SETI REU students 2010 – "This is the end…"

Three weeks ago was the final week of  the SETI REU students. It was a busy time for all of us since they had to wrap-up their work, write their report, and give their final presentations.  Keaton Burns from UC Berkeley and Bill Freeman from LSU, who worked under my supervision in this program, did a fantastic work over this 10-week internship.

Bill Freeman (left) and Keaton Burns (right), my SETI REU 2010 students, ready to give their final talks.
Bill Freeman (left) and Keaton Burns (right), my SETI REU 2010 students, ready to give their final talks.

A picture of our home taken from Mercury's orbit

Just a short post today. I am still recovering from the SETIcon. I will tell you more about it soon. An image is worth a thousand words so just look at this picture taken by Messenger Spacecraft.

The binary system Earth-Moon seen from the Messenger Spacecraft with its Wide Angle Camera credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
The binary system Earth-Moon seen from the Messenger Spacecraft with its Wide Angle Camera (credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)

Venus: Another volcanically active world?

Dear Planetary enthusiasts,

Over the past week, we may have heard a lot about a famous volcano in Iceland, named Eyjafjallajokull, which forced more than 64,000 flights between Europe and the rest of the world to be canceled and affected the vacation and business trips of several millions of people. But have you heard about the Idunn Mons, Hathor and Innini Montes and Mielikki Mons? These are other exotic names for volcanoes located on another planet,  a world that we suspected for a long time to be volcanically active as well. A recent discovery may have confirmed the existence of active volcanoes on Venus.

Five exoplanets discovered by Kepler – a discussion and a movie

I mentioned on this blog on several occasions (see “the first light“) the Kepler mission which aims at detecting exoplanets through the transit method (a.k.a the small attenuation of light due to the passage of the exoplanet between us and the host star). Last week, during the AAS  (say “double ‘A’ ‘S'”) conference, the Kepler team announced the discovery of the first 5 exoplanets.

Some news of the planet Mercury from the AGU Fall conference

Fifteen days ago, I wrote a short post on this blog to let you know that I was flying to Cleveland, OH to meet colleagues interesting in space mission design. Without realizing it, this project has been taking over all my time and my energy (including nights of work and thinking) and produced a roller-coaster of excellent and bad news. Because it is still uncertain what exactly it is going to happen I will not mention it today, but I will keep you posted as soon I see the light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂 Today I will focus my post on a very positive note which is the session Mercury and the Messenger mission that I attended at the AGU Fall conference.

We really walked on the Moon…

Hello,

We all heard about this conspiration rumors which claimed that the Apollo missions were never a success and nobody ever walked on the Moon. Just be reassured, I am not going to advertise this crazy theory 🙂 It is based on deformed facts and today we have some obvious proofs collected  by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and its high resolution camera.

The end of Kayuga in HD!

A brief update about my previous post into which I described the demise of the Kayuga mission. The crash on the lunar surface was indeed recorded by the High Definition TV and can be seen on the JAXA channel in youtube.<!–more–> click on the following image to start the movie and enjoy the ride… Unfortunately