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

Carl Sagan’s wisdom and vision, and how far we’ve come since his time

Even Sagan would be amazed by multitudes we now know our cosmos may hold. Learn more, plus get your scoop on the week’s space news.

Feast your eyes on comet 67P's surface, with depth cues added

Mattias Malmer made it a little easier to figure out what Philae really saw in 2014.

Philae science results: Comet 67P is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside

What is the surface of a comet like? That's one of the main questions that motivated Philae's mission to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. We now know the comet has a rigid crust about 10 to 50 centimeters thick, below which the comet is much more fluffy.

A Comet or Titan: The Next New Frontiers Mission

Both would do compelling science in the mid-2030s. Otherwise the two missions could not be more different.

Citizen scientist spots changes on Rosetta's comet

Citizen scientist and self-described

Rosetta in the Rearview: What Have We Learned?

Just over a month ago the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft finished its mission by spectacularly diving into the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. How did it observations influence and alter our ideas about the typical formation and lifetime of a comet?

Rosetta is gone

Today there is one less spacecraft returning science data from beyond Earth. The European Space Operations Centre received the final transmission from Rosetta at 11:19 September 30, UT.

Rosetta spacecraft may be dying, but Rosetta science will go on

The Rosetta mission will end tomorrow when the spacecraft impacts the comet. ESA took advantage of the presence of hundreds of members of the media to put on a showcase of Rosetta science. If there’s one thing I learned today from all the science presentations, it’s this: Rosetta data will be informing scientific work for decades to come.

Rosetta end-of-mission update

The European Space Agency has shared plans for the end of the Rosetta mission scheduled for September 30, just three weeks from now. The landing site will be located on the

Philae spotted on the surface of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Ever since its landing, Philae has been elusive. It went silent just three days later and never returned any more science data, though it made brief contact with the orbiter last summer. Now, just a month until the planned end of the Rosetta mission, the orbiter has finally located the lander in a stunning high-resolution view of the surface.

Rosetta end-of-mission plans: Landing site, time selected

ESA's comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft is nearing the end of its mission. Last week, ESA announced when and where Rosetta is going to touch down. And tomorrow, it will forever shut down the radio system intended for communicating with the silent Philae lander.

A feast of new OSIRIS photos from comet 67P

Last week, the Rosetta mission released a large quantity of science data to the worldwide public, including photos from the mission's close observation phase and the Philae landing.

Opposition surge comet

Today, the Rosetta OSIRIS team's Image of the Day is this highly unusual view of the comet with the Sun very nearly behind the spacecraft.

Worth the wait: First public release of Rosetta science camera images of comet 67P

Finally! It has been a long wait, but so worth it: the Rosetta OSIRIS science camera team has delivered the first pile of data from the rendezvous with comet 67P to ESA's Planetary Science Archive. I have spent a good chunk of the last three days playing with the data, and it's spectacular.

A Rosetta OSIRIS picture of comet 67P that's only hours old

ESA announced today a new website at which the OSIRIS team will now be releasing images on a regular basis -- at least one per week -- and they will be recent. Even better news, all OSIRIS data taken through September 16, 2014 has been handed to ESA and its release is expected next week.

DPS 2015: A little science from Rosetta, beyond perihelion

Updated numbers for physical properties of the comet, and a few interesting images of surface features and surface changes on Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

ESA mission updates

There have been several important pieces of news about European missions in the last month: Rosetta's fate has been determined; ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter's launch is slightly delayed; and they have selected a landing site for the ExoMars rover.

Checking in on Uranus and Neptune, September 2015 edition

There are no spacecraft at Uranus or Neptune, and there haven't been for 30 and 25 years, respectively. So we depend on Earth-based astronomers to monitor them, including Damian Peach.

How the duck got its neck: Rapid temperature changes from self-shadowing may explain 67P's unusual activity and shape

When Rosetta approached comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko last summer, both its shape and its activity were surprising. It looked like two comets welded together at a skinny neck. A new paper explains how the neck may be steepening itself.

Aluminum Shapemodel of Comet 67P

Mattias Malmer describes his MacGyver-esque process in creating a homemade aluminum version of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

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