Tag Archives: NASA

The Gamma-Ray Spectrometer at Mercury: A 7-Year Journey to the Innermost Planet

The Gamma-Ray Spectrometer at Mercury: A Seven Year Journey to the Innermost Planet
The Gamma-Ray Spectrometer at Mercury: A Seven Year Journey to the Innermost Planet

After traveling through the inner solar system for seven years, NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft reached Mercury in March 2011 and became the first ever mission to orbit this mysterious planet. Since then, MESSENGER has been making measurements with its suite of scientific instruments, including gamma-ray, neutron and x-ray spectrometers, magnetometer, laser altimeter, cameras and other instruments.

In the latest program from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, physicist Morgan Burks explores the mysteries surrounding Mercury’s formation and composition, and the instruments that need to work at cryogenic temperatures in one of the hottest places in the solar system.

Watch “The Gamma-Ray Spectrometer at Mercury: A Seven Year Journey to the Innermost Planet,” online now. Then visit the Science on Saturday series page for more virtual field trips to the UC-operated national lab.

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

Touchdown Mars!

One of the first images from Curiosity after landing on Mars (NASA)

What were you doing when Curiousity touched down on the surface of Mars?

For those of us in California, the exciting moments of the rover’s descent and landing took place just before bedtime (10:30pm) so we watched it live on the NASA website. Don’t know about you, but we found it hard to hold back the tears as we watched the scientists and engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory erupt into celebration after the picture perfect landing.

Science is a beautiful thing and we can’t wait to see what Curiosity sends back to Earth in the coming months and years.

In the meantime, let’s look back at Curiosity’s rover predecessors, Spirit and Opportunity, with Steven Squyres,  the principle scientist behind the Mars Exploration Rover Project, who visited UC Berkeley in 2011. He shares his experiences working on the mind-boggling project and talks about the future of planetory exploration in these three programs:

Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet 

The Future of Planetary Exploration

Roving Mars with Steve Squyres (Conversations with History)



facebooktwittergoogle_plus