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Jason Davis' blogs from 2017

The first Space Launch System flight will probably be delayed

Jason Davis • April 26, 2017

NASA's new heavy lift rocket is currently scheduled to launch the Orion spacecraft on a test flight next year. But all signs are pointing to a probable delay.

This weekend, it's the beginning of the end for Cassini

Jason Davis • April 19, 2017

NASA's long-lived Cassini spacecraft is about to buzz Titan for the final time, putting it on course for a spectacular mission finale that concludes in September.

Our asteroid hunters are trying to save the world. Here’s what they’ve been up to

Jason Davis • April 17, 2017

Here are some recent reports from our NEO Shoemaker Grant program asteroid observers, who are quite literally trying to save the world.

Expedition 50 had a fun and good ISS crew

Jason Davis • April 10, 2017

I believe Expedition 50 had a fun and good ISS crew. I base this declaration solely on the moments they shared on social media. This logic is completely bulletproof and there's no point trying to prove otherwise.

NASA unveiled new plans for getting humans to Mars, and hardly anyone noticed

Jason Davis • April 07, 2017

NASA revealed its most concrete plan yet for sending humans back into deep space, centered around a small lunar space station and a reusable transport ship to carry astronauts to Mars and back.

Your hypothetical questions, answered: SpaceX prepares to refly rocket booster

Jason Davis • March 28, 2017

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster recovered by a drone ship last year will be reflown later this week, marking what could be a new milestone in the quest for affordable spaceflight.

A repeat of the space shuttle's bold test flight? NASA considers crew aboard first SLS mission

Jason Davis • March 23, 2017

NASA has only flown astronauts aboard a rocket's first flight once, when John Young and Bob Crippen took space shuttle Columbia on the boldest test flight in history. What are the risks of repeating the feat for SLS?

Signed, sealed but not delivered: LightSail 2 awaits ship date

Jason Davis • March 20, 2017

Following a pre-ship review at Planetary Society headquarters, LightSail 2 is ready to be integrated with its Prox-1 partner spacecraft. The final shipping schedule, however, has yet to be determined.

Trump's first budget proposal is out. Here's how NASA fared

Jason Davis • March 16, 2017

NASA escaped a large-scale budget slash, and planetary science fared well. ARM is canceled, the Moon-versus-Mars debate is not mentioned, and Earth science stands to lose some missions.

Cassini, with only a half-year to go at Saturn, just keeps dropping awesome images

Jason Davis • March 09, 2017

Our latest roundup of Cassini goodies from Saturn includes Pan, a ravioli-shaped moon that orbits inside the planet's ring system.

This company launches balloons to the edge of space. Will the business float?

Jason Davis • March 08, 2017

World View, a self-described “stratospheric exploration” company, recently unveiled its new headquarters in Tucson, Arizona.

SpaceX plans to send tourists around the Moon in 2018. Here's why that may not happen

Jason Davis • March 03, 2017

Two private citizens are paying SpaceX for a 2018 flight around the Moon. Is that timeline realistic?

NASA's audacious Europa missions are getting closer to reality

Jason Davis • February 21, 2017

Today, NASA announced progress on a spacecraft that would assess whether Jupiter's Moon Europa is habitable, and earlier this month, an agency-sponsored science team released a report on a separate lander mission that would directly search for signs of life.

Everything you need to know about tomorrow's historic SpaceX launch

Jason Davis • February 17, 2017

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from a former space shuttle launch pad tomorrow morning. Here's a rundown of everything you need to know about the historic event.

Solar sailing in Japan: 10 questions for LightSail engineer Barbara Plante

Jason Davis • February 13, 2017

Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye and LightSail systems engineer Barbara Plante recently traveled to Japan for a solar sailing symposium. Our Q&A with Plante discusses everything from CubeSat attitude control systems to robotic giraffes in Tokyo.

Want NASA to pick your space mission proposal? Two winning scientists share some tips

Jason Davis • February 09, 2017

NASA is currently accepting proposals for its next New Frontiers-class planetary science mission. What does the agency look for in a winning proposal? The two scientists behind the ORISIS-REx and Psyche missions share some tips.

Let's talk about this whole Moon vs. Mars thing for human spaceflight

Jason Davis • January 26, 2017

NASA's current human spaceflight goal is Mars, but the Trump administration could change that to the Moon. Is that a good idea? Here's an in-depth look at the differences in science gain, the arguments for and against a potential commercial market, and whether or not the technological and operational challenges required to reach the Moon apply to Mars.

Here's what history has to say about when Trump's NASA administrator will take office

Jason Davis • January 19, 2017

This Friday, Charles Bolden resigns as NASA administrator after a stint of 2,744 days. Robert Lightfoot, the agency's highest-ranking civil servant, will take over as acting admin. How long will Lightfoot serve? If history serves as a guide, it could be a while.

Want to build on our LightSail work? Here are some resources to get started

Jason Davis • January 13, 2017

The Planetary Society is launching a new webpage showcasing LightSail academic papers, schematics, parts and imagery.

SpaceX is ready to fly rockets again. An expert talks about the reason a Falcon 9 blew up last year

Jason Davis • January 10, 2017

SpaceX says they fixed a problem with the helium pressurization system that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket last year. The company pushes the boundaries of rocket science, creating an occasional jaw-dropping fireball in the process. But will the risk-reward equation change when SpaceX starts flying astronauts?

NASA is visiting 8 asteroids in 8 years. Here are 8 things to know about the missions

Jason Davis • January 04, 2017

NASA announced two new asteroid missions today named Lucy and Psyche that will fill important gaps in our understanding of how the solar system was formed. Here are eight things to know about the two missions.

astronaut on Phobos
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