Where the iPhone 5 Kicks the Mars Rover’s Butt

Martian Landscape
Giving the Mars Rover Curiosity the brains she needs to operate took 5 million lines of code. And while the Mars Science Laboratory team froze the code a year before the roaming laboratory landed on Aug. 5, they kept sending software updates to the spacecraft during its 253-day, 352 million-mile flight. The rover’s mission is to gather and analyze the Martian landscape for signs of microscopic evidence that life may have once existed there. Right now, she’s preparing to drill… continue…

New Engine Could Fly London to Sydney in 4.5 Hours

Posted In Living in Tech
Rocket Plane
The British company Reaction Engines is working on an engine technology that could make air travel faster–much faster. You can’t accuse the developers of false modesty: They call their Sabre engine “the biggest breakthrough in propulsion since the jet engine.” If it manages to do everything that it’s been designed to do, they could turn out to be right. The magic in the Sabre comes from a compressed helium cooling system that’s able to cool air entering the engine from… continue…

These Android Phones Will Drive Satellites in Orbit

Posted In Android, Living in Tech
Cat Miller
Good News: Android smartphones are powerful enough to work as on-board computers for small satellites. Bad news: That means they’ll get into space before you will.

Phones in Space: Android Will Ride NASA’s Nanosatellites

Posted In Android, Living in Tech
Sunrise from Space
NASA is embracing low-cost, commercial technology in its Small Spacecraft Technology Program, an exciting new effort that embraces rapid prototyping and uses only commercially available hardware, with no modifications. That means it can pursue ideas like this: The technology in a smartphone is robust enough to use the devices as on-board computers for small satellites. A small team of engineers working on NASA’s PhoneSat at the agency’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., aim to rapidly evolve satellite architecture… continue…

Kevin R. Grazier: Rocket Scientist [Featured Geek]

Posted In Living in Tech
When it comes to geek cred, it’s hard to beat Kevin R. Grazier, Ph.D. He’s a recovering rocket scientist, who spent 15 years on the Cassini/Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan. He wrote mission planning and analysis software that won awards at both the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA. He’s still an active researcher, focusing on numerical method development and long-term large-scale computer simulations of solar system dynamics, evolution, and chaos. He teaches: At UCLA, Santa Monica College and College… continue…