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What's Up

with Bruce Betts

Our resident planetary scientist and director of projects keeps you up-to-date on our exciting sci-tech projects, while dropping the occasional Random Space Fact.

Pioneer Anomaly Solved!

Bruce Betts • April 19, 2012 • 16

With the latest piece of the puzzle just published in a scientific journal, a solar system mystery that has perplexed people for more than 20 years has been solved, truly thanks to the support of Planetary Society members.

Test Your Planetary Knowledge and Learn More

Bruce Betts • April 16, 2012 • 3

If you want to test your planetary knowledge, or just have a masochistic love of tests, I’ve posted the midterm I’ve given to my students in my online Introductory Astronomy and Planetary Science class at California State University Dominguez Hills.

Online Astronomy Course Update

Bruce Betts • March 06, 2012

All the archived lectures from my free Introduction to Astronomy and the Solar System course, as well as links to the syllabus and how to watch the lectures live, can be found online.

First Astronomy Course Lecture Posted Online

Bruce Betts • February 14, 2012

I gave the first lecture of my Introduction to Astronomy and Planetary Science course last Wednesday, starting with a tour of the solar system. The course is Physics 195 at California State University Dominguez Hills.

Reflections on Phobos LIFE

Bruce Betts • January 13, 2012

We explore space for the noblest goals of science and exploration, and we often persevere in spite of challenges. But space exploration is fraught with bad things happening, or, to use the technical term, ouchies. The Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE biomodule will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere in the next few days with the rest of the Phobos-Grunt mission.

Phobos-Grunt and Phobos LIFE, with Yinghuo-1, have launched!

Bruce Betts • November 08, 2011

I am ecstatic to report that at 20:16 UTC, millions of passengers on board the Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE biomodule launched into space inside the Phobos Sample Return (also known as Phobos Grunt or Phobos Soil) spacecraft.

Phobos LIFE Ready to Launch

Bruce Betts • September 01, 2011

Years in the making, our Phobos LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) is nearing launch this November. Phobos LIFE will send millions of passengers on a 34-month journey to Mars’ moon Phobos and back.

Launch Window Approaching!

Bruce Betts • August 21, 2011

We are super excited that the Planetary Society’s Phobos LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) is about ready to launch to Mars’ moon Phobos and back. We have been working for years preparing this unique test of the effects of long term exposure to deep space on a wide variety of life.

Shuttle LIFE Organisms Return from Space

Bruce Betts • June 09, 2011

In the middle of the night on June 1, 2011, millions of passengers returned safely to Earth as part of the great conclusion to space shuttle Endeavour's last flight, STS-134. Many of those millions of passengers were part of the Planetary Society's Shuttle LIFE experiment. Five different kinds of creatures from all three domains of life are part of Shuttle LIFE.

NASA Selects Next New Frontiers Mission

Bruce Betts • May 25, 2011

NASA has selected the OSIRIS-REx mission as the next New Frontiers mission. OSIRIS-REx (Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer) will be the first U.S. asteroid sample return.

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