Friday, August 13, 2010

Meet the K10 Family

Check out the new CNET pictorial on NASA and the HMP:

That's a great photo of the team and their anthropomorphically adorable K10 rover. The gentleman to my right in the photo is Matt Deans, who is cool for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that he nonchalantly brews elaborate coffee in these conditions, citing something along the lines of "being in the Arctic is no excuse for drinking bad coffee." Ladies and gentlemen- that's some type of saint. Let's just say if someone asked me for coffee, I'd politely tell them to swallow a teaspoon of coffee grounds and wash it down with at least 8 oz of tepid water. Actually, I would have just politely told them to run into my fist.

More photos of K10 and the gang below:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Martian (Analog) Odyssey

I'm back in civilization, and finally can share some video with you. Yes, I know its late. (Give me a break, man. I was in the ARCTIC. By the way, I think I can use that fact to WIN pretty much every conversation from this point forward.)

On my second day at the Haughton-Mars Project, 4 of us set off on a 3 hour ATV traverse across rugged terrain, to a ridge roughly 7 km away, in order to set up some Iridium equipment. ATVs are absolutely critical for movement-there are no roads here, or any civilization beyond the HMP base camp, and unless you are in the Humvee, or perhaps possess the magical power of levitation, you will soon become an expert in all-terrain vehicles.

The barren landscape is beautiful in its extreme alien starkness. As you might expect in an Arctic polar desert region, there is little snow or vegetation. Instead, it is dry, dusty, rocky, and acutely UV-saturated due to the polar day's 24 hour sun. The terrain exhibits many varied features similar to those on Mars: our traverses take us across large boulder fields, down through networks of canyons and valleys, through thin meltwater channels and winding gullies, and up along high ridges that overlook the 12 mile diameter Haughton Crater.

Check out my YouTube playlist of short video from the traverse; for photos, check out my Picasa album.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Science Has A Marketing Problem

...So I think you'll all agree we need to do our part to make science look cool. If you havent already seen it, the New York Times ran a good article on me a few days ago:

Gizmodo and SXSW also picked it up-good coverage overall.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Voyage to the Red Planet

Here on Planet Earth I have a slightly better internet connection, and I have a ton of photos and video footage to share with you. I've added a few more photos to my original Picasa Web Albums; check out new additions to The Road Goes Ever On and On and Haughton-Mars Project. I've also created this new album to show you what the flight from Resolute Bay to Devon Island looked like.

We made the voyage on a sturdy little Twin Otter, where we crammed ourselves in with the (precariously stacked) cargo. The flight was about 45 minutes, so no in-flight movie. Or beverage service. Or peanuts. I'm not really sure if we even had seatbelts, frankly.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Help NASA By Casting Your Vote

Calling all planetary analog fans! Cast your vote and help NASA decide which sites to visit in the upcoming Desert RATS lunar analog field test. This project is over-the-top cool. Have you *seen* their vehicles? Take a look at ATHLETE, the All-Terrain Hex Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer. I really wish I had one. Except mine would be weaponized, and have a suite of countermeasures. And be amphibious like James Bond's Lotus in The Spy Who Loved Me....Not very Googley, but fairly effective for commuting in the Bay Area.

But back to NASA. Check out the GigaPan images of the test site, and tell NASA where you think they should visit. Details below, and happy exploring!
Vote Now: Help NASA Decide Where To Explore!

In September 2010, NASA will be simulating a lunar mission in northern Arizona. Astronauts will drive the "Space Exploration Vehicle" ( to explore and do geology field work. NASA has taken two GigaPan ( panoramic images of the test site. You can look at these images and vote to help NASA decide which location to visit. The location that receives the most votes will be incorporated into the mission plan and astronauts will go there in the SEV to perform field geology and collect rock samples.

To cast your vote, please visit:

Voting ends on Sunday, August 8, 2010.

NASA press release:

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hey Google Mars, I Made This for You

Hey Google Mars (Mars in Google Earth,) look what I made for you using only a few simple items commonly found in the Arctic: A Google frisbee, a Mars bar, and some satellite imagery of Haughton Crater. Ta-dah!

You're welcome.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Overheard in the Arctic, Chapter 2

1. It's just non-Euclidean geometry. At the poles, parallel lines converge. Put this triangular rock in your bag and take it back to Mountain View. By the time you get there, it'll be a square. --"Crazy" Matt Deans.

2. We should name something after Google. We already have a "Slope of Woe" and a "Dr. Evil's Lair." --Pascal Lee.

3. I was lost once, so I found Hare Krishna. But I was still lost. So I got a GPS. --John Schutt, kick-ass polar explorer.

4. (On the subject of my futuristic helium-elastomer nanolayer Arctic attire) Now you can fit all your clothing in a fanny-pack! --Vicky Glass, firefighter, camp medic, and Chancellor of Incendiary Matters.

5. (On the subject of the Iridium system tripod) This has three legs, but I have four! --Ping Pong Lee, dog and camp mascot.

6. Sarah: I was once accused of being in league with the Guild of Vacuum Pump Manufacturers...
Tiffany: What?!

7. Brian Glass: Watch out for the laser between your legs.
Tiffany: What?!

8. Pilot: It's too dangerous to land, we have to turn around and go back to Devon Island.
Tiffany: I wonder if we can make it back in time for dinner...

9. When the space station called here, it showed up on caller ID as "out of area."

10.Pascal Lee: Here's our press release (handing me a thumb drive.)
Tiffany: Oh my god, you dont use Google Docs?
...then immediately after that....
John Schutt: ...Well, you just type "ANSMET" into Yahoo...
Tiffany: What?! Are you people kidding? This is 2010! (Sigh.) I guess I'll just have to e-abacus you.