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Curiosity update, sols 570-583: Arrival at Kimberley and preparation for an arm workout

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/28 03:00 CDT | 3 comments

Some arm faults caused delays on Curiosity's approach to Kimberley, but the rover is now parked at its north edge, examining the "striated unit" up close with arm-mounted instruments.

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Returning Explorers

Posted by Achim Vollhardt on 2014/03/28 01:25 CDT | 3 comments

ICE has been on a journey for over 30 years around our sun. While the owner has decided not to bring the ship back to its home port, a group of radio amateurs tries to find out how ICE is doing.

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The Passing of Warren Ashley
CSUDH Distance Learning Pioneer and Planetary Society Partner

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/03/27 12:43 CDT

Warren Ashley, pioneer of distance learning at CSUDH, passed away March 21, 2014. His idea led to the partnership between CSUDH and The Planetary Society to produce an online Introductory Astronomy course.

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A Report from the First Hearing on the 2015 NASA Budget
The House Space Subcommittee Gets First Crack at the President's Budget

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/03/27 12:07 CDT | 4 comments

An animated NASA Administrator defended the commercial crew program as the fastest way to return to American access to low-Earth orbit in a hearing before the House Space Subcommittee today.

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Hangout on Air: Why yesterday was a good day for Solar System Science

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/27 11:52 CDT

On Wednesday, March 26, two important discoveries in the outer solar system were announced: the discovery of the second confirmed member of the Inner Oort Cloud (2012 VP113) and the discovery of rings around the planetesimal Chariklo. In a Hangout on Air, a rag-tag group of planetary scientists and astronomers active on Twitter talked about the discoveries.

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Comet spotted! Rosetta's first sight of Churymov-Gerasimenko since wakeup

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/27 09:58 CDT | 2 comments

Rosetta has turned on its cameras and sighted its comet for the first time since waking from hibernation. Next activity: waking the Philae lander.

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A Centaur’s shadow reveals bright rings

Posted by Alex Parker on 2014/03/27 09:28 CDT | 7 comments

Yesterday, a team of astronomers announced that they discovered a set of planet-like rings around Chariklo, an asteroid-like body that currently resides in the unstable region between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus.

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The NASA Budget: What Next
We're just getting started

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/03/26 05:27 CDT | 5 comments

Now that the White House has released its 2015 NASA budget proposal, what happens next? What can you do to help?

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A second Sedna! What does it mean?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/26 04:28 CDT | 9 comments

2012 VP113 is a new world that has been discovered on a Sedna-like orbit. What does that mean? It could imply the existence of a planet X, but doesn't prove it. It does suggest that a lot more Sednas are waiting to be discovered.

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Snapshots of Science from the 2014 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/25 02:45 CDT | 2 comments

Vignettes from dozens of LPSC talks: GRAIL and LADEE at the Moon; ice and craters and conglomerates and organics and gullies on Mars; polar deposits and volatile elements on Mercury; tectonics on Enceladus; and more, until my brain was so full I could barely speak.

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Are you interested in changing the world? Jobs open at The Planetary Society

Posted by Bill Nye on 2014/03/25 08:31 CDT | 4 comments

You may have heard or read that the Planetary Society recently received the largest gift in its history. It will revolutionize the Society. In the next few weeks will be able to hire a number of new people, who will help us realize our potential and, as I so often remark, change the world.

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Detecting Spacetime Distortions

Posted by Katherine Mack on 2014/03/25 08:17 CDT | 4 comments

Katie Mack explains why the BICEP2 detection of primordial gravitational waves has left astrophysicists at a loss for words.

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Dancing With Saturn

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/03/24 09:30 CDT | 5 comments

Cassini images in motion.

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Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: Ya gotta have a little ‘tude

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/03/24 03:44 CDT

In the latest update on how the Mars Express flight control team is planning to deal with Comet Siding Spring is all about attitude -- and hiding behind the biggest guy in the fight.

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Further Analysis of NASA's FY15 Budget Proposal: Steady As She Goes?

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/03/22 10:23 CDT

The President’s proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget details were released last week. For the next several years, the budget proposes a steady as she goes plan, but with two “what are they thinking?” surprises.

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Calling Congress Is Easy

Posted by Kirby Runyon on 2014/03/21 07:38 CDT | 3 comments

Calling your senators and representatives about NASA's budget isn't that bad. In fact, I just took 15 minutes out of my day to do it! If you're not sure what to say to support planetary exploration, I hope you'll be inspired by what I've transcribed from my phone call this afternoon.

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LPSC 2014: Water on...Vesta?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/21 04:03 CDT | 3 comments

At the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Jennifer Scully discussed possible water-carved gullies in an unusual location: within craters on Vesta. Water-carved gullies on Mars I can accept; but on an airless lumpy body? I was intrigued.

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Intro Astronomy Class 7: Near Earth Asteroids and the Jupiter System

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/03/21 02:10 CDT

Examine the threat of near Earth asteroids and begin exploring the Jupiter System in this video of class 7 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Shining Up A Telescope

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/03/21 11:50 CDT

A 0.81m telescope in northern Italy is well on its way to being wide eyed and shiny thanks to a 2013 Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO Grant, which will enable it to make better near Earth object observations to help protect our planet from asteroid impact.

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ICE/ISEE-3 update: Amateurs detect its signal while professionals study contacting it

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/20 10:12 CDT | 7 comments

Since the last time I reported on ICE/ISEE-3, there have been several developments. Its signal has been detected by several Earth-based observers, and there is now some (though slight) hope of reestablishing command over the spacecraft.

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