Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
The scientific truth is out there
The real science of aliens, the policy implications of ET, and new views of worlds beyond our own.
Are aliens real?
An exploration of whether aliens are out there, what kind of extraterrestrial life is most likely to exist, and how we're looking for it.
Would you like some salty water with your space salad?
Two new grant-winning projects, a collection of awesome space imagery, a mighty plume, and much more this week in space.
Space salads and salty waters
The two winning proposals in the 2023 round of STEP grants are a project that will compare different methods of growing edible plants in simulated deep-space exploration conditions, and a project that will study salty lakes on Earth that share characteristics with the past and present oceans of other planets and moons.
Way out there
We’re always learning more about the worlds of the outer Solar System, and even those beyond.
Five asteroid deflection techniques to save the Earth
Kinetic impactor or nuclear blast? Here are some ways to defend our planet from a dangerous asteroid.
Moon-spying missions and a planetary evil twin
Whether they’re dedicated to it or not, planetary missions can get beautiful and informative glimpses at distant moons. And who’s the evil twin: Venus or Earth?
Why is Venus called Earth’s twin?
Although Venus and Earth have many differences, they're often called twins because of some key similarities. Looking back to the two planets' early history, the similarities run even deeper.
Hard-working spacecraft and even harder-working microbes
The Soyuz spacecraft have been helping humans get to and from space for decades, but that’s nothing compared to the billions of years that microorganisms have been making life on Earth possible.
Why has SpaceX's Starship sparked an environmental controversy?
An interview with environmental policy expert Eric Roesch about what made the April 2023 Starship test launch so environmentally harmful, and why the Federal Aviation Administration may ultimately be to blame.
How did Earth get its oxygen?
A tiny, Sun-loving microbe has made a very big impact on our atmosphere.
The Space Advocate Newsletter, May 2023
NASA's planetary budget is historically high, but it's still beset by challenges.
The Moon casts shadows on itself and on Earth, environmental concerns overshadow a test launch’s success, and exoplanets are awesome (beyond a shadow of a doubt).
What happened with Psyche?
When the Psyche mission missed its launch date in 2022, it caused a ripple-effect of delays and budget woes for other JPL-led missions. Dr. Laurie Leshin, JPL's new director, shares her insights into the unique challenges facing her team and what she's doing to change JPL for the better.
Have a nice flight!
Flying on Titan is easy, but not as easy as flying on Deimos. Plus, Juice takes off and Ingenuity captures a view from the air.
The phases of the Moon explained
Your guide to the phases of the Moon, their names, and why they happen.
Rocket flight and the five dwarfs
Meet the Solar System’s five official dwarf planets, celebrate two major launches, and find out why planets sometimes seem to go backwards across the sky.
SpaceX's Starship test flight succeeds despite not reaching orbit
The test flight succeeded in its goal of having the two vehicles clear the launch tower, although they exploded before reaching orbit.
2023 Digital Day of Action recap
The Planetary Society's all-virtual advocacy event was a success, with more than 1,500 advocacy actions taken.
What does “Mercury in retrograde” actually mean?
"Mercury in retrograde" is one of the most searched terms relating to the planet. Astrological interpretations aside, apparent retrograde motion is an interesting phenomenon that has to do with orbital speeds and observer perspective.