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Blogs

Guest blogs from 2016

Countdown to the Next NASA Discovery Mission Selection

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/12/08 11:48 CST | 5 comments

If NASA’s managers hold to their schedule, we will learn sometime this month what NASA’s next planetary mission will be.

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European Space Agency Announces Budgetary Commitments

Posted by Ruth McAvinia on 2016/12/07 12:31 CST | 1 comments

ESA has committed to continuing its ExoMars programme and participation with the International Space Station, but cut funding for its Asteroid Impact Mission.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Departs Spirit Mound, Embarks on Toughest Exit Ever
Sols 4541 - 4569

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/12/02 07:55 CST | 1 comments

Opportunity worked along Endeavour Crater's western rim through November, taking pictures, hiking slopes, and finishing work in the depths of Cape Tribulation.

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TeamIndus Announces Launch Contract with ISRO

Posted by Sandhya Ramesh on 2016/12/01 04:45 CST | 3 comments

TeamIndus, India’s only entry for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, just announced their launch contract with ISRO. If successful, TeamIndus would be the first private company from India to land a craft on an extraterrestrial body.

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Dawn Journal: Maneuvering for Science

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/11/29 10:24 CST | 5 comments

Dawn is completing another elegant spiral around dwarf planet Ceres, maneuvering to its sixth science orbit. Chief Engineer and Mission Manager Marc Rayman brings us his latest update.

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Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: The Space Between

Posted by Adam Block on 2016/11/25 02:16 CST | 1 comments

Award-winning astrophotographer Adam Block shares some of his beautiful photos showcasing interstellar phenomena.

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Subsurface Water Ice in Utopia Planitia, Mars

Posted by Cassie Stuurman on 2016/11/22 01:28 CST | 2 comments

Martian radar expert Cassie Stuurman explains how the SHARAD instrument aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was used to detect buried ice deposits.

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Spektr-RG sees (x-ray) light at the end of the tunnel

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/11/17 07:00 CST

After many years of development, a cutting-edge Russian-German space observatory with little-known contribution from the US is finally approaching the launch pad...or so its scientists say.

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GOES-R: A GOES Primer

Posted by Heather Hunter on 2016/11/14 01:07 CST

The current GOES-East and GOES-West have been faithfully providing continuous imagery and data on Earth and space weather for almost a decade. So, with the launch of the first of the next generation of GOES satellites, GOES-R, what is NOAA trying to accomplish?

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Rosetta in the Rearview: What Have We Learned?

Posted by John Noonan on 2016/11/07 03:26 CST | 1 comments

Just over a month ago the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft finished its mission by spectacularly diving into the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. How did it observations influence and alter our ideas about the typical formation and lifetime of a comet?

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Scales Spirit Mound, Takes Shot at Schiaparelli
Sols 4511 - 4540

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/11/05 11:45 CDT

Opportunity spent the month of October on Spirit Mound studying the rich yet familiar geology at the first science stop on its 10th extended mission – pausing only to take a shot at freeze-framing part of the descent of Europe’s Schiaparelli lander.

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Capturing Martian Weather in Motion

Posted by Justin Cowart on 2016/11/04 09:41 CDT | 1 comments

Still images of Mars often give a false impression that Mars is a dead planet—but time-lapse imaging from the European Mars Express spacecraft reveals the planet as it really is.

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Long March 5 launch blasts China into age of space station and deep space exploration

Posted by Andrew Jones on 2016/11/03 02:15 CDT | 3 comments

Today, China launched its largest rocket yet, the Long March 5, from the new coastal launch center on Hainan Island. The launch is a major step forward on the country's path to deep space.

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An international outpost near the Moon gets closer to reality

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/11/03 07:01 CDT | 10 comments

International Space Station (ISS) project partners are inching ever closer toward an agreement to begin the development of a new human outpost in the vicinity of the Moon. If successful, the cis-lunar space station (a space station in the vicinity of the Moon) will be the largest international space project to date, influencing the direction of human space flight for decades to come.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4535 - October 26, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/11/02 07:01 CDT

Opportunity is currently finishing up observations of its first outcrop target of its 10th extended mission plan.

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Dawn Journal: 5th Mapping Orbit

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/11/01 06:46 CDT | 4 comments

Dawn just completed another successful observation campaign at Ceres from its latest mapping orbit. Mission Director and Chief Engineer Marc Rayman brings us his monthly update.

