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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The June Solstice issue of our member magazine The Planetary Report is out! The feature article, by W. Scott Kardel of the International Dark-Sky Association, looks at the ecological, economic, and philosophical problem of light pollution. My inside-the-cover Snapshots from Space features image processing work by Gordan Ugarkovic. Bill Nye's Planetary Society Kids section shows you how to build your own MarsDial, and on its back page I share some weird and interesting facts about Mars' moons.