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Blogs

Blog Archive

 

Pretty (Partial) Picture: LightSail Catches a Glimpse of Earth

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/10 10:00 CDT | 3 comments

With the team still trying to download an image from LightSail's second camera, Emily Lakdawalla processed a partial image from the first camera that contains a slice of Earth.

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Curiosity update, sols 978-1011: Into Marias Pass; ChemCam back in action; solar conjunction

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/10 07:26 CDT | 6 comments

It’s been an eventful few weeks for Curiosity on Mars. From sols 981 to 986, Curiosity’s human pilots tried and failed to drive the rover southward; but, retracing their steps to Logan's Run, they quickly found a way up and into a beautiful geological amphitheater named Marias Pass, where they will stay throughout Mars solar conjunction. They also returned ChemCam to normal operations.

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NASA Goes First Class for Europa

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/06/10 12:07 CDT | 9 comments

Over the last several years, engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Applied Physics Laboratory have rethought the entire approach to exploring Europa. NASA now has a concept that's affordable.

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An enigmatic line across Pluto: Plutonian canali!?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/09 07:03 CDT | 17 comments

Pluto and Charon are growing larger in New Horizons' forward view, beginning to develop distinct personalities. A version of recent New Horizons photos processed by Björn Jónsson reveals an enigmatic dark line. Our maps of Pluto's surface are now as good as our maps of Mars and Venus, circa 1900!

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LightSail Test Mission Declared Success; First Image Complete

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/09 01:15 CDT | 22 comments

The Planetary Society’s LightSail test mission successfully completed its primary objective of deploying a solar sail in low-Earth orbit.

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Sails in Space: Partial Photo, Video and Light Curve (Updated)

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/08 11:00 CDT | 7 comments

It’s official: The sails are out. This afternoon, LightSail mission controllers downlinked a partial image of the spacecraft’s solar sails in space.

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New HQ Coming Together

Posted by Jennifer Vaughn on 2015/06/08 04:50 CDT | 1 comments

Our new Planetary Society headquarters building is on track to be ready for us by mid-July. The building, which once was a bank, is being converted into a contemporary office space customized for the unique needs of The Planetary Society.

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Deployment! LightSail Boom Motor Whirrs to Life

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/07 04:20 CDT | 15 comments

LightSail's tiny solar sail deployment motor sprung to life Sunday afternoon, marking an important milestone for The Planetary Society’s nail-biting test mission.

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LightSail Drama Continues as Spacecraft Wakes for Second Time

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/06 04:45 CDT | 6 comments

LightSail is back in business, following the second extended outage of the test spacecraft’s mission. The CubeSat checked in at 2:21 p.m. EDT Saturday.

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The Planetary Society at Earth Day NYC

Posted by Kate Howells on 2015/06/05 12:10 CDT

Volunteer Network Coordinator Kate Howells reports on our first time participating in New York City's enormous Earth Day celebration.

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Using Cardboard to Tour Mars

Posted by Scott Maxwell on 2015/06/04 05:47 CDT | 3 comments

Former Mars rover driver Scott Maxwell uses Google Cardboard to take a tour of the Red Planet.

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LightSail Falls Silent; Battery Glitch Suspected

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/04 05:45 CDT | 10 comments

The LightSail test spacecraft fell silent for a second time, less than a day after completing what appeared to be a successful solar panel deployment.

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LightSail Solar Panel Deployment: No Pics, but Data Look Good

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/03 05:55 CDT | 1 comments

LightSail didn’t send home pretty pictures of Earth today, but it did relay promising signs that its deployable solar panels swung successfully out into space.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Tours Spirit of St. Louis Crater
Sols 4006 - 4035

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/06/03 07:21 CDT | 1 comments

Opportunity spent a mostly merry month of May on Mars touring Spirit of St. Louis Crater, stopping at science targets named in honor of Charles Lindbergh and the incredible flight he took 88 years ago.

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LightSail Deployment Update: Panels Wednesday, Sails Friday

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/02 07:00 CDT | 8 comments

LightSail Mission Managers have decided to split the spacecraft’s sail deployment sequence into two segments, following an extended checkout period that wrapped up Tuesday.

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[Upated] House of Representatives Voting on NASA's 2016 Budget Today

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/06/02 01:11 CDT | 1 comments

NASA's 2016 budget is up for a major vote in the House of Representatives today, but it's just a step on the long road to a final budget in the fall.

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First Look: Partial Camera Test Images from LightSail

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/06/01 07:02 CDT | 5 comments

A jumbled JPG never looked so pretty. This afternoon, LightSail sent home pieces of two images taken by one of the spacecraft's onboard cameras.

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A (very) few more details on Pluto

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/01 04:09 CDT | 9 comments

Last week the New Horizons mission released a few new processed versions of their latest and greatest images of Pluto. They're the best images of Pluto that Earth has ever seen, but they're still a long way from what New Horizons will be able to show us, six weeks from now.

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Lonny Baker: An Appreciation

Posted by Tom Kemp on 2015/06/01 01:44 CDT

Global Volunteer Coordinator Tom Kemp pays a heartfelt tribute to The Planetary Society's first Global Volunteer Leader, Lonny Baker.

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LightSail Team Prepares for Sail Deployment

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/05/30 11:08 CDT | 8 comments

LightSail is almost ready for its moment in the sun. Mission managers are preparing for a manual solar sail deployment this week.

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