UpFront

Celebrating Curiosity and Looking to 2020

Last month marked the first anniversary of Curiosity’s landing on Mars. In last September’s issue, we talked with members of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) science and engineering team about what they hoped to find on Mars, and how the various technologies and instruments on Curiosity were expected to work. This month, we revisit the MSL team and find out if their expectations are on track, what Curiosity has found in a year, and how the dreaded “7 Minutes of Terror” turned into a perfectly executed touchdown on the Red (or so we thought) Planet. (More about that in our feature beginning on page 14.)

Posted in: Features, UpFront

Read More >>

App of the Month: Be a Martian

The Be A Martian app lets you experience Mars as if you were there. See the latest mission images of the spacecraft and those returned from the Red Planet, learn about Mars and all the active missions, ask a question about Mars, get up-to-the-minute news, and check out behind-the-scenes videos featuring people on the missions. Free for Android, iPhone, and Windows phones. Visit http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mobile/info/ for download information.

Posted in: Features, UpFront

Read More >>

Shape-Changing Smartphone Morphs When Called

Researchers at Queen’s University in Canada developed the MorePhone smartphone that can morph its shape to give users a silent yet visual cue of an incoming phone call, text message, or email. With MorePhone, users can leave their smartphone on the table and observe visual shape changes when someone is trying to contact them.

Posted in: UpFront

Read More >>

Seeing the Human Pulse

Researchers at MIT have developed an algorithm that can accurately measure the heart rates of people depicted in ordinary digital video by analyzing imperceptibly small head movements that accompany the rush of blood caused by the heart’s contractions. The algorithm provides estimates of the time intervals between beats, a measurement that can be used to identify patients at risk for cardiac events.

Posted in: UpFront

Read More >>

Curiosity Update

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity finished investigations in an area smaller than a football field where it has been working for six months, and was shifted to a distance-driving mode, headed for the base of Mount Sharp. Watch Tech Briefs TV for the latest videos of the mission at www.techbriefs.com/tv/mars. Keep up with Curiosity at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.

Posted in: UpFront

Read More >>

App of the Month: Space Weather Media Viewer

This app features near-real-time imagery from various NASA missions, interviews with prominent scientists about the causes of space phenomena, and NASA-created visualizations. For iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Download it for free from the iTunes Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nasa-space-weather-mediaviewer/id398687618?mt=8

Posted in: UpFront

Read More >>

NASA Completes Successful PhoneSat Mission

Three PhoneSats were delivered to Earth orbit on the maiden flight of the Antares launch vehicle on April 21, 2013. The PhoneSats are 10-centimeter cubes with a mass of about 1 kilogram. They employ an off-the-shelf commercial smartphone as the control system for the satellite, and use a UHF radio beacon to transmit data and images to the ground. The objective was to demonstrate the application of consumer electronics as the basis of an extremely low-cost satellite bus. The PhoneSat project is a technology demonstration mission developed at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA.

Posted in: Features, UpFront

Read More >>