Tuesday, January 20, 2004  [!]
This is a little weblog joke. So's this, too. Or, if subtle web developer humor isn't your thing, how about a little punditry practical joking? Politics makes strange bedfellows. Or how about a Mars blogging Janie-come-lately trying to look like a news-scooping Space pro?

To juxta your own pose, go master your mix here. (inspired by hey you got your chocolate on my peanutbutter links)

1/20/04; 9:41:27 PM | Blog Buddies | Discuss | # | |

Maestro is the public version of the science operation software that JPL is using to control the Mars Rovers. You can get a scaled down version from the Maestro site. And download actual mission data. I'm gonna have to try this.

Here's how the Maestro site describes itself:

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released Maestro, a public version of the primary software tool used by NASA scientists to design goals for the Mars Exploration Rovers and analyze the images received from Mars. Anyone can download Maestro for free from http://mars.telascience.org/ and use it to follow along with the roversí progress during the mission. You can use Maestro to view pictures from Mars in 2D and 3D and create simplified rover activity plans. During the mission, updates will be released for Maestro containing the latest images from Mars.

Over at Blog @ Stefangeens, a review of the software. Stefan has screen shots and shows his own "named" rocks in the version he's using.

Anyone with a late-model computer and broadband now has pretty much the same tools at their disposition as the scientists running the mission. We too can now walk around Spirit's surroundings, notice items of interest, name them, measure distances between them, then tell the rover to take a closer look. The one piece missing is the actual ability to beam intructions back to the rover. But that's a privilege NASA paid $850 million for.

You really need to try this. It's not optional. If schoolkids in middle-income countries can master this, you better as well or else watch your job leave for Mexico even sooner than you thought. Yes, there is a 80-page manual, but the casual user needn't read it at all. The application, and each subsequent data module, comes with its own built-in automated tour conductor. Your involvement can be as little as clicking "Next" whenever the fancy hits you and you will get 80% of the wow-factor.

1/20/04; 12:05:15 PM | Space | Discuss | # | |