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Q & A With Steve Squyres, Coming in September
post Jul 27 2005, 11:46 AM
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As previously reported, there's a great lineup of speakers at the BAA out of London meeting on September 3rd - including MER Principle Investigator Steve Squyres.

Steve has kindly offered some of his time so that we can meet up and do a Q'n'A based on questions submitted by you lot.

Obviously - there will be loads and loads of questions you want to ask and only so much time in which to ask them - however - I'll do what I can to pick as many of the best as I can squeeze in in the time available.

There will be a write up here, obviously, and I will try and record it as an MP3 and post that here as well.

Steve's book 'Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity and the Exploration of the Red Planet' is published next week - and a signed copy will be winging its way to the person submitting the best question! *

If you have questions you want me to pitch to Steve, then drop me an email to doug@rlproject.com with the subject SS Q&A

As a heads up - please take note of the other speakers at the BAA meeting - and if you have specific questions you'd like asked of them - I'll do my best to try and get them in after their presentations at the meeting. The last two ( Profs Greeley and Muller ) are on the Sunday and the Friday respectively, but I will be trying to get down to those presentations as well - but no promises.

-Prof. Carolyn Porco, Principal investigator, Cassini imaging system
-Prof. John Zarnecki, Principal investigator, Huygens surface science
-Prof. Mike A'Hearn, Principal Investigator, Deep Impact,
-Prof. Ron Greeley, Scientist on several planetary missions, Chairman of NASA & NAS Mars exploration panel
-Prof. Jan-Peter Muller, Scientist on Mars Express hi-resolution camera team, University College London.

* 'best' to be picked by SS and myself on the day smile.gif
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post Sep 4 2005, 06:40 PM
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Well - just got home.

It was a superb weekend - brief overview....

Met Nico ( Nix ) at Cambridge Station at about 1500 on Friday. First of all we parked in the Station car park, I walked into the station and couldnt find him. I went back to the car, got my UMSF badge, back into the station and Bingo - he comes over and says Hi smile.gif

Made a total hash of the Cambridge 1 way system but got to Fitzwilliam Halls - where we were staying for the weekend - settled in, found a nearby restaurent and enjoyed nice pasta!

Then - walked to the Institute of Astronomy - and a slight change of schedule. Unfortunately, Ron Greeley's has had family issues w.r.t. Katrina, and thus is still in the US. He emailed his talk on MGS and MODY to Prof. Jan-Peter Muller who was actually due to give his MEX talk on Friday - but did an excellent job doing Ron's instead.

Then, after the talk the conference organisers opened up two nearby observatories - one including a 12" Refractor ( the Northumberland instrument - famous for NOT discovering Neptune, but it's thought that it should have done smile.gif ) - various feint fuzzies were looked at thru this and a 7" refractor next door.

We retired to the kitchen of our accomodation for tea and muffins - Nico very kindly gave me an ENORMOUS print of a Bonneville pan ( it really it beautiful, and it may well live on our Dining room wall ) as a thanks for introducing him to the long, dark, spiral of dispair that is MER image stitching smile.gif

Helen retired ( very wisely ) to bed and Nico and I compared MER imaging notes till 2am smile.gif

Sat - the big day - breakfast at 8am - and a little minibus to the Cavendish Laboratory. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavendish_Laboratory ) Whilst waiting for the first talk, we had a look around and infact saw the very cathode tube with which J J Thompson discovered the electron!!

I'll skip the amateur observational talks - although they all contained astonishing imaging - and show that actually, observations of Jupiter by amaters with scopes as small as 9" are doing genuine science about Jovian storms (is there a relation between oval aspect ratio and their speed - YOU BET YOUR ASS THERE IS...sorry - you had to be there - the chap who gave that talk was...how can I put this...VERY american!!)

Carolyn Porco's talk was, quite obviously, superb. Excellent imagery, some great movies of the shephard moons - many 'ooohs' and 'ahhhs' at some ring movies. Nothing that one could consider 'new science' - except some temperature values for southern Enceladus - the tiger stripes appear to be about 10K higher than the neigbouring terrain. I put my foot in it asking about the spokes - and they are currently not visible ( as we all know ) but they are considered to be a potential feature that will re-appear perhaps late next year as the solar angle increases.

