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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

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Images Beresheet Impact Site

May 16, 2019

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has successfully imaged the impact site of the Beresheet lander, which made a really good run at performing the first privately funded Moon landing on 11 April, but crashed after the failure of its main engine.

China’s SmallSat Lunar Mission Longjiang-2 to Deorbit on 31 July

May 14, 2019

According to amateur spacecraft tracker Daniel Estévez, Longjiang-2 will crash into the Moon on 31 July after more than a year in lunar orbit.

Accuracy Can Be Fun!

May 01, 2019

Last week, designer Thomas Romer of Chop Shop Studio launched a Kickstarter to support the creation of a new product: Planetary Blocks. Emily Lakdawalla worked closely with Chop Shop to create an accurate and fun block set.

Curiosity Update, Sols 2313-2387: Two New Drill Holes Despite Memory Problems

April 25, 2019

The Curiosity team is touring Glen Torridon, the Valley of Clay, south of Vera Rubin Ridge, happily photographing everything and zapping rocks. It’s clearly a delight for the team to be in a place they’ve been hoping to reach for 7 years.

InSight Detects Some Very Small Marsquakes

April 23, 2019

InSight has finally detected its first Marsquakes, but so far, none have been large enough to produce good science. Still, it’s great news that the seismometer is producing sensible data.

First Science Results from Hayabusa2 Mission

April 01, 2019

The Hayabusa2 team held a press briefing last week at LPSC to report newly published results on asteroid Ryugu.

The March Equinox Issue of The Planetary Report Is Out!

March 12, 2019

I’m very pleased to announce the publication of the March Equinox issue of The Planetary Report: “Inside the Ice Giants.” The print issue shipped to members yesterday!

InSight Update, Sol 92: The Mole Did Hit a Rock

March 01, 2019

The HP3 mole started hammering itself today, and almost immediately (after just 5 minutes) appears to have encountered a rock. No matter; they'll try again Saturday.

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.

A last look at Enceladus' plumes with Saturn

Not published yet

Two weeks before mission's end, Cassini took its final photos documenting the activity of Enceladus' south polar plumes. This photo was taken with the wide-angle camera from the night sides of Saturn and Enceladus and the unlit face of the rings. Enceladus is beyond Saturn as seen from Cassini, its nightside lit by light reflected off of Saturn. The photo has been edited to remove effects of internal reflections within the camera and composited with a narrow-angle image of Enceladus to make the plumes more visible.

A last look at Enceladus' plumes

Not published yet

A composite of two Cassini narrow-angle camera images of Enceladus, part of the last observations of Enceladus' plumes before the end of the Cassini mission. The two images were taken on August 27 and 28, 2017. The moon is lit nearly from behind; its nightside is illuminated by sunlight that first reflected off of Saturn. Two images were composited in order to make the plumes more visible, and image blemishes have been painted out.

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