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Brief contact made with Phobos-Grunt after two weeks of silence

Emily Lakdawalla • November 23, 2011

On Tuesday, November 22 at 20:25 UTC, a European Space Agency ground station in Perth, Australia, successfully made brief radio contact with Phobos-Grunt.

Phobos-Grunt status, launch plus six days

Emily Lakdawalla • November 14, 2011

I said I wasn't going to post again unless the spacecraft talked to us, but I changed my mind because finally there were official comments today about the status of the mission from Roskosmos head Vladimir Popovkin.

Phobos-Grunt summary, three days after launch

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2011

I can summarize the news about the last day's efforts to save Phobos-Grunt in three words: there is none. At least nothing official.

Phobos-Grunt status, two days after launch

Emily Lakdawalla • November 10, 2011

When I last left Phobos-Grunt, Roscosmos had not yet commented on the results of a planned attempt to communicate with the wayward spacecraft at 19:00 UT on November 9.

Phobos-Grunt, the morning after

Emily Lakdawalla • November 09, 2011

I repeatedly rewrote yesterday's post on the problem suffered by Phobos-Grunt after its apparently perfect Zenit launch and thought it was time to begin fresh.

A serious problem on Phobos-Grunt

Emily Lakdawalla • November 08, 2011

It looks like something has gone wrong with Phobos-Grunt.

Phobos-Grunt and Phobos LIFE, with Yinghuo-1, have launched!

Bruce Betts • November 08, 2011

I am ecstatic to report that at 20:16 UTC, millions of passengers on board the Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE biomodule launched into space inside the Phobos Sample Return (also known as Phobos Grunt or Phobos Soil) spacecraft.

Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 poised for liftoff

Emily Lakdawalla • November 08, 2011

Russia's Phobos-Grunt sample return spacecraft, carrying the Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE experiment, plus China's Yinghuo-1 Mars minisatellite, are poised for launch at Baikonur! The launch window opens in less than six hours, at 20:16 UTC.

Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 now encapsulated in their fairing (lots of photos)

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2011

About a week after Curiosity passed through the same milestone, Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 -- still slated for a November 8 launch -- were encapsulated in their payload fairing in preparation for being stacked on their rocket. And, of course, our little Phobos LIFE capsule is inside there too!

Mars Climate Sounder confirms a Martian weather prediction

Emily Lakdawalla • October 25, 2011

The Mars Climate Sounder team has recently confirmed a prediction of a weather phenomenon on Mars that we haven't been able to observe before.

Nighttime Water Ice Clouds Predicted by Models are Confirmed by MCS Observations

Jim Shirley • October 25, 2011

The Mars Climate Sounder instrument provides routine nightside observations of atmospheric temperature and opacity that document the presence of rapidly evolving water ice cloud layers in the Martian tropics during the northern summer season.

Phobos-Grunt unpacked! With Yinghuo-1 and LIFE!

Emily Lakdawalla • October 18, 2011

I know I just posted about Phobos-Grunt on Friday, but there are lots of new pictures from Baikonur Cosmodrome (Russia's main launch facility in Kazakhstan) showing Phobos-Grunt being removed from its shipping crate and tipped upright in preparation for its launch in early November.

Phobos LIFE Ready to Launch

Bruce Betts • September 01, 2011

Years in the making, our Phobos LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) is nearing launch this November. Phobos LIFE will send millions of passengers on a 34-month journey to Mars’ moon Phobos and back.

Launch Window Approaching!

Bruce Betts • August 21, 2011

We are super excited that the Planetary Society’s Phobos LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) is about ready to launch to Mars’ moon Phobos and back. We have been working for years preparing this unique test of the effects of long term exposure to deep space on a wide variety of life.

Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 have completed thermal vacuum testing

Emily Lakdawalla • July 30, 2011

The Russian Phobos sample return mission, Phobos-Grunt, has passed a key milestone in its preparation for launch: it successfully completed its thermal vacuum testing in June.

Shuttle LIFE Organisms Return from Space

Bruce Betts • June 09, 2011

In the middle of the night on June 1, 2011, millions of passengers returned safely to Earth as part of the great conclusion to space shuttle Endeavour's last flight, STS-134. Many of those millions of passengers were part of the Planetary Society's Shuttle LIFE experiment. Five different kinds of creatures from all three domains of life are part of Shuttle LIFE.

Welcome Home Shuttle LIFE and Space Shuttle Endeavour

Susan Lendroth • June 01, 2011

The Planetary Society welcomes home space shuttle Endeavour and the microscopic passengers it carried in Shuttle LIFE an experiment designed to test aspects of the transpermia hypothesis -- the ability of microbial life to survive an interplanetary voyage.

[email protected] Following Up on Kepler Discoveries

Charlene Anderson • May 13, 2011

Remember [email protected]? The ground-breaking computing project is now taking a look at candidate Earth-like planets that have been detected by NASA's Kepler space telescope.

Citizen Science projects for Planetary Science: Get Involved! Do Science!

Mike Malaska • May 12, 2011

Citizen Science projects let volunteers easily contribute to active science programs. They're useful when there is so much data it overwhelms computing algorithms (if they exist) or the scientific research team attempting to process it.

Bruce Betts reports from the Planetary Defense Conference in Romania

Bruce Betts • May 09, 2011

It's time once again to hang out with a bunch of professionals in a foreign land and talk about saving the world.

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