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Blogs

Guest blogs from 2014

Mars Orbiter Mission activates all science instruments as NASA, ISRO form joint Mars working group

Posted by Srinivas Laxman on 2014/10/01 11:19 CDT

Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) began its science activities fully on Wednesday with all five science instruments being activated. And on Tuesday, an ISRO-NASA Mars working group was formed which will "seek to identify and implement scientific and technological goals that NASA and ISRO have in common regarding Mars exploration."

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Dawn Journal: 7 Years of Interplanetary Travel

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/09/27 07:43 CDT

Marc Rayman gives us an update on the Dawn mission, heading to Ceres, on the 7th anniversary of its launch.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 3790

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/09/26 11:54 CDT | 1 comment

After a stand-down of activities to reformat its flash memory, Opportunity has re-commenced the long climb up this high and steep segment of the Endeavour crater rim.

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All That is Known About Bennu

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/09/24 11:01 CDT | 1 comment

The OSIRIS-REx Design Reference Asteroid (DRA) document is now available to the public. The DRA is a compilation of all that is known about the OSIRIS-REx mission target, asteroid (101955) Bennu.

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A Tour of 67P...

Posted by Stuart Atkinson on 2014/09/23 05:58 CDT | 4 comments

Stuart Atkinson takes us on a stunning guided visual tour of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

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A Glimpse Into NASA's New History Archives

Posted by Jason Callahan on 2014/09/23 02:29 CDT | 1 comment

NASA's immense reference collection got a makeover at its Washington, D.C. location recently. Jason Callahan gives you a glimpse behind the scenes as guests made their way into the new rooms while enjoying good conversation and, of course, Moon Pies.

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45th Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium Report

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2014/09/23 12:15 CDT | 1 comment

The 45th Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium, usually focused on terrestrial studies, shifted this year to planetary science. Ted Stryk gives us an overview.

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SHARAD: Delving Deep at Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/09/22 09:41 CDT

Some of Mars' most important secrets are hiding beneath the surface.

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Mars Orbiter Mission test firing successful; all ready for orbit insertion

Posted by Srinivas Laxman on 2014/09/22 09:00 CDT | 4 comments

There was celebration in the Mars mission control room in Bangalore on Monday following the success of the crucial four-second test firing of the Mars Orbiter Mission’s (MOM) 440-Newton liquid apogee motor. MOM will now go ahead with the nominal plan for the Mars orbit insertion on September 24 at 07:30 IST (02:00 UT / September 23 19:00 PDT).

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NASA's Global Reach: Pakistan

Posted by Nagin Cox on 2014/09/18 10:19 CDT | 5 comments

Nagin Cox, a systems engineer and manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory currently working on the mission operations team for Curiosity, tells us about a trip she took to Pakistan as an ambassador for science and technology.

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Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: One Mars Express plan becomes two

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/09/17 10:44 CDT | 2 comments

The Mars Express Flight Control Team at ESOC have been actively preparing for the flyby of comet C/2013 A1/Siding Spring on October 19. Initial estimates gave the possibility that Mars Express might be hit by 2 or 3 high-speed particles. Happily, additional observations by ground and space telescopes have shown the risk to be much lower – and perhaps even as low as zero. In today's blog post, the team explain how this (happy!) real-life, real-time development is affecting their preparations for fly-by.

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So Close and Yet So Far: Why isn't Siding Spring going to sandblast Mars?

Posted by Tony Farnham on 2014/09/09 09:02 CDT | 5 comments

Comet Siding Spring is going to make a very close approach to Mars in October. Any comet dust that reaches Mars has the potential to inflict significant damage on the spacecraft orbiting the planet. As it turns out, however, Mars and its orbiters are likely to see very few, if any, impacts. Why?

