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Bruce's Blog

What's Up

with Bruce Betts

Our resident planetary scientist and Director of Projects will keep you up to date on all the exciting projects we are working on. From searching for dangerous asteroids to flying our very own solar sail spacecraft, Bruce will make sure you know what's going on plus enlighten you with his unique bits of space trivia with Random Space Facts, too!

Bruce Betts

Mars Program Update from MEPAG

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/10/05 06:30 CDT | 1 comment

Bruce Betts reports on the status of the current and future Mars program and on acronyms from a meeting of NASA's MEPAG (Mars Exploration Analysis Program Analysis Group).

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Shoemaker NEO Winner Finds Close Fly By Asteroid

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/10/02 05:54 CDT

Gary Hug used his Shoemaker NEO grant provided camera to find 2012 SY49 which flew by Earth at about two lunar distances last week. The tens of meters wide asteroid is a low-probability possible Earth impactor in the future.

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Saving the World: Established 1997

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/09/21 01:00 CDT | 2 comments

The Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO grants celebrate their 15th anniversary of helping to find and track near Earth asteroids. Here's a quick review of the program, and updates on our four multiple-grant winners.

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Optical SETI Gets a Major Upgrade

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/08/30 03:57 CDT | 5 comments

The Planetary Society Optical SETI Telescope in Harvard, Massachusetts just got a major upgrade of its electronics. The telescope, which has been operating the only all-sky optical SETI survey since its opening in 2006, is run by Harvard University Professor Paul Horowitz and his team. The telescope scans the sky every clear night with a 72-inch primary mirror, looking for laser pulses as short as one billionth of a second that could be transmitted by distant extraterrestrials. When observing, it has been able to process 1 terabit (trillion bits) of data every second, that’s as much as in all the books in print every second.

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NASA Selects InSight Mars 2016 Lander

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/08/20 06:13 CDT | 2 comments

NASA has selected JPL's InSight mission to Mars as its next Discovery mission. The first geophysics mission to Mars, InSight will use a Phoenix-like lander to deploy a seismometer and a heat probe and give us our first detailed insights into the interior of the Red Planet.

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Zapping Rocks with Lasers to Save the World

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/06/25 05:59 CDT | 9 comments

The Planetary Society Laser Bees project in Scotland is studying in the lab a potential new technique for deflecting dangerous asteroids: laser ablation.

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Hunting Asteroids from a Field in Kansas

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/06/15 06:33 CDT

TPS Shoemaker NEO Grant Winner Gary Hug hunts near Earth objects from his back yard in Kansas. NPR's Morning Edition picked up on this fascinating story.

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Transit of Venus June 5: Why Should You Care and How to Observe

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/06/02 01:56 CDT | 2 comments

A rare astronomical event occurs June 5/6. Find out why you should care and how to observe it.

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LightSail presented at Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/05/31 03:10 CDT | 20 comments

Chris Biddy from Stellar Exploration Inc. presented information about our LightSail project at the 2012 Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium.

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Hijinks and Shenanigans at Caltech Ditch Day

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/05/24 06:47 CDT | 1 comment

Hijinks and Shenanigans at Caltech Ditch Day: I return to the Caltech campus on the annual ditch day to check out some of the fun.

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