Often, the phrase “next steps” has been known to describe things that don't actually happen. But for The Planetary Society's All-sky Optical SETI, it's different. Here's what's happened in the last year.
The Japanese space agency's science missions have an abundance of names. They start out with a programmatic name, like MUSES-A, PLANET-A, etc. -- which might be like calling NEAR "Discovery-A" and Mars Pathfinder "Discovery-B" and so on.
Our 2007 Shoemaker NEO Grant winners have been extremely busy over the past two years. Take for example Quanzhi Ye of Guangzhou, China: He was only 18 when he received the award but already the principal investigator of the sky survey at the Lulin Observatory in Taiwan.
At the beginning of this decade, we designed a mission to accomplish this goal. We launched Cosmos 1 in June 2005, but the Volna rocket that was to place the spacecraft in orbit failed, and we were never able to test our solar sail in flight.
These days, The Planetary Society is working with colleagues at NASA and at the Russian Space Research Institute to put together a new solar sail mission.
One of the youngest off-springs of SETI@home has been getting a great deal of attention recently. Known as the Quake-Catcher Network (QCN), this distributed computing project makes use of thousands of volunteers' computers to locate and track earthquakes.
The Planetary Society and Cosmos Studios remain committed to flying the first flight with light. Our spacecraft, Cosmos 2, is a maneuverable solar sail that may be the precursor to a new mode of interplanetary travel, and could one day take us to the stars.
Last week Mars Climate Sounder collected its 20 millionth sounding at Mars. Mars Climate Sounder is scanning without problems, collecting science observations of the atmosphere of Mars. Mars Climate Sounder has now been observing Mars for over 17 months (three quarters of a Mars year and also approximately three quarters of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter primary science mission).