Blog update: new email updates service

I have also just updated the email updates for the blog, using MailChimp. Cleaner format, and you can also now subscribe from below the content of a blog post, in the sidebar or through an occasional pop-up. All current subscribers have been transferred to the new format already, so you don’t need to do anything. For this post, you might get both the old one and the new one today. If you do happen to get a copy of the old email as well still (for posts after this one), then you can just unsubscribe from that one. If you don’t get the new one, check your junk email folder and add my email address to your contacts (paulscottanderson@mac.com). With this, the emails are setup to go out at the same time each day, but only on days when there is a new blog post (this post serves as a first test, for 7:00 PM PT). There is also the ability to send emails other than just blog posts, if needed and other options. Thanks!

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NASA’s Opportunity rover celebrates 13 amazing years on Mars

Opportunity looks back at its landing spot within Eagle crater, after leaving tracks behind in the soil. This is where the rover began its journey 13 years ago. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Thirteen years. That is how long NASA’s Opportunity rover has now been exploring Meridiani Planum on Mars; not bad for a robot which was designed with a hoped-for nominal 90-day mission. Today marks the 13th anniversary of the landing of Opportunity, on Jan. 24, 2004 PST (Jan. 25, 2004 UTC). The mission since then has been nothing short of incredible, as Opportunity soon found evidence that Meridiani Planum used to be a much wetter place than it is now. It was a place where microbial life could have existed; whether it actually did or not is still unknown but Opportunity continues to provide more clues as it continues exploring vast sandy plains and mountainous crater rims.

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Science fiction no more: humans and robots to explore space together

Head shot of NASA's Robonaut. Kennedy Space Center can be seen reflected in the visor. Credit: NASA/JPL/Joe Bibby

When you hear about robots and space exploration, the first thing many people may think of is R2-D2 and C-3PO from Star Wars. While we may not be quite there yet, robots have become a major, even necessary, part of space missions. The many probes, landers and rovers that have been sent throughout the solar system are essentially robots, which have become more advanced over time. Then there’s the new Robonaut, a humanoid robot designed to assist astronauts with a variety of tasks in space including on the International Space Station, for example. But what is next? That was the subject of a panel discussion last Tuesday at the Von Braun Memorial Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama. The future being planned by the robotics experts involved is one of both humans and robots working together in space. The future is now…

See Universe Today for the full article.

Spaceport America Opens With ‘Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space’

Do you want to buy a ticket to outer space? Fly into orbit for the most breathtaking views of Earth possible? Well, those dreams for many took a step closer to reality yesterday as the world’s first commercial spaceport officially opened with dedication ceremonies for the new home of Virgin Galactic, Spaceport America, in New Mexico. It’s the beginning of a whole new space age…

See Universe Today for the full article.

Freelance writing

On a personal note, I am working on expanding my writing portfolio, and I am available for freelance articles focusing on space exploration, astronomy and related subjects, which I have been involved with my entire life. If you have a need for this, please contact me. Thanks!