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India's Mars Orbiter Mission update: six months from launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/21 11:06 CDT | 11 comments

A couple of articles on India's Mars Orbiter Mission were published on the news website The Week yesterday, and they're much more in-depth and insightful than the norm.

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Report from the Starship Century Conference: Monday

Posted by Jon Lomberg on 2013/05/21 10:42 CDT | 11 comments

This week Jon Lomberg is attending the Starship Century conference, which brings together scientists, writers, and futurists to imagine the future of interstellar travel. The organizers are Greg and Jim Benford, and among the attendees are: David Brin, Neal Stephenson, Vernor Vinge, Joe Haldeman, Alan Steele, Geoffrey Landis, Freeman Dyson, Jill Tarter, Paul Davies, Nalaka Gunawardene, and Daniel Richter.

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Planetary Science Echoes Through the Halls of Congress
We traveled to D.C. to advocate for continued planetary exploration at NASA

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/05/21 02:12 CDT | 3 comments

The Planetary Society just returned from a big trip to Washington, D.C. to advocate for continued planetary exploration. Here's what happened.

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Opportunity and Curiosity updates: Rolling and drilling and a little wear on the wheels

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/20 11:27 CDT | 3 comments

For most of April, while Mars scuttled behind the Sun as seen from Earth, both Mars rovers were pretty inactive. Now that conjunction has ended, both are doing what rovers should be doing: roving and exploring. As of sol 3312 Opportunity had moved more than 300 meters southward toward Solander Point, while on her sol 279 Curiosity drilled at a second site, Cumberland.

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Many More Colors than Red: Exploring Mars with Spectroscopy

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/05/20 01:31 CDT | 6 comments

Mars gives up its secrets through the unseen colors of its rocks.

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New Horizons: Encounter Planning Accelerates

Posted by Alan Stern on 2013/05/17 10:18 CDT | 4 comments

Back in 2005 and 2006, when Pluto’s second and third moons (Nix and Hydra) were discovered, searches by astronomers for still more moons didn’t reveal any. So the accidental discovery of Pluto’s fourth moon by the Hubble Space Telescope in mid-2011 raised the possibility that the hazards in the Pluto system might be greater than previously anticipated.

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Speaking engagements next week: Spacefest V and Society for Astronomical Sciences symposium

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/17 02:10 CDT | 4 comments

Next week I'm traveling to speak at two events. Registration is still open for both, so I hope some of you can come. I also have some commentary on women being invited to speak at public events.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3310- May 17, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/05/17 11:27 CDT

Opportunity has finally completed the detailed survey of the outcrops on the Cape York segment of the rim of the 22-km diameter Endeavour crater.

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A serendipitous observation of tiny rocks in Jupiter's orbit by Galileo

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/17 09:54 CDT | 3 comments

A look at an older paper describing Galileo's possible sighting of individual ring particles orbiting Jupiter as companions to its inner moon Amalthea.

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Connecting scientist mentors with students who have the desire to learn

Posted by Caleph Wilson on 2013/05/16 02:38 CDT | 9 comments

Caleph Wilson provides examples and guidance to scientists wishing to mentor students in science, technology, engineering, and math outreach programs.

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Brief update with good news on Kiera Wilmot

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/16 02:38 CDT | 3 comments

Two weeks ago I wrote about Kiera Wilmot, a teen girl who was expelled from her school and charged with two felonies for unsupervised messing around with a chemical reaction on school grounds. Yesterday the Orlando Sentinel reported that no charges are being filed against her, which removes the greatest threat to her future.

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ISIS: Blasting a Crater on Asteroid Bennu

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/05/16 08:00 CDT | 2 comments

An exciting new option to enhance NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid mission has been proposed by Steve Chesley at JPL. The ISIS spacecraft would impact asteroid Bennu to expose its interior structure to OSIRIS-REx.

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NASA Robs Planetary Science
Leaked document shows NASA funding other programs with planetary money

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/05/15 05:04 CDT | 5 comments

NASA's leaked operating plan suggests that the agency is raiding money restored to the planetary program this year by Congress.

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Mimas and Pandora dance

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/15 05:02 CDT | 6 comments

I've been out of town for a couple of days and am overwhelmed with work and an overflowing email box. So what do I do about that? I ignore what I'm supposed to be doing and play with Cassini raw image data, of course. Here is a "mutual event" of Mimas (the bigger moon) and Pandora (the outer shepherd of the F ring).

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Doing a science on Titan

Posted by Sarah Hörst on 2013/05/15 11:55 CDT | 12 comments

A tale from the scientific trenches: laboratory work to simulate Titan's rich atmosphere.

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Soyuz capsule carrying Hadfield and company lands safely in Kazakhstan

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/05/14 11:15 CDT | 2 comments

A Soyuz capsule carrying Roman Romanenko, Chris Hadfield and Tom Marshburn landed safely in Kazhakstan after 146 days in space.

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Dueling Desolations: Mercury vs. the Moon

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/05/13 01:02 CDT | 7 comments

They look so similar they can be hard to tell apart, but each hides its own mysteries.

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Station suffers ammonia leak; Saturday spacewalk likely (rolling updates)

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/05/10 01:25 CDT | 2 comments

Following an ammonia leak reported Thursday morning, NASA is planning a spacewalk to investigate a radiator on the P6 truss.

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Planetary Society Hangout: A Day in the Life of the Opportunity Rover with Emily Dean
Thursday, May 9, at noon PDT/1900h UTC

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/05/09 02:20 CDT | 1 comment

Thursday, May 9th, at noon PDT/3pm EDT/1900h UTC, we are joined by Emily Dean, who works on the camera team for the Opportunity rover on Mars.

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The Planetary Society Travels to Washington, D.C. Next Week

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/05/09 01:28 CDT | 2 comments

We're storming D.C. next week to raise awareness of continued cuts to NASA's Planetary Science Division.

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