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Blog Archive

 

Dawn Journal: Craving Power

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2013/07/30 01:12 CDT | 5 comments

Ion propulsion is not a source of power for Dawn. Rather, the craft needs a great deal of power to operate its ion propulsion system and all other systems. It needs so much that...we crave power!!

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Programmable Mars Watch for $50

Posted by Ara Kourchians on 2013/07/11 06:00 CDT

Time is kept differently on Mars. This is because Mars itself rotates a little slower than Earth. This proves to be a pain when it comes to timekeeping.

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PlanetVac Moving Forward
Meet the Team and Learn What They are Doing

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/07/03 01:23 CDT | 4 comments

Meet the PlanetVac team and learn their general plan and what they are doing now. PlanetVac is a newly started Planetary Society and Honeybee Robotics project to test a pneumatic system to sample planetary surfaces.

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PlanetVac Project Underway
Planetary Society Sponsored Surface Sampling Project

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/07/01 02:56 CDT | 1 comment

The Planetary Society's PlanetVac project with Honeybee Robotics is now fully underway. Here we provide a just released statement by Honeybee, and an introduction to this lab test of a new planetary surface sampling system.

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How radar really works: The steps involved before getting an image

Posted by Alessondra Springmann on 2013/06/24 02:10 CDT | 3 comments

Arecibo Observatory is known for its 1000-foot diameter telescope and its appearances in Goldeneye and Contact. Aside from battling Bond villains and driving red diesel Jeeps around the telescope (grousing at the site director about the funding status of projects is optional), several hundred hours a year of telescope time at Arecibo go toward radar studies of asteroids.

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Astronomy Enters a New Era
Join us for a live webcast about thrilling new tools that will come online in the next decade.

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/05/26 08:45 CDT | 3 comments

A live conversation about just a few of the powerful new instruments that will revolutionize our knowledge of the cosmos once again.

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Instruments for the JUICE Jovian Mission

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/03/07 12:20 CST | 6 comments

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced the list of instruments selected for its JUICE mission to explore the Jovian system for three years starting in the 2030 following a 2022 launch.

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Curiosity's Scoop Campaign, a Summary

Posted by Stephen Kuhn on 2013/01/08 09:30 CST | 4 comments

Stephen Kuhn is the CHIMRA and the scoop systems lead on the Curiosity rover. He explains what the team was doing at Rocknest, and why it took so long!

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SpaceX's Grasshopper makes leap toward reusability

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/12/26 01:18 CST | 14 comments

SpaceX's Grasshopper rocket passed its most ambitious test flight yet, rising 12 stories before hovering and settling gently back down onto its landing pad.

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Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: present and future rovers

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/05 06:56 CST | 3 comments

The Planetary Society has a new weekly Google+ Hangout time slot, Thursdays at noon PT / 1800 UT. This week, Casey Dreier and I talked about the Curiosity kerfuffle and NASA's future rover plans. Here's the archived recording.

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More than you probably wanted to know about Curiosity's SAM instrument

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/30 12:31 CST | 26 comments

With all the hoopla surrounding the unknown results of the first analysis of a soil sample by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, I thought an explainer would be useful. What is SAM, what is it designed to measure, and what is the nature of its results? Here you go.

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Visiting Viking at Seattle's Museum of Flight

Posted by Tom Dahl on 2012/11/14 03:03 CST

One of the nicest aerospace museums in the United States is the Museum of Flight, outside Seattle, Washington. I traveled cross-country in order to visit the "Flight Capsule 3" Viking lander, a backup unit that was never completed. Its partially built state exposes its internal structures, making it a boon to study.

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Curiosity sol 38 update: arm tests done, on the road again, and an important question answered

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/14 06:28 CDT

Curiosity has completed Commissioning Activity Period 2 and is on the road again. I asked Daniel Limonadi to explain a couple of the photos of tests being performed on CHIMRA, and took the opportunity to ask him an amusing question that came up during a previous Google+ Hangout.

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Knots on Mars

Posted by David J. Fred on 2012/09/05 04:21 CDT | 3 comments

It might surprise most people to learn that multitudes of knots tied in cords and thin ribbons have probably traveled on every interplanetary mission ever flown. If human civilization ends tomorrow, interplanetary landers, orbiters, and deep space probes will preserve evidence of both the oldest and newest of human technologies for thousands, if not millions of years.

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Sampling Mars, Part 4: Commissioning the Rover and Sampling System

Posted by Daniel Limonadi on 2012/08/22 07:04 CDT | 10 comments

Completing a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 4 explains the lengthy process of testing and using the system for the first time.

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Sampling Mars, Part 3: Key Challenges in Drilling for Samples

Posted by Daniel Limonadi on 2012/08/21 05:34 CDT

Continuing a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 3 explains why drilling is hard, and what the team is doing to prevent things from going wrong.

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Sampling Mars, Part 2: Science Instruments SAM and Chemin

Posted by Daniel Limonadi on 2012/08/20 11:28 CDT | 5 comments

Continuing a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 2 explains the science instruments SAM and Chemin.

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Sampling Mars, Part 1: The Hardware

Posted by Daniel Limonadi on 2012/08/16 02:08 CDT | 3 comments

The opening of a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 1 explains the robotic arm and the Sample Acquisition, Processing and Handling subsystem.

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See What's NEXT for Humanity

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/08/16 01:23 CDT | 5 comments

A new monthly series of Southern California Public Radio events begins with a look at how intelligent machines and virtual humans will change what it means to be a real human. Attend or watch the live webcast tonight, Thursday, August 16.

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Curiosity's MAHLI camera: Much more than a microscopic imager

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/07 06:19 CDT | 3 comments

Today's press briefing featured the first image from MAHLI, the Mars Hand Lens Imager, so it's time for me to dive in to this camera's capabilities.

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