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

Voyager 40th anniversary: The transformation of the solar system

The Voyager missions transformed most of the large worlds of the solar system from points of light into places to be explored.

How we would explore Uranus or Neptune

One fact dominates the planning for any mission to Uranus or Neptune: They lie far from the sun. A newly released NASA report looks at how we can explore these icy giants.

Revisiting the ice giants: NASA study considers Uranus and Neptune missions

Only one spacecraft has ever visited Uranus and Neptune: Voyager 2, in the late 1980s. A new NASA report explores the reasons to go back, and what type of mission might take us there.

30th anniversary images of Uranian moons

January 24 was the 30th anniversary of the Voyager flyby of Uranus. Uranian moons have been on my mind ever since New Horizons sent us close-up images of Charon. On the occasion of the anniversary, Ted Stryk produced latest-and-greatest versions of the Voyager views of these worlds.

The not-planets

Now that I have a reasonable-resolution global color view of Pluto, I can drop it into one of my trademark scale image montages, to show you how it fits in with the rest of the similar-sized worlds in the solar system: the major moons and the biggest asteroids.

At last, Ceres is a geological world

I've been resisting all urges to speculate on what kinds of geological features are present on Ceres, until now. Finally, Dawn has gotten close enough that the pictures it has returned show geology: bright spots, flat-floored craters, and enigmatic grooves.

Ceres: Just a little bit closer (and officially better than Hubble)

Last week's Dawn images of Ceres were just slightly less detailed than Hubble's best. This week's are just slightly better.

45th Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium Report

The 45th Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium, usually focused on terrestrial studies, shifted this year to planetary science. Ted Stryk gives us an overview.

Scale comparisons of the solar system's major moons

A few presentation slides with pretty pictures, sized to scale, of the large moons of the solar system.

Uranus or Bust (and on a budget)

New plans may make a mission to Uranus affordable within NASA's new, constrained budget.

Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: The Ice Giants, with Heidi Hammel

My guest this was Planetary Society Board vice president Heidi Hammel. We discussed two planets near and dear to our hearts, Neptune and Uranus. What's new on these icy worlds since Voyager 2 passed by, and what are the prospects for their future exploration?

Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: Reports from the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

On Thursday at noon PDT / 1900 UTC I'll report on some of my favorite findings from LPSC, and answer your questions about the latest planetary science.

LPSC 2013: License to Chill (or, the solar system's icy moons)

Reports from the March 19 session at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference covering eight icy moons in the outer solar system: Ganymede, Europa, Dione, Rhea, Mimas, Tethys, Enceladus, and Miranda.

Mysterious Umbriel

Presenting a newly-processed version of Voyager 2's best images of Uranus' moon Umbriel.

DPS 2012, Monday: Icy moons and a four-star exoplanet

In the first full day of the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, I listened to scientific sessions on icy worlds and on an exoplanet in a four-star system.

Scale solar system presentation slide, a provisional version for you to review

I'm preparing a talk for the Pacific Astronomy and Telescope Show here in Pasadena on Sunday afternoon at 1:45. I have spent the morning putting together a slide that I have long wanted to have for presentations.

Congratulations to the Dawn team on their orbit entry & pretty pictures!

There's a new orbital mission on the map! As of Friday, the relatively small mass of the asteroid Vesta has finally taken hold of its new artificial satellite, Dawn.

Uranus and Challenger

In the past week there have been 25th anniversaries of two events in 1986, one great, one terrible: the closest approach of Voyager 2 to Uranus on January 24, and the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger upon liftoff on January 28.

Planetary Society Advent Calendar for December 28: Ariel

Here's yet another of the moons of Uranus for you: Ariel, a near-twin in diameter to Umbriel, but apparently with more interesting geology.

Planetary Society Advent Calendar for December 21: Miranda

Miranda is the one moon of Uranus for which we have very good images from Voyager 2, and that was a stroke of luck, because low-resolution shots of all of Uranus' moons would have told us that it was, geologically speaking, the most dramatic of the five biggest ones.

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