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How Science Informs Art

Jodie Utter • April 27, 2012

A paper conservator at an art museum explains how scientific analysis of artworks using different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum is informing understanding of how the artists worked, and how the appearance of their pantings has changed with time.

Swirly lava patterns in beautiful HiRISE images

Emily Lakdawalla • April 26, 2012

In a channel near a pedestal crater on the plains of Cerberus Palus, Mars, there are wacky swirl patterns.

Welcome to the new planetary.org!

Emily Lakdawalla • April 25, 2012

Welcome to the Planetary Society's new website! What you're looking at right now is the result of months of continuous effort by the very small Web team here at the Society. Our goal was to create a new home for the Planetary Society on the Internet that reflects the way things have changed since our last redesign: changes in the Planetary Society, changes in space exploration, and changes in the way the Internet functions.

Planets around Alpha Centauri?

Bruce Betts • April 24, 2012

Do planets circle our closest stellar neighbors, the system loved by science fiction: Alpha Centauri? We don’t know. But, Debra Fischer, Julien Spronck, and their colleagues at Yale University, in part with Planetary Society support, are trying to find out.

Website Launch

Bill Nye • April 23, 2012

As someone living on Earth here at the start of the 21st Century, you and I are able to communicate with more people than any humans before us, ever– since the beginning of time. So, welcome planetary surfers from all over our world. Our new site makes it easier for you and me to be in touch, and especially for you to be in touch with our growing community of space enthusiasts, buddies, colleagues, new acquaintances, and button-wearing Space Geeks®.

Cartoon: Voyager's ongoing adventures

Emily Lakdawalla • April 23, 2012

I'm not sure what to make of this YouTube cartoon about Voyager, except to say that it's simultaneously heart-wrenching, funny, and adorable.

Ski Helene?

Emily Lakdawalla • April 20, 2012

I enthused about these Helene images the first time they came down from Cassini, and then forgot about them, and then was thrilled anew a couple of weeks ago when Daniel Macháček posted his version, processed from data published by the Cassini imaging team on April 1.

Cheat sheets for Vesta's craters and Dawn's Vesta timeline

Emily Lakdawalla • April 19, 2012

I made myself a cheat sheet to many of Vesta's distinctive-looking craters, and also wrote down a list of the major dates in the timeline of Dawn's exploration of Vesta.

Pioneer Anomaly Solved!

Bruce Betts • April 19, 2012

With the latest piece of the puzzle just published in a scientific journal, a solar system mystery that has perplexed people for more than 20 years has been solved, truly thanks to the support of Planetary Society members.

JUICE: Europe's next mission to Jupiter?

Emily Lakdawalla • April 18, 2012

The Twitterverse is buzzing this morning with news that the Science Programme Committee of the European Space Agency has recommended that the next large European mission be JUICE, a mission to explore the three icy Galilean satellites and eventually to orbit Ganymede.

Planetary Radio: Taking Back the Night

Mat Kaplan • April 17, 2012

Planetary Radio for April 16, 2012 features an interview with Scott Kardel of the International Dark Sky Association.

SpaceX Dragon flight to ISS draws near

Jason Davis • April 16, 2012

SpaceX and NASA have completed a successful flight readiness review (FRR) for the Dragon's upcoming visit to the International Space Station.

MESSENGER Mission Update: First burn performed to lower extended mission altitude

Emily Lakdawalla • April 16, 2012

The MESSENGER mission just issued a press release announcing that they have completed the first step in the two-step process of lowering the spacecraft's orbit around Mercury.

Test Your Planetary Knowledge and Learn More

Bruce Betts • April 16, 2012

If you want to test your planetary knowledge, or just have a masochistic love of tests, I’ve posted the midterm I’ve given to my students in my online Introductory Astronomy and Planetary Science class at California State University Dominguez Hills.

Pretty pictures from Cassini's weekend flybys of Enceladus and Tethys

Emily Lakdawalla • April 16, 2012

Cassini flew past both Enceladus and Tethys on April 14. Here's a cool animation of its approach to Enceladus' plumes, and a pretty global picture of Tethys.

NASA collects round three of CCDev proposals

Jason Davis • April 13, 2012

NASA is soliciting a third round of proposals from private spaceflight companies looking to send astronauts to the International Space Station.

Of inclinations and azimuths

Jason Davis • April 11, 2012

A classified U.S. military satellite recently launched into an orbital inclination of 123 degrees. What makes this trajectory so unique? Pondering the answer affords the opportunity to learn some deceptively tricky concepts about the nature of all spacecraft orbits.

Pretty Pictures: Amazing Asteroid Lutetia

Emily Lakdawalla • April 10, 2012

A long-awaited data set is finally public (well, long-awaited by me, at least). The Rosetta team has now published their data from the July 10, 2010 flyby of asteroid (21) Lutetia. This data set is absolutely stunning, and my friends in the amateur image processing community wasted no time in creating art out of it.

A call to action

Paul Hayne • April 09, 2012

Paul Hayne, representing the Facebook group "Young Scientists for Planetary Exploration," urges you to take action to support NASA in the budget debate.

A Turning Point at Mars

Jim Bell • April 09, 2012

Today, NASA's highly-successful robotic solar system exploration program, and the Mars exploration program in particular, is on the brink of a major turning point.

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