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Growth. Peak. Collapse. Planetary exploration from 1959 - 1989

Posted by Jason Callahan on 2014/09/08 11:24 CDT | 4 comments

The first three decades of planetary exploration tell a story that sounds all-too-familiar to modern day space advocates. Growth, peak, and then collapse of hard-earned capability. This is the story of planetary science for the first half of its existence.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Suffers Unwanted Computer Reboots, Hunkers Down for Reformat
Sols 3740 - 3769

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/09/03 12:19 CDT

After setting the new off-Earth rover distance record in July, Opportunity roved on in August, driving south along the eastern edge of Endeavour Crater's western rim to Wdowiak Ridge on its journey to the next big destination, Marathon Valley.

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Dawn Journal: From HAMO to LAMO and Beyond

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/09/02 06:40 CDT | 10 comments

Marc Rayman updates us on the Dawn mission, its plans from high to low altitude mapping orbits at Ceres, and what the intrepid spacecraft will pursue next.

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The Pivotal Discovery You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Posted by Karl Battams on 2014/08/29 02:09 CDT | 5 comments

Karl Battams highlights the historic discovery, by an Air Force satellite, of a sungrazing comet.

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The Rise and Fall (and Rise and Fall) of Planetary Exploration Funding
NASA has explored the planets since the 1960s, but funding has rarely been consistent

Posted by Jason Callahan on 2014/08/29 02:06 CDT | 5 comments

NASA has explored the solar system since the 1960s, but it has rarely been the top priority for the space agency. Jason Callahan breaks down how planetary science has been funded over the years within NASA's larger budget.

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The Birth of the Modern Universe
Review of Alan Hirshfeld's "Starlight Detectives: How Astronomers, Inventors, and Eccentrics Discovered the Modern Universe"

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2014/08/29 12:29 CDT | 1 comment

Amir Alexander reviews Alan Hirshfeld's newest book, "Starlight Detectives: How Astronomers, Inventors, and Eccentrics Discovered the Modern Universe."

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Canadian Mars Analogue Mission: Field Report, Week 2

Posted by Tanya Harrison on 2014/08/28 11:17 CDT

Tanya Harrison wraps up the final week of Mars sample return analogue mission operations at the Canadian Space Agency.

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The Competition for Dollars
What is NASA's main competition for funding within the federal budget? It's not what you think.

Posted by Jason Callahan on 2014/08/27 01:20 CDT | 11 comments

We all know NASA needs more money to achieve its goals. But competition for money is intense within the U.S. federal government, and two trends have made it harder for NASA to get what it needs.

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Europa: How Less Can Be More

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/08/26 06:55 CDT | 6 comments

Van Kane explains three factors that make exploring Europa hard—factors that can make a mission concept that seems like less actually be more.

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Comet Flyby Missions for Mars Rovers

Posted by Mark Lemmon on 2014/08/21 10:19 CDT | 2 comments

On October 19, the Mars rovers — like their orbiting cousins — will become comet flyby missions. Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will pass within 140,000 km of Mars.

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Stardust@home Finds Some Stardust

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2014/08/21 07:48 CDT

What’s new at Stardust@home, the groundbreaking program that asked volunteers to help find interstellar dust particles collected by the spacecraft Stardust.

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Canadian Mars Analogue Mission: Field Report, Week 1

Posted by Tanya Harrison on 2014/08/20 11:02 CDT | 1 comment

Tanya Harrison reports on Canada's efforts to simulate a Mars sample return mission here on Earth.

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New Postcards from Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/08/18 10:34 CDT | 7 comments

The latest snaphots from the "Mars Webcam" include something special.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3753 – August 15, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/08/18 09:46 CDT | 2 comments

Opportunity just completed its first drives upslope on its long journey toward the crest of the highest rim segment of Endeavour crater, “Cape Tribulation.” Larry Crumpler gives us an update on what to expect next from the little rover that could.

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The OCO-2 First Light Spectra

Posted by David Crisp on 2014/08/15 01:27 CDT

Dr. David Crisp explains how NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) works, and what its first light spectra tells his team about the spacecraft’s performance.

