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The Planetary Post - March 2016

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Hello, Robert Picardo here.

Welcome to the second installment of The Planetary Post, my monthly newsletter featuring the most notable space happenings. For this issue, I also took a trip to the set of the scientist-produced musical called “Boldly Go!” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.

Computer, initiate Planetary Post, stardate 3.16.16:

ExoMars: Congratulations to ESA and the ExoMars team on a successful launch! This mission is an important part of paving the way for a future Mars sample return mission in the 2020's.

Return of the ISS #YearInSpace Crew: The first two crew members to spend a year aboard the International Space Station have safely returned to Earth. The completion of the mission and its studies will help guide the next steps in planning for long-duration deep space missions that will be necessary as humans move farther into the solar system.

Expedition 47: NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skriprochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos will launch to the ISS on March 19, bringing the crew back up to 6 people. This expedition includes musculoskeletal research, chemistry research and a technology demonstration.

First SLS Engine Test: A rocket engine that once blasted space shuttles into orbit was test-fired on March 10th in Mississippi. In the 2020s this engine will return astronauts to the orbit of the Moon.

NASA’s New Budget: Take a deep dive into the the just-released budget request for NASA, in the most entertaining and interesting hour of space policy you will hear this month. In this episode of Planetary Radio, you'll hear the good, the bad, and the bewildering in this extended conversation with our experts.

Impact The Future of Space Exploration: Take action and join the world’s largest grassroots movement for space. Keep NASA going strong—tell your representatives that you vote for space.

Party On, Planet Earth: April 12 is Yuri’s Night! Many of our volunteer groups are hosting space parties around the globe. Find an event near you.

You can click the image below to download a breathtaking high-resolution copy this month’s Picardo’s Pic.

Backlit comet

ESA / Rosetta / Navcam

Backlit comet
Single frame enhanced NavCam image taken on 27 March 2016, when Rosetta was 329 km from the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The scale is 28 m/pixel and the image measures 28.7 km across.

I hope you enjoyed the second issue of The Planetary Post. See you next month!

Robert Picardo

Robert Picardo
Board Member, The Planetary Society


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