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Planetary Society Blog

A guide to interesting stuff going on in space science, space exploration, and space advocacy.


Trusty Cassini survives first dive between Saturn and its rings

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:29:50 -0500

Cheers erupted in the Von Karman auditorium at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory early Thursday morning as a squiggly green line on a graph developed a crisp, tall peak, signifying that the Cassini spacecraft was calling home after surviving its first plunge between Saturn and its ring system.

Learn the rocket equation, part 1

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 06:00:30 -0500

Have you ever wanted to learn the fundamental physics behind one of the most basic concepts of rocket science? In part one of our two-part series, we explore the foundations of the famous rocket equation.

The first Space Launch System flight will probably be delayed

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:00:09 -0500

NASA's new heavy lift rocket is currently scheduled to launch the Orion spacecraft on a test flight next year. But all signs are pointing to a probable delay.

Curiosity update, sols 1600-1674: The second Bagnold Dunes campaign

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 06:00:18 -0500

The four-stop dune science campaign offered the engineers some time to continue troubleshooting the drill without any pressure to use it for science. They scooped sand at a site called Ogunquit Beach but couldn't complete the planned sample activity because of new developments in the drill inquiry. The rover has now headed onward toward Vera Rubin Ridge.

This weekend, it's the beginning of the end for Cassini

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 06:00:09 -0500

NASA's long-lived Cassini spacecraft is about to buzz Titan for the final time, putting it on course for a spectacular mission finale that concludes in September.

Spring 2017 issue of The Planetary Report now available

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 12:37:22 -0500

The Spring 2017 issue of The Planetary Report is in the mail and available online now to our members!

Our asteroid hunters are trying to save the world. Here’s what they’ve been up to

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 06:00:24 -0500

Here are some recent reports from our NEO Shoemaker Grant program asteroid observers, who are quite literally trying to save the world.

Postcard from the Space Symposium: Planetary Society outreach coordinator finds her place in space

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 10:15:15 -0500

The annual Space Symposium brings together space leaders from around the world to discuss, address and plan for the future of space.

Another smoking gun in the search for life in Enceladus’ ocean

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 18:12:53 -0500

NASA's Cassini spacecraft sniffed out molecular hydrogen spewing from Enceladus' subsurface ocean. The discovery means Saturn's moon has all the basic ingredients needed to support life.

Fossils or good-looking rocks? Why searching for life on other worlds is hard

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 06:00:14 -0500

If you find a structure that looks like ancient life, can you be really sure that it is ancient life?