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Three Major Volcanic Eruptions Observed On Io in the Span of Two Weeks

Posted by Jason Perry on 2014/08/12 09:40 CDT | 1 comment

Jason Perry brings us a report on recent ground-based observations that shed new light on the most powerful of Io’s volcanic eruptions.

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Mars 2020 Instruments – A Plan for Sample Return

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/08/08 04:45 CDT | 14 comments

Van Kane gives us a tour of the instruments selected for the Mars 2020 rover.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Sets Historic Distance Record and Roves On
Sols 3710-3739

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/08/08 12:13 CDT

It's official: Opportunity has traveled farther and lived longer than any other vehicle on another planet, driving to a place in history with an out-of-this-world distinction no one even imagined when the robot field geologist left Earth 11 years ago.

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Comet Siding Spring: Risk Assessment

Posted by Karl Battams on 2014/08/07 01:29 CDT | 6 comments

On October 19, 2014, Comet Siding Spring is going to have an extremely close encounter with the planet Mars. The bottom line: it seems most likely that our Martian spacecraft will be absolutely fine.

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Rosetta's Big Day

Posted by Stuart Atkinson on 2014/08/06 05:46 CDT | 4 comments

Stuart Atkinson muses on the difference between the Europe of today and the Europe of a century ago in the context of Rosetta's momentous arrival at comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

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Rendezvous with a crazy world

Posted by Daniel Fischer on 2014/08/06 01:27 CDT | 1 comment

Beaming scientists all around, spectacular images on large TV screens, and the best - or at least most exciting - yet to come: such was the extraordinary scene at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, today as the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft reached its cometary destination.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3737 – July 30, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/08/04 04:44 CDT | 2 comments

Larry Crumpler updates us on the Opportunity rover, which now holds the distance record for a rover on another planet and is about to climb up its highest crater rim segment yet.

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The Planetary Report: Summer Solstice Edition

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2014/08/04 09:18 CDT

Summer’s edition of The Planetary Report is on its way to your mailbox!

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Dawn Journal: Not-So-Quiet Cruise

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/08/01 05:35 CDT | 13 comments

Dawn's Mission Director updates us on the status of the mission, and tells us what Dawn and Star Wars have in common.

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8th Mars Report: Martian habitability

Posted by Valerie Fox on 2014/07/30 01:22 CDT | 9 comments

Valerie Fox reports from the 8th International Conference on Mars on the habitability of the Red Planet.

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8th Mars Report: Was Ancient Mars Warm and Wet or Cold and Icy?

Posted by Abigail Fraeman on 2014/07/29 02:08 CDT | 3 comments

One of the hot topics of the 8th International Conference on Mars was the nature of Mars' ancient past. Abigail Fraeman reports on our updated view of whether Mars was ever warm and wet.

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The Osirian Asteroid Family

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/07/28 02:04 CDT

The asteroid community recently gathered in Helsinki, Finland for the 12th Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors Conference. As this meeting showed, one of the hottest topics in asteroid science is the study of asteroid families.

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Pretty pictures of the Cosmos: Perception

Posted by Adam Block on 2014/07/25 12:04 CDT | 2 comments

Astrophotographer Adam Block shares two recent images of star clusters, along with a pair of depth perception-defying galaxies.

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Standing on Venus in 1975

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2014/07/24 10:19 CDT | 4 comments

Venera 9 and 10 landed on Venus in 1975 and sent back the first images of the planet's surface. Now, Ted Stryk brings new life to these images to show us what it would be like to stand on the Venusian surface.

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One Day on Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/07/21 08:03 CDT | 3 comments

A single day's observations take us from orbital overviews all the way down to ground truth.

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Mars and Europa: Contrasts in Mission Planning

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/07/19 02:08 CDT | 30 comments

Several announcements for proposed missions to Mars and on the planning for a NASA return to Europa that highlight the contrasts in planning missions for these two high priority destinations.

