August 29, 2013 |
Bruce C. Murray, a planetary astronomer who joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1960 and went on to lead the lab 16 years later, died early Thursday at his home in Oceanside. The cause of death was complications of Alzheimer's disease, according to his longtime friend Charlene Anderson. He was 81. Murray was a strong proponent of the scientific value of taking pictures of other planets, the better to learn about Earth. That was a minority view at the time he joined the lab, where missions to measure magnetic fields and particle concentrations were more in vogue.
August 29, 2013 |
Museums usually acquire tangible objects for their collections, but the Cooper - Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York has made the unconventional decision to acquire a sizable piece of intangible computer code. The museum said it has added the iPad application Planetary to its collection, marking the first time that the institution has acquired a piece of software as part of its curatorial mission. The Smithsonian described it in the September issues of its official magazine as an "unprecedented acquisition of an artifact you will never find encased in a plexiglass cube or sequestered in a climate-controlled storage facility.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 28, 2013 |
Robert S. Kraemer, NASA's former director of planetary exploration who was also an expert in rocket engines, died Aug. 20 at an assisted living home in Catonsville, Md., of complications from a fall, his family said. He was 84. Kraemer joined NASA in 1967 and, in one of his early assignments, managed the development of a Mars surface laboratory mission at NASA's headquarters in Washington. After the project was canceled because of congressional concerns, he was appointed manager of advanced planetary programs and technology and in 1970 was named director of planetary programs.
July 19, 2013 |
So you've waved at Saturn and had your picture taken by Cassini from nearly 900 million miles away. Now what? At the time of the long-distance photo shoot, Earth and Cassini were about 898,500 million miles apart, which means it will take 1 hour, 20 minutes and 24 seconds for the photons that will go into the image to reach Cassini's wide-angle camera. "If we are to capture your photons, we would need you to be waving 80.4 minutes prior to your photons reaching the spacecraft cameras," Scott Edgington, deputy project scientist for the Cassini mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explained in this blog post . “That's how we came up with the Earth-waving window,” which was between 2:27 and 2:42 p.m. Pacific time.
April 19, 2013 |
Don't cut planetary science funding, members of Congress urged NASA on Friday. In a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), urged the space agency to maintain funding levels for missions to Mars and the outer planets that were allocated by Congress this spring -- and not to react to budget pressures by making disproportionate cuts to the science budget. "While we fully understand that the funding levels ... are subject to change to reflect across-the-board and sequester cuts, we expect that the balance among programs will remain consistent with the structure directed by Congress," they wrote.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 22, 2012 |
WATERTON CANYON, Colo. - The concrete-floored room looks, at first glance, like little more than a garage. There is a red tool chest, its drawers labeled: "Hacksaws. " "Allen wrenches. " There are stepladders and vise grips. There is also, at one end of the room, a half-built spaceship, and everyone is wearing toe-to-fingertip protective suits. "Don't. Touch. Anything. " Bruce Jakosky says the words politely but tautly, like a protective father - which, effectively, he is. Jakosky is the principal investigator behind NASA's next mission to Mars, putting him in the vanguard of an arcane niche of science: planetary protection - the science of exploring space without messing it up. PHOTOS: Stunning images of Earth at night As NASA pursues the search for life in the solar system, the cleanliness of robotic explorers is crucial to avoid contaminating other worlds.