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The Planetary Society
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Citizen-powered space exploration
Citizen-powered space exploration

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NASA just announced the first astronauts who will fly to the International Space Station from the United States since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011! Meet Robert Behnken, Doug Hurley, Eric Boe, Chris Ferguson, and Nicole Aunapu Mann. They are expected to launch aboard SpaceX and Boeing-operated vehicles in 2019, providing uncrewed flight tests of both spacecraft go well first.

Behnken, Hurley, Boe and Sunita Williams have been training on SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner since July 2015. Initially, all four crew members trained on both vehicles, but with flights just a year away, NASA is now assigning the crew to specific missions. Behnken and Hurley are scheduled to fly Crew Dragon for the first time in April 2019. Boe, Ferguson, and Nicole Aunapu Mann, a spaceflight rookie, will fly aboard Starliner sometime in mid-2019. Ferguson is the only non-NASA astronaut. He retired from NASA after commanding the final shuttle mission in 2011, and eventually joined Boeing to help develop Starliner.
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A radar instrument on one of the oldest operational Mars orbiters has discovered possible evidence of present-day liquid water on Mars. How is today's water-on-Mars hoopla different from all of the past announcements? In brief: the evidence is from a new instrument, examining a new location on Mars, and it's the first place we've seen evidence for a present-day body of water that is liquid and stays liquid. For years.
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Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: The Cosmic Ocean

Award-winning astrophotographer Adam Block shares some of his most recent images of our amazing and beautiful universe: planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/adam-block/pretty-pictures-of-the-cosmos-cosmic-ocean.html
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Chinese satellite snags new views of Earth from lunar orbit

On May 20, China launched Queqiao, a lunar communications relay satellite for the upcoming Chang'e 4 lander and rover mission. On the way out to the Moon, it dropped off a pair of small satellites bound for lunar orbit called Longjiang-1 and Longjiang-2. The satellites weigh just 45 kilograms each and measure 50-by-50-by-40 centimeters. Their purpose is testing out future radio astronomy and interferometry techniques, and one also has a camera built by Saudi Arabia.

Unfortunately, Longjiang-1 had a problem and didn't make it into lunar orbit. Longjiang-2, however, was successful, and sent home a few pictures! Check them out: planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2018/20180614-longjiang-2-earth-pics.html
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Full episodes at planet.ly/qpCji
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Mars Exploration Family Portrait planet.ly/RoboFamily
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Saturn in infrared planet.ly/ExUQb
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Postcard from Kentucky: Space in the Bluegrass State planet.ly/kYAzf
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Oppy the Mars rover recently sent us this big, beautiful panorama.

We highly recommend the high-res version: planet.ly/FpOqA
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