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LightSail Completes Testing, Announcement Expected in January

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/12 10:19 CST | 1 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail spacecraft successfully completed testing to prepare it for a possible 2015 test flight.

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New Churyumov-Gerasimenko Shapemodel!

Posted by Mattias Malmer on 2014/12/12 09:00 CST | 1 comments

Mattias Malmer shares his latest shape model of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, created using data from the Rosetta spacecraft.

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NASA's Budget Increase Is A Step Closer to Reality
The House of Representatives passes the 2015 "CRomnibus" spending bill

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/12/12 01:23 CST | 4 comments

By a narrow vote, the House of Representatives passed the 2015 'CRomnibus' spending bill, which includes an increase to NASA and its Planetary Science Division. It now moves on to the Senate.

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Brief Venus Express update: Not quite dead yet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/11 07:06 CST | 1 comments

Venus Express is still alive and talking to Earth, but may fall into Venus' atmosphere in January.

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The YORP Effect and Bennu

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/12/11 05:48 CST

The YORP effect is a phenomenon that affects the rotation rate and pole orientation of an asteroid. YORP is an acronym that combines four scientist’s names: Yarkovsky, O’Keefe, Radzievskii, and Paddack.

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InSight assembly begins

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/11 10:31 CST

NASA's next Mars lander is becoming real, now under construction at Lockheed Martin.

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Book Review: “The Art of Space: The History of Space Art, From the Earliest Visions to the Graphics of the Modern Era”

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2014/12/11 10:23 CST | 1 comments

Mat Kaplan reviews a comprehensive new collection of historic and modern space art from author and superb space artist Ron Miller.

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Revisiting Uranus with Voyager 2

Posted by Björn Jónsson on 2014/12/10 10:44 CST | 2 comments

Amateur image processor Björn Jónsson brings us some new views of Uranus from reprocessed Voyager 2 data.

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[Updated] The CRomnibus Comes Through for NASA and Planetary Science
Final 2015 budget bill would increase funding

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/12/10 03:24 CST | 7 comments

The U.S. budget cycle for fiscal year 2015 is coming to an end. Should Congress pass the so-called CRomnibus bill as-is, NASA would see its highest funding level since 2011 and a great increase to its Planetary Science Division.

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China plans a Mars rover and orbiter for 2020 launch opportunity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/09 10:44 CST | 3 comments

China is moving forward with plans to launch an orbiter and rover to Mars in the 2020 launch opportunity. The Mars program also includes plans for sample return in 2030.

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First Look Photographs of Orion's Return to Dry Land

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/09 10:41 CST | 1 comments

NASA's Orion spacecraft is back on dry land following its offloading from the USS Anchorage late Monday night. Here are some selected photographs by Kevin Baird.

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What Happens When Space Projects Go Over Budget? The Curious Case of MSL’s Overrun

Posted by Jason Callahan on 2014/12/08 04:44 CST | 1 comments

Jason Callahan takes a detailed look at the effects of Curiosity's cost overruns on NASA's budget.

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New Views of Ancient Martian Landscapes

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/12/08 11:21 CST | 5 comments

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter just keeps delivering remarkable scenes from the Red Planet.

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Onward! The Planetary Society's Strategic Plan through 2017

Posted by Jennifer Vaughn on 2014/12/06 08:15 CST | 8 comments

As 2014 comes to a close, The Planetary Society steps into our 35th anniversary year with a new strategic plan.

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Ceres is round!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/05 02:44 CST | 3 comments

Okay, so the fact that Ceres is round is not news. It's still thrilling to see Ceres begin to come into focus as a round world.

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Orion Returns to Earth after Successful Test Flight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/05 07:46 CST

NASA’s Orion spacecraft returned safely to Earth this morning after what looked like a flawless four hour, 24-minute test flight.

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In Pictures: Orion's Scrub, from the Vehicle Assembly Building

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/04 12:27 CST

Here are some scenes from launch day, shot from the unique perspective of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

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Orion Scrub Report: Sticky Hydrogen Valves

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/04 12:13 CST

Windy weather and stuck liquid hydrogen valves forced a one-day delay of the maiden voyage of NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

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The New Horizons science mission to the Pluto-Charon system is about to begin

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/03 07:40 CST | 7 comments

It's been a long journey, but it's nearly over: New Horizons is just about ready to begin its science mission to Pluto, Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. I'll remind you of New Horizons' capabilities and simulate how Pluto will appear in optical navigation images.

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Orion L-1 Report: Go for Launch

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/03 02:53 CST

The stage is set for NASA’s Orion spacecraft to launch on a two-orbit, four-hour shakedown cruise tomorrow morning. Patrick Air Force Base’s 45th Weather Squadron changed their forecast of an on-time launch to 70 percent—up from the 40 percent chances that marked the start of the week.

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