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Dynamics of Exoplanet Systems

Posted by Erika Nesvold on 2016/10/31 11:21 CDT

At this year’s Division for Planetary Sciences/European Planetary Science Congress meeting, the Exoplanet Dynamics session was packed full of talks on tightly-packed multi-planet systems and their instabilities.

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ExoMars: Schiaparelli Analysis to Continue

Posted by Ruth McAvinia on 2016/10/20 12:05 CDT | 5 comments

The fate of the ExoMars lander, Schiaparelli, remains uncertain. European Space Agency mission controllers had been optimistic on Wednesday night that a definitive answer would be known by Thursday morning’s news briefing. However, although some more details have been made public about the lander’s descent, it is not yet clear whether it hit the martian surface at a speed it could not survive.

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ExoMars: Long day’s journey into uncertainty

Posted by Ruth McAvinia on 2016/10/19 03:04 CDT | 2 comments

Trace Gas Orbit is successfully in orbit at Mars, but the fate of the Schiaparelli lander is uncertain.

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Fall Issue of The Planetary Report is Here!

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2016/10/19 02:59 CDT

From the innermost planet to the farthest reaches of our Solar System, this issue of The Planetary Report spans it all!

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Rapidly Rotating Regular Satellites and Tides

Posted by Darin Ragozzine on 2016/10/17 02:29 CDT | 2 comments

Pluto’s small moons have unusual rotation rates and states. Now we know a moon of another dwarf planet does as well. Is there a connection?

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New Gems from the Moon
JAXA Releases the Complete Image Set from Kaguya’s HDTV Camera

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2016/10/10 04:00 CDT | 3 comments

More than seven years after the end of its mission, JAXA has released the entire data set from Kaguya's HDTV cameras.

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MOM's Second Anniversary at Mars

Posted by Sandhya Ramesh on 2016/10/05 01:04 CDT | 1 comments

On Mars Orbiter Mission’s second anniversary of Mars arrival, ISRO has (finally!) made available to the public data from its first year in orbit.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Exits Marathon Valley then Rocks Spirit Mound
Sols 4482 - 4510

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/10/04 07:17 CDT

It was another September to remember for Opportunity as she cruised through the Lewis and Clark Gap and out of Marathon Valley, then hiked downslope, leading the first overland expedition of the Red Planet to Spirit Mound, a new site deep in Endeavour Crater’s rim.

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ESA opens its ears to citizens of Europe

Posted by Ruth McAvinia on 2016/10/04 10:14 CDT

In September, the European Space Agency gathered 2,000 people around the continent to discuss their future in space.

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Dawn Journal: 9th Anniversary

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/09/29 12:05 CDT | 3 comments

Nine years ago today, Dawn set sail on an epic journey of discovery and adventure. The intrepid explorer has sailed the cosmic seas and collected treasures that far exceeded anything anticipated or even hoped for.

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Women on Spacecraft Missions: Are we moving towards parity with the percentage in the field?

Posted by Julie Rathbun on 2016/09/16 09:01 CDT | 1 comments

How far have we come and how far do we still need to go to welcome women into planetary science, and, particularly, spacecraft missions?

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A deep dive into the highest-resolution Voyager Jupiter data

Posted by Björn Jónsson on 2016/09/14 08:00 CDT

A few weeks before the first Juno high resolution imaging, I decided to take a look at Voyager color images at various resolutions, with particular attention to high-resolution mosaics.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4482 - September 2, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/09/09 09:04 CDT | 1 comments

Opportunity is about to leave Marathon Valley for good and head south into the next valley, marking the beginning of the current extended mission plan.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Gets in the Groove, Wraps Science Marathon Valley
Sols 4452 - 4481

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/09/05 11:01 CDT

Opportunity got in the groove at Endeavour Crater in August finishing the last of her science assignments in Marathon Valley.

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Dawn Journal: Diving Low

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/09/01 10:08 CDT | 11 comments

Following the conclusion of Dawn's ambitious 8.8-year prime mission on June 30, the spacecraft has been gathering a wealth of data with all sensors in its extended mission as it orbits closer to Ceres than the International Space Station is to Earth.

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Let’s be careful about this “SETI” signal

Posted by Franck Marchis on 2016/08/30 12:19 CDT | 10 comments

Several readers have contacted me recently about reports that a group of international astronomers have detected a strong signal coming from a distant star that could be a sign of a high-technology civilization. Here’s my reaction: it’s interesting, but it’s definitely not the sign of an alien civilization—at least not yet.

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Will Juno’s Instruments Observe the Moons of Jupiter?

