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

#DPS17: Wobbling the Moon and art by James Tuttle Keane

James Tuttle Keane is increasingly famous (among planetary scientists anyway) for his remarkable illustrated notes from conferences. Here's his work from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, illustrating both his own and others' research.

LPSC 2016: The Moon Keeps on Giving

There was no shortage of interesting lunar science talks at last month’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Dr. Ryan Clegg-Watkins highlights some of the interesting results for us.

Snapshots of Science from the 2014 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

Vignettes from dozens of LPSC talks: GRAIL and LADEE at the Moon; ice and craters and conglomerates and organics and gullies on Mars; polar deposits and volatile elements on Mercury; tectonics on Enceladus; and more, until my brain was so full I could barely speak.

Fly me to the Moon

Video views shot by two doomed spacecraft take us flying across the Moon.

How GRAIL will meet its end

The twin GRAIL spacecraft are nearly out of fuel, and are being directed to a controlled impact near the north pole on the near side of the Moon on December 17. Before the end, though, they did some cool things, including flying within 2000 meters of mountaintops, and catching video of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in flight.

What's up in the Solar System in August 2012

Welcome to the monthly roundup of our solar system's envoy of electronic explorers! All eyes are on Curiosity as it approaches Mars this weekend. Who will lend support at the Red Planet?

What's Up in the Solar System in June 2012

This month, Opportunity is roving again, while Curiosity approaches Mars; Cassini's finally seeing rings, and will fly by Mimas, Titan, and Tethys; GRAIL has completed its primary mission and is journeying toward the second; Dawn is climbing to the HAMO2 orbit; and a rare transit of Venus is coming up on June 5/6.

Good news, bad news: GRAIL science underway, Venus Express suffers storm damage

Two brief mission updates. First, the good news: NASA announced yesterday that the twin GRAIL spacecraft have begun the science phase of the mission, transmitting precisely timed signals to each other in order to map the Moon's gravity field. The bad news: according to ESA, since the recent solar storm passed Venus, both of Venus Express' star trackers are suddenly unable to detect stars.

GRAIL MoonKAM's first (released) video of the Moon

Here's the first release from MoonKAM, tiny cameras included on both GRAIL spacecraft whose only purpose is public outreach. Classrooms can sign up for opportunities to propose sites to image.

Geek craft: GRAIL twins Ebb and Flow in plastic canvas

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that after beginning with Dawn last week, I've kept my fingers busy, stitching more spacecraft from plastic canvas. I now have prototypes for GRAIL, New Horizons, and MESSENGER.

Ringing in the New Year with two new arrivals to the Moon

The twin GRAIL spacecraft are nearly at the end of their three-month cruises to the Moon. Currently being discussed is an extended mission for GRAIL that would begin after the June eclipse and last through most of December 2012.

GRAIL A and B are on their way to the Moon!

After some exasperating delays due to pesky and changeable high-level winds, the twin GRAIL spacecraft launched this morning on their trip to the Moon.

Here we go again: GRAIL set to launch today

GRAIL is trying for launch today at 8:29 PDT / 12:29 UT or 9:08 PDT / 6:08 UT., and here I am at 5:00 am my time ready to watch. As before, I'm watching the feed through Spaceflight Now's GRAIL mission status center.

From the "Just Plain Cool" department: Time-lapse photo of GRAIL's Delta 2 tower rollback

The terrific launch photographer Ben Cooper is at the Cape waiting for GRAIL's Delta 2 rocket to take off, and last night he took this very cool photo.

GRAIL update: Next launch attempt planned for Saturday

Just a brief update: SpaceflightNow reports no attempt will be made to launch GRAIL tomorrow. The next launch opportunity is Saturday.

How to watch the GRAIL launch on Thursday

The twin spacecraft of the GRAIL lunar gravity mission are set to launch side-by-side on a Delta II rocket on Thursday, September 8. Here's all the places where you can find information about the upcoming launch.

Nifty GRAIL animation

A pair of lunar spacecraft is launching in two weeks, and NASA had their preview press briefing this morning. Notable from that briefing was this spiffy video.

GRAIL twins together on their rocket

It's the first time I've ever seen anything like this -- two identical spacecraft, side by side on one launch adapter ring.

365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: Unmanned Space Exploration in 2011

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, Unmanned Space Exploration in 2011, about what to look forward to in solar system exploration this year.

Exciting Times Ahead: 2010 Will Sizzle, and 2011 Will Really Cook!

Today, I'm kicking the week off with a look at the unusually intense confluence of far flung planetary exploration that's just around the corner, starting the middle of next year.

Space is vast. There's a lot of exploring to do.

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