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

The September Equinox 2019 Issue of The Planetary Report Is Out!

A new issue of The Planetary Report brings you our pride in the success of LightSail 2 and our gratitude to our members for making it happen. Plus Venus science from Akatsuki and Venus Express, and the status of planetary defense.

Venus’ Ocean of Air and Clouds

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

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.

Transient hot spots on Venus: Best evidence yet for active volcanism

In a paper released in Geophysical Research Letters today, Eugene Shalygin and coauthors have announced the best evidence yet for current, active volcanism on Venus. The evidence comes from the Venus Monitoring Camera, which saw transient hot spots in four locations along a system of rifts near Venus' equator. They saw the hot spots in two distinct episodes in 2008 and 2009.

Tracking a Ghost Mission 238 Million Km Away

Daniel Scuka describes the impending demise of the Venus Express spacecraft.

Brief Venus Express update: Not quite dead yet

Venus Express is still alive and talking to Earth, but may fall into Venus' atmosphere in January.

Close to the end for Venus Express

Venus Express is nearly out of fuel. Any day could be the last of its long mission to Venus.

Skimming the inner planets: Updates on MESSENGER and Venus Express

The two spacecraft currently orbiting the two innermost planets are both flying low in their orbits in the final phases of their missions. MESSENGER just performed a rocket burn to raise its orbit slightly, while Venus Express did the opposite.

Venus Express science mission ends; aerobraking experiment beginning

Venus Express, currently the only spacecraft orbiting our nearest planetary neighbor, will soon meet a fiery end in Venus' atmosphere. But its work isn't over yet. ESA will maneuver Venus Express to dip into the uppermost Venus atmosphere and study how the spacecraft responds to atmospheric pressure, giving ESA valuable experience in aerobraking.

LPSC 2014: The Curious Case of Active Volcanism on Venus

She’s alive! She’s alive! Or is she? A little more than a week ago, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2014, evidence was presented that Venus was geologically active, not in the recent past, like 100,000 years ago, but right now.

Polar vortices across the solar system

Earth's polar vortex has been in the American news all week. But we're not the only planet that has one; basically every world that has an atmosphere has a polar vortex. Here are lots of pretty pictures and animations of polar vortices.

What's up in planetary missions in 2014

With the New Year upon us, what can we look forward to in 2014? For me, the main event of 2014 is that ESA's Rosetta mission finally -- finally! -- catches up to the comet it has been chasing for a decade. We will lose LADEE, gain two Mars orbiters, and launch Hayabusa2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 4: Heaven & Hell

Humans face the consequences of our own knowledge about the cosmos in this latest episode recap and analysis of Carl Sagan's classic series.

Results of ten Venus years of cloud tracking by Venus Express

What Venus Express' Visual Monitoring Camera images of Venus have taught us about the motions of Venus' atmosphere.

One Day in the Solar System

Dispatches from five different worlds--all sent by robotic spacecraft on the same day.

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.

Venus Express star trackers recovered

Just a quick note because I didn't want to let the weekend go by without telling people that Venus Express' star trackers are back online.

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.

365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's up in the second quarter of 2011

Regular readers of this blog will find the content of today's 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast familiar, because it's an update on what the solar system exploration spacecraft are up to, based on my monthly

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

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