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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.

In Memoriam: David S. McKay

Bruce Betts • February 21, 2013 • 1

NASA planetary scientist David S. McKay has passed away. He had an enormous impact on planetary studies over the course of his career. He also was a co-investigator on The Planetary Society LIFE experiments.

My Free Online College Intro Astronomy Class Starts Today

Bruce Betts • February 06, 2013 • 5

Bruce Betts is teaching online Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy at California State University Dominguez Hill again in 2013. You can watch live or archived.

Guide to Asteroid 2012 DA14 Super Close Approach

Bruce Betts • February 04, 2013 • 17

The 45 meter asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass closer to Earth than geostationary satellites on Feb. 15, 2013. Learn about the asteroid and what to expect from the close approach.

Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of Columbia Disaster from a Science Investigator

Bruce Betts • February 01, 2013

David Warmflash, who organized a science (and peace) experiment with the Planetary Society for the ill fated STS-107 Columbia mission, reflects on that tragic day ten years ago.

Shoemaker Winner Hug Discovers Near Earth Asteroid 2013 AS27

Bruce Betts • January 10, 2013 • 8

Using a Planetary Society provided camera, Gary Hug in Kansas, USA discovered Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2013 AS27 on Jan. 7, 2013. Shoemaker winner Bob Holmes provided the first follow up observations of this 140m-310m wide asteroid.

Calling (Really Serious) Asteroid Hunters

Bruce Betts • November 19, 2012 • 9

I am happy to announce a new call for proposals for The Planetary Society’s Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) grant program, which is celebrating its 15th Anniversary. Proposals are due Feb. 4, 2013.

PlanetVac: Sucking Up Planetary Regolith

Bruce Betts • October 30, 2012 • 3

Learn about the Planetary Society’s newest project: PlanetVac, with Honeybee Robotics, aims to prototype and test in a huge vacuum chamber a new way to sample planetary surfaces that could be used for sample return or for in situ instruments.

First Planet Discovered in Alpha Centauri System

Bruce Betts • October 17, 2012 • 12

European astronomers have made the first planetary discovery in the closest-to-Earth Alpha Centauri star system. Here is some information about the discovery, and insights from Yale Astronomer Debra Fischer, who leads another Alpha Centauri planet search partially supported by The Planetary Society.

Mars Program Update from MEPAG

Bruce Betts • October 05, 2012 • 1

Bruce Betts reports on the status of the current and future Mars program and on acronyms from a meeting of NASA's MEPAG (Mars Exploration Analysis Program Analysis Group).

Shoemaker NEO Winner Finds Close Fly By Asteroid

Bruce Betts • October 02, 2012

Gary Hug used his Shoemaker NEO grant provided camera to find 2012 SY49 which flew by Earth at about two lunar distances last week. The tens of meters wide asteroid is a low-probability possible Earth impactor in the future.

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