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We’re Sending a Flying Machine to Titan

NASA has given the go-ahead for Dragonfly, a flying rotorcraft that will explore Saturn’s mysterious moon Titan. Mission Principal Investigator Elizabeth “Zibi” Turtle helps us celebrate.

Dunes, Walnut Shells, Alien Impostors and Other Worlds: A Visit with Sarah Hörst

A very special, extended conversation with Johns Hopkins University planetary scientist Sarah Hörst is capped by a tour of her fascinating lab. That’s where Sarah and her team simulate decidedly un-Earthlike atmospheres and more. Emily Lakdawalla has returned from this year’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference with news from around the solar system. Caffeine! It’s on Saturn’s moon Titan AND in the espresso made on the International Space Station! More about the latter in What’s Up.

Flying the Skies of Saturn’s Moon Titan

magine soaring over what may be the solar system’s most Earth-like world, if you ignore the chill. If funded, the nuclear electric-powered Dragonfly will do exactly this. Principal Investigator Elizabeth “Zibi” Turtle shares her enthusiasm.

It’s a Hard Rain on Titan

A computer model based on our best data about Saturn’s cloud-shrouded moon says that torrential liquid methane pounds the surface far more frequently than previously expected. Sean Faulk and Jonathan Mitchell of UCLA explain.

Ed Stone and Forty Years of Voyager in Space

It is most space fans’ favorite planetary science mission, and with good reason. We visit with the man who has been in charge of Voyager mission science for more than four decades.

An Eye on the Sun (In the Middle of a Lake)

The world’s most powerful solar telescope has just been renamed for the man responsible for its creation. We’ll meet astrophysicist and helioseismologist Phil Goode, and we’ll enjoy a tour of the Goode Solar Telescope.

Human Spaceflight: Coming Back to America

Astronauts may soon ride on US rockets and in US spaceships for the first time since the last Space Shuttle flight. Jon Cowart of NASA is working with SpaceX toward the first launch of a Dragon spacecraft with humans on board.

Visiting Worlds Fantastic with Bonnie Buratti

Veteran Jet Propulsion Lab planetary scientist Bonnie Buratti talks with Mat about the wonder of our solar neighborhood that she explores in

Bill Nye Saves the World…With Space

It was a big week for the Science Guy, and for science. Bill Nye served as honorary co-chair of the March for Science in Washington DC. His new Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves the World, premiered the next day. Two of the show’s thirteen episodes are devoted to space science and exploration. Bill talks about all this in a special conversation with Mat Kaplan.

Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan Leaves NASA

For well over three years, planetary scientist Ellen Stofan has worked directly with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to help coordinate and expand the myriad science efforts by the agency. We talk with her as she ends this remarkable tenure.

Pluto and Titan and Iran, Oh My!

Back to the annual meeting of the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences this week, where Mat Kaplan visited with experts on worlds of ice including Titan and Pluto, with a side trip to the dunes of Iran.

Cassini at Saturn: The Final Year

The great Cassini spacecraft has a year to go before it plunges into the ringed planet. Project Scientist Linda Spilker returns with more amazing mission science.

Sailing the Canyons of Titan

Steep canyons on Saturn's moon Titan are filled with liquid methane. That's the discovery just announced by an international team of Cassini scientists, including Alex Hayes.

Marc Rayman’s Dawn Mission Update

The Dawn Mission Chief Engineer Marc Rayman returns for another report on the ion-engine powered mission, now orbiting 240 miles above dwarf planet Ceres in the Asteroid Belt.

Rob Manning and Landing on Mars

Landing on Mars is hard, and the bigger you are, the harder it gets. Rob Manning returns to tell us about one of NASA’s best hopes for getting much bigger spacecraft down there—spacecraft that may one day carry humans.

A Recipe for a Small Planet

Astronomer and planetary scientist Courtney Dressing is the lead author of research that may have found the formula for the mass and composition of Earth-like planets. She reveals the ingredients and why she spent time at JPL while in high school.

Discovered: Titan's Magic Island

Cornell grad student Jason Hofgartner reports on the discovery of what appears (and disappears!) to be an island on one of Titan’s frigid lakes.

A 2014 Preview From Emily Lakdawalla

24 spacecraft are either busy exploring the solar system or speeding toward an exciting destination. The Planetary Society's Senior Editor takes us on a whirlwind advance tour.

Emily Lakawalla's DPS Report

The Planetary Society’s Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist recaps this year’s revealing meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS).

Saturn Update from Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker

We pay another visit to the queen of planets with Cassini Mission Project Scientist Linda Spilker. She always brings us fascinating news from Saturn, its moons and rings.

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