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Blogs

Blog Archive

 

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3848 — November 20, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/11/25 11:01 CST

Larry Crumpler returns with an update on Opportunity's recent activities, and its road ahead.

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Calling Serious Asteroid Hunters
New Shoemaker NEO Grant Call for Proposals

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/11/24 10:00 CST

I am happy to announce a new call for proposals for The Planetary Society’s Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) grant program. Proposals are due Feb. 2, 2015.

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Close to the end for Venus Express

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/24 02:42 CST

Venus Express is nearly out of fuel. Any day could be the last of its long mission to Venus.

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In Pictures: Expedition 42 Crew Launches to Station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/11/24 01:48 CST

Three more humans are in space today following the launch of Soyuz TMA-15M from the chilly steppes of Kazakhstan.

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Quick update about our website

Posted by Karen Hames on 2014/11/21 06:50 CST

The last two weeks have been extraordinary for The Planetary Society. As amazing as this increased traffic is, it has brought to light some issues with our website including latency and missing content that we are still working on fixing.

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Don't Miss This Great New Video About Europa

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/11/21 02:38 CST

JPL released a slick new video highlighting the significance of Europa, the moon of Jupiter with more liquid water than the Earth.

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Lunar Polar Volatile Puzzle

Posted by Deepak Dhingra on 2014/11/21 09:17 CST

Deepak Dhingra gives an exciting update from the recent Lunar Exploration and Analysis Group (LEAG) meeting at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (JHU-APL) in Baltimore.

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A Mission to Europa Just Got a Whole Lot More Likely

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/11/20 08:14 CST

Rep. John Culberson, an outspoken supporter of Europa exploration, will assume leadership of an influential congressional committee that funds NASA.

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How NASA Plans to Land Humans on Mars

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/11/20 04:04 CST

On the surface, NASA's humans to Mars plans seem vague and disjointed. But that's because the agency is playing the long game. Right now, it may be the only game they can play.

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Curiosity update, sols 782-813: Walking the outcrop at Pahrump Hills

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/19 07:50 CST

At Pahrump Hills, Curiosity is becoming the field geologist she was intended to be.

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Remember Comet Siding Spring? Mars Orbiter Mission got photos, too

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/19 01:57 CST

A set of photos released by Mars Orbiter Mission last week completes the set of Mars spacecraft observations of the comet. Now we wait for science results!

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Rosetta imaged Philae during its descent -- and after its bounce

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/17 05:10 CST | 16 comments

This morning ESA released a set of images of the Philae lander taken by the Rosetta orbiter during -- and after -- the lander's first touchdown. The images contain evidence for the spot Philae first touched the comet, and a crucial photo of Philae's position several minutes into its first long bounce.

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Now Philae down to sleep

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/15 05:13 CST | 11 comments

My last post on the drama in Darmstadt, where ground controllers believe Philae may have fell asleep for good.

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Want Funding? Then Be a National Priority

Posted by Jason Callahan on 2014/11/14 04:12 CST | 1 comments

On Monday, Jason Callahan published an article in The Space Review discussing the importance of aligning the goals of federally funded scientific communities with national priorities. This post highlights some of the main points of the article and suggests a possible role for The Planetary Society.

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With New Horizons Ready to Wake Up, Scientists Prepare for Pluto Encounter

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/11/14 03:08 CST | 2 comments

When New Horizons wakes up for the final time on Dec. 6, scientists will spend six weeks preparing for the start of the spacecraft's Pluto encounter.

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Philae update: My last day in Darmstadt, possibly Philae's last day of operations

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/14 12:33 CST | 18 comments

Emily Lakdawalla gives a status report on Philae from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt.

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LightSail Gets Burn Wire Redesign for Round 2 of Vibration Tests

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/11/13 04:51 CST | 7 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail-A spacecraft is less than three weeks away from an expected go/no-go decision on whether the CubeSat will be launched into space for a shakedown cruise next year.

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Philae status, a day later

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/13 01:26 CST | 9 comments

The Philae team scrambled all morning to comprehend the initially confusing status of the lander, and the picture is much clearer today. Speaking of which, there are lots more pictures!

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Brief Philae "Morning After" update: First ÇIVA panorama from the surface

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/13 04:53 CST | 1 comments

I'm just getting up to speed on the news from overnight, which is mostly good: Philae remained in contact with the orbiter (which means the CONSERT radar sounding experiment was working), and it's sitting stably on the surface, although it's not anchored in any way. And they released the first ÇIVA image from the ground!

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PHILAE HAS LANDED! [UPDATED]

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/11/12 10:21 CST | 16 comments

The landing happened on time just after 16:02 UT today! Philae mission manager Stephan Ulamec said: "Philae is talking to us! The first thing he told us was the harpoons have been fired and rewound. We are sitting on the surface." Those words later turned out not to be true; but we do know at least that Philae survived the landing and is returning good data.

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