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New (Dutch) Footage From Phoenix Landing

Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Browsing a New World

Posted on Monday, May 26, 2008

Just before logging off, I am reminded of the resemblance I noticed before between the mission logo of Phoenix and the Firefox logo. Guess it makes sense if you consider the Phoenix lander a physical counterpart to the world's (2nd) most popular web browser. Wonder whether we'll ever get the physical equivalent of greasemonkey scripts on our planetary explorers. Btw, looking for the high-res version of the Phoenix logo, I ran into below image of a mural that was painted on the outer wall of the Phoenix Sci Ops center at the Uni of Arizona. Sweet! (more info here)



Memorial Weekend On Mars

Posted on Monday, May 26, 2008

Those first images are always the best. Especially those self inspecting views of the spacecraft: where am I? what's my status? Are my solar panels unfold? What's my tilt? how are my feet looking? Would love to see an image of the camera taking an image. Seeing yourself looking out on the desolation of Mars from 680 million km afar. More raw images keep pouring in.




Eat It Jon Stewart I'm Talking To Space

Posted on Monday, May 26, 2008

A New Desk at Phoenix Mission Ops

Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2008


More NASA tech images @ wired

Phoenix Is Coming To Town

Posted on Saturday, May 24, 2008

View of Phoenix from Mars (link)

The entire Entry, Descent and Landing sequence takes just about 7 minutes.
Some key times tomorrow, with all times PDT (CET=PDT+9hrs):

3 p.m. (12 a.m) : Begin non-commentary live television feed from JPL

3:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m) : Begin commentated live television feed from JPL

4:40 p.m. (1:40 a.m.) : Spacecraft turns to attitude for atmospheric entry

4:46:33 p.m. (1:46:33 a.m.) : Spacecraft enters atmosphere

4:47 through 4:49 p.m. : Likely blackout period

4:50:15 p.m. (1:50:15 a.m.) : Parachute deploys

4:50:30 p.m. (1:50:30 a.m.) : Heat shield jettisoned

4:50:40 p.m. (1:50:40 a.m.) : Legs deploy

4:51:30 p.m. (1:51:30 a.m.) : Radar activated

4:53:09 p.m. (1:53:09 a.m.) : Lander separates from backshell

4:53:08 to 4:53:14 p.m. : Transmission gap during switch to helix antenna

4:53:12 p.m. (1:53:12 a.m.) : Descent thrusters throttle up

4:53:34 p.m. (1:53:34 a.m.) : Constant-velocity phase starts

4:53:52 p.m. (1:53:52 a.m.) : Touchdown

More on the schedule is available at this inspired NASA page, including the following note:

NOTE: The times below for the Phoenix spacecraft events on May 25 are for a nominal scenario. Remaining navigational adjustments before May 25 could shift the times by up to about half a minute. In addition, the times for some events relative to others could vary by several seconds due to variations in the Martian atmosphere and other factors. For some events, a "give or take" range of times is given, covering 99 percent of possible scenarios from the atmospheric entry time. For events at Mars, times are listed in "Earth-receive time" (ERT) rather than "spacecraft event time" (SCET). This means the listed time incorporates the interval necessary for radio signals traveling at the speed of light to reach Earth from Mars. On landing day, May 25, the two planets are 275 million kilometers apart (171 million miles), which means it takes the signal 15 minutes and 20 seconds to reach Earth. For some spacecraft events, engineers will not receive immediate radio confirmation.

Even more information available at the official websites: NASA's Phoenix page and University of Arizona's Phoenix page.

US culture in the US

Posted on Saturday, May 24, 2008


Haven't had a chance to watch movies since I moved to the US, let alone good movies, like these, or this one, and this one. That changed 5 minutes ago when I finished watching The assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Wow, what a great film! And what a great pleasure watching it. Damn, I love good cinema!

WorldWind presentation at the Yahoo Brickhouse in SF

Posted on Thursday, May 22, 2008


One of these events which makes me remember why I moved down here from Amsterdam: a presentation on NASA's open source 3d browser at the Yahoo Brickhouse in downtown San Francisco. Great place, great talk, great people. More pictures are at my Flickr. For some reason, I have a hard time finding some more info on the Brickhouse on Yahoo's properties. Weird how they not have a full YBH page up there. Anyway, the video of the talk should become available on the Yahoo Developers Network somewhere next week I was told. I'll update as soon as its up.




Mike Griffin at Googleplex (June 2007)

Posted on Saturday, May 17, 2008

Finally got a chance to see the recording of Mike Griffin's talk at the Googleplex last year. Informative talk. $55 a year per US citizen goes to NASA, out of an average 8k$ yearly tax bill. That's actually more than I'd expected.

World Wide Telescope Released

Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2008

Yep, its here (given the page design you'd mistake it for a Mac site just for a second). Ever since I upgraded to Mac OSX 10.5 (aka Leopard) last week my Parallels XP virtual machine is in a permanent state of reboot so I haven't had a personal interaction with WWT yet, but from the reviews of it over at OgleEarth and The Earth Is Square, it seems to be a pretty nifty application.
Can't wait to get my NASA Macbook Pro exchanged for a proper PC...

The Geoweb Is Evolving

Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Straight from Burlingame at the Where2.0 conference, John Hanke and Jack Dangermond talk about Google and ESRI working together. Note that there's two space agencies in above image (considering NOAA is not) and a couple of NASA contractors.

Some views to enjoy (until I get back to posting regularly)

Posted on Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Its busy times here at Ames...



The future is process, not a destination
Bruce Sterling

Everything is ultimately becoming information technology
Ray Kurzweil

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There is only one machine and the web is its OS
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The medium is the message
Marshall McLuhan