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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

SpaceX and the Blank Slate

SpaceX's plans to colonize Mars differ considerably from NASA's Journey to Mars ambitions. But direct comparison is difficult. SpaceX is able to wipe the slate clean and start fresh with a bold new approach to humans in space. NASA has no such luxury, and must use existing pieces and people to make their goals a reality.

Promise, Transition, and Transformation

After 10 days, four NASA centers, two contractors, and hundreds of miles, Casey Dreier shares his initial reflections on the state of NASA's Space Launch System rocket and its future.

Selecting the Next New Frontiers Mission

NASA’s managers have begun the process for a competition to select a new planetary mission to launch in the mid-2020s that will address one of the most important questions in planetary science.

Red Dragon and Planetary Exploration

If SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft becomes a standard catalog item that could ordered, the way a launch vehicle is, what might the impact be on planetary exploration?

ExoMars Domino Effect

A difficult but necessary decision by ESA and Roskosmos to postpone the launch of the ExoMars rover from 2018 to 2020 raises a question about the fate of other planetary exploration programs in the pipelines of both space agencies.

What NASA Can Learn from SpaceX

SpaceX's announcement that it will send Dragon capsules to Mars demonstrates the advantage of having a clear plan to explore the red planet. NASA should take note.

Defining the Missions for the Ocean Worlds

At a recent meeting of an advisory group for NASA, the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS), Jim Green, the head of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, and Barry Goldstein from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, provided updates on plans to explore our solar system's ocean worlds.

Challenges to Enabling a Richer Planetary Exploration Program

This past week brought to the fore two challenges for NASA’s managers as they try to enable the richest possible mix of coming planetary missions. At stake are whether the agency will be able to select two Discovery missions from the current competition, and whether there will be the possibility of a mission selected for Enceladus and/or Titan in the next decade.

Discovery Finalists

Van Kane rounds up the missions selected to move onto the next round in NASA's Discovery proposal process.

CubeSats to the Moon

Casey interviews Dr. Craig Hardgrove about his lunar CubeSat, how it came together, and how NASA’s support for small missions are important for early career scientists like himself.

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