Category Archives: Space

Surveying Instruments on Mars

Above image credit: National Geographic Keen-eyed viewers of the groundbreaking National Geographic Channel series “Mars,” now in its second season, might have noticed familiar-looking equipment among the near-future science fiction gadgets—surveying instruments. We highly recommend this series for the techie and non-techie alike. It’s a mix of the story of a fictionalized first Mars colony,...

Nattaporn Thoonsaengngam

Research Assistant & Geodesist, National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand Chiang Mai Province, Thailand “I wonder, because it is a wonder,” says Nattaporn Thoonsaengngam, a talented researcher, published geodesist, and professional photographer. The worlds of astronomy, geodesy, radio astronomy, humanity, and natural and built environments are all captured by her mind’s eye, photographer’s lens, and...

Rocket Drone

Revolution #3: Drone-launched Rockets

Think of it as a revolution inside a revolution tucked inside yet another revolution. Revolution #1: ground-based reusable rockets as exemplified by rocket billionaires Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. The reuse of launch vehicles is lowering barriers to space flight. Great stuff! Revolution #2: air-launched rockets. A shining example is Paul Allen...

Venus UAS deployment Black Swift

Drones over Venus

While attending the AUVSI XPONENTIAL conference last May, I spoke with the team at Black Swift Technologies, a Boulder, Colorado-based UAS engineering firm specializing in scientific platforms, and I asked them to keep me updated with their progress. I recently received the news that it has been awarded a NASA contract to develop a UAS...

The Data of River Dynamics

Using GIS tools and readily accessible satellite data to study rapid change in rivers. Editor’s note: The dynamics of rivers can range from relatively stable to rapidly shifting, the latter especially in flood-prone regions exacerbated by a global increase in extreme weather events. The impacts are environmental, but also economic, social, and cadastral. Surveyors, for...

Rocket Billionaires

Rocket Billionaires

Here’s a great example of serendipity. Not so long ago I took a break from my daily routine and flipped on the TV. The set was tuned to the science channel, and just as the screen flickered to life I beheld the sight of the first launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy as it lifted off....