Archive For March, 2010

7 articles

More Bacon: increasing science return

In a recent blog I wrote, Bringing Back The Science Bacon,  one of the things I talk about is increasing the science returns of a mission by doing some data processing on the mission robot, before it sends back information.  If a computer has the ability, and the trade-offs gathering data, processing it into information, available computer throughput and bandwidth…

Quit Bugging Me: Another Surprise NaN!

An Earlier QBM, "Surprise NAN" covered how floating point computations may become corrupted from unexpected sources.  Today's Quit Bugging Me is about... another Surprise! NAN!An application runs with several tasks.  One task, which computes a set of floating point values, periodically comes up with bad values, and sometimes the name becomes corrupted.  Here is a short example...  done with the…

Domesticated Robotics?

A discussion about robotics was started up in an online discussion forum.  A question was posed to the group:Will unmanned vehicles eventually see duty in civilian applications?Technology for unmanned military vehicles may eventually trickle down to commercial applications on Main Street. In the near future, autonomous vehicles will be used to deliver packages, collect garbage and fill potholes. http://bit.ly/bSrqfx The…

Bringing Home the Science Bacon

MRO recently passed a milestone of bringing back more data than all previous deep space missions combined.  To do this MRO was equipped with a large dish antenna and powerful radio, and is running a more powerful computer than it's companions on and orbiting Mars.  It gets a fair share of antenna time from the DSN antennae on the ground.Science…

100 Trillion

"Billions and Billions" was a phrase, fantastic at the time, that made Carl Sagan famous.  At the time he was talking about the stars in the Milky Way, how many there were.Next week, Mars Recon Orbiter, will be marking it's 4th anniversary orbiting Mars.  It also has another milestone to celebrate:  MRO has brought back more data to Earth from…

Neighbors

A few billion years ago this planet formed, orbiting an otherwise run-of-the-mill star.  It was a wet world, covered with oceans, with a protective atmosphere.  Water dominated the surface.  There may have even been the beginnings of life there.Space is brutal; a significantly large asteroid slams into the planet.  The impact scatters debris into space, and tears much of the…