Posted by Candice Hansen on 2016/08/30 10:38 CDT | 2 comments

It is not easy to observe Jupiter’s moons as more than points of light with Juno, because Juno will never get very close to any of the moons, but as its orbit shifts there will be opportunities to collect data on some of the moons.

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Selecting the Next New Frontiers Mission

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/08/29 08:09 CDT | 13 comments

NASA’s managers have begun the process for a competition to select a new planetary mission to launch in the mid-2020s that will address one of the most important questions in planetary science.

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Proxima Centauri b: Have we just found Earth’s cousin right on our doorstep?

Posted by Franck Marchis on 2016/08/24 12:01 CDT | 19 comments

What began as a tantalizing rumor has just become an astonishing fact. Today a group of thirty-one scientists announced the discovery of a terrestrial exoplanet orbiting Proxima Centauri. The discovery of this planet, Proxima Centauri b, is a huge breakthrough not just for astronomers but for all of us. Here’s why.

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Gullies on Mars: Wet or Dry (Ice)?

Posted by Tanya Harrison on 2016/08/17 08:02 CDT | 1 comments

Martian gullies were in the spotlight last week thanks to a NASA press release stating they were "likely not formed by liquid water" based on spectral results. But how does this stack up against their morphology?

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Juno’s other ‘cameras’

Posted by Anna Scott on 2016/08/16 10:57 CDT | 3 comments

Juno’s science goals are to understand the origin and interior of Jupiter, focusing specifically on its atmosphere and magnetic field. Cameras can help answer some of these questions.

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The Many Names of WFIRST

Posted by Jason Rhodes on 2016/08/10 08:01 CDT | 3 comments

NASA’s next big “flagship” astronomy mission, following the ambitious James Webb Space Telescope due to be launched in 2018, is currently known as the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)—but it's had a slew of different names.

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Half the Park is After Dark: Stargazers Celebrate U.S. National Parks Centennial

Posted by CaLisa Lee on 2016/08/08 06:00 CDT

On August 25th, 2016, the U.S. National Park Service is celebrating its Centennial. That’s 100 years of protecting the lands and the night skies so that people from around the world and all walks of life can come and see the stars!

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We’re building the STEAM Team!

Posted by Kate Howells on 2016/08/05 04:25 CDT

We know, as well as you do, that if we want to see a great future – one where humans explore, understand, and benefit from space – we need to invest right now in the people who will be leading the way. To empower the world’s youth, we need to educate them. And to educate them, we need to inspire them.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Nears End of Marathon Valley Tour, Team Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Viking
Sols 4422 - 4451

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/08/03 01:33 CDT | 1 comments

Despite the intensifying rancor and ugliness of the U.S. Presidential campaigns on Earth, as the spring Sun shined down on Meridiani Planum in July, all was right with the world at Endeavour Crater.

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On A Mission to Explore! Choosing A Theme for Our Membership Experience

Posted by Mark Hilverda on 2016/08/02 02:24 CDT

Selecting a theme for our reinvented membership experience involved hundreds of people from staff to members. Here's the process that created the names for the new membership levels.

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Hubble Series 1: How to Find Hubble Data

Posted by Judy Schmidt on 2016/08/02 08:18 CDT

Processing Hubble data presents a host of challenges, and the first of these has nothing to do with processing at all.

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Dawn Journal: Staying at Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/07/30 01:19 CDT | 9 comments

The official end of Dawn's prime mission was June 30, but the valiant adventurer began its "extended mission" of performing more Ceres observations without missing a beat.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4410 - June 20, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/07/28 08:02 CDT | 1 comments

Opportunity is finishing up its activities in Marathon Valley, getting ready to hit the road again.

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Summer 2016 issue of The Planetary Report

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2016/07/27 03:22 CDT

The Summer 2016 issue of The Planetary Report is in the mail! Planetary Society members who want a head start on reading can access the electronic version.

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MAVEN Status and Extended-Mission Planning

Posted by Bruce Jakosky on 2016/07/27 03:17 CDT | 1 comments

The MAVEN mission to Mars was just approved for a two-year extended mission that runs through September 2018. Now is a good time to take stock of we've learned so far and to describe the plans for the extended mission.

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We’re Building a Movement!

Posted by Richard Chute on 2016/07/26 12:00 CDT | 1 comments

Today we launch a new expedition to engage our members in more ways than ever before. Since our inception, our members have supported The Planetary Society as we forge new paths in space science and exploration. You have always been at the center of our success and we want the structure of our membership program to reflect that by offering new benefits, premiums and payment options.

