For eons, skywatchers have been fascinated by the pale red dot that not only unpredictably moves backward in the night sky but also shines a compelling blood-red. Its color, indeed, is one of the first features we notice about Mars. It seizes our attention, and its compelling ambiguity has evoked a deep visceral reaction from the nomad in ancient savannas to modern astronomers. The ancient astronomer may be satisfied to know that, in fact, Mars is literally blood-red: the same chemical reaction that occurs in the iron in Mars’ soil is the same is the same chemical reaction that occurs in the hemoglobin molecule. Mars, is, quite literally, blood red. Even with our cutting-edge technology and science, Mars still bewitches and amazes us as seen with these five surprising facts about Mars.Continue reading 5 Surprising Facts about Mars
On August 6, 2012, at 05:17 UTC, NASA has successfully landed a Mini-Cooper-sized rover, Curiosity, on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars. The 900-kg rover (899 kg, to be exact, which is 1,982 lbs) is equipped with six 50 cm (20 in) diameter wheels in a rocker-bogie suspension. Notes 1 For the first time in the history of the space exploration, the suspension system also served as landing gear for the vehicle, unlike its smaller predecessors.
Curiosity “soft-landed” (wheels down) on the surface of Mars. But, even it’s called “soft-landing”, the touchdown speed was 0.6739m/s vertical and 0.044m/s horizontal, which could damage the wheels. Plus, while the rover is moving, the wheels should withstand the substantial damage through the rough Martian surface. That’s why the wheels of the Curiosity rover have been one of the biggest technical difficulties encountered on the mission. Notes 2Continue reading How NASA Reinvented The Wheel
All of us remember the iconic opening scene from Wall-E, where the lone robot goes about his daily routine, clearing up rubble. Amid the debris-filled surface of the planet, we see glimpses of how things used to be, before a gross violation of the ecosystem and rampant consumption of energy resources made our planet inhabitable. It is a gloomy picture indeed, and fills us with despair to witness what we are doing to our planet, armed with technological advancements that are gradually eating into the earth’s very soul.
However, the movie also teaches us that it is never too late to turn over a new leaf and mend our ways. Technology, when used to benefit humankind, can actually be the very tool with which we can build our futures, and make our planet a better place for the generations to come. This post is an overview of what could happen in 2050, given the rate of technological progression, with a special emphasis on how we can do good to the planet that has sustained us for so long.Continue reading A Quick Peek Into the Future: 10 Ways Technology Will Transform Our Lives by 2050
Those of us who have grown up watching the iconic space saga Star Wars are quite informed about what robots can accomplish. While that’s only a reel representation, but it definitely points to an abundance of opportunities in the realm of space research.Continue reading The Confluence Of Robotics With Space Research And Exploration
Science has proved itself to be a reliable way to approach all kinds of questions about the physical world. As a scientist, I am led to wonder whether its ability to provide understanding is unlimited. Can it in fact answer all the great questions, the ‘big questions of being’, that occur to us?Continue reading Why it’s only science that can answer all the big questions
To able to reach the space, we need rockets. Rocket engines work by action and reaction (“To every action, there is always opposed an equal reaction”Notes 1) and push rockets forward simply by expelling their exhaust in the opposite direction at high speed and can therefore work in the vacuum of space. Space rockets are usually enormous in size, because the bigger the rocket is, the more thrust can produce its engine and can carry more weight into the orbit. Here are the 10 tallest rockets ever launched in the history of space exploration.
Continue reading Watch: Top 10 Tallest Rockets Ever Launched
To put things into a perspective, here are the moons of our solar system (including our moon) and their sizes compared to Earth.
Continue reading The Moons of the Solar System in Perspective
On May 5, 2018, NASA’s robotic Mars lander, InSight, which designed to study the interior of Mars, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base space launch complex 3-East. This was the first American interplanetary mission to launch from California. Andy Fortson, adventure and lifestyle photographer based in Los Angeles, California has photographed the launch and the result is stunning.
Continue reading Photographer Catches the Launch of NASA’s Mars InSight Lander
This week, NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover celebrated its 2,000th Martian day (or Sol) on the Red Planet. The nuclear-powered rover was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011, and landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012. A Mars day is slightly longer than a day here on Earth: a sidereal day is 24 hours, 37 minutes, and 22 seconds (on Earth, it is 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds) and a solar day is 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds (on Earth, 24 hours).
A great short science fiction film, “Others Will Follow”, created and directed by Andrew Finch and published on Vimeo, tells the story of a manned Mars mission. An accident occurs and the spacecraft breaks apart, the last survivor (we don’t see what happens to the rest of the crew, but presumably they have died) manages to send an inspirational message back to Earth. A must-watch.