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Guest blogs from 2015

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Finishes First Marathon on Another Planet and Roves On

A.J.S. Rayl • April 02, 2015

On March 24, 2015, after spending several weeks investigating some new rock types along the western rim of Endeavour Crater, Opportunity roved past 42.2 kilometers (26.2 miles) and put the first off-Earth marathon in her rear view mirror, driving the Mars Exploration Rovers mission back into the space history books.

OSIRIS-REx Begins ATLO (Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations)

Dante Lauretta • April 02, 2015

The OSIRIS-REx mission passed another major milestone. We now have approval to build the spacecraft.

The Lunar Chronology: What Happens When Science Does Its Thing

Stuart Robbins • April 01, 2015

Scientist Stuart Robbins discusses dating the lunar surface is using impact craters.

Dawn Journal: Preparing to Photograph Ceres

Marc Rayman • April 01, 2015

Dawn's Chief Engineer and Mission Director, Marc Rayman, explains why we haven't seen any new images of Ceres—and when we can expect them.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3971 - March 26, 2015

Larry Crumpler • March 28, 2015

Opportunity reaches a marathon milestone—in more ways than one. Larry Crumpler reports on the current status of the seemingly unstoppable Mars rover.

Ceres Gets Real; Pluto Lurks

Paul Schenk • March 27, 2015

Although we are still along way from understanding this fascinating little body, Ceres is finally becoming a real planet with recognizable features! And that's kinda cool.

Four Ideas to Bust the Floor on Outer Planet Mission Costs

Van Kane • March 26, 2015

The road to lower costs outer planet missions has been paved by NASA’s first two New Frontiers missions, the $700M New Horizons mission to Pluto and the $1.1B Juno mission to Jupiter. But can the cost of a mission to the outer solar system be cut to $450M, the limit for a Discovery mission?

LPSC 2015: Aeolian Processes on Mars and Titan

Nathan Bridges • March 26, 2015

Planetary scientist Nathan Bridges reports on results from the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference about the action of wind on the surfaces of Mars and Titan.

Mars Academy

Paul Hayne • March 21, 2015

A new project—"Mars Academy"—aims to expand the cosmic horizon and offer a broader sense of opportunity for at least one group of underprivileged children in an impoverished neighborhood in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

The Mapping of Pluto Begins Today

Mark Showalter • March 20, 2015

When New Horizons flies past Pluto in July, we will see a new, alien landscape in stark detail. At that point, we will have a lot to talk about. The only way we can talk about it is if those features, whatever they turn out to be, have names.

Announcing: Planetary TV!

Merc Boyan • March 20, 2015

Planetary Society Media Producer Merc Boyan presents our new video resource.

How Do We Know When We Have Collected a Sample of Bennu?

Kevin Walsh • March 17, 2015

A huge amount of effort goes into deciding where to try to collect a sample on Bennu. There are roughly nine months to survey, map and model the asteroid to help make this decision.

A Sky Full of Stars

Bill Dunford • March 09, 2015

In pictures of the planets, the stars aren't usually visible. But when they do appear, they're spectacular.

A First Time for Everything: Blitzing Congress for Space

Jack Kiraly and Michael Briganti • March 06, 2015

There is a first time for everything. Riding a bike, stargazing, and yes, even lobbying Congress. Jack Kiraly describes his first Legislative Blitz with Michael Briganti and Casey Dreier on Capitol Hill last week.

Dawn Journal: Ceres Orbit Insertion!

Marc Rayman • March 06, 2015

Dawn's Chief Engineer, Marc Rayman, gives an update on the mission's highly anticipated arrival at Ceres.

Seeing Ceres: Then and Now

Paul Gilster • March 06, 2015

Technology writer Paul Gilster shares his interest in how we depict astronomical objects, focusing on the dwarf planet Ceres.

Venus From 33 Years Ago, and Why We Need to Explore

Ted Stryk • March 05, 2015

Thirty-three years ago today, Venera 14 plunged through the thick Venusian atmosphere to the surface. Ted Styrk shares some of his processed images from the Venera lander missions to Venus—and makes a plea for us to return.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Discovers New Rock Type, Updates Flight Software

A.J.S. Rayl • March 05, 2015

From the discovery of a new rock type to a successful flight software upload that should enable the robot field geologist to regain her long-term, flash memory, Opportunity and her team delivered what turned out to be a hugely productive and memorable 133rd month on the Red Planet.

Understanding why our most Earth-like neighbor, Venus, is so different

Van Kane • March 02, 2015

Van Kane introduces us to EnVision—a proposed European mission to help improve our understanding of Venus.

Pluto Science, on the Surface

Alan Stern • February 27, 2015

New Horizons' Principal Investigator Alan Stern gives an update on the mission's progress toward Pluto.

