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The stories behind planetary projects

by Jason Davis

The Planetary Society participates in a wide variety of projects dedicated to the exploration of our solar system, planetary defense and citizen science. Jason Davis is your embedded reporter and guide to planetary projects.

Latest Blog Posts

Landsat 8 Looks at the Supermoon

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/29 04:00 CDT

Why did Landsat 8, an Earth-observing spacecraft, turn its unblinking eyes toward the July 12 supermoon?

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LightSail-A Has a Blown Radio Amplifier. Now What?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/23 03:02 CDT | 1 comment

LightSail-A's blown radio amplifier doesn't affect the 2016 SpaceX Falcon Heavy mission, but it adds an unwelcome obstacle to the 2015 test mission's ever-shortening timetable.

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45 Years after Apollo 11, NASA Prepares for Another Big Splashdown

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/17 04:02 CDT | 2 comments

A new version of Apollo 11's splashdown will play out when the first astronauts aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft return to Earth.

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LightSail update: Launch dates

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/09 09:00 CDT | 2 comments

I’m excited to report some big news on The Planetary Society’s LightSail project: actual launch dates on actual launch vehicles!

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Rosetta’s comet is starting to take shape

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/03 12:55 CDT

A new animation of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko captured by the Rosetta spacecraft shows the comet rotating.

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LightSail update: Of booms and pretty pictures

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/01 03:42 CDT | 3 comments

The latest series of LightSail boom deployment tests went smoothly, paving the way for a full system test later in July.

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The latest on NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/23 06:01 CDT | 2 comments

During televised updates on June 18 and 19, NASA showcased its progress on Orion and ARM. Here's the latest news.

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LightSail update: Three steps forward, one step back

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/18 05:55 CDT

The LightSail team has found potential workarounds to solve the spacecraft’s boom deployment problems, but more analysis lies ahead.

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Is Mainstream Space News Adrift?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/13 01:38 CDT | 8 comments

The Houston Chronicle has a new, interactive web series on America’s space program. Why don’t we see more space coverage in this format?

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LightSail update: Boom deployment diagnosis continues

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/06/11 10:57 CDT | 2 comments

The LightSail team continues to investigate problems with the spacecraft’s boom deployment system that postponed a flight system test earlier this month.

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Instruments selected for the Mars 2020 rover

Noachian valley networks near Newcomb Crater, Mars
Rosetta approaches Churyumov-Gerasimenko (5 NavCam views, July 23-27, 2014)
Shape model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko based on data up to July 24, 2014
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