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Blog Archive

 

The Giant Spider of Mercury

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/01/27 01:23 CST | 3 comments

Striking terrain discovered by the MESSENGER probe.

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Bad news for Yutu rover

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/25 05:33 CST | 8 comments

The Sun has set for a second time at Chang'e 3's landing site on the Moon. The lander is operating normally and shut down to sleep as expected, but the rover is not responding properly to Earth command so could not prepare properly for the oncoming lunar night, and likely will not survive it.

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Curiosity images "Dingo Gap," sols 519-521

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/24 05:45 CST | 1 comment

Over the last few days, Curiosity made steady driving progress to the southwest. For several of those days, an intriguing feature has appeared on the horizon in her images. UPDATE: The Curiosity team has now decided to drive the rover toward the feature, which is now named "Dingo Gap."

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New Horizons: Updates From the January 2014 Science Team Meeting, Part 2

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2014/01/24 01:16 CST | 3 comments

Ted Stryk reports on the status of the New Horizons mission from the mission's latest Science Team Meeting. Updates include the status of the Kuiper Belt target search and the use of ALMA to refine Pluto's ephemeris.

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The Planetary Society Congratulates Opportunity's Team for 10 Years on Mars

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/24 12:23 CST

The Planetary Society released an official statement today recognizing the unprecedented achievement of maintaining an operating rover on the surface of Mars for a decade.

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New Horizons: Updates From the Science Team Meeting, Part 1

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2014/01/23 06:15 CST | 1 comment

Ted Stryk reports on the status of the New Horizons mission from the mission's latest Science Team Meeting.

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Closing out the ASRG program

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/23 02:04 CST

Lockheed, the prime contract on the now-defunct Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator program, is closing out the project and transferring its hardware to NASA's Glenn Research Center. NASA expects to save about $55 million per year.

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Russia's Ambitious Planetary Exploration Goals

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/01/22 11:58 CST | 5 comments

Roscosmos has ambitious planetary exploration plans in the coming decades, including a series of solo lunar missions and joint missions to Mars with the European Space Agency.

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A Note on the State of Planetary Science

Posted by Heidi Hammel on 2014/01/22 05:14 CST | 6 comments

Heidi Hammel, the Chair of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Science, reacts to the recent budget news and the uncertain future for planetary science at NASA.

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Curiosity update, sols 488-520: Steady driving while watching the wheels

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2014/01/22 03:38 CST | 1 comment

In the last month, Curiosity put 222 meters on the odometer in 12 short drives, while regularly assessing the wheels for damage. The rover performed touch-and-go analyses of rocks including Oneida and Kodak, and also took some ChemCam RMI mosaics of rocks near the base of Mount Sharp.

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Super-close supernova in M82

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/22 11:31 CST | 8 comments

The astronomy world is all a-twitter this morning over the discovery of a new supernova in M82, a galaxy that's in our astronomical backyard, "only" 12 million light-years away. And early word is that it appears to be a Type Ia supernova, the kind that's used as a standard candle to measure the expansion of the universe.

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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 10: The Edge of Forever
In which we contemplate the end of all things

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/21 06:55 CST | 11 comments

Carl Sagan takes us from the birth to the death of the universe. How do we reconcile our place within a universe that will die? Join us for the latest discussion on episode 10 of Cosmos.

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New version of panoramic view from Chang'e 3

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/21 05:02 CST

A higher-resolution version of the Chang'e 3 lander's panoramic view of the lunar surface has appeared on the Web, and artist Don Davis has cleaned it of artifacts to make a beautiful, seamless view. In other news, the mission has been reorganized to accommodate a possibly year-long adventure on the lunar surface.

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Rosetta update from mission control

Posted by Daniel Scuka on 2014/01/21 01:37 CST | 3 comments

We spoke with (a slightly tired but hugely happy) Rosetta Spacecraft Operations Manager Andrea Accomazzo earlier this afternoon and he reports the spacecraft is doing fine!

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Video: Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration sends Bill Nye over the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/21 01:23 CST | 1 comment

In this fun video, the Planetary Society worked with LADEE Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration team to communicate live over their lunar link.

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We Did It! Thank You!

Posted by Bill Nye on 2014/01/20 08:54 CST | 2 comments

I recently asked every Planetary Society Member to participate in our $75,000 matching gift challenge. I’m proud to announce that not only did you meet our goal, you exceeded it!

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Rosetta is awake!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/20 02:33 CST | 5 comments

It was a tense half an hour for Rosetta fans all over the world as we waited for a spike in a graph to inform us that Rosetta had awoken from a 31-month slumber to phone home.

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New Views of Martian Weather

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/01/20 12:03 CST | 3 comments

The latest postcards from Mars Express feature cloudy skies.

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[Updated] Let's Blitz Congress!
Space Exploration Legislative Blitz, Feb 23rd - 25th

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/17 04:08 CST | 7 comments

The Space Exploration Alliance is descending on the halls of Congress to advocate for space exploration. Join me and others on Feb 23rd - 25th in Washington, D.C. and speak up for space.

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How to get a satellite to geostationary orbit

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/01/17 09:24 CST | 8 comments

Mike Loucks helps provide a beginner's walk-through of the orbital mechanics behind geosynchronous and geostationary satellites.

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