Our next-door neighbor in the solar system has become quite the Internet star. Web sites devoted to the findings of the Mars Exploration Rover mission are leaving no stone unturned — or at least undocumented — in meeting the public thirst for information about the Red Planet. A wide range of sites offer information, images and interactive features that take the Web surfer virtually there.
A virtual tour of Mars Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
CMU team tackles the nuances of building a robot that ‘understands’ it is in a race over rough country Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Can you teach a robot to lean into a curve? Can a speedy robotic vehicle sense when it is about to spin out? And in a race between robots, how does one know when to pass the other? No one, or at least a select few, had contemplated such questions as of a year ago. But with the start of a $1 million, winner-take-all race across the California-Nevada desert less than 150 days away, these suddenly are questions that not only are being asked but answered.
More and more countries jumping into the space race Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The exploration and utilization of space is becoming truly a global undertaking, NASA’s Dr. Marc D. Rayman said in an interview. “Space is no longer the domain of just a few first-world countries.” The new space race is occurring, in part, because the cost of many space missions plunged from the billions to the millions after the superpowers shouldered huge expenses for developing and proving the basic technology.
Obituary: William L. Brown / Westinghouse engineer worked on reactor for Mars mission Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
William L. Brown Sr. of Bethel Park was a clothes presser at a Mount Washington cleaners who later became an engineer at Westinghouse’s nuclear division. Although Mr. Brown had no degree, he won an entry-level job at Westinghouse because of natural talent and know-how, said his son William L. Jr. of Ross. He was the oldest of six children, who grew up in Mt. Lebanon. He started sweeping the floor at Phillips’ Cleaners in Mount Washington, a shop frequented by local politicians and broadcasters. The owner taught him how to press clothes, and he continued working at the cleaners and at Westinghouse for many years. He was eventually promoted to engineer at Westinghouse, and at one point was involved in developing a small-scale nuclear reactor to be used for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration mission to Mars, which never occurred.
Solar smarts: A robot designed to recharge by following the sun will be put through its paces in Canada Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Explorers through history have often been forced to live off the land, hunting game and scavenging roots, fruits and berries once they exhausted their own provisions. The robotic explorers that NASA plans to send to Mars and other planets similarly will need to find ways to re-energize themselves if their missions are to last more than a few weeks or months. Rather than food and water, however, these mechanized Lewis and Clarks often will look to the sun to replenish depleted batteries.