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A right old comet kerfuffle…

Posted by Stuart Atkinson on 2014/07/18 12:02 CDT | 16 comments

A European space enthusiast, children's author, and volunteer astronomy outreach worker asks for more images from Rosetta.

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How Arecibo Observatory Transmits to the ISEE-3 Spacecraft

Posted by Alessondra Springmann on 2014/07/16 03:51 CDT | 1 comment

Talking to spacecraft is a normal occurrence at Arecibo Observatory, but sometimes the nuts and bolts are a little unconventional.

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Trundling Across the Moon

Posted by Mark Robinson on 2014/07/11 12:01 CDT | 1 comment

High resolution images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera detail the 1973 path of the Soviet rover Lunokhod 2.

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Voyager 3 Project

Posted by Peter Rosén on 2014/07/08 02:15 CDT | 3 comments

In 1979, the Voyager 1 probe took a stunning series of images on its final approach to Jupiter. Thirty-five years later, almost to the day, a group of seven Swedish amateur astronomers set out to replicate this odyssey, but with images taken with their own ground-based telescopes.

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The Habitable Zone of Inhabited Planets

Posted by Jaime Green on 2014/07/07 03:14 CDT | 10 comments

A team of Colombian researchers are arguing for a new refinement to the idea of the habitable zone that takes the presence of life itself into account.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Nears End of Murray Ridge, Pillinger Point Christened
Sols 3680-3709

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/07/03 03:44 CDT | 6 comments

Opportunity got off to a bumpy start in June, but the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission pressed on, continuing the exploration of Murray Ridge at the western rim of Endeavour Crater.

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Pretty pictures of the Cosmos: Interacting galaxies

Posted by Adam Block on 2014/07/02 10:27 CDT

Award-winning astrophotographer Adam Block showcases some of his stunning images of what happens when galaxies get a little too close to each other.

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Dawn Journal: HAMO at Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/07/01 11:34 CDT | 9 comments

Dawn's chief engineer and mission director Marc Rayman gives an overview of the plan for the penultimate orbital phase at Ceres, the “high altitude mapping orbit” (HAMO).

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3705 – June 27, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/06/30 07:30 CDT

Opportunity has left the winter haven and is still driving south along the rim of Endeavour crater, currently exploring an outcrop a few meters from crater rim.

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Of Rings and Resolution

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/06/23 09:36 CDT | 3 comments

Seeing Saturn before and after Cassini.

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One Number, Two Budgets
The Senate and House have both agreed to increase NASA's budget to $17.9B, but they have very different ways of spending that money

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/06/17 01:03 CDT | 2 comments

The Senate and House have both agreed to increase NASA's budget to $17.9 billion, but they have very different ways of spending that money. The House bill would add additional funding to almost every category of the Planetary Science budget and would greatly strengthen NASA’s program of planetary exploration. The Senate bill would add substantial funds to the Mars program but pay for this by cuts to other portions of the planetary budget.

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The OSIRIS-REx Design Reference Mission

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/06/12 06:18 CDT

This week the OSIRIS-REx team gathered at the Lockheed Martin facility in Denver to perform a “Design Reference Mission (DRM)” walkthrough. The DRM is basically the battle plan for OSIRIS-REx for accomplishing our goal of returning pristine samples from asteroid Bennu.

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A Checkup on Future Mars Missions

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/06/09 04:59 CDT | 3 comments

NASA’s Mars Exploration Analysis Group (MEPAG) recently reviewed plans by Europe, the Japanese, and NASA for future Mars exploration. The prognosis is for another exciting decade of Mars exploration.

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Pretty pictures of the Cosmos

Posted by Adam Block on 2014/06/06 03:01 CDT

Award-winning astrophotographer Adam Block shares some of his recent work.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Hunts Ancient Clays along Murray Ridge
Sols 3650-3680

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/06/05 10:11 CDT

At the western rim of Endeavour Crater, Opportunity spent the month of May exploring a new clayground along Murray Ridge and the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission trundled into the 125th month of what was originally to be a short, 3-month tour.

