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Blog Archive

 

Phobos LIFE gets a ride on Endeavour as Shuttle LIFE!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/25 03:52 CDT

The Planetary Society is contributing this thing called the Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment (LIFE) to Russia's Phobos sample return mission -- it's basically a sealed puck with dormant microbes inside that'll fly to Mars and back in the return capsule, and biologists will take a look to see what damage the little bugs suffered during their space journey.

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Testing Sail Deployment

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2011/03/06 11:00 CST | 1 comment

The first full scale deployment of the Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail was conducted on March 4, 2011 at Stellar Exploration in San Luis Obispo, California.

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LightSail-1 on NASA Short List for Upcoming Launch

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/02/09 11:00 CST

NASA announced that the Planetary Society’s LightSail-1 solar sail mission is on their short list for upcoming launch opportunities. The missions selected are Cubesats destined for piggyback launches as part of NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative.

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NASA's Nanosail to Fly this Week

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/11/18 11:00 CST

NASA's Nanosail-D, an innovative development by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight and Ames Research Centers, is scheduled to launch on Friday -- and we wish them well.

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Crack the code for a message from Mars, redux

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/10/14 07:02 CDT

Waaaay back when Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004, the Planetary Society helped the public participate in the missions with a number of projects, including one where we printed "secret codes" around the edges of the two names-bearing DVDs that were bolted to the Mars Exploration Rover landers.

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LightSail Update: The International Solar Sailing Symposium

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/10/01 12:00 CDT

Japan's IKAROS team stole the show at the International Solar Sailing Symposium in New York City, where they announced that their spacecraft had achieved controlled solar sail flight.

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Mars Climate Sounder Watches Mars Weather to Prepare for Curiosity Landing

Posted by David Kass on 2010/09/29 12:00 CDT

Two weeks ago Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) started a four-week campaign to support entry, descent, and landing phase for the next Mars rover, Mars Science Laboratory (or "Curiosity").

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Tracing the Big Picture of Mars' Atmosphere

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2010/08/26 12:00 CDT

One of the instruments on a 2016 mission to orbit Mars will provide daily maps of global, pole-to-pole, vertical distributions of the temperature, dust, water vapor and ice clouds in the Martian atmosphere.

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LightSail team learns from IKAROS successes

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/07/26 12:00 CDT

Last week, Bill Nye and I attended the International Solar Sail Symposium at the New York College of Technology.

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LightSail team learns from IKAROS successes

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/07/26 11:32 CDT

While we were in New York for the International Solar Sailing Symposium last week, we held a meeting with the Japanese IKAROS team to discuss technical results and issues in our two projects.

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Observing the Martian Atmosphere for Two Mars Years

Posted by David Kass on 2010/07/13 12:00 CDT

June 29, 2010 was the second Martian anniversary of the start of Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) observations at Mars.

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LightSail-1 Passes Critical Design Review

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/06/28 05:01 CDT

LightSail-1, the Planetary Society's new ultra-light Cubesat-based solar sail spacecraft, has passed its Critical Design Review.

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LightSail-1 Passes Critical Design Review

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/06/25 12:00 CDT | 1 comment

LightSail-1, the Planetary Society's new ultra-light Cubesat-based solar sail spacecraft, has passed its Critical Design Review.

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Firming Up the Spacecraft Design

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/05/27 12:00 CDT

The LightSail-1 spacecraft development is proceeding well. Our engineering team has completed crucial milestones to building the vehicle that will demonstrate the value and potential of using sunlight alone to propel exploratory craft through space.

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Photos of your names on the IKAROS spacecraft

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/14 03:11 CDT

IKAROS, Japan's solar sail, is nearly ready for launch, piggybacked behind the Venus orbiter Akatsuki.

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Akatsuki and IKAROS getting ready for launch, with your names aboard

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/07 04:55 CDT

I've been so focused on the dramatic return of "Mr. Hayabusa" that I've neglected to write much about two up-and-coming Japanese missions: Akatsuki and IKAROS.

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Planetary Society Researcher Max Rocca Discovers Largest Impact Crater in South America

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2010/02/13 12:00 CST

It was January of 2004 when the elegant curve of the Vichada first caught the attention of geologist Max Rocca of Buenos Aires. Could the course of the river have been shaped by the circular outlines of an impact crater? Rocca decided to find out.

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FINDS Exo-Earths Starts Up: Testing the Prototype

Posted by Debra Fischer on 2009/10/30 12:00 CDT | 2 comments

The prototype that Julien constructed in the lab was taken to Lick Observatory, and we had our first-light run with the fiber in July.

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