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Planetary Resources' Crowdfunded Space Telescope

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/31 11:25 CDT | 2 comments

A fan-funded space telescope, usable by the public? It's an awesome idea, and it appears that a wide swath of the public agrees. Planetary Resources, headed by president and chief engineer Chris Lewicki, announced a Kickstarter project yesterday, with the goal of raising $1 million toward one of their ARKYD space telescopes.

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Say "hi!" to asteroid -- actually, asteroids -- (285263) 1998 QE2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/30 06:51 CDT | 8 comments

A large asteroid is passing reasonably close to Earth in a few hours, and astronomers at the great radio telescopes at Goldstone and Arecibo are zapping it. The latest discovery: QE2, like many asteroids, is a binary.

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Implementing Missions Within Budget -- Good News

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/05/30 12:33 CDT | 1 comments

Last decade, cost overruns on a number of planetary missions stretched NASA's budget. Recent missions, though, have stayed within budget. However, the cost of fiscal discipline may have meant staying close to home.

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Finding faces and animals on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/30 10:05 CDT | 7 comments

This week's "lizard" or "rat" on Mars is just the latest of a never-ending stream of so-called discoveries of animate and inanimate objects in images returned from the Red Planet. I challenge you readers to find more such objects in one Curiosity panorama.

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Planetary Defense Conference 2013 Part 2
Shoemaker NEO Grants

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/05/29 05:25 CDT

Second part of a three part wrap up to April's Planetary Defense Conference: a report on Planetary Shoemaker NEO Grant related activities and people at the Planetary Defense Conference 2013

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Express Soyuz sends new crew to station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/05/29 08:21 CDT | 1 comments

Fyodor Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano lifted off in their Soyuz TMA-09M at 4:31 p.m. EDT and arrived at the International Space Station six hours later.

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Lesser-known views of Uranus and Neptune

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/28 10:58 CDT | 9 comments

Despite the fact that Voyager 2 returned relatively few high-resolution images from either Uranus or Neptune, there are many more photos in the archives than regularly make it to public view.

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The Shores of the Kraken Sea: Great Place Names in the Solar System

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/05/28 08:59 CDT | 9 comments

Nothing reflects the romance of deep space exploration more than the evocative names of places on the planets and moons.

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Astronomy Enters a New Era
Join us for a live webcast about thrilling new tools that will come online in the next decade.

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/05/26 08:45 CDT | 3 comments

A live conversation about just a few of the powerful new instruments that will revolutionize our knowledge of the cosmos once again.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Special Update: Opportunity's Findings at Endeavour, So Far

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2013/05/25 03:03 CDT | 2 comments

Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity left Cape York on May 14th and embarked on a 2-kilometer journey south along the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover is heading now to Solander Point, where it will spend the coming Martian winter.

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Planetary Defense Conference 2013 Part 1
State of Research and Videos to Watch

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/05/24 05:29 CDT | 2 comments

First part of a 3 part wrap up to April's Planetary Defense Conference: a very brief review of the status of research in asteroid threat related fields based on the conference, report on special activities at the conference, and links to video and audio related to the conference.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3317- May 24, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/05/24 11:27 CDT

Opportunity finally started driving south from its location on the outcrop where it had been since solar conjunction.

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Friday fun: Every moon in the solar system in an homage to Tom Lehrer

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/24 08:53 CDT | 3 comments

A girl named Hope Johnson performing an homage to Tom Lehrer's "The Elements" in song and ukelele, except instead of the elements, she's singing the names of all the named moons in the solar system. Check it out!

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NASA Administrator Highlights Advanced Propulsion Systems at JPL
An ion engine will be used on the proposed asteroid retrieval mission

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/05/23 06:18 CDT | 6 comments

Charles Bolden stopped by JPL to highlight research being done on advanced propulsion techniques that would be used in the proposed asteroid retrieval mission.

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Statement from the AAS on Proposed Elimination of NASA Science Education & Public Outreach Programs

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/23 02:11 CDT | 2 comments

The American Astronomical Society has issued a strongly worded statement against NASA's proposed elimination of its education and public outreach programs, and I agree with it.

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Asteroids – what you can do

Posted by Alex Karl on 2013/05/23 01:52 CDT | 2 comments

Partnering with our friends from The Planetary Society, the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), whose members hail from all over the globe, is bringing you an update on our activities and something you can join in on—at least if you are a student or young professional aged 18–35.

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No NASA Operating Plan Yet

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/05/23 12:39 CDT

NASA has still not sent its operating plan to Congress. Rumors of the agency reprogramming away all of the additional funding to Planetary Science remains just rumors.

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Planetary Society Hangout: Advocacy Update
Thursday, May 23, 1:30 PDT / 4:30 PDT / 20:30 UTC

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/05/23 11:40 CDT

The Planetary Society just returned from a major political advocacy trip out to D.C. what did we do and what did we achieve? What's going on with the current funding situation regarding Planetary Science and NASA at large? How does the asteroid retrieval mission help or hurt planetary exploration goals? What's the larger plan and what are the consequences if cuts continue?

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Report from the Starship Century Conference: Tuesday

Posted by Jon Lomberg on 2013/05/22 06:54 CDT | 5 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. Here he reports on presentations by Freeman Dyson, Peter Schwartz, Robert Zubrin, Geoff Landis, Neal Stephenson, and Patti Grace Smith.

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