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Intro Astronomy Class 4: Eclipses, Mercury, Venus-Earth-Mars Atmospheres, Venus

Bruce Betts • February 28, 2014

This video of class 4 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class discusses eclipses, Mercury, Venus, and a comparison of the atmospheres of Venus, Earth, and Mars.

Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: Why orienting Mars Express is the heart of the challenge

ESA Mars Express Team • February 28, 2014

Today's post continues where we started last week with an update from the Mars Express Flight Control Team at ESOC on their preparations for the 19 October Comet Siding Springs flyby. Today: defining the challenge!

Reflecting on NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission, launching today

J. Marshall Shepherd • February 27, 2014

Former deputy project scientist and current science team member J. Marshall Shepherd tells us why missions like NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) are vital to our way of life.

Pretty pictures of terraced craters on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • February 27, 2014

Check out this unusual crater on Mars. It's not a very big one, less than 500 meters in diameter, and yet it has two rings. Most craters on Mars this size are simple bowl shapes. What's going on here?

Mars Express team readies for Siding Spring

ESA Mars Express Team • February 26, 2014

On Sunday, 19 October 2014, at around 18:30 UTC, comet C/2013 A1 – known widely as 'Siding Spring' after the Australian observatory where it was discovered in January 2013 – will make a close fly-by of Mars.

A little fun with Cassini rings images

Emily Lakdawalla • February 25, 2014

It's happened again; I went into the Cassini image archive looking for something specific and wound up spending several hours playing with totally unrelated image data. Here are several beautiful images of the rings from the archives.

Field Report From Mars: Sol 3572 – February 10, 2014

Larry Crumpler • February 25, 2014

Opportunity is still exploring an outcrop high up on Murray Ridge as the winter solstice on Mars approaches. At this location the tilts are good, so Opportunity is getting excellent solar input on its solar panels.

Field Report From Mars: Sol 3556 – January 24, 2014

Larry Crumpler • February 25, 2014

Today is the tenth anniversary of Opportunity's landing on Mars. Here at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, we just opened a tenth anniversary exhibit.

Field Report From Mars: Sol 3519 - December 18, 2013

Larry Crumpler • February 25, 2014

Opportunity arrived at the location that has been the target of all this climbing since late last (Earth) summer. We will settle in for some detailed work on the outcrop here since this appears to be something different from the impact breccias that we have been seeing along the ridge crest.

Sunset on Chang'e 3's third lunar day: Yutu not dead yet, but not moving either

Emily Lakdawalla • February 24, 2014

During the third lunar day of Change'3 surface operations the lander operated normally, performing ultraviolet astronomy and imaging Earth's plasmasphere. The rover's instruments were working, but the rover did not move.

A Spin Through the Inner Solar System

Bill Dunford • February 24, 2014

Animated maps of the planets show the spheres in motion.

Intro Astronomy Class 3: Telescopes, the Moon

Bruce Betts • February 21, 2014

Explore optical, radio, and space telescopes and the Moon in the video of class 3 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

Sand Waves in the Desert

Lori Fenton • February 21, 2014

I have a pet peeve: the words dune and ripple are often used interchangeably, although they are quite distinct from one another. So what’s the difference between aeolian dunes and ripples? And why should anybody care?

Curiosity update, sols 540-8: New rules and longer drives

Emily Lakdawalla • February 20, 2014

Curiosity has tested a new driving mode -- backwards -- and achieved their longest single-day drive in three months. And they've committed to driving to the spot formerly known as "KMS-9," marking that commitment by giving it a name, "Kimberley." My route maps show you why Curiosity's views will be shifting, and Ken Herkenhoff's blog posts explain the daily activities.

Predicting Pluto's moons and moondust

Emily Lakdawalla • February 19, 2014

Why didn't we discover Pluto's moons until more than a decade after Hubble launched? Mark Showalter helps me answer this question.

Mission to a Metallic World: A Discovery Proposal to Fly to the Asteroid Psyche

Van Kane • February 19, 2014

Imagine flying deep within the asteroid belt to study the most unreachable location in the solar system: the deep core of a terrestrial world.

Intro Astronomy Class 2: How We Explore Space

Bruce Betts • February 18, 2014

Learn easy things to look for in the night sky, and about the electromagnetic spectrum from gamma rays to radio waves in the video of class 2 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

What are Mercury's hollows?

Emily Lakdawalla • February 18, 2014

I've been fascinated by Mercury's hollows ever since MESSENGER discovered them. Two recent papers look at where they are found to try to figure out how they form.

Missions to a Star

Bill Dunford • February 17, 2014

Upcoming deep space missions will venture right to the heart of the Solar System.

Bringing Orion Home: How the U.S. Navy will pluck our future astronauts from the sea

Jason Davis • February 14, 2014

When our future astronauts splash down into the Pacific Ocean aboard an Orion capsule, Mike Generale, NASA, and the U.S. Navy will be waiting for them.

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