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Blog Archive

 

On Station's 15th Anniversary, A Look at Astronaut Utilization

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/11/04 11:47 CST

An analysis by The Planetary Society shows that in the post-space shuttle era, NASA astronauts spend roughly 33 percent less time aboard the International Space Station than their Russian counterparts.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Hits Winter Slopes at Marathon Valley
Sols 4155-4184

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/11/04 07:00 CST

Opportunity hit the slopes of her seventh winter haven on the south side of Marathon Valley in October as the mission entered the 130th month of what was initially slated to be a 90-day tour.

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The round worlds in the solar system: An updated graphic

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/11/02 04:06 CST | 9 comments

I have a newly updated scale comparison graphic to share: all the round worlds in the solar system smaller than 10,000 kilometers in diameter, now with added Pluto, Charon, and Ceres.

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A Roundup of Dust Devil Research

Posted by Ralph Lorenz on 2015/11/02 07:23 CST

Planetary scientist Ralph Lorenz briefs us on the current state of our knowledge on dust devils on Earth and Mars.

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Dawn Journal: A Bounty of Data

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2015/10/30 08:22 CDT | 16 comments

Dawn has completed another successful campaign to acquire a wealth of data in its exploration of dwarf planet Ceres, providing our clearest and most complete view ever of this world.

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Journey to Space

Posted by Andrew Pauly on 2015/10/30 04:24 CDT

Members of The Planetary Society staff visit the new "Journey to Space" exhibit at the California Science Center in all its wonder.

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Mastcam-Z: The Future of Stereo Imaging on Mars

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2015/10/29 06:24 CDT

An introduction to the Mastcam-Z stereo imager on the Mars 2020 rover, and brief reporting and reflections on team meetings, science instruments, and the exciting future of The Planetary Society covering the entire lifetime of this instrument, from design to Mars images.

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At Mars Workshop, Science and Human Spaceflight Find Common Ground

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/10/29 11:33 CDT | 2 comments

An update from NASA’s First Human Landing Sites/Exploration Zones on Mars Workshop at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas.

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A New Budget Deal and a Best Case NASA Budget for 2016
What if everybody wins?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/10/28 05:03 CDT | 1 comments

The promise of a congressional budget deal could free up additional resources for NASA. What would a best case scenario look like, and is it possible within the deal?

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New Concepts to Explore the Jovian System

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/10/28 08:04 CDT | 2 comments

Last year, NASA’s managers invited the European Space Agency to propose a small spacecraft to explore the Jovian system. Van Kane describes the recently-posted results of ESA's concept studies for two possible missions.

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Where Should Humans Land on Mars? Workshop to Discuss Possibilities

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/10/27 10:30 CDT | 21 comments

This week in Houston, Texas, scientists are gathering to discuss where humans should first land and explore on the surface of Mars.

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LightSail Deployer Passes Prox-1 Fit Check

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/10/26 05:03 CDT

At Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo engineers loaded a P-POD replica into the partially assembled frame of the Prox-1 spacecraft. The meetup was a fit check to make sure the two pieces of hardware fit together as designed.

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Why Return to the Columbia Hills?

Posted by Alex Longo on 2015/10/23 01:06 CDT | 10 comments

Where should NASA’s next Mars rover, the Mars 2020 sample caching mission, land? One site under consideration is Spirit's old stomping ground, the Columbia Hills.

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Dawn data from Ceres publicly released: Finally, color global portraits!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/10/22 03:24 CDT | 5 comments

A few days ago, Dawn officially released the first big pile of data from the Ceres mission phase. Thanks to the public release, I can show you color global portraits of Ceres.

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SLS Sheds White Paint, Completes Critical Design Review

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/10/22 01:06 CDT | 7 comments

NASA's Space Launch System officially shed the core stage's white paint job in favor of the vehicle's natural, orange-colored insulation.

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Preparing for the Journey to the Moon, Mars and Beyond

Posted by Deepak Dhingra on 2015/10/21 10:03 CDT | 1 comments

Deepak Dhingra reports on a planetary analog field trip exploring a very young volcanic terrain in Idaho at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

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Enhanced Cygnus Arrives at KSC ahead of Atlas V-powered Cargo Run

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/10/20 12:37 CDT | 2 comments

Orbital ATK is a month-and-a-half away from resuming cargo runs to the International Space Station.

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President Obama Highlights Planetary Science Triumphs
But 2016 budget cuts the program by nearly $80 million

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/10/19 07:12 CDT | 4 comments

At the White House Astronomy Night, President Obama highlighted some of the major triumphs of NASA and its planetary science program. Yet his 2016 budget calls for further cuts to the program.

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Zero Dollars for 2016: Two Stalwart Planetary Missions Face a Troubling Future

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/10/19 10:28 CDT | 7 comments

In its 2016 budget request, the White House inexplicably proposed to end two active, scientifically productive planetary missions: the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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Filling in the Enceladus map: Cassini's 20th flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/10/16 06:19 CDT | 7 comments

A couple of days ago, Cassini flew past Enceladus for its 20th targeted encounter. Cassini has seen and photographed quite a lot of Enceladus before, but there's still new terrain for it to cover.

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