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

A devil on Mars and defenders of Earth

From dust devils and craters on the Martian surface to spots on the Sun, we’re taking a look at everything new and exciting in space science and exploration this week.

Missions to Mars, and exoplanets caught on camera

Everything you need to know about two missions en route to Mars and another gearing up for launch, plus the rest of the week’s space news.

Mars in all its glory, and a planet as hot as a star

Dive into Mars mania and catch up on this week’s space exploration updates.

The Bold Plan to See Continents and Oceans on Another Earth

A group of researchers, backed by NASA funding, wants to use solar sails and the Sun's gravity to capture an image of an exoplanet so sharp we can see continents, oceans, and clouds.

Not a Heart of Ice

Mark Marley explains what planetary scientists mean when they say the word

The Skies of Mini-Neptunes

A GREAT QUEST is underway to discover Earthsize worlds in their stars’ habitable zones. Along the way, astronomers have been surprised to learn that the most typical size of planet in our galaxy is one with no counterpart in our own solar system.

Farewell, Kepler

NASA's Kepler space telescope helped us find our place in the cosmos.

A WIYN-win partnership

NASA and the National Science Foundation are teaming up to observe exoplanets discovered by Kepler and TESS.

An update on the potential habitability of TRAPPIST-1

One year ago, Franck Marchis wrote an article about the remarkable discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 system. Here's an update.

Creating a guidebook for Earth's hypothetical twin

Early Earth's atmosphere wasn't a place for humans. Yet the planet had microbial life—something we should keep in mind for exoplanets.

This newly discovered Earth-sized planet could harbor life

And it's only 11 light-years away.

This giant, flower-shaped starshade creates an artificial eclipse to see distant exoplanets

Starshade is a proposed flower-shaped spacecraft that can create an artificial eclipse, allowing space telescopes to spot planets orbiting distant stars.

Wonderful potentially habitable worlds around TRAPPIST-1

Scientists have found seven, Earth-size planets orbiting a star just 40 light years away. Three lie in the habitable zone and could have water on their surfaces.

Dynamics of Exoplanet Systems

At this year’s Division for Planetary Sciences/European Planetary Science Congress meeting, the Exoplanet Dynamics session was packed full of talks on tightly-packed multi-planet systems and their instabilities.

Proxima Centauri b: Have we just found Earth’s cousin right on our doorstep?

What began as a tantalizing rumor has just become an astonishing fact. Today a group of thirty-one scientists announced the discovery of a terrestrial exoplanet orbiting Proxima Centauri. The discovery of this planet, Proxima Centauri b, is a huge breakthrough not just for astronomers but for all of us. Here’s why.

Whither the Weather? A Jet Stream Explainer

Jet streams are found in planetary atmospheres throughout our solar system. But what exactly are they?

Atmospheric Waves Awareness: An Explainer

There are two types of atmospheric waves that are critically important on Earth and other planets: gravity waves and planetary waves.

Favorite Astro Plots #4: Classifying Exoplanets

Until just a few years ago, a plot of mass versus size of other worlds would have looked pretty sparse and uninformative. But thanks to the tireless efforts of exoplanet astronomers, we now know fairly precise masses and radii for hundreds of distant worlds.

Continuing the Hunt for Exoplanets

Meg Schwamb highlights some of the upcoming space-based missions that will search for planets beyond our solar system.

Using Lasers to Lock Down Exoplanet Hunting

The Planetary Society is launching a new collaboration with Yale exoplanet hunter Debra Fischer and her team, the Exoplanets Laser project. We will support the purchase of an advanced, ultra stable laser to be used in a complex system they are designing to push radial velocity exoplanet hunting to a whole whole new level.

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