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The construction of OSIRIS-REx has begun!

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/06/05 09:54 CDT

The construction of OSIRIS-REx has begun! Seeing the core structure being assembled demonstrated that OSIRIS-REx is no longer just a set of drawings and PowerPoint charts, it is starting to become a real spacecraft.

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Tracks in the Wilderness

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/06/03 11:17 CDT

Pioneer trails extend all the way to Mars.

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Dawn Journal: Survey Orbit at Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/06/03 09:59 CDT | 2 comments

This month Dawn's mission director Marc Rayman continues the preview of how Dawn will explore Ceres, this time in its survey orbit.

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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's Ongoing Adventure

Posted by Samuel Lawrence on 2014/05/29 06:16 CDT | 5 comments

A few people think that when it comes to the Moon, because we’ve “been there, and done that,” there is nothing new left to discover. But that viewpoint could not be farther from the truth!

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Planetary Society Canada Update

Posted by Kate Howells on 2014/05/28 06:33 CDT

Canadian National Coordinator Kate Howells provides an update on the state of the Society's Canadian initiative.

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A GRB in M31...or not

Posted by Philip Evans on 2014/05/28 11:21 CDT

The Twittersphere has been alive with speculation about a Gamma Ray Burst in the nearby galaxy M31. The problem is, there was never a claim of such an event, and it turns out that the tentative result that triggered this story was overstated.

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Will we find signs of tectonics on Pluto? And what would that mean?

Posted by Joseph O'Rourke on 2014/05/26 09:45 CDT | 1 comment

Joseph O’Rourke summarizes a recently submitted paper on tectonic activity on Pluto after the Charon-forming impact.

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The value of a Guest Investigator program for Dawn

Posted by Anne Verbiscer on 2014/05/23 09:20 CDT | 1 comment

NASA selected 21 Participating Scientists to join the Dawn team in 2010, prior to Dawn's arrival at Vesta in 2011. Since that time, Dawn Participating Scientists have made enormous contributions to the mission, as they do for most other NASA missions. But the status of a Participating Scientist program for Dawn at Ceres has been in doubt.

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A Reluctant Dance Towards Europa
or, Why A Credible Europa Mission is Likely to Cost ~$2B

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/05/14 12:42 CDT | 15 comments

For the last two years, NASA has been the shy partner refusing to get on the dance floor, and Congress has been the aggressive partner insisting on a dance now. Recently, NASA has said maybe on another night but only if it’s a cheap date. While NASA says no for now, Congress looks to be willing to slip the band a cool $100M – on top of $150M already paid – to keep the music playing, but (to keep the metaphor going) has not been willing to fully commit itself to paying the bigger bill to rent the dance hall. The dance, of course, is the continuing attempt by Congress to have NASA commit to a mission to explore Europa, and NASA’s attempts to delay a mission well into the 2020s.

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The Case of the 5-Millisecond Cosmic Radio Burst

Posted by Katherine Mack on 2014/05/14 10:49 CDT

Everyone loves a good mystery. In astronomy, there is nothing more exciting than an unexplained signal.

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What’s Seeping on Mars? Recurring Slope Lineae

Posted by Matthew Chojnacki on 2014/05/13 09:53 CDT | 13 comments

HiRISE team member Matt Chojnacki tells us about the discovery and formation of these mysterious features forming on Mars in the present day.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3650 – May 2, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/05/12 11:09 CDT | 1 comment

Opportunity is closing in on the next important outcrop area on the rim of Endeavour crater.

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Another Day in the Solar System

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/05/12 09:56 CDT | 1 comment

One day, five worlds.

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New Horizons: Updates From the April 2014 Science Team Meeting

Posted by Simon Porter on 2014/05/07 06:36 CDT | 1 comment

New Horizons team member Simon Porter reports on the state of the mission and Pluto system science from the recent science team meeting at the Applied Physics Laboratory.

