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Blog Archive

 

LPSC 2016: So. Much. Ceres.

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/30 06:31 CDT | 12 comments

At last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, I enjoyed a large number of talks about Ceres. Now in its Low-Altitude Mapping Orbit, Dawn is showering scientists with high-resolution, color data.

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Selfies, messages and names delivered for LightSail 2 flight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/29 06:34 CDT

A miniature DVD containing images of space fans and names of Planetary Society members and supporters is ready to fly in space.

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Clouds and haze and dust, oh my!

Posted by Sarah Hörst on 2016/03/24 11:16 CDT | 3 comments

What types of aerosols do we find in the atmospheres around the Solar System, and why does what we call them—clouds vs. haze vs. dust—matter? Sarah Hörst explains.

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Russia approves its 10-year space strategy

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/03/23 09:20 CDT | 4 comments

After months of delays, the Russian government finally approved the nation’s 10-year space program worth 1.406 trillion rubles ($20.5 billion) last week.

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In pictures: Beautiful night launch sends Cygnus on its way

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/23 08:41 CDT | 1 comments

Here's a photo roundup from last night's Atlas V launch, which sent a Cygnus cargo craft on its way to the International Space Station.

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Tonight's Cygnus launch kicks off three ISS cargo runs in three weeks

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/22 06:32 CDT

Just days after receiving three new crew members, the ISS is about to become a veritable shipping hub, as three cargo ships launch to the orbital laboratory in as little as three weeks.

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Challenges to Enabling a Richer Planetary Exploration Program

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/03/21 08:01 CDT | 5 comments

This past week brought to the fore two challenges for NASA’s managers as they try to enable the richest possible mix of coming planetary missions. At stake are whether the agency will be able to select two Discovery missions from the current competition, and whether there will be the possibility of a mission selected for Enceladus and/or Titan in the next decade.

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Follow along: Expedition 47 crew launches to International Space Station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/18 12:05 CDT | 2 comments

Follow along with The Planetary Society as the crew of Expedition 47 launches to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for 5:26 p.m. EDT (21:26 UTC); docking and hatch opening starts six hours later.

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Expedition 47 preview: Astronaut Jeff Williams' career spans history of ISS

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/17 06:30 CDT

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams embarks on his fourth trip to the ISS tomorrow. He launches aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur with cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka at 5:26 p.m. EDT (21:26 UTC).

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Looking Forward to the 2016 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/16 12:23 CDT | 2 comments

If it's March, it's time for LPSC, the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. The 2016 LPSC runs from March 21 to 25; I'll be attending the first three days of it.

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Dinosaurs & Space— and Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Planets: These are a Few of Our Favorite Things

Posted by Bill Nye on 2016/03/15 12:37 CDT | 2 comments

One of my favorite times of the year is upon us: the national conference of the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA). For the last couple of—er… decades, I’ve given lectures at this conference to support science teachers and find out what’s on their minds this school year.

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ExoMars launch successful! What to expect for the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli missions

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/14 04:30 CDT | 1 comments

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander are safely on their way to Mars! The two lifted off at 9:31 UTC today, March 14, 2016. Orbiter and lander will arrive at Mars on October 19 at approximately 16:00 UTC. The lander is expected to last about 3 days. The orbiter will spend a year aerobraking before beginning its science mission.

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Rulers in space! LightSail 2 equipped with boom fiducials

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/14 06:01 CDT | 2 comments

How will we tell if LightSail 2's booms are fully deployed? With fiducials—visual reference guides that feature our signature Planetary Society logo.

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Approaching Neptune

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/11 12:17 CST | 2 comments

Image processing enthusiast Ian Regan is working on a cool new version of the Voyager 2 Neptune approach movie.

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First SLS flight engine test goes the distance in Mississippi

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/10 04:14 CST | 1 comments

A rocket engine that once blasted space shuttles into orbit was test-fired today in Mississippi, in preparation for its upcoming duty launching an astronaut crew to the moon.

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ExoMars: Prepare for launch!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/10 10:28 CST | 5 comments

ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander are in the final preparations for a launch as early as Monday, toward an October 2016 Mars orbit insertion and landing in Meridiani planum. Launch on a Proton rocket is expected at 09:31:42 UT Monday, March 14. A Breeze-M upper stage will send the spacecraft on to Mars, with separation at 20:13 UT.

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InSight has a new launch date: May 5, 2018

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/09 03:41 CST

NASA has decided to move forward with the InSight mission after its delay last December, setting a new launch date of May 5, 2018. That will put the landing on Mars on November 26, 2018. In order to launch in two years, one of its two science instruments must be redesigned.

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Veteran space shuttle engine to be test-fired for SLS in Mississippi

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/09 01:30 CST

An veteran engine from the space shuttle program will be test-fired tomorrow at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, kicking off the next round of Space Launch System flight preparations.

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A Sunset on Mars: Crafting a scene from archival data

Posted by Justin Cowart on 2016/03/08 01:30 CST | 2 comments

Ever wanted to stand on Mars and watch a sunset? Unfortunately for many of us, it will never be something that we get to experience in person. But thanks to our robotic emissaries on Mars, and some careful processing of images from NASA's Planetary Data System, we can get a sense of what it’s like.

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"Planet Nine" update: Possible resonances beyond the Kuiper belt?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/08 11:34 CST | 26 comments

A new paper by Renu Malhotra proposes that an undiscovered distant planet could have organized extremely distant Kuiper belt objects into orbital resonances.

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