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Successful launch for NuSTAR on a Pegasus XL

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2012

NuSTAR, the most sensitive X-ray telescope ever developed, launched successfully at 16:00 UT. This was a fun launch to watch, because the launch vehicle was a Pegasus XL air-launched rocket, dropped like a bomb from open bay doors of an L-1011 airplane.

Steins, a jewel in the asteroid belt

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2012

A notice of some new names for features on asteroid 2867 Steins inspired me to dig up the data set from the September 5, 2008 Rosetta flyby and explore it to see what it contained.

Hold the Moon in Your Hands

Emily Lakdawalla • June 12, 2012

Sky & Telescope and Replogle Globes teamed up to take advantage of the fabulous new Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image mosaic of the Moon to make an equally fabulous new Moon globe.

Curiosity's shrinking landing ellipse

Emily Lakdawalla • June 11, 2012

There was good news and bad news in this morning's press briefing about Curiosity rover's upcoming landing on Mars, just eight weeks from now. First, the good news: the landing ellipse has shrunk. The bad news: there's a contamination problem with the drill, and the Odyssey orbiter is in safe mode.

Build your own papercraft Curiosity rover

Emily Lakdawalla • June 08, 2012

Glen Nagle pointed me to two awesome papercraft models of the Curiosity rover that you can download and -- assuming you have a LOT of patience and a steady hand -- assemble.

Making Pictures based on NASA Imagery

Andrew Rush • June 08, 2012

When amateurs process NASA images, can they hold copyright over them? Yes, sometimes. Andrew Rush of IPinspace.com explains the law.

More Venus transits in 2012

Jay Pasachoff • June 07, 2012

A transit of Venus as seen from Jupiter may be observed by Hubble on September 20 and a transit of Venus as seen from Saturn will be observed by Cassini on December 21.

Watch the recording of my Google+ Science Hour with guest Dan Durda

Emily Lakdawalla • June 07, 2012

On June 6 I hosted the Cosmoquest Weekly Science Hour. My guest was Dan Durda of the Southwest Research Institute. We talked asteroids, impact mitigation, searches for Vulcanoids, and suborbital experiments, and then he took us through how he creates his digital space art.

NRO gives NASA two hand-me-down telescopes

Jason Davis • June 07, 2012

The National Reconnaissance Office has donated two, partially-completed space telescopes to NASA, revealed at a National Academies' Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics meeting this week.

Notes from a Red Planet: Ray Bradbury

Scott Maxwell • June 06, 2012

Mars rover driver Scott Maxwell relates a story of how he handed Ray Bradbury an opportunity to drive on Mars.

Ray Bradbury, a friend of The Planetary Society

Bill Nye • June 06, 2012

Thank you Ray; you changed the world. At the Planetary Society we will do our best to see to it that your dreams and hopes of exploring the distant regions of the Solar System, Mars especially, and are kept alive.

Celestron Video From USA Science & Engineering Festival

Mat Kaplan • June 06, 2012

Telescope maker Celestron joined the Planetary Society at April's big festival in Washington. Their new video about the experience features our Emily Lakdawalla.

Remembering Ray Bradbury

Mat Kaplan • June 06, 2012

Mat recalls stories from his many interactions with Ray Bradbury, and provides links to Ray's Planetary Radio episodes.

A Martian Has Died

Louis D. Friedman • June 06, 2012

The last words Ray said to me were, “Yes, I will shout HURRAH!” I was visiting him at his home and had spent a hour or so talking with him about our favorite subject, Mars, as well as reading to him a couple of his own poems. Yesterday he passed away at the age of 91.

Seeking your stories about Ray Bradbury

Emily Lakdawalla • June 06, 2012

Ray Bradbury passed away last night, June 5, 2012, at the age of 91. He was a friend to the Planetary Society and an inspiration to its members. We'd like you members to share your recollections and stories of his singular influence in your lives.

Oppy close to the edge…

Stuart Atkinson • June 05, 2012

Since you last visited, Opportunity has continued to drive downhill – well, what passes for ‘downhill’ on Cape York! – and is now not far at all from the northern edge of the Cape. From where she is now she sees the Meridiani desert stretching away to the north and west, the eastern hills on her right, and the Cape itself behind her. And around her? lots and lots of Homestake-like gypsum veins.

Dawn Journal: Riding gravitational currents to HAMO2

Marc Rayman • June 05, 2012

Dawn is beginning its departure from Vesta, spiraling upward from its low-altitude mapping orbit to a higher one from which it will map north polar terrain not visible during the earlier mapping orbit.

Speak out for Planetary Exploration

David Paige • June 04, 2012

On June 9, UCLA faculty and students will join institutions across the country in voicing their support for continued funding of NASA's planetary science program through the National Planetary Science Bake Sale and Car Wash. If you aren’t able to make it to an event, be sure to make your voice heard by contacting your local representatives.

Artist's views of a night sky transformed by a galaxy merger

Emily Lakdawalla • June 04, 2012

A measurement of the Andromeda galaxy's proper motion shows it's coming directly at us, and will collide with the Milky Way in 4 billion years. The event will transform the appearance of our night sky.

Not Necessarily Your Last Venus Transit!

Jim Bell • June 04, 2012

Unless you are lucky and healthy enough to live for another 105 years, tomorrow will be your last chance to see a Venus transit from the surface of the Earth. But this need not be the last transit of Venus that you will ever see.

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