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Blogs

Guest blogs from 2017

New treasures from Juno: Jupiter dazzles during fourth close approach

Posted by Björn Jónsson on 2017/03/27 02:00 CDT

Image processor Björn Jónsson shares some of his latest stunning images of Jupiter, created using data from NASA's Juno spacecraft.

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Juno just flew past Jupiter for the fifth time. What have we learned from the mission so far?

Posted by Anna Scott on 2017/03/27 06:00 CDT | 3 comments

There's no verdict quite yet on the giant planet's core, and scientists are still gathering clues about the accuracy of our current solar system formation models.

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Unraveling a Martian enigma: The hidden rivers of Arabia Terra

Posted by Joel Davis on 2017/03/21 11:01 CDT

Arabia Terra has always been a bit of a martian enigma. Planetary scientist Joel Davis takes us on a tour of its valley networks and their significance in telling the story of water on Mars.

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Postcard from Kentucky: Space in the Bluegrass State

Posted by Wayne Hall on 2017/03/16 06:00 CDT

In Kentucky, some very driven people are writing their own chapter of space exploration based on vision, entrepreneurial risk, and scientific and engineering know-how. Wayne Hall shares their stories.

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You’ve met Saturn’s ravioli-shaped moon, Pan. Now learn how it was discovered

Posted by Mark Showalter on 2017/03/13 01:22 CDT | 2 comments

Planetary astronomer Mark Showalter tells the story of when he became the first human to ever set eyes on Saturn's strange moon Pan in 1990.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 4662 - March 6, 2017

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2017/03/11 04:02 CST | 1 comments

For nearly two years, Opportunity's world has been tilted 10–25 degrees as it drove down to the lower slopes of the wall of Endeavour Crater. Toward the end of last week, Opportunity pulled itself up and over the lip of the crater.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Reaches Top of Endeavour Rim, Wraps Cape Tribulation
Sols 4631 - 4657

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2017/03/03 07:54 CST | 5 comments

Driving the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission further into its fourteenth year of surface operations, Opportunity continued hiking the slopes of Cape Tribulation in February and finally reached the crest of Endeavour Crater’s western rim.

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Dawn Journal: Intricate Maneuvers

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2017/03/02 09:00 CST | 2 comments

The Dawn mission is executing an ambitious bonus goal recently devised for its extended mission. Mission Manager and Chief Engineer Marc Rayman brings us his monthly update.

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Citizen scientist spots changes on Rosetta's comet

Posted by Marco Parigi on 2017/02/27 06:00 CST | 3 comments

Citizen scientist and self-described "comet whisperer" Marco Parisi explains how he made a striking discovery on Comet 67P using Rosetta mission data.

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Radar in Earth and Planetary Science: An Intro

Posted by Heather Hunter on 2017/02/24 11:14 CST | 1 comments

Heather Hunter explains how radar works and what it's used for on Earth and beyond.

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Wonderful potentially habitable worlds around TRAPPIST-1

Posted by Franck Marchis on 2017/02/22 12:00 CST | 14 comments

Scientists have found seven, Earth-size planets orbiting a star just 40 light years away. Three lie in the habitable zone and could have water on their surfaces.

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Did Voyager 1 capture an image of Enceladus' plumes erupting?

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2017/02/21 01:38 CST | 4 comments

Amateur image processor Ted Stryk revisited Voyager 1 data of Enceladus and came across a surprise.

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Finding spacecraft impacts on the Moon

Posted by Phil Stooke on 2017/02/20 06:00 CST | 2 comments

Over nearly 60 years of spacecraft exploration of the Moon, lots of spacecraft have crashed on the lunar surface—some accidental, some intentional. Phil Stooke hunts for their impact sites.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 4639 - February 10, 2017

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2017/02/10 04:30 CST

Opportunity has successfully clawed its way to within a few meters of the crater rim after spending the last few months climbing and the last two years inside the crater.

