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Our journalists and guest bloggers bring you stunning imagery and the space stories that matter most.

Planetary discovery over the past quarter century

Steven Hauck • December 20, 2016 • 1

2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of what has become one of the primary venues for the publication of research in planetary science: the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. This occasion is a good opportunity to look back at what we have learned in this era of expanded exploration and to try to take a peek at the future.

Farewell, MESSENGER

Emily Lakdawalla • May 01, 2015 • 5

There is one less robot exploring the solar system today. MESSENGER, which has orbited Mercury for four years, finally ran out of fuel and crashed into the planet at 17:26 UT on Thursday, April 30, 2015.

LPSC 2015: MESSENGER's low-altitude campaign at Mercury

Emily Lakdawalla • March 25, 2015 • 3

At last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, the MESSENGER team held a press briefing to share results from the recent few months of incredibly low-altitude flight over Mercury's surface. The mission will last only about five weeks more.

Flawed Beauties

Bill Dunford • February 02, 2015 • 1

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

Planetary exploration in 2015: The Year of the Dwarf Planet

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2014 • 8

Looking ahead to what we can expect from Earth's exploration of the rest of the solar system in 2015, there's an obvious theme: Dwarf planets.

From Mercury orbit, MESSENGER watches a lunar eclipse

Emily Lakdawalla • October 10, 2014 • 3

Watch as our enormous moon -- a quarter the diameter of the planet -- just winks out as it passes into Earth's long shadow, in an animation captured from more than 100 million kilometers away.

A Clearer Impression of Degas Crater

Bill Dunford • October 06, 2014 • 2

MESSENGER is revealing the first planet in sharp detail.

Europa: How Less Can Be More

Van Kane • August 26, 2014 • 6

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

Buzz Mercury's North Polar Region in This New MESSENGER Video

Jason Davis • August 05, 2014 • 1

A new video shows what a traveler aboard Mercury's MESSENGER spacecraft would see as they zipped over the planet's north polar region.

Skimming the inner planets: Updates on MESSENGER and Venus Express

Emily Lakdawalla • June 24, 2014 • 1

The two spacecraft currently orbiting the two innermost planets are both flying low in their orbits in the final phases of their missions. MESSENGER just performed a rocket burn to raise its orbit slightly, while Venus Express did the opposite.

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