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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

SpaceX set to launch COTS 2 flight this Saturday

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/05/18 09:45 CDT | 1 comment

This Saturday, SpaceX will attempt to make history by launching the first commercial spacecraft to berth with the International Space Station.

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Examining India's new RISAT 1 Earth observation satellite

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/05/02 12:03 CDT | 1 comment

Last week, India launched RISAT 1, a new Earth-observing satellite. How does its synthetic aperture radar compare to that of Envisat, which has fallen silent?

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SpaceX Dragon flight to ISS draws near

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/04/16 09:45 CDT | 1 comment

SpaceX and NASA have completed a successful flight readiness review (FRR) for the Dragon's upcoming visit to the International Space Station.

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NASA collects round three of CCDev proposals

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/04/13 08:15 CDT

NASA is soliciting a third round of proposals from private spaceflight companies looking to send astronauts to the International Space Station.

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Of inclinations and azimuths

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/04/11 12:29 CDT

A classified U.S. military satellite recently launched into an orbital inclination of 123 degrees. What makes this trajectory so unique? Pondering the answer affords the opportunity to learn some deceptively tricky concepts about the nature of all spacecraft orbits.

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Adventures in urban astrophotography

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/02/20 01:55 CST

Just because you live in an urban area with skyglow doesn't mean you can't have fun with astrophotography. How to capture the planets, constellations and the ISS.

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NuSTAR telescope to get close look at black holes, supernovae

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/02/07 02:40 CST

The NuSTAR X-ray telescope will enable scientists to get a much-improved look at black holes and supernovae in both the Milky Way and other galaxies.

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Solar flares from Skylab

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/01/26 05:26 CST

Before automated space observatories like SDO could send pictures and videos of solar phenomenon in real-time, humans had to do it manually, as in the case of the groundbreaking Skylab space station missions, which featured the Apollo Telescope Mount.

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The state of Earth observation, January 2012

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/01/09 05:54 CST

As of November 2011, the Earth Observing Handbook counts 109 active missions to study the Earth as a planet, with 112 more approved and planned for the future. Jason Davis provides an overview of key current and upcoming earth-observing missions.

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A recap of Comet Lovejoy

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/12/22 10:45 CST | 1 comment

A timeline of one of the most memorable solar events in recent memory: the observations by six Sun-observing spacecraft of Comet Lovejoy making its perihelion passage.

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