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Dawn Journal: Explaining Orbit Insertion

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/05/06 08:21 CDT | 4 comments

Less than a year from its rendezvous with dwarf planet Ceres, Dawn is continuing to make excellent progress on its ambitious interplanetary adventure. But once it gets to Ceres, just how will it go into orbit? Marc Rayman explains.

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How Weird Is Our Solar System?

Posted by Jaime Green on 2014/05/05 10:54 CDT | 6 comments

Earth and its solar system compatriots all have nearly circular orbits, but many exoplanets orbit their stars on wildly eccentric paths. Is our home system strange? Or is our sense of the data skewed?

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Roves to Next Clay Mine
Sols 3619 - 3650

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/05/02 10:36 CDT | 3 comments

The Mars Exploration Rovers mission cruised toward the Martian spring, Opportunity is powered-up and cleaner than it has been since its first winter on Mars.

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Highlights From OSIRIS-REx Science Team Meeting #6

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/04/30 07:49 CDT

The OSIRIS-REx Science Team gathered at the University of Arizona from April 22–24, 2014 for their sixth meeting. Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta discusses a few of the highlights.

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Another Pale Blue Dot — Uranus Spied By Cassini

Posted by Val KlavansIan Regan on 2014/04/30 06:53 CDT | 1 comment

The Cassini mission has already returned an array of images of other solar system members from Saturn orbit: Earth (and the Moon), Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. It’s time to add another world to that list!

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Green Bank Telescope Helps Out an Old Friend

Posted by Tania Burchell on 2014/04/28 09:26 CDT

The Green Bank Telescope has been called into emergency service to play radar ping-pong on a close-by asteroid with Arecibo Observatory’s 100-meter William E. Gordon radio telescope.

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Spitzer Space Telescope Observations of Bennu

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/04/24 10:06 CDT

What can studying the thermal emission of Bennu with the Spitzer Space Telescope tell us about its physical properties?

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Forensic Ballistics: How Apollo 12 Helped Solve the Skydiver Meteorite Mystery

Posted by Philip Metzger on 2014/04/21 09:33 CDT | 7 comments

What can a 45-year-old mission to the Moon tell us about a "meteorite" flying past a skydiver on Earth?

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The Birth of the Wanderers

Posted by Augusto Carballido on 2014/04/16 02:50 CDT | 9 comments

How did planets originate? This is a question that has puzzled scientists for centuries, but one which they have been able to tackle directly only in the last few decades, thanks to two major developments: breakthroughs in telescope technology and ever-increasing computing power.

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Interview with a Mars Explorer

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/04/14 08:03 CDT | 5 comments

A conversation with Dr. Sarah Milkovich, HiRISE Investigation Scientist.

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Will We Finally Rove Mawrth Vallis?

Posted by J. Brian Balta on 2014/04/10 05:44 CDT | 3 comments

Mawrth Vallis was axed as a landing site for Curiosity, but will we get a chance to explore it with ESA's ExoMars rover?

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Yutu Update

Posted by Phil Stooke on 2014/04/10 03:08 CDT | 1 comment

We don’t hear a lot at the moment about Chang’E 3 and Yutu, the Chinese lander and rover which were all over the news a few months ago. But Phil Stooke has been collecting news online and in person last month at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference and now tries to put it all together and address the current state of the mission.

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Come Rock the Planet with Yuri’s Night!!

Posted by Loretta HidalgoDanielle Hannah on 2014/04/09 06:10 CDT

First launched on April 12, 2001, Yuri’s Night celebrates two amazing accomplishments of humankind: Yuri Gagarin’s becoming the first human to orbit the earth in 1961 and the first launch of the U.S. Space Shuttle, twenty years later to the day. It is also a global celebration of humanity’s future in space and how we can use space to bring us closer together.

