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.
The annual Quadrantid Meteor Shower is heading our way for a brief appearance in the early morning hours of Monday, January 4. But catching one of these fiery streaks requires a bit of late night fortitude, and not a small amount of luck in the case of this particular shower.
NASA's Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution mission identified the smoking gun in the whodunit mystery of what happened to Mars' once much warmer, thicker, wetter and more Earth-like atmosphere. Turns out the sun did it!
Recently, scientists using data from NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission confirmed something that has been speculated on for some time: the floor of Gale Crater and the foundations of mound of sediments that sits within it—Mount Sharp—were long ago the bottom of a lake of water that may have been present for as long as 500 million years.