Planetfest 2012 ended in the best possible way: the Curiosity rover touched down safely on the surface of Mars. In our ballroom, almost two thousand people leapt to their feet and provided thunderous applause to accompany the joyous celebration at mission control.
The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast begins this year's effort with an interview with Bruce Betts, who will be starting an online astronomy course. A transcription of the interview is included in this post, as well as a link to the podcast.
Fraser Cain at Universe Today has organized a weekly Space Hangout that happens at 1800 UTC on Thursdays. This week's conversation focuses on news on exoplanets and dark matter coming out of the American Astronomical Society meeting happening this week in Austin, as well as a Dawn update.
I was driving home from the Mars Science Laboratory site selection workshop yesterday when I got a thrilling call informing me that I've been awarded the 2011 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award.
We're going to celebrate Lou Friedman's 30 years of service to the Planetary Society by mercilessly making fun of him at a gala "Roast and Toast" event in downtown Los Angeles on April 30. (We will probably say some very nice things about him too.)
Yesterday, after the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, we sent out the e-mail message below and were elated to receive a response almost immediately from one of our members in Tokyo. We are also excited to report that Tak Iyori, the Executive Director of Planetary Society/Japan, is also safe.
A Planetary Society trifecta -- that's what Neil Tyson calls this episode of his StarTalk radio show broadcast this week. His guests include the Society's Vice President, Heidi Hammel, and its Executive Director, Bill Nye, (along with the Society's friend, Steve Squyres, Principal Investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers).
I was very fortunate to be able to meet with Stephen Hawking and Buzz Aldrin over lunch at Hawking's temporary home in Pasadena this week. We got together to discuss views on the future of human space exploration.
In the last couple of weeks, media outlets around the world have been reporting that NASA recently convened a private meeting at JPL to identify the worst movies ever made, scientifically speaking. It seemed like a good story. The problem was that it wasn't true.