Category Archives: Cool Stuff


Gotta love those CubeSats!

Danish ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen introduces the AAUSAT5 CubeSat, explaining who constructed it and what its mission objectives are. AAUSAT5, a CubeSat entirely built by a university team with ESA’s support.


Remote Rover Control

I recently posted a video about the Interact rover, more specifically the ESA Interact Centaur rover and how it was going to be controlled by ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen. The Interact Centaur is designed to be able to have tactile ability, touch and heft.

Could the rover be controlled from an orbiting spacecraft with a delicate enough touch to put say a metal peg 4 cm into a hole with only one sixth of millimeter clearance to make an electrical connection?

Here’s the answer:

Interact Centaur


This is big! On 07 September ESA astronaut Andreas Mogenson will control the ESA Interact Centaur rover.

Mogenson was one of the three launched into space on the Soyuz yesterday.

The Interact rover is back here on Earth and you might wonder why a rover here on Earth is being controlled by an ISS crew member. This is no ordinary rover, it has haptic feedback, meaning that operators will gain the sense of feel and even the heft of an object.

Imagine what this could mean!

The idea is for astronauts aboard a spacecraft orbiting Mars to have that kind of control over a rover on the surface.

I bet the technology will be used before a manned Mars mission, this has the potential to be a game changer in robotic exploration.

Image: ESA

Hurricane Fred


Hurricane Fred over the Cape Verde Islands yesterday. Rare event for the islands, hope all is well there.

Q.  How often to I get to post a hurricane over the Cape Verde?

A. About as often as I do to post a link showing three major hurricanes in the Pacific at the same time — Wunderground link (hopefully it works!)

Image: NASA – Goddard

New Exo-Planet Image

51EribScientists have discovered a “Jupiter-like” planet called 51 Eri b using the Gemini Planet Imager installed on the 8-meter telescope in Chile.

The discovery has been confirmed through observations at the Keck Observatory using the NIRC2 camera. The image above is an image of 51 Eri b as seen by the NIRC2 instrument on Keck Observatory’s Keck II telescope. The bright central star has been mostly removed by a mask to enable the confirmation of the exoplanet one million times fainter.

Here’s the Keck press release:
MAUNAKEA, Hawaii – A team of astronomers discovered a Jupiter-like planet within a young system that could serve as a decoder ring for understanding how planets formed around our sun. The W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, Hawaii confirmed the discovery. The findings were headed by Bruce Macintosh, a professor of physics at Stanford University, and show the new planet, 51 Eridani b, is one million times fainter than its parent star and shows the strongest methane signature ever detected on an alien planet, which should yield additional clues as to how the planet formed. The results are published in the current issue of Science.

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