June 17, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Solar System

New approach to the blog

When I started this blog almost a decade ago, there was no other site that regularly focused on future planetary exploration. That has since changed, especially with Jason Davis's periodicals at the Planetary Society. At the same time, since I have been a teacher, my time is more limited.

With these changes, I plan to make changes to this blog. First, I will publish a weekly post with links to good articles and blog posts on topics relevant to future planetary exploration. My intention is for this to be similar to Ed's Up's excellent weekly collection of great news writing (you can subscribe at https://tinyletter.com/edyong209), except I'll post mine here instead of it being an email newsletter.

I also plan to continue writing in-depth analyzes about once a month (see previous post on missions to Uranus and Neptune as an example). I'm currently working on a story about what we know about the proposed missions for the current New Frontiers competition. There is good information available on about half of them.

In the weekly updates, I can also write my own short updates. This week, the biggest news is the cancellation of Space X's Red Dragon lander. The company makes many claims about this lander (see, for example, here and here). I'm not surprised to see it cancelled. Developing a spacecraft that can reliably land on rockets is difficult. NASA, which ultimately funds development through its contracts with Space X, was skeptical about using this system to land astronauts. Without the terrestrial version, there is no Martian version. I recommend Eric Berger's story linked below for more information.

The first full summary of published stories about future planetary exploration will arrive next week. In the meantime, here's a link to three good stories from last week.


Congress gives some love to NASA's planetary science division (and a Mars orbiter)

The House of Representatives proposed $2.1 billion for NASA's planetary science budget, which would be an all-time high. Part of the increase would be used to begin work on a new reconnaissance and communications orbiter.

Jason Davis • July 14, 2017

Next year, a pair of probes will head to Mercury to answer lingering questions about our innermost planet, as well as the formation of the solar system.

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