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[Updated] A Government Shutdown Could Delay MAVEN's Launch to Mars

Casey Dreier • September 30, 2013

NASA confirmed that a government shutdown could affect pre-launch processing of the MAVEN spacecraft, currently scheduled to launch to Mars on November 18th.

Relative and absolute ages in the histories of Earth and the Moon: The Geologic Time Scale

Emily Lakdawalla • September 30, 2013

A few days ago, I wrote a post about the basins of the Moon -- a result of a trip down a rabbit hole of book research. Here's the next step in that journey: the Geologic Time Scales of Earth and the Moon.

A Big Day for Commercial Spaceflight

Jason Davis • September 29, 2013

On Sunday, Orbital Sciences Corporation's Cygnus resupply spacecraft was berthed to the ISS, while SpaceX's upgraded Falcon 9 lifted off from the California coast.

Dawn Journal: Sixth anniversary of leaving Earth

Marc Rayman • September 28, 2013

On the sixth anniversary of leaving Earth to embark on a daring deep-space expedition, Dawn is very, very far from its erstwhile planetary residence. Now humankind's only permanent resident of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the seasoned explorer is making good progress toward the largest object in that part of the solar system, the mysterious dwarf planet Ceres.

Gravity assist

David Shortt • September 27, 2013

With the recent announcement by NASA that the 36 year-old spacecraft Voyager 1 has officially entered interstellar space at a distance from the sun about four times further than Neptune's orbit, and with Voyager 2 not far behind, it seems worthwhile to explore how humans managed to fling objects so far into space.

Cometary Science at EPSC

Geraint Jones • September 26, 2013

Recently, almost a thousand researchers gathered in London for Europe’s annual meeting of planetary scientists. Here's a report from one session on cometary science.

Dating the Moon's basins

Emily Lakdawalla • September 26, 2013

A paper in press in the Journal of Geophysical Research uses new data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to update our story for the history of the Moon's massive impacts.

Swan Song

Bill Dunford • September 25, 2013

The final moments of a lunar orbiter, as told in a song composed by the moon itself.

Bill Nye 'Dancing With the Stars' Update

Abigail Fraeman • September 25, 2013

We're two weeks in to ‘Dancing with the Stars’ season 17, and Bill Nye has shown that, true to his TV-theme song lyric, "science rules" in the eyes of the audience.

Europe Will Select Its Next Major Science Mission in November

Van Kane • September 25, 2013

The European Space Agency will announce two major science missions this November, one of which is likely to be devoted to solar system exploration.

Voyager: A Tribute

Stephen J. Pyne • September 25, 2013

The Voyagers were special when they launched. They have become more so thanks to their longevity, the breadth of their discoveries, the cultural payload they carried, and the sheer audacity of their quest.

Dawn on Mars: Waypoint 1 Mysteries

Dawn Sumner • September 24, 2013

Dawn Sumner describes the preparations for maximizing the science at Curiosity's short stop at "Waypoint 1" from sols 385 to 401.

A Russian Guide to Wednesday's Союз Старт (Soyuz Launch)

Jason Davis • September 24, 2013

Follow along with Roscosmos during the launch of Soyuz TMA-10M using this list of common Russian flight terms.

Touching the Stars

Mat Kaplan • September 24, 2013

Two new programs about renewed interest in the technologies that will enable humanity to cross the interstellar gulf. Lou Friedman talks with Mat from the 100-Year Starship Symposium, while physicist and science fiction author Gregory Benford is Mat's guest for a webcast.

More fancy Phobos and Deimos photography by Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • September 24, 2013

Curiosity looked up after dark and captured more cool photos of Mars' moons. They include Phobos and Deimos passing in the night, and Phobos entering Mars' shadow.

Photos and Video of India's Mars Orbiter Mission, proceeding toward October 28 launch

Emily Lakdawalla • September 23, 2013

Indian media reported over the weekend that the Mars Orbiter Mission has passed some senior review, and has been approved to proceed toward a launch date of October 28, a week later than previously planned.

Cygnus Aborts Station Approach, Will Retry Tuesday

Jason Davis • September 22, 2013

The private spacecraft Cygnus was forced to abort its first attempt to berth with the International Space Station Sunday morning due to a software glitch.

Plutonium-238 is Crucial for Space Exploration – and it's Running Out

Casey Dreier • September 20, 2013

Plutonium-238 provides electricity to deep space missions, but NASA only has a little bit left. A new article in Wired highlights the disastrous consequences of no plutonium for use in space, something the Planetary Society is currently fighting for in Washington, D.C.

The Deep Impact Mission is officially over

Emily Lakdawalla • September 20, 2013

Efforts to regain contact with Deep Impact have been ended. The last contact with the spacecraft was on August 8, 2013.

Book Review: Rock Star: Adventures of a Meteorite Man, by Geoff Notkin

Emily Lakdawalla • September 20, 2013

Rock Star -- the memoir of television "Meteorite Man" Geoff Notkin -- is a life's journey full of joy, wonder, and fun, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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