John Zarnecki's Huygens talk was superb - some superb slides that I will post in a more verbose review at a later date - all fantastic stuff. I spotted a double spike in the echo-reflection that I asked about during questions "Well spotted" said John...but it was actually an error in their interpretation of the data and isnt real. A good job that publishing in Science takes so long smile.gif

I spent lunch discussing orbital mechanics on a chalk board with Nico in the dining hall at the Cavendish Labs. I didnt say anything at the time, but on reflection, I wonder what scientific breakthru's have happened over coffee on those three blackboards - at arguably one of the greatest laboratorys in the world.

Done with lunch - more observational talks, and then after more tea that was too hot to drink before the next talk started, Prof. Mike A'Hearn - the highlight of THAT talk being a potential identification of the crater from VERY processed high res data - deconvolution of which has recovered all the data ( so he said ) specifically because of the nuences of that specific design of telescope.

And then...of course...Steve's talk. It was without doubt ( and I know I'm going to be biased ) the best of the weekend - even the event organisers agreed - not many pretty pictures in it, but he is without doubt the best speaker I've seen, very funny, informative, and un-waffling. Good science which I'll be writing much of about for my spacedaily article.

We briefly met before his talk, just to confirm that I was recording it - but ONLY for my purposes of writing a review of all the invited speakers for the BAA journal - sorry guys, you cant have a listen - but if you are within travelling distance..ever..of a Steve talk....GO. Dont think about it..just GO. If it's your Grandparents Diamond wedding anniversary...forget it - just see Steve.

And then...the big one. We had to leave the lab to conduct the Q'n'A, but leaving the lab you could see that Steve was excited just to visit the lab as whilst I was enjoying Mike's talk- he'd been up to see Thompson's Cathode Ray tube...we took to a park bench on the park beside the lab for the Q'n'A, for which he was happy to take as long as it took...45 minutes nearly ohmy.gif

Ustrax...I have your Raving Mars picture signed smile.gif - but he hadnt heard of Ultreya - infact they dont have a name for the dune field yet.

I didnt get thru all the questions, but I did get thru a lot - he was SO open and friendly and fun. I have a favorite question in mind, but I'm going to listen back to the Q'n'A before the final decision.

Steve gave us so much time, Nico and I almost totally missed dinner. Helen asked one question which has arisen elsewhere before heading off for dinner... she asked why he refered to the rovers as 'she' - and he confirmed that they do, as they're vessels of exploration just like ships.

Ever since - I've been thinking "I didnt ask him this...I didnt ask him that" - but the Q'n'A itself was as good as I could possibly imagined, Steve more friendly, enthusiastic and willing to answer questions than I could ever imagine...just...wow.

Before the Q'nA I gave him the 7 x 5 and he was clearly genuinely touched - the effort was appreciated.

Got back, amazingly the college kitchen had kept something aside for Nico and I, and then Nico gave up and went to bed, whilst Helen and I were back in the kitchen enjoying a movie by some people who went to Antarctica for an Eclipse. The penguins were better than the eclipse ( clouds ) - but it was a brilliant little video.

Sunday morning - another killer 8am breakfast - and a talk by the Terrestrial Planets head of the French Astro Soc - excellent mars imaging from earth - and Prof Muller gave a cracking talk on MEX - and explained why ESA and MEX imagery is so slow....European Law. There is an excellent website out there that collates Earth based imagery from every asset you can imagine, and he and his team are desperately trying to do the same for Mars...they just need some cash. The will to spread the data is very much there, they really want to spread it about, but European law makes it quite difficult. So I'm going to see what I can do in terms of figuring out how we can make progres in this w.r.t. talking to local politicians.

Then...BACK to the station...and much easier to find was Emily smile.gif No badge required! Found somewhere not too bad for Lunch and spent a couple of hours putting the entire world of planetary exploration to rights - she's as friendly and knowledgeable a person as you could possibly want to meet. We discovered that we've had some similar thoughts regarding the whole Amateur imaging community, and we're going to have a little think about things, see what we can come up with.

Then, broke lots of traffic laws in finding where Emily's staying for DPS, grabbed Nico's stuff from the college, dropped him back at the station and headed for home.

A hell of a weekend, totally shattered, but frankly, one of the best weekends I could possibly have imagined!

