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Dawn journal: Vesta's mountains, gorges and craters

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/01/31 06:09 CST | 1 comment

As Dawn continues thrusting toward Ceres, Marc takes a look back at the intrepid spacecraft's discoveries.

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One of my favorite space images of all time: Rosetta was here

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/31 04:58 CST | 10 comments

A conversation on Twitter today reminded me of this photo, which is one of my all-time favorite space images: the view from Rosetta during its Mars flyby.

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Planetary Society Weekly Hangout, Thu Jan 31 1200PT/2000UT: Sarah Noble on lunar science and working for NASA HQ

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/31 02:00 CST

We welcomed Sarah Noble to our weekly Google+ Hangout. Sarah is a lunar geologist and a civil servant working in the Research & Analysis program at NASA Headquarters, and has recently been named Program Scientist for the LADEE lunar mission.

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Enceladus: A problem of contrast

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/30 07:00 CST | 6 comments

Time for my quarterly foray into the Cassini archival science data! The very first image I downloaded from the January 1, 2013 data release presented an interesting challenge to my image processing skill. I'll show you the pretty picture of Enceladus and then explain how I processed it.

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Scientists: Register to be a Lunar and Planetary Science Conference Microblogger!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/30 01:20 CST

Hey planetary scientists! Many of you know that the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) is a great meeting in a venue that is perfect except for one thing: Internet access is positively lousy. So I'm really excited that a solution that I advocated to conference organizers is being adopted.

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Curiosity update, sol 171: Placing the drill

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/29 11:11 CST | 1 comment

They're getting closer and closer to drilling. Curiosity now seems to be positioned in the spot where they plan to be when they execute that long-awaited first drill.

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A New Statement on NASA's 2020 Rover Mission
A collaborative effort with various scientific organizations to emphasize a balanced program of exploration

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/01/29 06:15 CST | 3 comments

The Planetary Society remains committed to a balanced program of solar system exploration, with Mars, outer planets, and small missions all playing an important part.

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Up Is the New Up
The European Space Agency's Budget Gets an Increase

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/01/28 12:34 CST | 1 comment

The European Space Agency will enjoy a 6.5% increase in funding this year, reports SpaceNews.

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Weather Report: Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/01/28 10:00 CST | 5 comments

Just like on Earth, clouds and storms often ripple through the Martian atmosphere. You can even check the daily weather report.

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Kuiper Belt Objects Submitted to Minor Planet Center

Posted by Alex Parker on 2013/01/25 03:30 CST | 2 comments

Recently, several of the Kuiper Belt Objects our team has discovered while searching for New Horizons post-Pluto flyby candidates have been submitted to the Minor Planet Center (the organization responsible for designating minor bodies in the solar system) and their orbital information is now in the public domain.

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Advocacy Update: The Society Traveled to Washington
We continue the push to restore funding for Planetary Science at NASA

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/01/25 02:16 CST | 3 comments

The Planetary Society makes another visit to Capitol Hill to advocate for Planetary Science funding at NASA.

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"Sand" means something different to me than it does to you, probably

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/24 01:28 CST | 2 comments

I had one of those "A-ha" moments last week where I suddenly realized that I had run afoul of a common problem in science communication: when the words I'm using mean something different to me than they do to almost everyone I'm talking to. The confusing word of the week: "sand."

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Planetary Society Hangout: Jan 24th, 2013 - Hunting Asteroids with Gary Hug
Thursday at noon PST/3pm EST/20:00 UT

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/01/24 12:00 CST

Gary Hug is an asteroid hunter. He scans the skies every night looking for new near-Earth objects and refining orbital measurements for existing ones. Join Casey Dreier and Dr. Bruce Betts as they interview Gary Hug about his work and his recent discovery of a new NEO on January 7th.

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Hey look, I'm a cartoon!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/24 10:21 CST | 3 comments

Zach Weiner's new collection of geekily awkwardly smart web comics will include a story I contributed!

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Introducing PlanetFour

Posted by Ganna (Anya) Portyankina on 2013/01/23 11:51 CST | 3 comments

The Mars I study is really active; the surface constantly changes. We have collected a lot of image data about changing seasonal features near the south pole. There is so much that we can't analyze all of it on our own. We need your help, through a new Zooniverse project named PlanetFour.

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Voyager 1 revisited: Io and Europa transiting Jupiter

Posted by Björn Jónsson on 2013/01/22 06:04 CST

What is the highest resolution global Jupiter mosaic that includes a satellite transit that can be assembled from Voyager images? Satellite transits are especially beautiful when the resolution is high enough for some details to be visible on the satellites so I decided to check this. And I was remarkably lucky.

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Stars, and stars, and stars: pretty pictures from the European Southern Observatory

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/21 03:39 CST | 4 comments

My solar system chauvinism is well-established, but I am as much a sucker for beautiful astrophotos as the rest of you. Once in a while I get a media advisory from the European Southern Observatory about a new pretty picture posted on their website, and then I inevitably lose an hour following links to one stunner after another.

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More Chang'E 2 Toutatis flyby images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/20 09:52 CST | 6 comments

Last week at a meeting of NASA's Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG), Han Li of the Chinese Academy of Sciences gave a lengthy presentation on Chang'E 2. Her presentation included a new sequence of photos from the December 13 Toutatis flyby.

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The Planetary Report, volume 32, number 4: The Year in Pictures

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2013/01/18 05:03 CST

For those of you Planetary Society members who like your copy of The Planetary Report served up in pixels, the December Solstice 2012 issue is ready and waiting for you.

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Planetary Society Hangout: Jan 17th, 2013 - Drilling on Mars with Joel Hurowitz
Thursday, Jan 17th, at noon PST/2000 UT

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/01/17 02:00 CST | 3 comments

Join Emily Lakdawalla and Joel Hurowitz of the MSL Curiosity sample acquisition team to talk about the upcoming "first drill" by the martian rover.

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