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

A New Understanding

Abigail Fraeman examines how the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, changed our view of Mars.

Venus’ Ocean of Air and Clouds

Javier Peralta plumbs the depths of Venus’ atmosphere through the eyes of the Venus Express and Akatsuki orbiters.

The State of Planetary Defense

Vishnu Reddy delivers a sober but hopeful report on our understanding of near-Earth objects, their dangers, and our readiness.

Rosetta’s Ancient Comet

Rosetta is a European Space Agency mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. Operating such a complex mission with its 11 instruments and Philae lander is a success story in itself, but Rosetta’s greatest success is the science it delivered.

Treasure Hunting With Hayabusa2

IN THE EARLY hours of 22 February, light was just beginning to brighten the campus of JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences (ISAS) in Kanagawa, Japan. It should have been a quiet time, but the Hayabusa2 control room was packed with people. We were about to land on an asteroid.

Chang’e-4 may have discovered material from the Moon’s mantle

The first science results from the unprecedented Chang’e-4 lunar far side mission are in. The mission’s Yutu-2 rover, deployed from the lander shortly after the Chang’e-4 landing on 3 January, has, with the help of the Queqiao relay satellite, returned data which suggests it has discovered material derived from the Moon’s mantle.

Mars Used to Have Water, But We Can't Explain How

Although we have acquired compelling evidence of flowing liquid water on early Mars, the fundamental question about how water could be stable under Martian atmospheric conditions remains unsolved.

Not a Heart of Ice

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

We're going to Jezero!

NASA announced this morning the selection of Jezero crater for the landing site of the Mars 2020 mission. Jezero is a 45-kilometer-wide crater that once held a lake, and now holds a spectacular ancient river delta.

Heiligenschein Throughout the Solar System

When planetary scientist Brittney Cooper was scrolling through the downlinked images of Hayabusa2’s approach of asteroid Ryugu, a familiar sight caught her attention.

Curiosity's organics on Mars

What does it mean that the Mars rover Curiosity found organics in Martian rocks? Emily Lakdawalla translates the science.

Liquid Water on Mars! Really for Real This Time (Probably)

A radar instrument on one of the oldest operational Mars orbiters has discovered possible evidence of present-day liquid water on Mars.

How the Apollo missions transformed our understanding of the Moon’s origin

Where did the Moon come from? The origin of our cosmic neighbor is a fundamental question in planetary science.

Favorite Astro Plots: The Pyroxene Quadrilateral

Petrology is a field of science in which scientists study the compositions of rocks and minerals and interpret their geologic history. A common graph petrologists use is the “pyroxene quadrilateral.” These graphs, like photos of space, can reveal an understanding of the remotest parts of the solar system.

Big news from the magnetosphere

At five years and counting, the Van Allen Probes mission continues to reshape our thinking about how Earth’s radiation belts flex and reconfigure under the influence of solar storms.

How long is a day on Saturn?

One of the Cassini mission's goals was to figure out how long a day on Saturn is. We still don't know. A new paper reports a measurement of the rotation period of Saturn that is different from past measurements.

#Mercury2018: From MESSENGER to BepiColombo and beyond

A Mercury meeting held May 1-3 summarized the current and future science of the innermost planet. Emily Lakdawalla was there and shares her notes.

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.

#LPSC2018: Mars mass wasting in the laboratory

Mars today is a dynamic place. One visually dramatic sign of change on Mars is

Yoshihide Kozai (1928 - 2018)

Caltech planetary scientist Konstantin Batygin pays tribute to a pioneer in celestial mechanics.

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