Pics ( Nico has embarrasing pictures of me, being eaten by an OHP machine, meeting Steve ), a better write up, and then the MP3 of the Q'n'A....lots of cool stuff this week smile.gif

And THEN - I've got to review Visions of Mars, and Bill Hartmann's book....busy busy busy smile.gif

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post Sep 5 2005, 08:22 AM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 4 2005, 06:40 PM)
Prof Muller gave a cracking talk on MEX - and explained why ESA and MEX imagery is so slow....European Law.  There is an excellent website out there that collates Earth based imagery from every asset you can imagine, and he and his team are desperately trying to do the same for Mars...they just need some cash.  The will to spread the data is very much there, they really want to spread it about, but European law makes it quite difficult.  So I'm going to see what I can do in terms of figuring out how we can make progres in this w.r.t. talking to local politicians.

Great report, Doug!
I imagine here you are talking about Google Earth, it would be really amazing to have the same great stuff for Mars! rolleyes.gif
Anyway, I think we probably should make a petition to ESA authorities, in order to show how strong is UE citizens interest in Mars imagery release! Hoping this could partially overcome laws/budget issues...

- Marco -
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Posts in this topic
- djellison   Q & A With Steve Squyres   Jul 27 2005, 11:46 AM
- - ljk4-1   QUOTE (djellison @ Jul 27 2005, 06:46 AM)Stev...   Jul 27 2005, 12:57 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (ljk4-1 @ Jul 27 2005, 12:57 PM)Is...   Jul 27 2005, 01:08 PM
- - CosmicRocker   It's not been too easy finding where he will b...   Jul 31 2005, 06:16 AM
|- - centsworth_II   QUOTE (CosmicRocker @ Jul 31 2005, 01:16 AM)....   Aug 2 2005, 03:38 PM
- - djellison   I've had two. Perhaps no one reads the news ...   Jul 31 2005, 09:16 AM
- - CosmicRocker   Darn it. I should have kept my mouth shut. My qu...   Aug 1 2005, 04:09 AM
- - djellison   Yesterday I was tempted to call for questions else...   Aug 1 2005, 06:53 AM
- - remcook   Great initiative Doug! Amazing how this place ...   Aug 1 2005, 04:32 PM
- - Sunspot   You could ask Carolyn Porco to get them to fix the...   Aug 1 2005, 10:36 PM
|- - ljk4-1   QUOTE (Sunspot @ Aug 1 2005, 05:36 PM)You cou...   Aug 2 2005, 01:29 PM
- - paxdan   Question for Steve: Can i have a go please?   Aug 2 2005, 07:13 PM
- - paxdan   Seriously though: Do you think you'll see Spi...   Aug 2 2005, 07:20 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (paxdan @ Aug 2 2005, 07:20 PM)Seriousl...   Aug 2 2005, 09:25 PM
- - deglr6328   QUOTE (ljk4-1 @ Aug 2 2005, 01:29 PM)Was...   Aug 2 2005, 11:54 PM
|- - David   QUOTE (deglr6328 @ Aug 2 2005, 11:54 PM)no. I...   Aug 4 2005, 05:57 PM
- - DEChengst   "Steve, I noticed that you're also on the...   Aug 4 2005, 05:52 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (DEChengst @ Aug 4 2005, 05:52 PM)...   Aug 4 2005, 07:24 PM
- - hendric   QUOTE (djellison @ Jul 27 2005, 11:46 AM)Stev...   Aug 5 2005, 03:50 AM
- - deglr6328   How about: "When you are looking at the lates...   Aug 5 2005, 05:39 AM
- - Rxke   deglr6328, that's a beautiful question... I...   Aug 5 2005, 01:53 PM
|- - SFJCody   How about these: Ignoring latitude restrictions, ...   Aug 5 2005, 02:39 PM
|- - odave   Similar to SFJCody's first question: * Given ...   Aug 5 2005, 03:01 PM
