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Emily Lakdawalla

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla (2017, alternate)

Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist

blog@planetary.org
+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. In 2018, she became editor of the Society's member magazine, The Planetary Report.

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, was published by 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 blog@planetary.org or @elakdawalla on Twitter.

Latest Blog Posts

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spots InSight Hardware on Mars

December 13, 2018

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has finally spotted the InSight lander, its parachute, and its heat shield resting on the Martian surface. The images confirm the location of InSight's landing site, a little to the north and west of the center of the landing ellipse. The lander is located at 4.499897° N, 135.616000° E.

Curiosity Update, Sols 2163-2256: Hard Times Atop Vera Rubin Ridge

December 11, 2018

Just after a failed drill attempt at Inverness, Curiosity suffered a serious computer problem. The mission has now recovered by switching computers, and has successfully drilled at Highfield. One last drill site in "red Jura" rocks is planned before leaving Vera Rubin ridge behind.

News brief: Voyager 2 has passed beyond the heliopause

December 10, 2018

Voyager 2 is now outside the reach of the solar wind, traveling in the interstellar medium. Unlike Voyager 1, Voyager 2 has a working plasma spectrometer so will be doing exciting new science. It is expected to last another 5 to 10 years, though not with all instruments operating.

Liftoff for Chang'e-4!

December 07, 2018

At 02:22 local time 8 December (18:22 on 7 December UTC), a Long March 3B lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center, carrying the Chang'e-4 lander and rover toward the Moon.

New Cameras on Mars!

November 27, 2018

There was jubilation when InSight landed, but I'm just as happy to be writing about a distinct InSight event: The flow of raw images sent from Mars, straight to the Web, has begun.

InSight has landed (UPDATED)

November 26, 2018

InSight touched down on Mars today, bringing NASA's total of successful Mars landers to 8 and total number of active NASA Mars missions to 6.

We're going to Jezero!

November 20, 2018

NASA announced this morning the selection of Jezero crater for the landing site of the Mars 2020 mission. Jezero is a 45-kilometer-wide crater that once held a lake, and now holds a spectacular ancient river delta.

Emily Lakdawalla's Recommended Space Books for Kids, 2018

November 14, 2018

Welcome to my 10th annual list of recommended space books for kids! Fiction, nonfiction, biography; poetry, prose, and pictures; it's all here.

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.

Location of the InSight landing site within its landing ellipse

December 13, 2018

Insight landed near the center of its landing ellipse, at the spot marked with a yellow dot. The yellow rectangle marks the location of HiRISE image ESP_036761_1845, taken before landing. The base map is from Mars Odyssey THEMIS.

Location of the InSight landing site on HiRISE image ESP_036761_1845

December 13, 2018

This HiRISE image of Elysium planitia was taken on 30 May 2014 as part of the campaign to map the region for potential InSight landing site. It is the best-quality image of the location that InSight landed on 26 November 2018. The black dot shows the location that InSight eventually landed.

astronaut on Phobos
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