Dawn Journal: Ceres' Deepening Mysteries

Marc Rayman • February 25, 2015

Even as we discover more about Ceres, some mysteries only deepen. Mission Director Marc Rayman gives an update on Dawn as it moves ever closer to its next target.

Clouds and Chasmata

Bill Dunford • February 23, 2015

New landscapes from Mars Express.

Our Global Volunteers: February 2015 Update

Kate Howells • February 19, 2015

The Planetary Society has amazing volunteers doing outreach work around the globe. Check out what they've been up to recently!

Mapping Europa

Björn Jónsson • February 18, 2015

Several global maps have been made of Europa, but amateur image processor Björn Jónsson felt they could be improved—so he decided to make a new one.

Planetary CubeSats Begin to Come of Age

Van Kane • February 17, 2015

Van Kane rounds up some recent planetary mission concepts based on CubeSat technology.

Planet Formation and the Origin of Life

Dante Lauretta • February 09, 2015

To understand the possible distribution of life in the Universe it is important to study planet formation and evolution. These processes are recorded in the chemistry and mineralogy of asteroids and comets, and in the geology of ancient planetary surfaces in our Solar System.

Rising Stargirls: Girls of All Colors Learning, Exploring, and Discovering

Aomawa Shields • February 07, 2015

Aomawa Shields discusses a workshop she designed for underrepresented girls in grades 6-8 that will teach key concepts in astronomy, highlighting what is beyond what we can see with our eyes, using nontraditional methods.

2016 Budget: Great Policy Document and Much Better Budget Plan

Van Kane • February 05, 2015

Van Kane gives a summary of the 53-page proposed Fiscal Year 2016 NASA Planetary Science budget.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Completes 11th Year of Surface Operations!

A.J.S. Rayl • February 03, 2015

On January 24th, something wonderful happened on Mars. Opportunity completed her 11th year of exploring the surface of the Red Planet! The veteran rover couldn't exactly go to Disneyland to celebrate this amazing achievement, so she did what she loves to do – roved on.

Ceres Coming Into View

Paul Schenk • February 03, 2015

Dawn is on approach to Ceres, the largest of the asteroids, and is starting to resolve features.

Flawed Beauties

Bill Dunford • February 02, 2015

More examples of imperfect--but tantalizing--images from deep space.

Dawn Journal: Closing in on Ceres

Marc Rayman • January 30, 2015

Dawn's chief engineer Marc Rayman gives an update on the mission as it gets ever closer to its next target: The dwarf planet Ceres.

How NASA's Yearly Budget Request Comes Together

Jason Callahan • January 29, 2015

It takes a year to make, and is the starting point for all coming debate by Congress. It's the President's Budget Request, and understanding how it comes together is an important part of being an effective space advocate.

Addressing some common questions about Comet Lovejoy

Matthew Knight • January 23, 2015

Lowell Observatory's Matthew Knight addresses several points of confusion that have repeatedly come up in the coverage of Comet Lovejoy.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3902 - January 15, 2015

Larry Crumpler • January 22, 2015

Larry Crumpler gives an update on the status of Opportunity's traverse toward Marathon Valley.

Fountains of Water Vapor and Ice

Deepak Dhingra • January 22, 2015

Deepak Dhingra shares some of the latest research on Enceladus' geysers presented at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco last month.

The Moon, In Depth

Bill Dunford • January 20, 2015

Explore a new collection of 3D lunar landscapes.

Pretty Picture: Comet Lovejoy

Adam Block • January 20, 2015

Astrophotgrapher Adam Block shares an image of Comet Lovejoy, which is currently visible with binoculars.

Year of the 'Dwarves': Ceres and Pluto Get Their Due

Paul Schenk • January 15, 2015

This year we achieve the first exploration of these curious but fascinating objects. Paul Schenk explains what we may learn about them.

Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Overlooked

Adam Block • January 14, 2015

Astrophotographer Adam Block showcases some stunning images of lesser-known galaxies and nebulae.

JUICE at Europa

Van Kane • January 13, 2015

Europe's JUICE spacecraft will provide us with a detailed regional study of this icy moon of Jupiter.

Tracking a Ghost Mission 238 Million Km Away

Daniel Scuka • January 10, 2015

Daniel Scuka describes the impending demise of the Venus Express spacecraft.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Closes in on 11th Anniversary and We Look Back on 2014

A.J.S. Rayl • January 07, 2015

With a wonder year of discoveries, historic feats, and bummers in the rear view mirror – and plenty of mettle to continue exploring – Opportunity ended 2014 quietly working in a temporary back-up mode, as her colleagues on Earth ramped up for the mission's marathon adventure to come in 2015.

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