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New Horizons Science Team Meeting Report

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2016/07/11 08:03 CDT | 3 comments

On July 6 at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, the science team convened at the place where Pluto was discovered. Ted Stryk reports from the meeting.

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Jupiter's Clouds: A Primer

Posted by Justin Cowart on 2016/07/08 08:02 CDT | 7 comments

With Juno arriving at Jupiter, Justin Cowart gives us a lesson on the giant planet's varied cloud patterns.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Begins Final Science Campaign in Marathon Valley
Sols 4393 - 4421

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/07/07 08:01 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission entered its 150th month of surface exploration in June as Opportunity began checking off the last science investigations in Marathon Valley, and the crew on Earth looked ahead to the future past.

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WISE Views in Infrared

Posted by Judy Schmidt on 2016/06/24 12:04 CDT | 3 comments

Amateur image processor Judy Schmidt explains the process of creating gorgeous views of the cosmos from infrared data from the WISE telescope.

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An Astronomer Learns to Make His CASE

Posted by Kevin Cooke on 2016/06/24 01:32 CDT

Science in America depends on federal funding, yet many young scientists don't understand how the U.S. government decides to spend its money on science, nor are they encouraged to use their new degrees to advise the process. This is changing with support from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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Red Dragon and Planetary Exploration

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/06/10 12:07 CDT | 5 comments

If SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft becomes a standard catalog item that could ordered, the way a launch vehicle is, what might the impact be on planetary exploration?

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Dawn Journal: In the Details

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/06/08 06:33 CDT | 6 comments

Dawn is continuing to record the extraordinary sights on dwarf planet Ceres. The experienced explorer is now closer to the alien world than the International Space Station is to Earth.

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Whither the Weather? A Jet Stream Explainer

Posted by Anna Scott on 2016/06/07 11:01 CDT | 4 comments

Jet streams are found in planetary atmospheres throughout our solar system. But what exactly are they?

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Scuffs Up Signs of Past Water at Marathon Valley
Sols 4362 - 4391

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/06/06 09:24 CDT

Opportunity spent the first half of May digging into an outcrop, taking dozens of panoramic images from her site on the south wall of Marathon Valley at Endeavour Crater’s western rim, and basking in the Martian spring weather.

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ExoMars Domino Effect

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/05/30 08:10 CDT | 5 comments

A difficult but necessary decision by ESA and Roskosmos to postpone the launch of the ExoMars rover from 2018 to 2020 raises a question about the fate of other planetary exploration programs in the pipelines of both space agencies.

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Lunar Farside Landing Plans

Posted by Phil Stooke on 2016/05/27 06:48 CDT | 1 comments

Phil Stooke describes a research trip to the Regional Planetary Image Facility at the USGS in Flagstaff, where he discovered Jack Schmitt's proposed plans for a farside landing site for Apollo 17.

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Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: The Eye of Sauron

Posted by Adam Block on 2016/05/18 12:46 CDT

Astrophotographer Adam Block shares his latest image, this time of a menacing spiral galaxy.

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ExoMars Rover Seeks Exit From Dire Straits

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/05/17 06:16 CDT | 3 comments

The European Space Agency and Roskosmos have admitted the inevitable—the launch of the joint ExoMars-2018 project will have to be postponed for two years to 2020.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4365 - May 5, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/05/13 10:43 CDT

Opportunity arrived at its current location on sol 4345 to begin investigation of an outcrop on the crest of a ridge near the west end of Marathon Valley.

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Space Exploration: Leaving the Earth to Understand It

Posted by Jake Rosenthal on 2016/05/13 08:00 CDT | 2 comments

Looking back at Earth from beyond helps to give perspective on our place in the cosmos.

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State of NASA Earth Observation

Posted by Anna Scott on 2016/05/12 08:00 CDT | 4 comments

Anna Scott gets us up to speed on NASA's Earth-observing missions nearly 60 years into the satellite age.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Sleuths New Site for Smectites

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/05/10 08:01 CDT | 2 comments

Opportunity and the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) team pressed on through the Martian winter and spent April sleuthing for clay minerals at the mission’s new site on the southern wall of Marathon Valley.

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The what-o-sphere? An explainer

Posted by Anna Scott on 2016/05/05 08:04 CDT | 3 comments

Why do we need to slice up atmospheres into classifications like the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere?

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Dawn Journal: A New Angle on Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/05/04 01:31 CDT | 27 comments

Since April 11, instead of photographing the scenery directly beneath it, Dawn has been aiming its camera to the left and forward as it orbits and Ceres rotates to map more of the dwarf planet.

