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

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.

Outer Planet News

NASA's Outer Planet Analysis Group is currently meeting to hear the agency's current plans and to provide the feedback of the scientific community on those plans.

A New Way to Prepare Samples of Mars for Return to Earth

Mars 2020, NASA’s next and yet-to-be-named Mars rover, will be the first mission to collect and prepare samples of the martian surface for return to Earth. The rover's engineering team has proposed a new sampling caching strategy that differs from previous concepts in some interesting ways.

Mars Plans Advance (and Occasionally Fade)

In the last two months, there has been significant news about the European-Russian 2018 mission and about NASA’s 2020 rover. NASA also has announced that it would like to send a new orbiter to the Red Planet in the early 2020s.

Discovery Lives

Last month teams of scientists from around the United States submitted proposals for the thirteenth mission in NASA’s Discovery program. Jason Callahan discusses this latest round of proposals.

A New Path to Mars?

A new advocacy initiative for the Society: let's get humans to Mars.

Four Ideas to Bust the Floor on Outer Planet Mission Costs

The road to lower costs outer planet missions has been paved by NASA’s first two New Frontiers missions, the $700M New Horizons mission to Pluto and the $1.1B Juno mission to Jupiter. But can the cost of a mission to the outer solar system be cut to $450M, the limit for a Discovery mission?

Why We Write to Congress

It's time to write to Congress in support of planetary exploration. Why? Because it works.

Selecting the Next Creative Idea for Exploring the Solar System

With the release of the official Announcement of Opportunity (AO) early in November, NASA has officially begun the competition to select its next low cost ($450M) Discovery program planetary mission. Because planetary scientists are free to propose missions to any destination in the solar system other than the sun and Earth, these competitions bring out the creativity in the planetary science program.

Lunar Polar Volatile Puzzle

Deepak Dhingra gives an exciting update from the recent Lunar Exploration and Analysis Group (LEAG) meeting at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (JHU-APL) in Baltimore.

Our Pathway to Exploration Should Start with the Asteroid Redirect Mission

Despite its rejection by the NRC Committee, we argue that the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) is an affordable and logical first step in such a sequence. ARM is not only consistent with the NRC Committee’s own principles, but is also the only near- term initiative that can shape their recommendations into a sustainable human space exploration program. ARM would launch U.S. explorers into deep space beyond the Moon, and fits logically into an exploration program aimed at Mars.

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