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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.
28 February 2011
Not dead yet
Hello loyal readers. Sorry I’ve been AWOL lately, but things have been slightly crazy. I have been frantically working on wrapping up a paper and last week I was out at Los Alamos National Lab last week collecting some last-minute data (a.k.a. zapping some more rocks) for the paper. This week I get to (somehow) finish it and make a poster about the results which I will present next week …
3 January 2011
AGU 2010 – Days 3 and 4: Exoplanets, Impact Basins and Alteration
Now that it’s a New Year, it’s time I wrapped up my AGU 2010 recaps. This post covers Wednesday and Thursday, with lots of good stuff about super-earth exoplanets, impacts on the Moon and Mars, and lasers on Venus!
1 November 2010
Planets Like Grains of Sand
The other day I came across a press release announcing that nearly one in four sun-like stars could have planets as small as Earth. That’s pretty awesome! But I though it was especially interesting how they came up with this number. Current technology can’t quite see an Earth-sized planet around a sun-like star, so how do you count things that you can’t see? Well, you count everything else and then extrapolate.
12 July 2010
Microsoft goes to Mars
Today, NASA and Microsoft announced a very cool new addition to Microsoft’s Worldwide Telescope (WWT) program: Mars images! Yep, now you can use WWT to cruise around Mars and to view the planet with a handful of datasets, including 13,000 mind-blowingly high-resolution HiRISE images, and even more almost-as-high-resolution MOC images. There is also the standard MOLA colorized topography and a low-resolution approximately true color map. It’s great to see all …
27 January 2010
Awesome new Mars flyovers
Check out these awesome flyovers of Mars, generated by Doug Ellison of UnmannedSpaceflight! These are based on digital elevation models from HiRISE, draped with the HiRISE images, so it’s about as close as we can get to actually flying above the surface of Mars. I particularly like the Gale crater one, but I may be slightly biased, having stared at Gale for the past year or so…
17 December 2009
AGU 2009 – Day 2
I started off day 2 of AGU at a couple of lunar talks showing off data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Unfortunately, I missed the early sessions about the high-res cameras, but the bright side was that I learned abount some instruments I was less familiar with. First was the Lunar Orbital Laser Altimeter – LOLA. A similar instrument on Mars Global Surveyor, MOLA, revolutionized our view of Mars. The …
6 November 2009
Big Picture HiRISE Gallery!
Speaking of Mars art, the Big Picture blog (which all of you should be following by now) has a feature on images of Mars taken by HiRISE. Head on over and take a look. Mars is a really pretty and often bizarre-looking place. [PS – Have you voted today?]
Mars Art: Mind-blowing Swiss Cheese
First of all, a reminder to go vote on my article about MSL, which is a finalist in the scientificblogging.com science writing competition. Ok, done? Good. I wanted you to do that before I showed you this image because it may very well break your brain. This is a HiRISE image of the so-called “swiss cheese” terrain at the south pole of mars. The terrain is formed by the sublimation …
29 October 2009
New Photos of Stuff on Other Worlds
I always make the mistake when on vacation of taking too many pictures of scenery and not enough pictures of people. Years down the road, the most interesting photos are not landscapes, but the ones that we can look at and say “I remember when we did that!”. And that’s why I think it’s great that we now have cameras around the Moon and Mars that can do the same. …