February 21, 2013

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.

Phobos-Grunt Failure Report Released

Louis D. Friedman • February 06, 2012

It appears that Phobos-Grunt was doomed before it launched on November 9, 2011. Cheap parts, design shortcomings, and lack of pre-flight testing ensured that the spacecraft would never fulfill its goals.

Official Phobos-Grunt Failure Report Released

Louis D. Friedman • January 31, 2012

Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency, has released its official report concerning the failure of the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft, which fell back to Earth from orbit on January 15 after failing to ignite the engines that were to take it to the largest Martian moon.

Watch this week's Google+ Space Hangout

Emily Lakdawalla • January 19, 2012

This week's lineup is a largely astronomical crowd so most of the conversation concerned dark matter and boiling exoplanets and imaging the black hole at the center of our galaxy.

Phobos-Grunt is no more

Emily Lakdawalla • January 16, 2012

Phobos-Grunt has returned to Earth, a lot sooner than it should have. Yesterday, at approximately 17:45 UT, the Russian spacecraft and its passengers, including a Chinese orbiter and the Planetary Society's LIFE experiment, descended into Earth's atmosphere.

News brief: Phobos-Grunt has fallen to ground

Emily Lakdawalla • January 15, 2012

The Russian military is stating that at 17:45 UT, Phobos-Grunt fell into the Pacific Ocean.

Phobos-Grunt's upcoming demise: What we know and what we don't

Emily Lakdawalla • January 13, 2012

I'm not looking forward to spending the weekend sitting deathwatch on Phobos-Grunt. It's not science, and it's a sad event, so my instincts would lead me to other subjects. But it contains the Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE experiment.

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • December 09, 2011

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.

ESA is ending ground station support for Phobos-Grunt

Emily Lakdawalla • December 02, 2011

After modifying two antennas and attempting to send commands to Phobos-Grunt for weeks without success, ESA has made the decision to stop tracking support.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 23, 2011

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.

Phobos-Grunt status, launch plus six days

Emily Lakdawalla • November 14, 2011

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.

Phobos-Grunt summary, three days after launch

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2011

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.

Phobos-Grunt status, two days after launch

Emily Lakdawalla • November 10, 2011

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.

Phobos-Grunt, the morning after

Emily Lakdawalla • November 09, 2011

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.

A serious problem on Phobos-Grunt

Emily Lakdawalla • November 08, 2011

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

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

Bruce Betts • November 08, 2011

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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