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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

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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Expedition 30, SpaceX and Stratolaunch

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/12/16 10:25 CST

An update on upcoming missions to the International Space Station (ISS).

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Sungrazing with Lovejoy's Comet

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/12/06 10:42 CST

Observations of the newly sighted Kreutz sungrazer comet C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) from the ground and from SOHO (a joint NASA/ESA satellite) and STEREO (NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory).

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Curiosity, from a 1935 perspective

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/12/03 01:49 CST

With a new rover, Curiosity, on its way to Mars, Jason Davis takes a look at what we knew - or thought we knew - about the planet back in 1935.

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SLS updates: tower crawl, engine burn and flight test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/11/21 02:22 CST | 1 comment

A few updates on the Space Launch System, NASA's next-generation deep exploration vehicle.

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