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

The Passing of Warren Ashley

Warren Ashley, pioneer of distance learning at CSUDH, passed away March 21, 2014. His idea led to the partnership between CSUDH and The Planetary Society to produce an online Introductory Astronomy course.

Shining Up A Telescope

A 0.81m telescope in northern Italy is well on its way to being wide eyed and shiny thanks to a 2013 Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO Grant, which will enable it to make better near Earth object observations to help protect our planet from asteroid impact.

PlanetVac at the IEEE Aerospace Conference

PlanetVac project leader Kris Zacny of Honeybee Robotics reports on presenting results of the Planetary Society project PlanetVac that created a prototype planetary dirt sampling system and tested it under Martian pressures.

Comet ISON Wrap Up

Comet ISON captivated our world, and many of our world’s robotic emissaries for many months. But, alas, poor ISON is dead -- again. Here I wrap up our enthusiastic coverage of this multi-morphing zombie comet that tried to survive and re-survive as it came within one solar diameter of the Sun.

Comet ISON live blog

Comet ISON reached perihelion at 18:25 UT (10:25 PT) on November 28. It's an event that's was watched around the world, accompanied by tons of commentary and streams of photos. We will update this blog entry periodically with links to all the resources that we hear of for following the comet's progress.

Planetary Dirt Sampling Success

We present an update and a video about the successful design, construction, and testing in a vacuum chamber by Honeybee Robotics of a prototype PlanetVac system, a new planetary surface sampling technique, sponsored by The Planetary Society. PlanetVac is a reliable system that effectively vacuums up planetary surface materials.

Laser Bees Update

An update from University of Strathclyde researchers about the Planetary Society sponsored laboratory Laser Bees asteroid deflection project including a new laser and other lab equipment, and the start of new related projects.

One More U.N. Step Forward on NEOs

This week, the United Nations will move one step closer to an international response to the threat from near Earth objects (NEOs).

Alpha Centauri Planet Hunt Update

An update from Yale’s Debra Fischer about the Alpha Centauri planet hunt, partially sponsored by The Planetary Society, as well as her team’s efforts to remove “noise” from parent stars to help find exoplanets.

Our Improved Optical Search for ET

The Planetary Society Optical SETI (OSETI) Telescope was successfully upgraded and fully tested, and is now fully operational looking for aliens. Here are some updates on the performance and progress. In summary, the upgraded telescope is performing just as hoped and is scanning the skies.

Bruce Murray: Personal Reflections of a Former Student

I am saddened by the loss of my professor and mentor, Bruce Murray. I celebrate him here by sharing some personal memories and reflections. There is much to respect, and also much to amuse as we reflect on the life of this great man.

Upgraded Alpha Centauri Planet Search Underway

The Planetary Society sponsored Alpha Centauri planet search started using a newly upgraded system in May. Here is a quick update including info from project leader Debra Fischer from Yale about their new system.

Laser Bees Papers

For those wishing to bore into more details of our Laser Bees project itself, graduate student Alison Gibbings from the University of Strathclyde has sent their technical paper that resulted from the 2013 Planetary Defense Conference.

PlanetVac Moving Forward

Meet the PlanetVac team and learn their general plan and what they are doing now. PlanetVac is a newly started Planetary Society and Honeybee Robotics project to test a pneumatic system to sample planetary surfaces.

PlanetVac Project Underway

The Planetary Society's PlanetVac project with Honeybee Robotics is now fully underway. Here we provide a just released statement by Honeybee, and an introduction to this lab test of a new planetary surface sampling system.

That Asteroid Has a Name: Bennu!

9-year-old Mike Puzio of North Carolina submitted the winning name for the asteroid target of NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The Planetary Society, MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, and the University of Arizona asked students around the world to suggest names.

The 2013 Gene Shoemaker NEO Grant Recipients

In 2013, The Planetary Society awarded $34,307 as part of its Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) Grant Program. The grants were made to a group of international researchers to find, track, and characterize potentially hazardous NEOs.

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