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4 April 2011

The Science of Red Mars

Have you read the book Red Mars yet? If not, you can download a pdf of it here. It’s a classic hard sci-fi epic about the colonization of Mars, and for my latest post over at Science in my Fiction, I took a look at how the highly accurate depiction of Mars in the book has held up with all the new discoveries in the last 20 years. Head on over and check it out!

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11 September 2010

Jaded by Mars Organics

So, you may have heard the news making the rounds last week that a new analysis of the Viking data suggests there may actually be organics and (dare I even say it?) life on mars! Yawn. Consider me underwhelmed. The gist of the story is this: A long-standing mystery in Mars science has been why the Viking instruments were unable to detect any organic molecules on Mars, not even at …

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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. …

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24 March 2009

LPSC 2009: Day 1

Unfortunately I missed the earliest sessions today because I had to drive down to Johnson Space Center to get a badge. I am going to be working there for four weeks after LPSC and another five weeks later in the summer, characterizing rock samples and shooting them with a laser, so I needed a badge to be able to do that work. I got back to the conference just in …

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2 February 2009

New Google Mars

Google Earth’s latest edition was just released and guess what? It has a Mars setting! There was a way to overlay Mars data on the Earth globe in previous versions, but now that’s no longer necessary: just click a button and you’re on Mars. You can choose from a variety of global maps including topography, Viking images, Day and nighttime infrared, and visible color. It also has footprints for high …

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16 December 2008

AGU Day 1: Phoenix

This AGU is the first major meeting since Phoenix died last month, and so everyone has been eagerly looking forward to hearing about the results now that the team can focus on science instead of operations. Emily has posted a nice  summary of her notes from the Phoenix sessions, so go take a look and then come back here for what I thought were the highlights. The results presented today …

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10 November 2008

Phoenix Mission Over

Well, it’s official. Phoenix is dead. JPL sent out a press release today announcing that after more than five months, they stopped hearing from the lander on Nov 2 and have been unable to re-establish contact. Although the mission is over, I’m sure that science results will continue to be announced as the team finally has time to sit down and really analyze the data. Here’s a quick summary from …

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6 November 2008

Phoenix Blogs!

Now that the mission is winding down, the Phoenix lander had broken out of the confines of twittering and is writing a few longer blog entries over at Gizmodo! Also, over at Wired, they have announced the winners of the Phoenix epitaph contest. The #1 choice was: Veni, Vidi, Fodi (I came, I saw, I dug)

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31 October 2008

Phoenix Epitaph Contest

Sad that Phoenix is on its way out? Want some cool NASA swag? Then head on over to Wired and submit an epitaph for Phoenix! If you win, you get official mission gear. Many of the sumbissions are great. I like: ” Will I Dream ? “ because I’m a sucker for sci-fi references (2001: A Space Odyssey), and: Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water because of …

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Phoenix hanging in there

Yesterday, Phoenix went into safe mode, where the spacecraft shuts off all but the most vital systems due to some sort of fault. In this case it related to shutting off the heater for the arm and was totally expected. But when controllers here on Earth tried to communicate, they got no response. Is phoenix dead? Not yet. The twitter feed reports that phoenix is still alive, but will be …

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