April 29th, 2010

James Cameron lobbies NASA to include 3-D “eyes” on the next-generation Mars rover Pasadena Star-News

If the next generation rover is able to take high-resolution color movies in 3-D on Mars, it will be thanks to the reigning king of 3-D cinema himself, “Avatar” director James Cameron.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory scaled back its plans in 2007 to mount such a camera atop the rover Curiosity, set to launch in 2011, after that next flagship mission to Mars came in consistently over budget and behind schedule.
But Cameron lobbied hard for inclusion of a 3-D camera for the mission, taking his concerns directly to NASA administrator Charles Bolden in a one-on-one meeting in January.
Cameron, whose film “Avatar” has brought in more money worldwide than the $2.3 billion Mars mission, convinced Bolden that a rover with a better set of eyes would help the public connect with the mission.
“He actually was really open to the idea,” Cameron said. “Our first meeting went very well.”
It went so well that Cameron convinced NASA to buy a 3-D camera for Curiosity. It will sit on top of the rover’s mast – even though a mast camera, without 3-D capabilities, had already been built and was delivered to JPL this month.

May 15th, 2005

Shift in priorities by NASA hits JPL Pasadena Star-News

Several of Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s future missions, including its next Mars rover, might be delayed or cut to compensate for other NASA priorities, the agency administrator said Thursday. Michael Griffin, NASA’s new administrator, told a Senate subcommittee the space agency will have to revise its spending plan for the year in order to offset costs associated with the space shuttle’s return to flight, possible human servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope and growth in upcoming missions.

May 14th, 2004

NASA panel reviews JPL’s Mars projects Pasadena Star-News

A NASA safety organization formed in October as a response to the space shuttle Colombia’s accident released initial assessments this week relating to four agency projects, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s pair of Mars rovers.

July 5th, 2003

Meteorite helps Caltech student prove his thesis Pasadena Star-News

Six years ago, Ben Weiss spent all night slicing the oldest rock on Earth into pieces the size of a child’s fingernail. The precious slivers of dark brown meteorite offered Weiss, then a first-year Caltech graduate student, a chance to delve into the most hotly contested debate in geology: whether a potato-size piece of Mars blasted from the red planet 15 million years ago carried remnants of Martian life to Earth.

December 24th, 2001

Scientists searching for happy landings Pasadena Star-News

Scientists working on the next Mars Rover mission must choose from a tantalizing array of potential landing sites. There are constraints — enough sunlight to power solar cells, a dearth of sharp boulders — but still, there’s an entire planet to explore. Although Mars is smaller than Earth, with 75 percent of our planet’s surface cloaked in water nearly equal amounts of land are exposed on both. Two Rovers will roam the Red Planet during the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Mission. The selection process for their landing sites is like a beauty pageant, with scientists nationwide competing for two top slots.

June 25th, 2001

JPL Engineer Selected as One of People Magazine’s Desirable Bachelors Pasadena Star-News

Say goodbye to the pocket protector-wearing, un-sexy rocket scientist and say hello to JPL’s Satish Krishnan, one of America’s “top 50 bachelors.” Krishnan, 26, is featured in this week’s People magazine with 49 other “Sexy, Single and Sizzling” guys. The pickings run the gamut from celebrity bachelors such as Ben Affleck and George Clooney to everyday guys including a cowboy, a cop and a dinosaur hunter.

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