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Follow along: Expedition 47 crew launches to International Space Station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/18 12:05 CDT | 2 comments

Follow along with The Planetary Society as the crew of Expedition 47 launches to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for 5:26 p.m. EDT (21:26 UTC); docking and hatch opening starts six hours later.

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Expedition 47 preview: Astronaut Jeff Williams' career spans history of ISS

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/17 06:30 CDT

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams embarks on his fourth trip to the ISS tomorrow. He launches aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur with cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka at 5:26 p.m. EDT (21:26 UTC).

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Looking Forward to the 2016 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/16 12:23 CDT | 2 comments

If it's March, it's time for LPSC, the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. The 2016 LPSC runs from March 21 to 25; I'll be attending the first three days of it.

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Dinosaurs & Space— and Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Planets: These are a Few of Our Favorite Things

Posted by Bill Nye on 2016/03/15 12:37 CDT | 2 comments

One of my favorite times of the year is upon us: the national conference of the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA). For the last couple of—er… decades, I’ve given lectures at this conference to support science teachers and find out what’s on their minds this school year.

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ExoMars launch successful! What to expect for the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli missions

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/14 04:30 CDT | 1 comments

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander are safely on their way to Mars! The two lifted off at 9:31 UTC today, March 14, 2016. Orbiter and lander will arrive at Mars on October 19 at approximately 16:00 UTC. The lander is expected to last about 3 days. The orbiter will spend a year aerobraking before beginning its science mission.

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Rulers in space! LightSail 2 equipped with boom fiducials

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/14 06:01 CDT | 2 comments

How will we tell if LightSail 2's booms are fully deployed? With fiducials—visual reference guides that feature our signature Planetary Society logo.

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Approaching Neptune

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/11 12:17 CST | 2 comments

Image processing enthusiast Ian Regan is working on a cool new version of the Voyager 2 Neptune approach movie.

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First SLS flight engine test goes the distance in Mississippi

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/10 04:14 CST | 1 comments

A rocket engine that once blasted space shuttles into orbit was test-fired today in Mississippi, in preparation for its upcoming duty launching an astronaut crew to the moon.

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ExoMars: Prepare for launch!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/10 10:28 CST | 5 comments

ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander are in the final preparations for a launch as early as Monday, toward an October 2016 Mars orbit insertion and landing in Meridiani Planum. Launch on a Proton rocket is expected at 09:31:42 UT Monday, March 14. A Breeze-M upper stage will send the spacecraft on to Mars, with separation at 20:13 UT.

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InSight has a new launch date: May 5, 2018

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/09 03:41 CST

NASA has decided to move forward with the InSight mission after its delay last December, setting a new launch date of May 5, 2018. That will put the landing on Mars on November 26, 2018. In order to launch in two years, one of its two science instruments must be redesigned.

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Veteran space shuttle engine to be test-fired for SLS in Mississippi

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/09 01:30 CST

An veteran engine from the space shuttle program will be test-fired tomorrow at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, kicking off the next round of Space Launch System flight preparations.

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A Sunset on Mars: Crafting a scene from archival data

Posted by Justin Cowart on 2016/03/08 01:30 CST | 2 comments

Ever wanted to stand on Mars and watch a sunset? Unfortunately for many of us, it will never be something that we get to experience in person. But thanks to our robotic emissaries on Mars, and some careful processing of images from NASA's Planetary Data System, we can get a sense of what it’s like.

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"Planet Nine" update: Possible resonances beyond the Kuiper belt?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/08 11:34 CST | 26 comments

A new paper by Renu Malhotra proposes that an undiscovered distant planet could have organized extremely distant Kuiper belt objects into orbital resonances.

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SpaceX drops satellite into high orbit but misses difficult booster landing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/04 06:52 CST | 1 comments

SpaceX overcame high propellant temperatures, a boat too close to the launch pad, and pesky weather to launch a communications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit this evening.

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Mars Express VMC is back online

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/04 12:48 CST

Mars Express' Visual Monitoring Camera is taking photos again! The camera was turned on for the first time in six months on Leap Day to take some lovely photos of Mars.

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Continuing the Hunt for Exoplanets

Posted by Meg Schwamb on 2016/03/04 10:04 CST | 6 comments

Meg Schwamb highlights some of the upcoming space-based missions that will search for planets beyond our solar system.

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A tribute to Scott Kelly, astronaut and human being

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/04 06:31 CST | 3 comments

Thanks to social media, we get to know individual astronauts better than we have at any other time in the history of spaceflight.

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OSIRIS-REx Passes EMI/EMC Testing

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2016/03/03 08:00 CST

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has completed the Electromagnetic Interference/Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMI/EMC) system level test.

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MENCA brings divine wealth from Mars: First science results from the Mars Orbiter Mission

Posted by Syed Maqbool Ahmed on 2016/03/02 08:00 CST | 3 comments

MENCA (Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser) is a quadrupole mass spectrometer onboard India's Mars Orbiter Mission, MOM. A report on measurements of neutral species accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters is the first peer-reviewed scientific result from the mission.

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One-year crew all smiles after safe landing in Kazakhstan

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/01 11:44 CST

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are safely back on Earth today after 340 days in space. The one-year crew duo, along with Sergey Volkov, touched down in Kazahkstan Wednesday morning.

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