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Land ho!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/11 12:23 CDT

It's hard to convey just how excited I am to see Dawn's first image of asteroid Vesta.

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Day 2: Planetary Defense conference in Bucharest, Romania

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/05/10 05:59 CDT

One nice thing about the Planetary Defense conference is that I not only get to talk with the NEO community of experts all in one place and hear their new science, but I also get updates on projects the Planetary Society has funded.

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Why haven't we found evidence for life starting in asteroids?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/10 01:51 CDT

Here's a theoretical paper that asks an interesting question: When the solar system was very young and still very hot, could medium-sized asteroids have been habitable abodes for life?

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Bruce Betts reports from the Planetary Defense Conference in Romania

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/05/09 05:00 CDT

It's time once again to hang out with a bunch of professionals in a foreign land and talk about saving the world.

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A rare direct hit from a meteorite

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/09 12:21 CDT

Meteorites hit Earth all the time, but they almost never score direct hits on human-built structures (or humans, for that matter). Once in a while, though, direct hits do happen, and it looks like this recent event in Poland was the real thing.

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We Roasted and We Toasted...

Posted by Bill Nye on 2011/05/05 02:32 CDT

Last Saturday, April 30, 2011, the Planetary Society roasted and toasted Lou Friedman -- our cofounder and retiring Executive Director.

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Book reviews: T Minus and Laika

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/05 11:30 CDT

I recently read two graphic novels exploring the early history of spaceflight, and I'd like to recommend both for summer reading. Although the two overlap in time, they couldn't be much more different.

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Familiar yet alien ancient views of Earth

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/04 01:29 CDT

I have always found maps of the motions of Earth's continents fascinating, so it is really cool to see some gorgeous new reconstructions of what Earth would have looked like to spaceborne observers over the last 750 million years.

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Dawn's Vesta phase timeline, a summary

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/03 01:18 CDT

Now that Dawn has finally begun its science mission at Vesta, I thought it'd be useful to go back through Marc Rayman's Dawn Journals to collect a summary of the plans for Vesta.

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Dawn Journal: On the threshold of a new world

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/05/03 01:13 CDT

Dawn is on the threshold of a new world. After more than three and a half years of interplanetary travel covering in excess of 2.6 billion kilometers (1.6 billion miles), we are closing in on our first destination. Dawn is starting its approach to Vesta.

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Memo to early risers: Look up!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/02 11:46 CDT

There is a traffic jam of planets on the eastern horizon in the early morning right now and for the next several weeks, a prize for those of you who have to rise before dawn.

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The scale of our solar system

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/02 11:26 CDT

Space.com has taken advantage of the infinitely scrollable nature of Web pages to produce a really cool infographic on the scales of orbital distances in the solar system.

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