- - RNeuhaus   Will Squyres lead as main scientist for the presen...   Aug 5 2005, 06:42 PM
|- - odave   Good thing I blew out of work early - Steve Squyre...   Aug 5 2005, 08:30 PM
- - remcook   Talking about the book...it looks like it is Part ...   Aug 5 2005, 08:38 PM
- - lyford   I just dl'd Steve's interview through the ...   Aug 6 2005, 12:41 AM
- - dot.dk   Ok, some Q's for the great Steve 1. IF one...   Aug 6 2005, 05:30 AM
- - CosmicRocker   Thanks for the link to that audio, odave. It was ...   Aug 6 2005, 06:26 AM
|- - odave   QUOTE (CosmicRocker @ Aug 6 2005, 02:26 AM).....   Aug 8 2005, 01:59 PM
- - CosmicRocker   It just occurred to me that since I sent Doug my q...   Aug 6 2005, 07:05 AM
- - Harder   Im not too confident my question about money ...   Aug 7 2005, 11:50 AM
|- - dilo   Harder, you are the first (I don't want to vio...   Aug 7 2005, 01:21 PM
- - ilbasso   For Steve: "Have you ever browsed the unmann...   Aug 7 2005, 03:52 PM
- - lyford   My humble offerings - more project based than scie...   Aug 7 2005, 06:59 PM
- - brianc   Doug A couple of questions for Steve 1) Does he...   Aug 7 2005, 08:24 PM
- - Gsnorgathon   I've got a couple of questions that are really...   Aug 7 2005, 09:58 PM
- - djellison   From a dribble - it's turned into a waterfall ...   Aug 8 2005, 02:09 PM
- - chuckyvt   Come on guys! Haven't seen any activity ...   Aug 16 2005, 12:09 AM
|- - ljk4-1   QUOTE (chuckyvt @ Aug 15 2005, 07:09 PM)Come ...   Aug 16 2005, 02:15 PM
|- - Marcel   I want to ask him what it is like to be PI of the ...   Aug 16 2005, 02:51 PM
|- - chuckyvt   QUOTE (ljk4-1 @ Aug 16 2005, 10:15 AM)Ma...   Aug 17 2005, 03:31 AM
|- - dvandorn   Then go and buy his book... Squyres is very fo...   Aug 17 2005, 07:41 AM
- - craigmcg   I'm curious about the strategy behind building...   Aug 17 2005, 12:03 PM
|- - Marcel   QUOTE (craigmcg @ Aug 17 2005, 12:03 PM)I...   Aug 17 2005, 01:27 PM
- - centsworth_II   Steve Squyres mentions in his book an early plan f...   Aug 17 2005, 05:37 PM
- - mhoward   Do you think the amateur community has a role to p...   Aug 17 2005, 06:01 PM
- - Phillip   I just realized that the deadline is August 21, so...   Aug 21 2005, 01:09 AM
- - edstrick   I hate to be a bit complainy or something, but I k...   Aug 21 2005, 06:37 AM
|- - CosmicRocker   It's a wavelength thing. The longer wavelengt...   Aug 21 2005, 07:37 AM
|- - helvick   QUOTE (edstrick @ Aug 21 2005, 07:37 AM)but I...   Aug 21 2005, 07:24 PM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (helvick @ Aug 21 2005, 07:24 PM)he hig...   Aug 21 2005, 09:24 PM
- - edstrick   I'd have to check pre-mission camera technical...   Aug 21 2005, 09:57 AM
- - CosmicRocker   QUOTE (helvick @ Aug 21 2005, 01:24 PM)... I ...   Aug 22 2005, 05:53 AM
- - edstrick   Cosmic Rocker quotes: They say, "The two imag...   Aug 22 2005, 06:54 AM
- - akuo   Oh, there was a deadline. Well I'll add these ...   Aug 22 2005, 09:08 AM
- - um3k   Don't forget that the pancams use lenses (as o...   Aug 22 2005, 06:50 PM
- - djellison   Well - I'll be nice and let the questions run ...   Aug 22 2005, 06:53 PM
- - hendric   With the rovers still alive, how do you ever find ...   Aug 22 2005, 06:57 PM
- - elakdawalla   The discussion about image resolution jogged my me...   Aug 22 2005, 07:29 PM
- - djellison   Arhgh - those codes on the DVD's had Helen and...   Aug 22 2005, 09:11 PM
|- - elakdawalla   QUOTE (djellison @ Aug 22 2005, 02:11 PM)Arhg...   Aug 22 2005, 09:28 PM
