Ben Burress

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.

News From Mars: A River Ran Through It

NASA's Curiosity rover, now exploring the alluvium at the base of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater for over two months, has struck pay dirt: the gravel and river stone conglomerate laid down by an ancient Martian stream!

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory and ChemCam

NASA’s New Mars Rover: Armed and Curious

Space exploration has caught up with science fiction (again): we have deployed laser-armed nuclear-powered robot on Mars, and nearly two weeks after landing, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, the rover Curiosity, has fired that weapon on a Martian rock.

Crossection of Titan's subsurface ocean

Deep, Dark Waters of Titan

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, NASA finds another ocean for us to worry about -- this time on Saturn's moon, Titan.

The Voyager spacecraft and the Heliopause

Voyager: Old Spacecraft, New Frontier?

Thirty-five years after beginning a remarkable journey that started with encounters of Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 1 may once again be making a historic scientific encounter: the boundary between our Solar System and interstellar space!

San Francisco Bay perspective. Created with Google Earth.

Sizing Up the Earth

What has a mass of about 6 yottakilograms, occupies a volume of space of about 1 million million cubic-kilometers, and is about 40 kilometers fatter than it is tall. Guesses, anyone?

Depiction of an exoplanet under a brown dwarf star--similar to a future Earth? Credit: Jeff Bryant

The Once and Future Earth

How will the sun, moon, and Earth change in the far distant future? It may not make a big difference to us, but exploring the possible fate of our home and birthplace is a mind-bending journey.