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Emily Lakdawalla

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla (2017, alternate)

Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist

[email protected]
+1-626-793-5100

Extended biography and head shots
List of publications

Emily is available for speaking engagements.

Emily Lakdawalla is an internationally admired science communicator and educator, passionate about advancing public understanding of space and sharing the wonder of scientific discovery.

Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in geology from Amherst College and a Master of Science degree in planetary geology from Brown University. She came to The Planetary Society in 2001. She has been writing and editing the Planetary Society Blog since 2005, reporting on space news, explaining planetary science, and sharing beautiful space photos. Emily has been an active supporter of the international community of space image processing enthusiasts as Administrator of the forum UnmannedSpaceflight.com since 2005. She is also a contributing editor to Sky & Telescope magazine.

Her first book, titled The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job, is due out from Springer-Praxis in March, 2018. The book explains the development, design, and function of Curiosity with the same level of technical detail that she delivers in the Planetary Society Blog. A second book, Curiosity and Its Science Mission: A Mars Rover Goes to Work will follow in 2019.

She was awarded the 2011 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award from the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society for her blog entry about the Phoebe ring of Saturn. Asteroid 274860 was formally named "Emilylakdawalla" by the International Astronomical Union on July 12, 2014. She received an honorary doctorate from The Open University in 2017 in recognition of her contributions in communicating space science to the public.

Emily can be reached at [email protected] or @elakdawalla on Twitter.

Latest Blog Posts

Moon Monday: Prometheus

April 23, 2018

Happy Monday! Here's a picture of Prometheus. You may think it's a picture of Saturn. Look hard, toward the bottom, and you'll see Prometheus, doing its part to keep the F ring in line.

OSIRIS-REx shows us space isn't entirely empty

April 20, 2018

What a cool photo of OSIRIS-REx's sample return capsule! But wait, what's that black dot near the top?

Curiosity Update, sols 1972-2026: Completing the Vera Rubin Ridge Walkabout

April 17, 2018

The Curiosity team has completed its initial survey of the top of Vera Rubin Ridge, and is ready to make another attempt at drilling after the rock at Lake Orcadie proved to be too hard.

Moon Monday: Deimos

April 16, 2018

Digging into the Viking archives to produce a new old composite of Mars' smaller moon.

Seeing InSight

April 10, 2018

Last week, I received a golden ticket that gave me rare access to a sacred space: the cleanroom facility where NASA's next Mars lander, InSight, is undergoing final preparations for launch.

Preview of the InSight Mars launch

April 05, 2018

NASA’s next planetary launch is coming up, as soon as May 5, 2018. This post is your one-stop shop for information about InSight’s launch, cruise, and expected mission to Mars.

A new storm on Saturn!

April 03, 2018

On March 29, vigilant astronomer Maciel Bassani Sparrenberger discovered that a new bright spot had broken out in Saturn's high northern latitudes.

Moon Monday: Galileo's Galileans

April 02, 2018

This week it seems fitting to feature a portrait of the Galilean moons by Galileo.

Latest Processed Space Images

Map of HiRISE anaglyph image coverage for the Opportunity traverse

Not published yet

Blue boxes denote digital terrain models (DTMs). Green boxes are stereo pairs that are also available as anaglyphs. Purple box indicates an image pair that could potentially be converted into an anaglyph/DTM. Yellow line indicates Opportunity's traverse as of February 2014. Underlying CTX image is at 10 meters per pixel.

Teeny impact on the OSIRIS-REx sample return capsule heat shield

April 20, 2018

A comparison of two images taken by StowCam on September 22, 2016 and March 2, 2017 shows the mark of a tiny impactor having struck the sample return capsule's heat shield some time in the intervening six months. A detail is shown inset at upper left.

Arm workspace at Bressay, sol 2014

April 17, 2018

On sol 2014, Curiosity pulled up to an odd and apparently random collection of "greatest hits" of Gale crater float rock types at a site the team named Bressay.

astronaut on Phobos
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