MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--For a few minutes Thursday, as I steered one of NASA's K10 intelligent robots across a small field of rocky, sandy terrain, I could almost imagine myself piloting the rover across the surface of Mars or the moon.
Until, that is, I realized I had pretty much no idea what I was doing, and saw that my struggles to steer the rover forward were actually sending it backward. Given that this little robot is worth at least as much as a mid-range Mercedes, I was relieved to see the eagle-eyed scientist standing a few feet away … Read more
I have always wanted to propose marriage to someone.
It's just that somehow the moment's never seemed right. Or, well, the lover in question leaves before the question can be popped.
So perhaps I might learn from this dashing, daring, and technically very correct man who found one of the more romantic ways to tell his girlfriend of five years he would like to spend at least the next five years with her.
He seems to be something of a geeky sort, so he reached for an editing program called Lunar Magic and inserted the deeply felt words "Lisa Will You Marry Me?" into a Super Mario World level.
Touchingly, the words were spelled out in gold coins.
The Super Mario suitor didn't reveal his name on YouTube, but the poster's identity is BradSmith182. So I know some of you might conclude his name is Brad Smith and he is a large aficionado of Blink 182.
The video does not start in a promising or loving way. Lisa somewhat rattily declares: "Why are we playing this?" as if, perhaps, there was some more cerebral game she had in mind.
But once she sees the magic words and BradSmith182 brings out the ring, she agrees somewhat shyly to be with him for better, for worse, and for Mario.… Read more
After two months of checkout and calibration, NASA's $504 million Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was maneuvered into a circular 31-mile-high mapping orbit Tuesday, and scientists said Thursday the spacecraft's instruments are delivering intriguing clues about the possible presence of water ice.
"The moon is starting to reveal her secrets, but some of those secrets are tantalizingly complex," said Michael Wargo, NASA's chief lunar scientist.
Scientists expected the spacecraft to find signs of hydrogen--an indicator of possible water ice deposits--in permanently shadowed craters near the moon's south pole. Ice could be expected from cometary impacts over … Read more
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched June 18 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, has beamed back its first pictures of the moon as engineers continue instrument checkout and calibration prior to the start of its primary mission.
The LRO spacecraft braked into a highly elliptical orbit around the moon June 23. A series of rocket firings have now placed the satellite in its so-called commissioning orbit, one with a low point of about 19 miles and a high point of 124 miles. Later this summer, it will be maneuvered into a circular 31-mile-high orbit around the moon's poles.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC, was turned on June 30. The first test images showed cratered terrain in the lunar highlands south of the Sea of Clouds. Each picture represents a square measuring 0.87 miles wide.… Read more
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif.--If you're in the planning stages of sending people back to the moon, as NASA is, you'd better know as much as possible about it.
That's one of the reasons NASA launched, in late 2007, the Lunar Science Institute (LSI), an organization with an annual budget of $10 million for the study and research of the moon, as well as the role of supporting and inspiring new generations of lunar scientists.
According to Greg Schmidt, LSI's deputy director, it is a "virtual" institute with a staff of just eight or nine … Read more
Whether for its natural beauty, astronomical significance, astrological power, or its tidal pull, the moon has always attracted a crowd of admirers. Now, predicting the moon's appearance on a given night is simplified with a handy application called the Desktop Lunar Calendar.
This freeware program couldn't be simpler to use and understand. A small desktop calendar of the month appears accompanied by silhouetted of the different phases of the moon. Below the calendar, a realistic graphic of that evening's moon appears. Clicking around to different days of the month will show how the moon will look on … Read more
Retro is an affordable, slickly produced cave-flyer game, similar to arcade classics such as Lunar Lander and Gravitar. You pilot a small ship that must navigate through increasingly tortuous caverns to rescue stranded scientists, tilting left and right while making judicious use of your main thruster to control your trajectory and overcome gravity's pull.
The interface makes smart use of your iPhone or iPod Touch's accelerometer for the game's core mechanic: you tilt the device to steer, and you tap the screen to thrust. You have to make a series of safe landings on each increasingly intricate … Read more
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--There are now 16 announced teams registered for the Google Lunar X Prize competition, with a so-called "mystery" team unveiling its participants Wednesday.
During a press conference held at NASA Ames Research Center here, the Next Giant Leap team--which had actually been the fifth team to register for the competition--finally pulled the wraps on its team members and the companies or institutions they work for.
The Google Lunar X Prize is a $20 million purse that will be awarded to the first privately-funded team to land a rover on the moon, travel at least 500 … Read more
More scientists and engineers are about to join the international race to the moon sponsored by Google and the X Prize Foundation.
The foundation announced Thursday it will introduce two new Google Lunar X Prize teams to its already weighty roster of 14 competitors. The announcement will be made Tuesday via a teleconference from Google headquarters. Although the X Prize Foundation organizes a number of innovation competitions, the Google Lunar X Prize is sponsored in conjunction with Google.
Team LunaTrex will also have an announcement to make at that time, according to the foundation.
Then on Wednesday, Google and the … Read more