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Found a Killer Asteroid? Who Ya Gonna Call?

Mat Kaplan • July 08, 2013

Astronomer Timothy Spahr directs the Minor Planet Center, the global clearinghouse for asteroids, comets and other relatively small objects in the solar system, including moons. He also coordinates the Society's Shoemaker NEO grant program.

PlanetVac Moving Forward

Bruce Betts • July 03, 2013

Meet the PlanetVac team and learn their general plan and what they are doing now. PlanetVac is a newly started Planetary Society and Honeybee Robotics project to test a pneumatic system to sample planetary surfaces.

PlanetVac Project Underway

Bruce Betts • July 01, 2013

The Planetary Society's PlanetVac project with Honeybee Robotics is now fully underway. Here we provide a just released statement by Honeybee, and an introduction to this lab test of a new planetary surface sampling system.

Planetary Society Hangout: LaserBees, Asteroids, and Planet Vacuums

Casey Dreier • June 13, 2013

We check in with Dr. Bruce Betts, our Director of Projects, on the latest from our current programs funded by our members.

Planetary Defense Conference 2013 Part 3

Bruce Betts • June 12, 2013

Part 3 of Bruce Betts' wrap up from the Planetary Defense Conference 2013 focuses on the Laser Bees (asteroid deflection method) project and Laser Bees researcher Alison Gibbings.

Saving the World: Shoemaker NEO Grant Winners Announced

Bruce Betts • April 17, 2013

What do the discovery of close fly by asteroid 2012 DA14 and the most productive near Earth object (NEO) follow-up tracking program in the world have in common? They were both made possible by Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO Grants. And, now, we again invest in the future and defending against the asteroid threat to Earth. NEO Shoemaker Award winners for 2013 announced.

This Week at The Planetary Defense Conference

Bruce Betts • April 16, 2013

Bruce Betts and The Planetary Society are at the International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense Conference (PDC) in Flagstaff, Arizona. The PDC is held every two years and brings together world experts in saving the world from asteroid impact. The Planetary Society has long been a co-sponsor of the conference. The newest winners in our Shoemaker NEO Grants program will be announced on Wednesday a the conference.

Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: the Giant ALMA Observatory, and Asteroid Tracking

Bruce Betts • March 20, 2013

Bruce Betts, Mat Kaplan, and asteroid tracker Robert Holmes on the Planetary Society Weekly Google Hangout. Mat discussed and showed pictures from his trip to the giant ALMA observatory and we'll be joined by asteroid tracker extraordinaire, Robert Holmes.

Let’s Reckon Time Together

Bill Nye • March 20, 2013

The EarthDial project was born in 2004, and we’re bring it back again for the Curiosity mission. It’s a sundial visually reminiscent of the MarsDials, but exactly ten times as big. We encourage you to set up your own EarthDial, rig up a webcam, and post the images. In the coming weeks, we’ll coordinate the EarthDials from around the world, just as we did for a few years after the Spirit & Opportunity landings. It’s a remarkable project that can engage individuals, classrooms, or entire schools. The price of webcams has come way down in recent years. So, we’re hopeful that several readers of this blog will give it a try.

Vermin of the Sky

Louis D. Friedman • February 19, 2013

Executive Director Emeritus Louis Friedman writes about Asteroid programs of The Planetary Society.

The Sky Was Falling! A Meteoric Airburst Over Russia and the Encounter with 2012 DA14

Mat Kaplan • February 18, 2013

SEE IT NOW: The Planetary Society's CEO, Bill Nye the Science Guy, joined Director of Projects Bruce Betts for a live webcast as 2012 DA14, a 45-meter asteroid, was passing Earth. Bill and Bruce also marveled at video of the meteor burst high over a city in Russia.

Guide to Asteroid 2012 DA14 Super Close Approach

Bruce Betts • February 04, 2013

The 45 meter asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass closer to Earth than geostationary satellites on Feb. 15, 2013. Learn about the asteroid and what to expect from the close approach.

Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of Columbia Disaster from a Science Investigator

Bruce Betts • February 01, 2013

David Warmflash, who organized a science (and peace) experiment with the Planetary Society for the ill fated STS-107 Columbia mission, reflects on that tragic day ten years ago.

Shoemaker Winner Hug Discovers Near Earth Asteroid 2013 AS27

Bruce Betts • January 10, 2013

Using a Planetary Society provided camera, Gary Hug in Kansas, USA discovered Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2013 AS27 on Jan. 7, 2013. Shoemaker winner Bob Holmes provided the first follow up observations of this 140m-310m wide asteroid.

Calling (Really Serious) Asteroid Hunters

Bruce Betts • November 19, 2012

I am happy to announce a new call for proposals for The Planetary Society’s Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) grant program, which is celebrating its 15th Anniversary. Proposals are due Feb. 4, 2013.

PlanetVac: Sucking Up Planetary Regolith

Bruce Betts • October 30, 2012

Learn about the Planetary Society’s newest project: PlanetVac, with Honeybee Robotics, aims to prototype and test in a huge vacuum chamber a new way to sample planetary surfaces that could be used for sample return or for in situ instruments.

DPS 2012: Future impact risks

Emily Lakdawalla • October 24, 2012

Continuing my writeup of notes from last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting: presentations on the risks of future asteroid impacts. How much risk do we face, and what are the appropriate actions to take in the face of that risk?

First Planet Discovered in Alpha Centauri System

Bruce Betts • October 17, 2012

European astronomers have made the first planetary discovery in the closest-to-Earth Alpha Centauri star system. Here is some information about the discovery, and insights from Yale Astronomer Debra Fischer, who leads another Alpha Centauri planet search partially supported by The Planetary Society.

Saving the World: Established 1997

Bruce Betts • September 21, 2012

The Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO grants celebrate their 15th anniversary of helping to find and track near Earth asteroids. Here's a quick review of the program, and updates on our four multiple-grant winners.

Optical SETI Gets a Major Upgrade

Bruce Betts • August 30, 2012

The Planetary Society Optical SETI Telescope in Harvard, Massachusetts just got a major upgrade of its electronics.

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