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Dawn Journal: Final Transmission

Marc Rayman • December 21, 2018

After more than 11 years in deep space, after unveiling the two largest uncharted worlds in the inner solar system, after overcoming myriad daunting obstacles, Dawn's interplanetary adventure has come to an end.

InSight update, sols 1-24: Operations begin, first instrument deployed

Emily Lakdawalla • December 21, 2018

It’s been a busy first three weeks on the InSight mission, and they’ve already achieved a major milestone: placing the seismometer on the ground. They've also gathered a self-portrait and 360-degree panorama.

The December Solstice 2018 Issue of The Planetary Report Is Out!

Emily Lakdawalla • December 18, 2018

I’m very proud to announce the publication of the December Solstice 2018 issue of The Planetary Report, “Where Life Began.”

Whose stars? Our heritage of Arabian astronomy

Danielle Adams • December 18, 2018

For UNESCO World Arabic Language Day, Danielle Adams reconstructs the Arabian night sky.

What to Expect When New Horizons Visits 2014 MU69, Ultima Thule

Emily Lakdawalla • December 17, 2018

New Horizons is rapidly approaching its New Year’s encounter with the most distant world ever visited, 2014 MU69. Closest approach will be at a distance of 3,500 kilometers at about 05:33 on 1 January UTC.

Total Immersion in the Heavens

Casey Dreier • December 17, 2018

Casey Dreier assesses the significance of the Apollo program on its 50th anniversary.

Flying By Home

Vicky Hamilton • December 17, 2018

Vicky Hamilton explores how OSIRIS-REx used its Earth flyby to test instruments on the way to asteroid Bennu.

The Making of Life

Michael L. Wong • December 17, 2018

Michael L. Wong asks how our understanding of the origin of life on Earth informs our search for it elsewhere.

Timing Is Everything

Richard Chute • December 17, 2018

The tradition of giving to charities like The Planetary Society at year’s end often brings up questions about how to make those gifts, as well as their tax implications.

A Busy Summer

Bruce Betts • December 17, 2018

Bruce Betts reports on LightSail 2’s status and looks to the future of solar sailing.

Where We Are

Emily Lakdawalla • December 17, 2018

Emily Lakdawalla adds several spacecraft but retires several more from her at-a-glance spacecraft locator.

Planetary Radio celebrates 16 years of PB&J

MaryLiz Bender • December 16, 2018

Planetary Radio host Mat Kaplan has spent sixteen years sharing the “passion, beauty, and joy” of space exploration with the world. We picked our sixteen favorite episodes to share with you.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spots InSight Hardware on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • December 13, 2018

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has finally spotted the InSight lander, its parachute, and its heat shield resting on the Martian surface. The images confirm the location of InSight's landing site, a little to the north and west of the center of the landing ellipse. The lander is located at 4.499897° N, 135.616000° E.

Go Out and See the Geminid Meteor Shower

Bruce Betts • December 13, 2018

The Geminid meteor shower, which peaks tonight, is usually the best meteor shower of the year,

Chang’e-4 Successfully Enters Lunar Orbit

Luyuan Xu • December 12, 2018

Following a 4.6-day cruise, on 12 December at 8:45 Beijing time (16:45 UTC), the spacecraft arrived in lunar orbit, preparing for a landing in early January.

Mastcam-Z Flight Hardware!

Jim Bell • December 12, 2018

After a more-than-four-year adventure, the flight Mars 2020 rover Mastcam-Z cameras have been fully assembled!

Curiosity Update, Sols 2163-2256: Hard Times Atop Vera Rubin Ridge

Emily Lakdawalla • December 11, 2018

Just after a failed drill attempt at Inverness, Curiosity suffered a serious computer problem. The mission has now recovered by switching computers, and has successfully drilled at Highfield. One last drill site in "red Jura" rocks is planned before leaving Vera Rubin ridge behind.

News brief: OSIRIS-REx finds water on Bennu

Jason Davis • December 10, 2018

OSIRIS-REx team members held a press briefing today at the 2018 American Geophysical Union meeting, and announced that the mission has already found water on asteroid Bennu.

News brief: Voyager 2 has passed beyond the heliopause

Emily Lakdawalla • December 10, 2018

Voyager 2 is now outside the reach of the solar wind, traveling in the interstellar medium. Unlike Voyager 1, Voyager 2 has a working plasma spectrometer so will be doing exciting new science. It is expected to last another 5 to 10 years, though not with all instruments operating.

Liftoff for Chang'e-4!

Emily Lakdawalla • December 07, 2018

At 02:22 local time 8 December (18:22 on 7 December UTC), a Long March 3B lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center, carrying the Chang'e-4 lander and rover toward the Moon.

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