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Guest blogs from 2017

Learn the rocket equation, part 1

David Shortt • April 28, 2017

Have you ever wanted to learn the fundamental physics behind one of the most basic concepts of rocket science? In part one of our two-part series, we explore the foundations of the famous rocket equation.

Spring 2017 issue of The Planetary Report now available

Donna Stevens • April 18, 2017

The Spring 2017 issue of The Planetary Report is in the mail and available online now to our members!

Postcard from the Space Symposium: Planetary Society outreach coordinator finds her place in space

Harriet Brettle • April 14, 2017

The annual Space Symposium brings together space leaders from around the world to discuss, address and plan for the future of space.

Another smoking gun in the search for life in Enceladus’ ocean

Franck Marchis • April 13, 2017

NASA's Cassini spacecraft sniffed out molecular hydrogen spewing from Enceladus' subsurface ocean. The discovery means Saturn's moon has all the basic ingredients needed to support life.

Fossils or good-looking rocks? Why searching for life on other worlds is hard

Elias Nakouzi • April 13, 2017

If you find a structure that looks like ancient life, can you be really sure that it is ancient life?

Extraterrestrial culture: How we express ourselves through space exploration

Felipe Cervera • April 11, 2017

Planetary Performance scholar Felipe Cervera brings a perspective on "extraterrestrial-ity" in terrestrial cultures—from rituals to technology.

China's lunar sample return mission will pave way for future ambitions

Andrew Jones • April 06, 2017

Later this year, China is launching the Change'5 spacecraft to return a sample from the Moon. The mission will pave the way for future ambitions, including crewed trips to the lunar surface.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Dodges Dust Storms, Makes Tracks to Perseverance Valley

A.J.S. Rayl • April 04, 2017

After wrapping the final science investigations on the slopes of Cape Tribulation, Opportunity climbed up and over the rim of Endeavour Crater in March and embarked on the journey south toward its next science target: Perseverance Valley.

Daring mighty things: Pathways to careers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Nathan Barba • April 03, 2017

Arizona State University graduate student Nathan Barba talks with some of JPL’s finest to get guidance and advice on how to join this illustrious group of space explorers.

Dawn Journal: Bonus Plans

Marc Rayman • March 31, 2017

Now in its third year of orbiting a distant dwarf planet, a spacecraft from Earth is as active as ever. Like a master artist, Dawn is working hard to add fine details to its stunning portrait of Ceres.

New treasures from Juno: Jupiter dazzles during fourth close approach

Björn Jónsson • March 27, 2017

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

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

Anna Scott • March 27, 2017

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.

Unraveling a Martian enigma: The hidden rivers of Arabia Terra

Joel Davis • March 21, 2017

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.

Postcard from Kentucky: Space in the Bluegrass State

Wayne Hall • March 16, 2017

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.

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

Mark Showalter • March 13, 2017

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.

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

Larry Crumpler • March 11, 2017

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.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Reaches Top of Endeavour Rim, Wraps Cape Tribulation

A.J.S. Rayl • March 03, 2017

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.

Dawn Journal: Intricate Maneuvers

Marc Rayman • March 02, 2017

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.

Citizen scientist spots changes on Rosetta's comet

Marco Parigi • February 27, 2017

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

Radar in Earth and Planetary Science: An Intro

Heather Hunter • February 24, 2017

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

Wonderful potentially habitable worlds around TRAPPIST-1

Franck Marchis • February 22, 2017

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.

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

Ted Stryk • February 21, 2017

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

Finding spacecraft impacts on the Moon

Phil Stooke • February 20, 2017

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.

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

Larry Crumpler • February 10, 2017

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.

Space, Science, and Technology Take Center Stage

Sara Jennings and Hannah Kerner • February 10, 2017

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.

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

Larry Crumpler • February 06, 2017

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

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

Bryan J. Rodriguez-Colon • February 06, 2017

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

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

A.J.S. Rayl • February 04, 2017

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.

Dawn Journal: A New Perspective on Ceres

Marc Rayman • February 01, 2017

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.

Explorer of Enceladus and Titan

Van Kane • February 01, 2017

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.

The Winter 2016 issue of The Planetary Report

Donna Stevens • January 27, 2017

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

Russia’s Proton rocket grounded by poor quality control

Anatoly Zak • January 25, 2017

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.

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

Kevin Gill • January 25, 2017

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

Blitzing Congress for NASA

Bill Gowan • January 12, 2017

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.

CYGNSS Launch: The Human Side

John Noonan • January 11, 2017

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

Lucy and Psyche Asteroid Missions

Van Kane • January 09, 2017

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

Saturn's Ring Particles

Judy Schmidt • January 05, 2017

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

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

Anatoly Zak • January 04, 2017

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.

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

A.J.S. Rayl • January 04, 2017

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.

Dawn Journal: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Marc Rayman • January 03, 2017

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

astronaut on Phobos
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