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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 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 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

Emily's recommended space books for kids of all ages, 2017

November 15, 2017

Welcome to my ninth annual recommendations and gift guide to books about space, planets, and astronauts for kids of all ages!

#DPS17: The Moon's Giordano Bruno crater through many eyes

October 30, 2017

Today's story from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting looks at one youthful rayed crater on the Moon from many different spacecraft.

Explore spinnable Saturn and Jupiter moons with Google Maps

October 27, 2017

Google Maps released several new map products that allow you to see the locations of named features on many solar system planets and non-planets, spinning them around in space with your mouse.

#DPS17: Wobbling the Moon and art by James Tuttle Keane

October 24, 2017

James Tuttle Keane is increasingly famous (among planetary scientists anyway) for his remarkable illustrated notes from conferences. Here's his work from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, illustrating both his own and others' research.

#DPS2017: Progress report on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter images of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring

October 20, 2017

Three years ago, on October 19, 2014, comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring passed within 138,000 kilometers of Mars. At the 2017 meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, we heard a progress report on Mars orbiter imaging of the comet's nucleus.

A new year's worth of Mars Orbiter Mission data

October 02, 2017

India's Mars Orbiter Mission has now completed three years in orbit at Mars, and ISRO celebrated the anniversary by releasing the mission's second-year data to the public. Emily Lakdawalla spent a week downloading and processing data for your enjoyment.

Earth flyby tests OSIRIS-REx's cameras

September 28, 2017

As expected, OSIRIS-REx's Earth flyby on September 22 was a success. The mission is slowly releasing beautiful images of our home worlds taken by its many cameras following the flyby.

An honor from The Open University

September 22, 2017

Today in London, Emily Lakdawalla was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of the University by The Open University.

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.

Apollo 11 image of a nearly full Moon

October 30, 2017

One of the Apollo 11 astronauts took this photo of an almost fully illuminated Moon on July 21, 1969, during their journey home. The command module was nearly 20,000 kilometers away from the Moon at the time. The egg-shaped dark area above center is Mare Crisium. The rayed crater Giordano Bruno is near the top of the frame. Near the bottom are two small rayed craters that bracket a larger crater, Stevinus. High-sun images like this one emphasize albedo differences (like crater rays and mare basins) over topography (like crater bowls).

Discovery image of Enceladus' plumes

October 26, 2017

One of the photos from the sequence of Cassini images that proved Enceladus was a geologically active moon, taken on November 28, 2005.

astronaut on Phobos
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