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Guest blogs from 2019

In 1983, Carl Sagan Urged NASA to Send a Mission to Saturn and Titan

Carl Sagan • October 15, 2019

"We very much hope that NASA will be able to make an early commitment to such a mission," wrote Sagan to administrator James Beggs.

How the European Space Agency Does Planetary Defense

Detlef Koschny • September 27, 2019

Defending the planet from the hazard of potential asteroid impacts requires investments from the whole world. In Europe, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union both support work to understand and mitigate the threats from near-Earth objects.

The State of Planetary Defense

Vishnu Reddy • September 03, 2019

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

NASA, ESA Officials Outline Latest Mars Sample Return Plans

Justin Cowart • August 13, 2019

The current strategy includes the Mars 2020 rover, a lander carrying a rover and ascent vehicle, and an Earth return orbiter.

Lunar Orbiter Longjiang-2 Smashes into Moon

Andrew Jones • August 05, 2019

Don’t worry, this was a planned end for a tiny satellite that has been a huge success.

Hayabusa2 makes second touchdown on asteroid Ryugu

Andrew Jones • July 11, 2019

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft has touched down on Ryugu for a second time, bagging samples which hopefully contain material from the subsurface of the asteroid.

What to Expect when Chandrayaan-2 Launches to and Lands on the Moon

Sridhar Narayanan • July 08, 2019

A preview guide for India's upcoming Moon mission.

LightSail 2 Launch Viewing: Tips & Tricks

Justin Foley • June 15, 2019

LightSail 2 is launching on the next SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is one payload of many on the mission known collectively as STP-2. Space Test Program (STP) is a crucial part of the US Air Force’s development of advanced technologies in space.

Treasure Hunting With Hayabusa2

Makoto Yoshikawa and Elizabeth Tasker • June 10, 2019

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.

Rosetta’s Ancient Comet

Martin Rubin and Cecilia Tubiana • June 10, 2019

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.

Apollo 11 Little West Crater Panorama

Mike Constantine • June 10, 2019

Apollo 11’S landing on 20 July 1969 was the day humans first set foot on another world. For the risky, challenging endeavor, NASA sought a smooth landing site, one lacking craters or mountains.

LightSail 2 Has a New Launch Date!

Richard Chute • June 07, 2019

The official launch date is now no earlier than June 24th, and the launch window still opens at 11:30 p.m. eastern time.

The People Have Voted on 2007 OR10's Future Name!

Meg Schwamb • May 29, 2019

Gonggong is the fan favorite name for this icy distant world, but the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) Committee for Small-Body Nomenclature has the final say.

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

Andrew Jones • May 15, 2019

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.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: The Final Report

A.J.S. Rayl • April 26, 2019

It’s a fall afternoon at Endeavour Crater. The summer winds finally lost their energy and the dust storm season is over. But there are no more signals coming from Earth. No more comm sessions with the orbiters. Nothing like it used to be.

HiRISE Team Overcomes Imaging Glitches as Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Eyes another Decade in Orbit

Alfred McEwen • April 23, 2019

Blurred images and battery issues are no longer an immediate problem.

Chang’e-4 Updates: Yutu-2 Roves into Overtime, Returns More Images

Andrew Jones • April 22, 2019

China’s Chang’e-4 lander and Yutu-2 rover are continuing to function well and have completed their fourth lunar day.

Adapting an iPhone for Astrophotography

Barney Magrath • April 19, 2019

The sky is the limit, providing you’re willing to invest a little time for what is a surprisingly low-budget, hands-on project.

Voyager Wide-Angle Views of Jupiter

Ian Regan • April 16, 2019

Last month marked the 40th anniversary of the historic Voyager 1 encounter with Jupiter in 1979.

Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Lesser-Known Luminaries

Adam Block • March 22, 2019

Award-winning astrophotographer Adam Block shares some of his latest images highlighting some hidden gems.

A Kepler Orrery

Ethan Kruse • March 12, 2019

As of mission end on 30 October 2018, Kepler had detected 1,815 planets or planet candidates in multi-planet systems. All 726 such systems are drawn here.

The Realm of the Ice Giants

Amy Simon • March 12, 2019

Imagine 2 icy worlds far from the Sun. Their serene, blue atmospheres. Huge, ominous-looking storms. Tantalizing glimpses of moons with exotic, icy terrains. Delicate sets of encircling rings.

The subtle color difference between Uranus and Neptune

Björn Jónsson • March 11, 2019

The color of Uranus and Neptune is similar, but not identical. Uranus appears greener and Neptune bluer.

Yutu-2 Rocks On into Lunar Day 3 for Chang’e-4 mission

Andrew Jones • March 06, 2019

China’s Yutu-2 rover is continuing to make tracks on the lunar far side.

Practicing Mars 2020 rover operations, on Earth

Jeffrey R. Johnson • February 25, 2019

Jeff Johnson files a report from ROASTT, the Rover Operations Activities for Science Team Training.

Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Hidden Gems

Adam Block • February 22, 2019

Award-winning astrophotographer Adam Block shares of his latest views of our universe.

Planetary Radio: 10 Must-Listen Episodes About Space Exploration

MaryLiz Bender • February 13, 2019

The Planetary Society staff has selected our top ten favorite episodes of Planetary Radio. Listen now.

Stunning new images show what the Chang'e-4 mission has been up to

Andrew Jones • February 07, 2019

Chang’e-4 is sending home brilliant footage from its various spacecraft, while also being snapped by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Sensational Spirals

Adam Block • February 05, 2019

Award-winning astrophotographer Adam Block shares some of his latest galactic treasures.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Logs 15th Year in Silence, Team Begins ‘Hail Mary’ Efforts

A.J.S. Rayl • February 02, 2019

As a string of dust storms moved through Meridiani Planum and over Endeavour Crater in January, Opportunity silently wrapped her fifteenth year on the surface of Mars.

Chang'e 4: Why the Moon's far side looks red in new images

David Rothery • January 09, 2019

In Apollo images — and to our own eyes, from Earth — the Moon is grey. What's going on?

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Still Silent, Team Still Hopeful

A.J.S. Rayl • January 06, 2019

It’s now been more than six and a half months that the longest-lived robot on another planet has been incommunicado.

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