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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.

SETI@home Following Up on Kepler Discoveries

Charlene Anderson • May 13, 2011

Remember SETI@home? 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.

FINDS: One Step Closer to Faraway Earths

Amir Alexander • April 01, 2011

Amir Alexander explains more about the FINDS Exo-Earths project and how it will help planet hunters detect distant Earths in the depths of space.

Phobos LIFE gets a ride on Endeavour as Shuttle LIFE!

Emily Lakdawalla • March 25, 2011

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.

Testing Sail Deployment

Louis D. Friedman • March 06, 2011

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.

LightSail 1 on NASA Short List for Upcoming Launch

Bruce Betts • February 09, 2011

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.

Nanosail-D released into space

Louis D. Friedman • January 21, 2011

NASA's Nanosail-D spacecraft surprised everyone, including its controllers, by suddenly deploying from its parent FASTSAT spacecraft and beginning its mission in space.

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