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Space, Science, and Technology Take Center Stage

Posted by Sara JenningsHannah Kerner on 2017/02/10 09:01 CST

The Science Line—a non-profit working to bridge the gap between science, technology and fashion by inspiring youth through STEM fashion shows, competitions, educational kits and hands-on workshops—hosted the first STEM Fashion Show in partnership with the Challenger Space Center of Arizona.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 4633 - February 6, 2017

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2017/02/06 08:21 CST

Several sols ago, Opportunity made it up and past the steepest section of its climb out of Endeavour crater.

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Microbes exist deep inside Earth’s craters. Could this be the secret to finding life on other worlds?

Posted by Bryan J. Rodriguez-Colon on 2017/02/06 06:04 CST | 3 comments

Earth possesses amazing biological diversity. Every corner of this planet—no matter how bizarre the place—is inhabited by microorganisms. This includes impact craters.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Celebrates the Big 1-3, Begins 14th Year of Ops!
Sols 4600 - 4630

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2017/02/04 07:14 CST | 2 comments

2017 got off to a start that was unprecedented in every good way: Opportunity completed her 13th Earth year of surface operations and drove the first overland expedition of the Red Planet into its 14th year.

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Dawn Journal: A New Perspective on Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2017/02/01 03:45 CST | 9 comments

Dawn has moved into its sixth orbital phase, with a new sun angle that provides an opportunity to gain a new perspective on the asteroid Ceres.

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Explorer of Enceladus and Titan

Posted by Van Kane on 2017/02/01 09:05 CST | 6 comments

For the third time in less than a decade, scientists have proposed a multiple-flyby mission to explore the habitability of Saturn’s ocean moons Titan and Enceladus.

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The Winter 2016 issue of The Planetary Report

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2017/01/27 02:39 CST

The Winter 2016 issue of The Planetary Report is on its way to members’ doors, showcasing the stunning year in pictures.

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Russia’s Proton rocket grounded by poor quality control
More woes for the country's launch fleet

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2017/01/25 09:56 CST | 1 comments

Russia's workhorse Proton rocket may be grounded until June or July, dealing another blow to the country's launch infrastructure, which has been plagued by brain drain, mismanagement, poor quality control and corruption.

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Need a break from Earth? Go stand on Mars with these lovely landscapes

Posted by Kevin Gill on 2017/01/25 09:01 CST | 6 comments

Amateur space image processor Kevin Gill shares some of his stunning 3D images of Mars, created from real spacecraft data.

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Blitzing Congress for NASA
Or, How I Spent My Day Off in DC

Posted by Bill Gowan on 2017/01/12 11:40 CST

Last February, a group called the Space Exploration Alliance held their annual "legislative blitz," walking the halls of Congress to sway lawmakers toward increased support for NASA's 2017 budget.

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CYGNSS Launch: The Human Side

Posted by John Noonan on 2017/01/11 11:36 CST | 1 comments

What is it like behind the scenes before, during, and after the launch of a spacecraft?

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Lucy and Psyche Asteroid Missions

Posted by Van Kane on 2017/01/09 10:49 CST | 9 comments

Last week, NASA selected its thirteenth and fourteenth missions in its low cost Discovery program.

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Saturn's Ring Particles

Posted by Judy Schmidt on 2017/01/05 01:10 CST | 2 comments

Artist and astrophotographer Judy Schmidt brings us a view from within the rings of Saturn.

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Mystery of Russia’s doomed Progress spacecraft may delay next ISS crew launch

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2017/01/04 06:00 CST | 2 comments

More than a month after a Progress spacecraft bound for the International Space Station plunged to the ground during a botched launch attempt, investigators are still unable to clear its rocket to carry future ISS crews.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Wraps 2016, Heads into 2017 Toward 13th Anniversary

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2017/01/04 01:04 CST

As 2016 came to an end and 2017 rang in, Opportunity was working the first leg of the ascent up the rugged western rim of Endeavour Crater on her way to an ancient gully, the next scientific tour de force down the road, and the mission was closing in on its 13th anniversary of surface operations coming up in the New Year.

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Dawn Journal: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2017/01/03 02:40 CST | 1 comments

Dawn is concluding a remarkable year of exploring dwarf planet Ceres. Chief Engineer and Mission Manager Marc Rayman brings us his latest update.

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