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Arecibo Observatory operational after repairs to fix earthquake damage

Posted by Alessondra Springmann on 2014/04/09 09:48 CDT | 2 comments

Early in the morning on January 13, 2014, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck beneath the Atlantic Ocean north of Puerto Rico, damaging Arecibo Observatory, the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope. The telescope is now operational after repairs and scientists have resumed observations. However, the future of Arecibo Observatory remains unclear due to funding uncertainties in the federal budget.

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The Spring Equinox 2014 issue of The Planetary Report is here!

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2014/04/08 04:46 CDT

Wind-sculpted sand—that is how I think of dunes. In our main feature, “The Dune Whispers,” Ralph D. Lorenz describes the formation, and varieties, of these fascinating and beautiful works of planetary art.

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Opposition time for Mars, and several months of dancing with the stars

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/04/08 08:47 CDT | 1 comment

The Mars Express team showcases some of the best viewing opportunities of Mars in 2014, including how to spot Comet Siding Spring when it flies past Mars this October.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Powers Up in Cook Haven and in Fans' Minds
Sols 3590 – 3621

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/04/07 03:05 CDT | 1 comment

At the Solander Point section of the rim of Endeavour Crater, Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity spent the month of March just off Murray Ridge working on its final targets in Cook Haven and dusting itself in the winds of winter, while MER mission officials on Earth were roving toward what may be the robot's current greatest potential threat – being cut from NASA's planetary science budget.

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My Own Corner of Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/04/07 10:02 CDT

How I took a high-res photo of an intriguing spot on the Red Planet--and how you can, too.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3623 – April 3, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/04/06 01:17 CDT

Larry Crumpler gives an update on Opportunity's current location, next long-term target, and excitingly increasing power levels.

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Fireworks in the Earth's Sky Sent from the Moon: Reflections from LPSC 2014

Posted by Deepak Dhingra on 2014/04/03 07:00 CDT

Deepak Dhingra reports on presentations from this year's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference focusing on how impacts on the Moon have affected Earth.

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Discovery Missions for an Icy Moon with Active Plumes

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/04/02 07:31 CDT | 8 comments

In December, scientists announced the discovery of possible plumes of water being ejected from Jupiters’s moon Europa. If confirmed, Europa would be the second moon with confirmed plumes after Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Two Discovery mission proposals for Enceladus suggest the types of missions that may be proposed for Europa.

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Dawn Journal: Orbital Trajectories

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2014/04/01 09:48 CDT | 3 comments

Marc Rayman updates us on Dawn's status and explains how the spacecraft is actually getting closer to Earth at the moment as it moves deeper into the asteroid belt.

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LPSC 2014: The Curious Case of Active Volcanism on Venus

Posted by Constantine Tsang on 2014/04/01 12:10 CDT | 5 comments

She’s alive! She’s alive! Or is she? A little more than a week ago, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2014, evidence was presented that Venus was geologically active, not in the recent past, like 100,000 years ago, but right now.

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Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: Cosmic bully spotted by ESA and NASA

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/03/31 05:46 CDT

Hubble has taken some great new images of our 'friend,' Comet Siding Spring, due to pass by Mars at less than 136,000 km on October 19 – less than half the distance between Earth and our moon.

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Returning Explorers

Posted by Achim Vollhardt on 2014/03/28 01:25 CDT | 3 comments

ICE has been on a journey for over 30 years around our sun. While the owner has decided not to bring the ship back to its home port, a group of radio amateurs tries to find out how ICE is doing.

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A Centaur’s shadow reveals bright rings

Posted by Alex Parker on 2014/03/27 09:28 CDT | 7 comments

Yesterday, a team of astronomers announced that they discovered a set of planet-like rings around Chariklo, an asteroid-like body that currently resides in the unstable region between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus.

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Detecting Spacetime Distortions

Posted by Katherine Mack on 2014/03/25 08:17 CDT | 4 comments

Katie Mack explains why the BICEP2 detection of primordial gravitational waves has left astrophysicists at a loss for words.

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Dancing With Saturn

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/03/24 09:30 CDT | 5 comments

Cassini images in motion.

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