In the News

The Coolest Videos Ever

 Our very own Melissa Dawson of the Earth Observations Group was featured on the Johnson Space Center Homepage and credited with “an idea that would revolutionize the way every human being would see our planet.  ” After viewing some of her work, that glowing accolade may have merit. At the very least, Melissa has created some of the coolest videos ever.

Melissa generated the videos from long sequences of time-lapse images of the Earth taken from the ISS. The low-light sensitive camera captures impressive detail of nighttime features such as city lights, airglow, and even a comet. When the images are stitched together into sequences, dynamic features such as dancing aurora and lightning are really stunning.

 Melissa’s videos have been an instant hit with the public – the metrics are through the roof for the ARES website Gateway to Astronaut Photography. Read more about Melissa’s brainchild and link to the videos at of the Earth that hosts the videos

Parachute Testing

parachute test

Donn Liddle of the Image Science and Analysis Laboratory was featured in NASA’s “Image of the Day” gallery doing what he does best, the art and science of 3-D photogrammetry. Donn was working with members of JPL to conduct wind-tunnel tests at Texas A&M on a scaled, prototype parachute system for the Orion spacecraft.

A controlled laboratory setting like in this wind tunnel is ideal for using imagery from multiple cameras to compute 3-D configurations and motions using photogrammetry. So for Donn, these parachute analyses are a piece of cake, relatively speaking. In the early days of International Space Station assembly, Donn pioneered the applications of 3-D photogrammetry in the much more problematic and less-than-controlled settings in space. Since then, Donn has led a photogrammetry team that has performed countless analyses for the ISS, Space Shuttle, and now the Orion spacecraft, each analysis contributing significantly to mission success – and each analysis presenting new challenges to the applications of their trade.

MSL Participating Scientists

The November 2011 Newsletter article “Yes We Do Science Missions” introduced the ARES team members participating in the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Add two more to the list.

Paul Niles and Dorothy Oehler were individually selected as MSL Participating Scientists on the basis of their strong proposals to the highly-competitive MSL Participating Scientist Program sponsored by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Their selections bring the total number of ARES members on the MSL mission team to 10. All will be active in several aspects of the mission, including daily rover operations.

For both Paul and Dorothy, their research will utilize the unique analytical tools onboard the MSL rover, in particular its capability for detecting organics, to contribute to the mission’s quest of assessing the potential for life on Mars, past or present.

Parting Shot

storytelling Event Extraordinaire

A storytelling special event, “The Science of Apollo: What We Learned from the Moon,” at Teague Auditorium was moderated by Andrew Chaikan (far left) with distinguished ARES scientists Don Bogard, Fred Hörz, Gary Lofgren, Dave McKay, and Wendell Mendell. The open forum discussion on what we learned (and continue to learn) about the Moon from the lunar samples returned from the Apollo missions was both informative and entertaining.