Benjamin Burress has been a staff astronomer at Chabot Space & Science Center since July 1999. He graduated from Sonoma State University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in physics (and minor in astronomy), after which he signed on for a two-year stint in the Peace Corps, where he taught physics and mathematics in the African nation of Cameroon. From 1989-96 he served on the crew of NASA’s Kuiper Airborne Observatory at Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. From 1996-99, he was Head Observer at the Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer program at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ.
Read his previous contributions to QUEST, a project dedicated to exploring the Science of Sustainability.
As a space-faring culture, we have now left our marks across the solar system, on planets, moons, asteroids, and in the empty space between them. Some of these “marks” are yet-functioning robotic spacecraft. Some are litter, scattered about the place like so many discarded soda cans, plastic grocery bags, depleted batteries, and defunct electronic devices. Are we trashing our solar system?
On February 8th, the rover Curiosity used its drill to bore a hole into a slab of flat bedrock, marking the first time we have probed deeply into the interior of a Martian rock in search of the secrets of Mars' past it may hold.
The comparison between Earth-side mountain exploration and the planned expedition by the Mars rover Curiosity came to my mind as I read a book my family got me over the holidays: Last Climb, the story of the legendary Mount Everest expeditions of George Leigh Mallory.
Just in time for the imminent event of Solar Maximum, Chabot Space & Science Center is opening a new solar exhibition that features the latest in stunning ultraviolet satellite imagery from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory!
NASA is preparing to make a big announcement concerning Mars and a recent discovery by the SAM instrument on board the rover Curiosity, though has qualified the nature of the announcement to scientifically interesting, and not "earth-shaking" as the blogosphere has hyped it in speculation.