Science

10 articles

MSL: How Big Is It?

By Mike Deliman I’ve been asked here and there “Just how big is this MSL thing?” It’s a question I can give several answers to, depending on what the asker means.  In physical terms, you could ride on it.  Here is a good example…in this photo of a worker and MSL, you can see the cruise shell is large enough to…

All Your Mars are Belong to US!

By Mike Deliman It's time to celebrate. We have returned to Mars with the most complex roving robotic laboratory ever sent to another planet. We have demonstrated and proved the Sky Crane concept, which opens doors onto other worlds that we have never had before. We can successfully deliver 1 metric ton to the surface of Mars.This is an achievement…

In embedded systems, a lifetime is a long time

By Bill Graham The recent news about the demise of the Mars Rover Spirit (Mike Deliman blogged about this last week) and comments about how it succeeded its mission many times over, got me thinking about just how long product lifetimes are for embedded products (see "End of Mars mission: Way beyond warranty" by Bob McDonald at the CBC). In many industries…

And Then There Was One

By Mike Deliman NASA concludes attempts to contact Mars Rover 'Spirit' Last night the news of Spirit's mission coming to a close hit my mailbox.For me, her journey started about eleven years ago.  A call from JPL came to my office phone, it was Glenn.  "Mike, we're putting the team back together, we're going back to Mars."Those words were like…

The Best Software On Any Planet

By Mike Deliman In 1995, after finishing up on a particularly challenging project, my boss came to me with a new project.  He asked, “Have you ever heard of Jet Propulsion Laboratory?   Would you like to work with them?”  Without hesitation, I jumped at the offer to sign on.  I grew up not too far from JPL, and as a…

Rendezvous with a Rock

By Mike Deliman MESSENGER spacecraft is approaching it's rendezvous with Mercury.  After flying for over 2400 days, in a little over 24 hours (from writing this)  MESSENGER will maneuver into orbit, the first time a satellite has orbited Mercury.  We hope to learn a lot about the composition of the surface and effects of solar weathering of the surface.  And there's…

Autonomy and Robotic Advancement

By Mike Deliman A few months ago at the Robotics Virtual Trade Show, in my presentation I spoke about the evolution of robotic systems.  One thing I predicted was as time goes on, robots will become more independent and autonomous, performing more of the work humans and mainframe-style systems have traditionally performed.   Among the robots I talked about were robots similar to NASA's Stardust…

COTS in Space: Enter The Dragon

By Mike Deliman Congratulations to Space Exploration Technologies Inc, on their successful venture into orbit.  By launching the Dragon into orbit, successfully orbiting the earth more than once, and returning to the ground, you've made history. I wish I could have watched the launch and later the landing.  This is absolutely a historic event. Given the cancellation of the Ares…

Laws of Robotics

By Alex Wilson As a member of the UK Institute of Engineering and Technology, and a keen science fiction fan, it is always great fun when I see mention of advanced robotics applications in space! This month sees the article by Piers Bizony on "Robonaut flies in". This is a great article outlining the mission on the NASA Robonaut. Robonaut…