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The Downlink

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More Issues

Feature: Exoplanets

2 March 2020

Your Guide to Exoplanets

Learn why and how we study exoplanets, and how you can get involved.

2 March 2020

Our Exoplanets Research

Scientists are searching for 100 Earth-like planets around other stars, and you can help.

Swapna Krishna ● 12 March 2020

What is the Habitable Zone?

The habitable zone is the not-too-hot, not-too-cold region around a star where liquid water can exist.

Emily Lakdawalla ● 2 March 2020

The Different Kinds of Exoplanets
You Meet in the Milky Way

Lava worlds. Hot Jupiters. Earth 2.0 candidates. Here's a rundown of some notable exoplanets.

Emily Lakdawalla & Staff ● 2 March 2020

How to Search for Exoplanets

Some methods almost sound like science fiction: Using gravity as a magnifying glass, watching stars wobble at turtle-like speeds, and searching for tiny dips in starlight.

2 March 2020

Your guide to WFIRST

WFIRST, NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, is the next step in our hunt for Earth-sized exoplanets.

Blogs & Articles

LightSail 2 Spacecraft Successfully Demonstrates Flight by Light

Jason Davis • July 31, 2019 • 17

In the past 4 days, the spacecraft has raised its orbital high point, or apogee, by about 2 kilometers.

LightSail 2 Successfully Deploys Solar Sail

Jason Davis • July 24, 2019 • 7

Images from The Planetary Society's spacecraft confirm the solar sails deployed on 23 July 2019 at 11:47 PDT (18:47 UTC).

Live Coverage: LightSail 2 Sail Deployment

Jason Davis • July 19, 2019 • 9

Visit planetary.org/live for video and audio from mission control, located at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in California.

LightSail 2 Sail Deployment Scheduled for Tuesday

Jason Davis • July 19, 2019

The target ground station pass for deployment starts 23 July 2019 at roughly 11:22 PDT (18:22 UTC).

LightSail 2 Team Continues Tweaks and Tests for Sail Deployment

Jason Davis • July 17, 2019 • 3

Spare bandwidth during ground station passes has allowed flight controllers to downlink 2 new high-resolution images.

LightSail 2 Team to Conduct More Testing before Sail Deployment

Jason Davis • July 09, 2019 • 3

Sail deployment is now scheduled for no earlier than 21 July 2019.

Here are the First Pictures of Earth from LightSail 2

Jason Davis • July 07, 2019 • 10

Pictures taken by the spacecraft's cameras Friday evening show a crescent Earth, as LightSail 2 heads into orbital sunset.

See the Latest Data from LightSail 2 on Our New Mission Control Dashboard

Jason Davis • July 05, 2019

Would you like to see the latest data from The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft—possibly before flight controllers have even seen it? Now you can!

LightSail 2 Healthy as Mission Team Continues Spacecraft Checkouts

Jason Davis • July 03, 2019

The mission team is working through a 73-step checklist to check out the spacecraft’s systems and perform various tests.

First Contact! LightSail 2 Phones Home to Mission Control

Jason Davis • July 02, 2019 • 1

The mission team received LightSail 2's first signals on 2 July at 01:34 PDT (08:34 UTC), as the spacecraft passed over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in California.

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