- - djellison   Well - I can see why he might be nervous - certain...   Aug 22 2005, 09:52 PM
- - CosmicRocker   Thank you, edstrick, helvick, Emily, and Doug. We...   Aug 23 2005, 04:33 AM
- - djellison   Here's a cunning point for you If you can fin...   Aug 23 2005, 08:10 AM
|- - ustrax   Doug... Can I still throw mine?...Please! I w...   Aug 23 2005, 02:54 PM
|- - um3k   QUOTE (djellison @ Aug 23 2005, 04:10 AM)Here...   Aug 23 2005, 07:06 PM
- - djellison   Really - you cant focus on the blue ones - your ey...   Aug 23 2005, 07:16 PM
|- - helvick   QUOTE (djellison @ Aug 23 2005, 08:16 PM)Real...   Aug 23 2005, 08:54 PM
|- - um3k   QUOTE (djellison @ Aug 23 2005, 03:16 PM)Real...   Aug 23 2005, 08:55 PM
|- - ljk4-1   Squyres writes the book on Mars and the little rov...   Aug 24 2005, 01:39 AM
- - deglr6328   QUOTE (djellison @ Aug 23 2005, 07:16 PM)Real...   Aug 24 2005, 05:31 AM
- - edstrick   You *can* focus on the short wavelength image, but...   Aug 24 2005, 08:55 AM
- - stellarlight   Hi there! I did an interview to Robert M. M...   Aug 24 2005, 06:10 PM
- - djellison   Right - time's up - I need a couple of days to...   Aug 30 2005, 11:12 AM
|- - ustrax   QUOTE (djellison @ Aug 30 2005, 11:12 AM)Righ...   Aug 30 2005, 11:25 AM
|- - paxdan   QUOTE (ustrax @ Aug 30 2005, 12:25 PM) Hey Do...   Aug 30 2005, 12:36 PM
- - djellison   I doubt I'll have t'internet access whils...   Aug 30 2005, 12:50 PM
|- - ustrax   Doug... I've tried to send you an e-mail to t...   Aug 30 2005, 02:20 PM
- - djellison   Might take an hour or two to get thru the system -...   Aug 30 2005, 02:36 PM
|- - jaredGalen   I just tried it too and got this error returned to...   Aug 30 2005, 06:23 PM
- - djellison   Balghgh - thankyousteve@gmail.com it is then Dou...   Aug 30 2005, 09:30 PM
- - djellison   Right - my list of questions is all written - it...   Sep 1 2005, 08:52 AM
- - djellison   I wracked my brain trying to think of the right so...   Sep 1 2005, 11:02 PM
|- - mhoward   That looks great, Doug! Thanks for putting tha...   Sep 1 2005, 11:34 PM
- - slinted   Spectacular Doug! I think that is a great ima...   Sep 2 2005, 12:30 AM
- - dvandorn   Much thanks, Doug! It looks fabulous, and I h...   Sep 2 2005, 01:51 AM
|- - jaredGalen   Brilliant Doug, until MRO gets into orbit and star...   Sep 2 2005, 07:53 AM
- - djellison   Right - I'm signing off for now - if there...   Sep 2 2005, 09:28 AM
- - CosmicRocker   Nice work, as usual, Doug. Thanks,   Sep 3 2005, 02:00 AM
- - djellison   Well - just got home. It was a superb weekend - b...   Sep 4 2005, 06:40 PM
|- - paxdan   HA! Doug, been waiting for the write-up all ev...   Sep 4 2005, 07:50 PM
||- - Bob Shaw   Doug: Sounds like you had a good weekend! ...   Sep 4 2005, 08:22 PM
||- - djellison   QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Sep 4 2005, 08:22 PM)Doug: ...   Sep 4 2005, 09:52 PM
|- - dilo   QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 4 2005, 06:40 PM)Prof ...   Sep 5 2005, 08:22 AM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (dilo @ Sep 5 2005, 08:22 AM)I imagine ...   Sep 5 2005, 08:52 AM
|- - ustrax   Doug... That must have been quite quite QUITE a w...   Sep 5 2005, 10:45 AM
- - Nix   It was as great as Doug's splendid summary I t...   Sep 5 2005, 01:05 AM
- - SFJCody   Sounds amazing! Wish I could've been there...   Sep 5 2005, 07:40 AM
- - djellison   QUOTE (SFJCody @ Sep 5 2005, 07:40 AM)mp3 mp3...   Sep 5 2005, 07:47 AM
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