The DownlinkJul 05, 2024

Getting a good look at what’s out there

Space Snapshot

Olympus mons frost crop

Mars has the blues in this false-color image from the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. The picture shows a zoomed-in view of an area within the volcanic crater atop Olympus Mons on Mars, taken in the infrared. The blue hues show frost. This is one of our picks for the coolest space images from June. Image credit: ESA/TGO/CaSSIS.

Special note: This week, several staff members involved in the Downlink are on vacation, so this is a trimmed-down version of the usual newsletter. We’ll be back next week with our usual breadth of content.

Fact Worth Sharing

Mars illustration

Mars is the most-photographed planet in the Solar System, other than Earth. This is thanks to the continuous presence of active satellites orbiting Mars since 2001.

From The Planetary Society

Wide field survey telescope
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China’s first planetary defense test is taking shape. An ambitious mission that aims to launch as soon as 2027 will use a single launch to observe and impact a near-Earth asteroid. The target is 2015 XF261, a roughly 30-meter-diameter (98-foot) asteroid with an orbit that crosses Earth’s. China is also stepping up its asteroid-hunting work, including observations from the Wide Field Survey Telescope in Lenghu, Qinghai Province (pictured). Image credit: CNSA.

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Prominent space scientists briefed Congress last week on the importance of science. On Friday, June 28, The Planetary Society hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill to educate congressional staff about the opportunities and challenges facing the space science and exploration programs at NASA. The event was co-hosted by the American Astronomical Society and the American Geophysical Union, in conjunction with the Congressional Planetary Science Caucus. This pro-science coalition showcases the broad support in the community for restoring funds cut in the FY 2024 budget. The briefing was aptly timed, as the U.S. House of Representatives recently released their budget proposal for NASA. The proposal includes a slight increase in funding for human exploration programs, but maintains deep cuts to science.

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Designers, this is your chance to work on a magazine created by Carl Sagan. Submissions are still open in our call for designers for The Planetary Report, our longstanding member magazine. If you’ve got design, layout, and print experience we want to hear from you! Learn more about the request for proposals and apply today. Submissions are open until July 19.

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Defend Earth today! As a supporter of The Planetary Society, you help sustain Planetary Defense as one of our core enterprises. Asteroid strikes are rare but potentially catastrophic. The earlier we identify any threats, the more likely we are to prevent them. When a dangerous asteroid comes, let’s make sure we’re ready. Become a Planetary Defender with your gift of any amount today.

What's Up

Saturn illustration

Yellowish Saturn rises in the east in the middle of the night and is high in the predawn sky. Reddish Mars is in the predawn east, with very bright Jupiter below it. Learn more about what to look for in July’s night skies.

Wow of the Week

Solar system and beyond poster set

NASA has created a beautiful set of posters of places in our Solar System and beyond, all of which can be downloaded and printed for free. You can also get the posters as small, printable trading cards. Image credit: NASA.

Send us your artwork!

We love to feature space artwork in the Downlink. If you create any kind of space-related art, we invite you to send it to us by replying to any Downlink email or writing to [email protected]. Please let us know in your email if you’re a Planetary Society member!