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Everything you need to know about tomorrow's historic SpaceX launch

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/02/17 06:00 CST | 1 comments

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from a former space shuttle launch pad tomorrow morning. Here's a rundown of everything you need to know about the historic event.

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Solar sailing in Japan: 10 questions for LightSail engineer Barbara Plante

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/02/13 06:01 CST | 1 comments

Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye and LightSail systems engineer Barbara Plante recently traveled to Japan for a solar sailing symposium. Our Q&A with Plante discusses everything from CubeSat attitude control systems to robotic giraffes in Tokyo.

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Space, Science, and Technology Take Center Stage

Posted by Sara JenningsHannah Kerner on 2017/02/10 09:01 CST

The Science Line—a non-profit working to bridge the gap between science, technology and fashion by inspiring youth through STEM fashion shows, competitions, educational kits and hands-on workshops—hosted the first STEM Fashion Show in partnership with the Challenger Space Center of Arizona.

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Want NASA to pick your space mission proposal? Two winning scientists share some tips

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/02/09 06:00 CST | 2 comments

NASA is currently accepting proposals for its next New Frontiers-class planetary science mission. What does the agency look for in a winning proposal? The two scientists behind the ORISIS-REx and Psyche missions share some tips.

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See LightSail at the London Science Museum

Posted by Erin Greeson on 2017/02/07 06:00 CST

The London Science Museum, one of the world’s leading science centers, has welcomed our citizen-funded spacecraft into its halls.

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Microbes exist deep inside Earth’s craters. Could this be the secret to finding life on other worlds?

Posted by Bryan J. Rodriguez-Colon on 2017/02/06 06:04 CST | 3 comments

Earth possesses amazing biological diversity. Every corner of this planet—no matter how bizarre the place—is inhabited by microorganisms. This includes impact craters.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Celebrates the Big 1-3, Begins 14th Year of Ops!
Sols 4600 - 4630

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2017/02/04 07:14 CST | 2 comments

2017 got off to a start that was unprecedented in every good way: Opportunity completed her 13th Earth year of surface operations and drove the first overland expedition of the Red Planet into its 14th year.

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Curiosity update, sols 1548-1599: Serious drill brake problem as Curiosity drives through Murray red beds

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2017/02/03 02:21 CST

Since my last update, the Curiosity mission has developed a better understanding of the problem that prevented them from drilling at Precipice, but its intermittent nature has slowed the development of a workable solution that will allow them to use the drill again. In the meantime, the rover has driven onward, making good use of its other instruments.

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Dawn Journal: A New Perspective on Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2017/02/01 03:45 CST | 7 comments

Dawn has moved into its sixth orbital phase, with a new sun angle that provides an opportunity to gain a new perspective on the asteroid Ceres.

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Explorer of Enceladus and Titan

Posted by Van Kane on 2017/02/01 09:05 CST | 6 comments

For the third time in less than a decade, scientists have proposed a multiple-flyby mission to explore the habitability of Saturn’s ocean moons Titan and Enceladus.

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The Winter 2016 issue of The Planetary Report

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2017/01/27 02:39 CST

The Winter 2016 issue of The Planetary Report is on its way to members’ doors, showcasing the stunning year in pictures.

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Let's talk about this whole Moon vs. Mars thing for human spaceflight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/01/26 06:01 CST | 27 comments

NASA's current human spaceflight goal is Mars, but the Trump administration could change that to the Moon. Is that a good idea? Here's an in-depth look at the differences in science gain, the arguments for and against a potential commercial market, and whether or not the technological and operational challenges required to reach the Moon apply to Mars.

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Russia’s Proton rocket grounded by poor quality control
More woes for the country's launch fleet

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2017/01/25 09:56 CST | 1 comments

Russia's workhorse Proton rocket may be grounded until June or July, dealing another blow to the country's launch infrastructure, which has been plagued by brain drain, mismanagement, poor quality control and corruption.

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Need a break from Earth? Go stand on Mars with these lovely landscapes

Posted by Kevin Gill on 2017/01/25 09:01 CST | 5 comments

Amateur space image processor Kevin Gill shares some of his stunning 3D images of Mars, created from real spacecraft data.

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A writing sabbatical

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2017/01/24 07:43 CST | 5 comments

Four years ago, I announced that I was writing a book about Curiosity, describing the mission from its inception through its nominal mission. I am still not done, so am taking a three-month break from other work -- including this blog -- in order to focus and finish. I'm seeking scientists and engineers to serve as guest bloggers.

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Amazing photos of tiny moons as Cassini orbits among the rings

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2017/01/19 12:39 CST | 6 comments

Behold: Daphnis, the tiny, 8-kilometer moon that orbits within a ring gap, gently tugging on the edges of the gap to create delicate scallops.

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Here's what history has to say about when Trump's NASA administrator will take office

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/01/19 06:04 CST | 4 comments

This Friday, Charles Bolden resigns as NASA administrator after a stint of 2,744 days. Robert Lightfoot, the agency's highest-ranking civil servant, will take over as acting admin. How long will Lightfoot serve? If history serves as a guide, it could be a while.

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Want to build on our LightSail work? Here are some resources to get started

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/01/13 10:30 CST | 4 comments

The Planetary Society is launching a new webpage showcasing LightSail academic papers, schematics, parts and imagery.

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Blitzing Congress for NASA
Or, How I Spent My Day Off in DC

Posted by Bill Gowan on 2017/01/12 11:40 CST

Last February, a group called the Space Exploration Alliance held their annual "legislative blitz," walking the halls of Congress to sway lawmakers toward increased support for NASA's 2017 budget.

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CYGNSS Launch: The Human Side

Posted by John Noonan on 2017/01/11 11:36 CST | 1 comments

What is it like behind the scenes before, during, and after the launch of a spacecraft?

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