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The Giant Volcanoes of Mars

Posted by Justin Cowart on 2016/05/04 12:45 CDT | 1 comments

Justin Cowart shares some spectacular images showcasing Mars' volcanoes from Mars Express.

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A Moon for Makemake

Posted by Alex Parker on 2016/05/02 10:54 CDT | 3 comments

The solar system beyond Neptune is full of worlds hosting moons. Now we know that the dwarf planet Makemake has one of its very own.

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Future High-Resolution Imaging of Mars: Super-Res to the Rescue?

Posted by Alfred McEwen on 2016/04/29 02:27 CDT | 3 comments

HiRISE Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen explains an imaging technique known as Super-Resolution Restoration (SRR), and how it could come in handy for high-resolution imaging of the Red Planet.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4333 - April 1, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/04/26 07:32 CDT

Opportunity has climbed west and up Marathon Valley in one of the final campaigns before moving on and beginning the summer field activities to the south southward.

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Engineering an Impact on the New Frontier

Posted by Bradley Williams on 2016/04/21 08:01 CDT

Bradley Williams, Systems Engineer for the camera suite on NASA's OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission, details the path that led him to his current position.

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Atmospheric Waves Awareness: An Explainer

Posted by Anna Scott on 2016/04/20 10:30 CDT | 4 comments

There are two types of atmospheric waves that are critically important on Earth and other planets: gravity waves and planetary waves.

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Synthesizing DSCOVR-like Images Using Atmospheric and Geophysical Data

Posted by Steve Albers on 2016/04/20 08:00 CDT | 3 comments

Why does our planet look the way it does from space? How does light interacting with land, clouds, water, snow, ice, gases, and various aerosols all come together? One way to learn the answer is to try and synthesize DSCOVR's view from various "building blocks" of geophysical and atmospheric data.

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Spring Issue of The Planetary Report Has Arrived!

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2016/04/15 09:17 CDT

The Spring 2016 edition of The Planetary Report has just printed and will arrive at our mail house this week. Any member who wants a digital copy can download the issue through our website.

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Favorite Astro Plots #4: Classifying Exoplanets

Posted by Jingjing Chen on 2016/04/15 08:04 CDT | 6 comments

Until just a few years ago, a plot of mass versus size of other worlds would have looked pretty sparse and uninformative. But thanks to the tireless efforts of exoplanet astronomers, we now know fairly precise masses and radii for hundreds of distant worlds.

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LPSC 2016: The Moon Keeps on Giving

Posted by Ryan Clegg-Watkins on 2016/04/14 08:04 CDT | 1 comments

There was no shortage of interesting lunar science talks at last month’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Dr. Ryan Clegg-Watkins highlights some of the interesting results for us.

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Defining the Missions for the Ocean Worlds

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/04/12 10:03 CDT | 2 comments

At a recent meeting of an advisory group for NASA, the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS), Jim Green, the head of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, and Barry Goldstein from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, provided updates on plans to explore our solar system's ocean worlds.

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LPSC 2016: Differentiated meteorites provide a glimpse of the early solar system and planets

Posted by Helen Ashcroft on 2016/04/11 01:07 CDT | 2 comments

This year's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference included a session devoted to a group of rocks from space called differentiated meteorites, and their proposed parent bodies.

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How to Make a Pluto Globe

Posted by Sarah Morrison on 2016/04/08 08:02 CDT | 3 comments

Want to make your own globe of Pluto? Here's how!

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Fog Detection from the Surface of Titan: New Findings From Old Data

Posted by Brittney CooperChristina SmithJohn Moores on 2016/04/07 08:02 CDT | 4 comments

Huygens may have landed on Titan over a decade ago, but a group of researchers from York University were able to make a new and unexpected discovery with this older dataset.

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LPSC 2016: Icy Satellite Science

Posted by Jessica Noviello on 2016/04/05 08:01 CDT

This year’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference devoted two oral presentation sessions to questions related to icy satellites in our solar system. Jessica Noviello reports back from the conference.

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LPSC 2016: Martian Geomorphology

Posted by Tanya Harrison on 2016/04/04 08:01 CDT

Scientists showcased a wide range of features and processes on Mars' surface at last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Soldiers through Martian March Madness
Sols 4303 - 4331

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/04/04 05:04 CDT | 4 comments

As March Madness on Earth sent sports fans into their annual kinetic frenzy watching more than 60 American teams battle it out for college basketball’s grandest title, Opportunity was experiencing her own Martian brand of March Madness.

