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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

Curiosity update, sols 1927-1971: Ready to resume drilling

February 21, 2018

After a hiatus of nearly 500 sols, Curiosity is ready to attempt drilling into a Mars rock again.

Opportunity's sol 5000 self-portrait

February 20, 2018

Last week the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity celebrated its 5000th sol on Mars, and it celebrated by taking the first complete Mars Exploration Rover self-portrait.

Ten times the solar system reminded us sample collection is hard

February 19, 2018

Some of the biggest discoveries we make in planetary science rely on the seemingly simple act of picking up and analyzing pieces of other worlds. When things go awry, scientists and engineers can sometimes squeeze amazing science out of a tough situation.

Maintaining the health of an aging Mars orbiter

February 14, 2018

NASA has announced changes to how engineers are operating Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in order to prolong its life as long as possible, long enough to support the Mars 2020 rover mission.

Speak your science: How to give a better conference talk

February 06, 2018

Bad presentation often gets in the way of good science. Emily Lakdawalla offers her advice on how to present your scientific work effectively.

Some big moons in the Kuiper belt

January 25, 2018

In a new preprint, Mike Brown and Bryan Butler show evidence that two Kuiper belt moons are even bigger than we used to think. They are Eris' moon Dysnomia, and Orcus' moon Vanth.

New Horizons prepares for encounter with 2014 MU69

January 24, 2018

Throughout 2018, New Horizons will cruise toward its January 1 encounter with 2014 MU69. Preparations for the flyby are nearly complete.

HiRISE image coverage of the Curiosity field site on Mars, Version 4.0

January 15, 2018

The latest and greatest update of Emily's list of all the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE images that contain Curiosity hardware, tracks, or traverses.

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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