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

Saving the World: Shoemaker NEO Grant Winners Announced

What do the discovery of close fly by asteroid 2012 DA14 and the most productive near Earth object (NEO) follow-up tracking program in the world have in common? They were both made possible by Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO Grants. And, now, we again invest in the future and defending against the asteroid threat to Earth. NEO Shoemaker Award winners for 2013 announced.

In Memoriam: David S. McKay

NASA planetary scientist David S. McKay has passed away. He had an enormous impact on planetary studies over the course of his career. He also was a co-investigator on The Planetary Society LIFE experiments.

Shoemaker Winner Hug Discovers Near Earth Asteroid 2013 AS27

Using a Planetary Society provided camera, Gary Hug in Kansas, USA discovered Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2013 AS27 on Jan. 7, 2013. Shoemaker winner Bob Holmes provided the first follow up observations of this 140m-310m wide asteroid.

Calling (Really Serious) Asteroid Hunters

I am happy to announce a new call for proposals for The Planetary Society’s Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) grant program, which is celebrating its 15th Anniversary. Proposals are due Feb. 4, 2013.

PlanetVac: Sucking Up Planetary Regolith

Learn about the Planetary Society’s newest project: PlanetVac, with Honeybee Robotics, aims to prototype and test in a huge vacuum chamber a new way to sample planetary surfaces that could be used for sample return or for in situ instruments.

First Planet Discovered in Alpha Centauri System

European astronomers have made the first planetary discovery in the closest-to-Earth Alpha Centauri star system. Here is some information about the discovery, and insights from Yale Astronomer Debra Fischer, who leads another Alpha Centauri planet search partially supported by The Planetary Society.

Mars Program Update from MEPAG

Bruce Betts reports on the status of the current and future Mars program and on acronyms from a meeting of NASA's MEPAG (Mars Exploration Analysis Program Analysis Group).

Shoemaker NEO Winner Finds Close Fly By Asteroid

Gary Hug used his Shoemaker NEO grant provided camera to find 2012 SY49 which flew by Earth at about two lunar distances last week. The tens of meters wide asteroid is a low-probability possible Earth impactor in the future.

Saving the World: Established 1997

The Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO grants celebrate their 15th anniversary of helping to find and track near Earth asteroids. Here's a quick review of the program, and updates on our four multiple-grant winners.

NASA Selects InSight Mars 2016 Lander

NASA has selected JPL's InSight mission to Mars as its next Discovery mission. The first geophysics mission to Mars, InSight will use a Phoenix-like lander to deploy a seismometer and a heat probe and give us our first detailed insights into the interior of the Red Planet.

Hunting Asteroids from a Field in Kansas

TPS Shoemaker NEO Grant Winner Gary Hug hunts near Earth objects from his back yard in Kansas. NPR's Morning Edition picked up on this fascinating story.

Planets around Alpha Centauri?

Do planets circle our closest stellar neighbors, the system loved by science fiction: Alpha Centauri? We don’t know. But, Debra Fischer, Julien Spronck, and their colleagues at Yale University, in part with Planetary Society support, are trying to find out.

Pioneer Anomaly Solved!

With the latest piece of the puzzle just published in a scientific journal, a solar system mystery that has perplexed people for more than 20 years has been solved, truly thanks to the support of Planetary Society members.

Reflections on Phobos LIFE

We explore space for the noblest goals of science and exploration, and we often persevere in spite of challenges. But space exploration is fraught with bad things happening, or, to use the technical term, ouchies. The Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE biomodule will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere in the next few days with the rest of the Phobos-Grunt mission.

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