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Dawn Journal: Sharper Views of Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/04/01 09:21 CDT | 1 comments

One year after taking up its new residence in the solar system, Dawn is continuing to witness extraordinary sights on dwarf planet Ceres. Mission Director Marc Rayman brings us his monthly update on Dawn's status.

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Clouds and haze and dust, oh my!

Posted by Sarah Hörst on 2016/03/24 11:16 CDT | 3 comments

What types of aerosols do we find in the atmospheres around the Solar System, and why does what we call them—clouds vs. haze vs. dust—matter? Sarah Hörst explains.

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Russia approves its 10-year space strategy

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/03/23 09:20 CDT | 4 comments

After months of delays, the Russian government finally approved the nation’s 10-year space program worth 1.406 trillion rubles ($20.5 billion) last week.

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Challenges to Enabling a Richer Planetary Exploration Program

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/03/21 08:01 CDT | 5 comments

This past week brought to the fore two challenges for NASA’s managers as they try to enable the richest possible mix of coming planetary missions. At stake are whether the agency will be able to select two Discovery missions from the current competition, and whether there will be the possibility of a mission selected for Enceladus and/or Titan in the next decade.

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A Sunset on Mars: Crafting a scene from archival data

Posted by Justin Cowart on 2016/03/08 01:30 CST | 2 comments

Ever wanted to stand on Mars and watch a sunset? Unfortunately for many of us, it will never be something that we get to experience in person. But thanks to our robotic emissaries on Mars, and some careful processing of images from NASA's Planetary Data System, we can get a sense of what it’s like.

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Continuing the Hunt for Exoplanets

Posted by Meg Schwamb on 2016/03/04 10:04 CST | 6 comments

Meg Schwamb highlights some of the upcoming space-based missions that will search for planets beyond our solar system.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Scales Knudsen Ridge and Rocks On
Sols 4274 - 4302

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/03/03 08:21 CST | 1 comments

As the Martian winter slowly begins to recede, Opportunity is working away on the steep slopes of Knudsen Ridge at the southern end of Marathon Valley, showing her mettle in some of the most challenging terrain of the rover’s 12+ years on the Red Planet.

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OSIRIS-REx Passes EMI/EMC Testing

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2016/03/03 08:00 CST

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has completed the Electromagnetic Interference/Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMI/EMC) system level test.

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MENCA brings divine wealth from Mars: First science results from the Mars Orbiter Mission

Posted by Syed Maqbool Ahmed on 2016/03/02 08:00 CST | 4 comments

MENCA (Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser) is a quadrupole mass spectrometer onboard India's Mars Orbiter Mission, MOM. A report on measurements of neutral species accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters is the first peer-reviewed scientific result from the mission.

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How Does a NASA Scientist End Up Working on an ESA Mission?

Posted by Jason Rhodes on 2016/03/01 11:00 CST | 2 comments

Cosmologist Jason Rhodes details the path he took to play a leading role in a European mission designed to learn about dark energy.

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Dawn Journal: Success at Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/03/01 07:04 CST | 25 comments

More than eight years after leaving Earth behind for an ambitious deep space adventure, the Dawn mission has now collected all of the data originally planned. Chief Engineer and Mission Director Marc Rayman brings us an update.

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Atlanta Students Bring Mars to Earth

Posted by Mark Sequeira on 2016/02/26 09:22 CST | 1 comments

A group of students from Georgia, USA, were able to explore Mars through the Mars Express #VMCschools campaign, with a little help from The Planetary Society's image processing tutorials.

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NASA's New Budget Would Gut Europa But Otherwise Support Planetary Exploration
All these worlds are yours, except for...

Posted by Van Kane on 2016/02/18 08:02 CST | 8 comments

It’s clear that the President’s budget officers really don’t want to fund a mission to Europa. Other than that, the proposed Fiscal Year 2017 budget submitted by the President last week to Congress would be great for planetary exploration.

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The Sea That Has Become Known

Posted by Porter McDonald on 2016/02/12 06:00 CST

Artist Porter McDonald describes his latest painting, Mare Cognitum, which features NASA's Ranger 7 spacecraft.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4284 - February 11, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/02/11 07:19 CST

Opportunity is continuing to explore the outcrops Marathon Valley, on the west rim of Endeavour crater.

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Winter Issue of The Planetary Report is Here!

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2016/02/11 08:23 CST

The winter issue of The Planetary Report is at the printer and will be in your mailbox soon if you're a member of The Planetary Society. (And if you're not, join now!)

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