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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.

Zapping Rocks with Lasers to Save the World

Bruce Betts • June 25, 2012

The Planetary Society Laser Bees project in Scotland is studying in the lab a potential new technique for deflecting dangerous asteroids: laser ablation.

Hunting Asteroids from a Field in Kansas

Bruce Betts • June 15, 2012

TPS Shoemaker NEO Grant Winner Gary Hug hunts near Earth objects from his back yard in Kansas. NPR's Morning Edition picked up on this fascinating story.

LightSail presented at Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium

Bruce Betts • May 31, 2012

Chris Biddy from Stellar Exploration Inc. presented information about our LightSail project at the 2012 Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium.

Third Martian Anniversary for Mars Climate Sounder

David Kass • May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012 is the third martian anniversary of the start of Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) observations from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. MCS started measuring the atmosphere of Mars three Mars years ago, on September 24, 2006. We can now compare the weather and behavior of the atmosphere in three different years, and find the temperature differences to be surprisingly large.

More Evidence for Impact Origin for Colombia’s Vichada Structure

Bruce Betts • May 08, 2012

Evidence continues to pile up that the Rio Vichada structure in Colombia is indeed the largest impact structure in South America.

Planets around Alpha Centauri?

Bruce Betts • April 24, 2012

Do planets circle our closest stellar neighbors, the system loved by science fiction: Alpha Centauri? We don’t know. But, Debra Fischer, Julien Spronck, and their colleagues at Yale University, in part with Planetary Society support, are trying to find out.

Pioneer Anomaly Solved!

Bruce Betts • April 19, 2012

With the latest piece of the puzzle just published in a scientific journal, a solar system mystery that has perplexed people for more than 20 years has been solved, truly thanks to the support of Planetary Society members.

Phobos-Grunt Failure Report Released

Louis D. Friedman • February 06, 2012

It appears that Phobos-Grunt was doomed before it launched on November 9, 2011. Cheap parts, design shortcomings, and lack of pre-flight testing ensured that the spacecraft would never fulfill its goals.

Official Phobos-Grunt Failure Report Released

Louis D. Friedman • January 31, 2012

Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency, has released its official report concerning the failure of the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft, which fell back to Earth from orbit on January 15 after failing to ignite the engines that were to take it to the largest Martian moon.

Watch this week's Google+ Space Hangout

Emily Lakdawalla • January 19, 2012

This week's lineup is a largely astronomical crowd so most of the conversation concerned dark matter and boiling exoplanets and imaging the black hole at the center of our galaxy.

Phobos-Grunt is no more

Emily Lakdawalla • January 16, 2012

Phobos-Grunt has returned to Earth, a lot sooner than it should have. Yesterday, at approximately 17:45 UT, the Russian spacecraft and its passengers, including a Chinese orbiter and the Planetary Society's LIFE experiment, descended into Earth's atmosphere.

News brief: Phobos-Grunt has fallen to ground

Emily Lakdawalla • January 15, 2012

The Russian military is stating that at 17:45 UT, Phobos-Grunt fell into the Pacific Ocean.

Phobos-Grunt's upcoming demise: What we know and what we don't

Emily Lakdawalla • January 13, 2012

I'm not looking forward to spending the weekend sitting deathwatch on Phobos-Grunt. It's not science, and it's a sad event, so my instincts would lead me to other subjects. But it contains the Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE experiment.

Reflections on Phobos LIFE

Bruce Betts • January 13, 2012

We explore space for the noblest goals of science and exploration, and we often persevere in spite of challenges. But space exploration is fraught with bad things happening, or, to use the technical term, ouchies. The Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE biomodule will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere in the next few days with the rest of the Phobos-Grunt mission.

Phobos-Grunt: all but over, a letter from IKI

Emily Lakdawalla • December 09, 2011

A letter sent by Lev Zelenyi, director of the Russian Space Research Institute (IKI) to participants in the Phobos-Soil project about the mission's failure.

ESA is ending ground station support for Phobos-Grunt

Emily Lakdawalla • December 02, 2011

After modifying two antennas and attempting to send commands to Phobos-Grunt for weeks without success, ESA has made the decision to stop tracking support.

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