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16 April 2011

Dreaming of Easy-to-Use Data

Some thoughts on how difficult it is to use multiple different types of data in planetary science, how easy it could be, and two free programs that are important first steps in making easy-to-use data a reality.

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17 January 2011

Ask an Astronomer (Live)!

Do you have burning questions of an astronomical nature? Or do people come to you with those sorts of questions? About the zodiac perhaps? Well, my friend, you need to go spend some time on the Ask an Astronomer site that my fellow graduate students at Cornell run. Over the years, we have received thousands of questions from interested people, and those that we think might be of interest to …

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12 January 2011

Teacher Webinar: Rovers and Career Advice

Yesterday I had the opportunity to give my first ever “webinar” to a group of teachers and some of their students, and thanks to the miracle of the internet, the whole thing is recorded so you can watch it too! Shoshe Cole, another Mars graduate student here at Cornell gave the first presentation, focusing mostly on general Mars background info and the current Mars Exploration Rovers. My presentation starts at just shy of 1 hour into the recording, and I talked about Mars Science Laboratory and my involvement in the mission through ChemCam work and landing site selection.

We also both included some career advice for the teachers to pass onto their students, so if you or someone you know are interested in a career in planetary science (or science more generally), you might want to take a look!

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8 December 2009

Carnival of Space #132!

Hey, check it out, it’s the carnival of space! Things will be pretty quiet around here this week because I’m a bit preoccupied with a two-page abstract for next year’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (due Thursday) and putting together a poster for the American Geophysical Union conference next week. I can only imagine the LPSC coordinators cackling with glee as they scheduled the abstract deadline the week before AGU. …

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31 October 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009

Well, it’s that time of year again. Against my better judgement, I have decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) again this year. For those unfamiliar with NaNo, the idea is to write a >50,000 word novel in the month of November. It’s a great way to get over the inner editor and just write, and I’ve been putzing around with this year’s story idea since earlier this …

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3 September 2009

Review of 'Defying Gravity'

Hi folks. I’m still neck-deep in paper revisions, so if you’re looking for something to read, Joe Shoer has a good review of the new sci-fi show “Defying Gravity”. I’ve never seen it, but his review makes a good point that it’s refreshing and promising to see a popular show that is pro-space exploration.

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6 July 2009

Student Questions about Mars Exploration

A few months ago, a class of 6th graders at JFK Middle School in Hudson, MA contacted the astronomy department at Cornell. They were doing an egg-drop project, modeled after the Mars rovers, and their teacher had them each write questions to Steve Squyres about the rover mission. Steve was out of town (and is always extremely busy), but he suggested that many of the questions could be answered by …

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4 July 2009

Now Back to our Regularly Scheduled Programming

As of yesterday at noon, I am happy to report that I passed my A-exam and now have a M.S. in Astronomy, and am a PhD candidate! That’s right, I somehow managed to convince my committee that shooting rocks with lasers and looking at landing sites on Mars is worthy of a PhD. Being grilled about the fundamentals of your science by Jim Bell (my adviser and lead scientist for …

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8 June 2009

Carnival of Space #106

Hello folks, apologies for the lack of posts lately. I have been keeping busy trying to write up a draft of a paper on the Gale crater landing site for MSL, which is taking a very long time and becoming very large. I don’t anticipate having lots of time to post here this month. Even as I work on the draft, I will be traveling out to Los Alamos National …

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19 April 2009

Impressive Arecibo

Betsey over at the ALFALFA Survey Blog just posted about visiting Arecibo and how jaw-droppingly impressive the telescope is. Her pictures are spectacular, so you should go check them out! Here’s a teaser:

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