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Bruce's Blog

What's Up

with Bruce Betts

Our resident planetary scientist and Director of Projects will keep you up to date on all the exciting projects we are working on. From searching for dangerous asteroids to flying our very own solar sail spacecraft, Bruce will make sure you know what's going on plus enlighten you with his unique bits of space trivia with Random Space Facts, too!

Bruce Betts

Planetary Dirt Sampling Success

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/12/04 01:17 CST | 3 comments

We present an update and a video about the successful design, construction, and testing in a vacuum chamber by Honeybee Robotics of a prototype PlanetVac system, a new planetary surface sampling technique, sponsored by The Planetary Society. PlanetVac is a reliable system that effectively vacuums up planetary surface materials.

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Video: Comet ISON: Super Bright or Super Lame?

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/11/12 02:47 CST | 2 comments

Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) was touted months ago by media as the possible comet of the century. Will it be that, or a cosmic dud? Find out the basics about the in this short video.

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Laser Bees Update

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/10/29 05:42 CDT | 3 comments

An update from University of Strathclyde researchers about the Planetary Society sponsored laboratory Laser Bees asteroid deflection project including a new laser and other lab equipment, and the start of new related projects.

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One More U.N. Step Forward on NEOs

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/10/24 04:17 CDT | 1 comment

This week, the United Nations will move one step closer to an international response to the threat from near Earth objects (NEOs).

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Alpha Centauri Planet Hunt Update

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/10/15 11:27 CDT | 2 comments

An update from Yale’s Debra Fischer about the Alpha Centauri planet hunt, partially sponsored by The Planetary Society, as well as her team’s efforts to remove “noise” from parent stars to help find exoplanets.

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Our Improved Optical Search for ET

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/10/08 11:15 CDT

The Planetary Society Optical SETI (OSETI) Telescope was successfully upgraded and fully tested, and is now fully operational looking for aliens. Here are some updates on the performance and progress. In summary, the upgraded telescope is performing just as hoped and is scanning the skies.

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Has Voyager 1 left the Solar System?

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/09/12 07:26 CDT | 3 comments

Has Voyager 1 left the Solar System? NASA announced it has entered interstellar space. What does that mean? Check out this short video discussing the answers.

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Bruce Murray: Personal Reflections of a Former Student

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/08/29 01:44 CDT | 2 comments

I am saddened by the loss of my professor and mentor, Bruce Murray. I celebrate him here by sharing some personal memories and reflections. There is much to respect, and also much to amuse as we reflect on the life of this great man.

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Asteroid Telescope First Light

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/08/16 03:04 CDT | 5 comments

Using a Shoemaker NEO Grant a new telescope is operating in Illinois to do asteroid tracking.

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Determining Near Earth Asteroids’ Properties from the California Desert

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/08/05 05:04 CDT | 2 comments

Shoemaker NEO Grant winner Bob Stephens specializes in lightcurves of near Earth asteroids to determine their physical properties. Here is an update on recent progress using his 2013 Planetary Society grant. This is the first in a series of updates on Shoemaker NEO Grant winners.

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