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Dawn Journal: On Course for Opposition

Marc Rayman • May 01, 2017

The Dawn spacecraft is about to swing into a new orbital path to observe the enigmatic "bright spots" in Occator Crater on Ceres—among other targets.

Trusty Cassini survives first dive between Saturn and its rings

Emily Lakdawalla • April 28, 2017

Cheers erupted in the Von Karman auditorium at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory early Thursday morning as a squiggly green line on a graph developed a crisp, tall peak, signifying that the Cassini spacecraft was calling home after surviving its first plunge between Saturn and its ring system.

Learn the rocket equation, part 1

David Shortt • April 28, 2017

Have you ever wanted to learn the fundamental physics behind one of the most basic concepts of rocket science? In part one of our two-part series, we explore the foundations of the famous rocket equation.

The first Space Launch System flight will probably be delayed

Jason Davis • April 26, 2017

NASA's new heavy lift rocket is currently scheduled to launch the Orion spacecraft on a test flight next year. But all signs are pointing to a probable delay.

Curiosity update, sols 1600-1674: The second Bagnold Dunes campaign

Emily Lakdawalla • April 25, 2017

The four-stop dune science campaign offered the engineers some time to continue troubleshooting the drill without any pressure to use it for science. They scooped sand at a site called Ogunquit Beach but couldn't complete the planned sample activity because of new developments in the drill inquiry. The rover has now headed onward toward Vera Rubin Ridge.

This weekend, it's the beginning of the end for Cassini

Jason Davis • April 19, 2017

NASA's long-lived Cassini spacecraft is about to buzz Titan for the final time, putting it on course for a spectacular mission finale that concludes in September.

Spring 2017 issue of The Planetary Report now available

Donna Stevens • April 18, 2017

The Spring 2017 issue of The Planetary Report is in the mail and available online now to our members!

Our asteroid hunters are trying to save the world. Here’s what they’ve been up to

Jason Davis • April 17, 2017

Here are some recent reports from our NEO Shoemaker Grant program asteroid observers, who are quite literally trying to save the world.

Postcard from the Space Symposium: Planetary Society outreach coordinator finds her place in space

Harriet Brettle • April 14, 2017

The annual Space Symposium brings together space leaders from around the world to discuss, address and plan for the future of space.

Another smoking gun in the search for life in Enceladus’ ocean

Franck Marchis • April 13, 2017

NASA's Cassini spacecraft sniffed out molecular hydrogen spewing from Enceladus' subsurface ocean. The discovery means Saturn's moon has all the basic ingredients needed to support life.

Fossils or good-looking rocks? Why searching for life on other worlds is hard

Elias Nakouzi • April 13, 2017

If you find a structure that looks like ancient life, can you be really sure that it is ancient life?

Extraterrestrial culture: How we express ourselves through space exploration

Felipe Cervera • April 11, 2017

Planetary Performance scholar Felipe Cervera brings a perspective on "extraterrestrial-ity" in terrestrial cultures—from rituals to technology.

Expedition 50 had a fun and good ISS crew

Jason Davis • April 10, 2017

I believe Expedition 50 had a fun and good ISS crew. I base this declaration solely on the moments they shared on social media. This logic is completely bulletproof and there's no point trying to prove otherwise.

NASA unveiled new plans for getting humans to Mars, and hardly anyone noticed

Jason Davis • April 07, 2017

NASA revealed its most concrete plan yet for sending humans back into deep space, centered around a small lunar space station and a reusable transport ship to carry astronauts to Mars and back.

China's lunar sample return mission will pave way for future ambitions

Andrew Jones • April 06, 2017

Later this year, China is launching the Change'5 spacecraft to return a sample from the Moon. The mission will pave the way for future ambitions, including crewed trips to the lunar surface.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Dodges Dust Storms, Makes Tracks to Perseverance Valley

A.J.S. Rayl • April 04, 2017

After wrapping the final science investigations on the slopes of Cape Tribulation, Opportunity climbed up and over the rim of Endeavour Crater in March and embarked on the journey south toward its next science target: Perseverance Valley.

Daring mighty things: Pathways to careers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Nathan Barba • April 03, 2017

Arizona State University graduate student Nathan Barba talks with some of JPL’s finest to get guidance and advice on how to join this illustrious group of space explorers.

Dawn Journal: Bonus Plans

Marc Rayman • March 31, 2017

Now in its third year of orbiting a distant dwarf planet, a spacecraft from Earth is as active as ever. Like a master artist, Dawn is working hard to add fine details to its stunning portrait of Ceres.

A letter from Bill Nye: Why we're marching for science

Bill Nye • March 30, 2017

The Planetary Society is joining the March for Science. Bill Nye is serving as an honorary co-chair, and our organization is an official partner. Here's why we're marching, and how to join us.

Your hypothetical questions, answered: SpaceX prepares to refly rocket booster

Jason Davis • March 28, 2017

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster recovered by a drone ship last year will be reflown later this week, marking what could be a new milestone in the quest for affordable spaceflight.

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