Highlights - February - March, 2014

Jean ChiarCome to the CONTACT conference, March 21 - 23, 2014
CONTACT is a unique interdisciplinary conference which brings together some of the foremost international social and space scientists, science fiction writers and artists to exchange ideas, stimulate new perspectives and encourage serious, creative speculation about humanity's future ... onworld and offworld. Each year we meet to promote the integration of human factors into space age research and policy, emphasize the interaction of the Arts and Sciences and their technologies, and develop ethical approaches in cross-cultural contact, whenever and wherever it occurs. Friday sessions at the SETI Institute. SETI Institute scientists David Morrison (Friday) and Seth Shostak (Saturday) presenting.

Jean ChiarPardon our Dust: Infrared Spectroscopy and Insterstellar Dust
Jean Chiar discusses interstellar dust grains and how they play an important role in the chemistry of the galaxy as well as the star and planet formation process.

transiting planet illustrationJason Rowe and the Planet Bonanza
The Kepler team announced a huge news — the discovery of 715 new planets. We interviewed Jason Rowe, Research Scientist at the SETI Institute and member of NASA's Kepler mission on a live Hangout On Air.

mars fest logoJoin us for MarsFest, March 28 - 30 2014
Death Valley National Park has several planetary analog research sites within its boundaries, and is excited to share this little known, but extremely important, use of our public land.

ATHLETE-roverRefactoring Space Exploration with Soft Machines
In this talk, Vytas SunSpiral discusses research and development at NASA Ames into dynamic tensegrity robots and how these "soft machines" may be controlled through biologically inspired methods.

asteroid HektorDistant Asteroid Revealed to be a Complex Mini Geological World
After 8 years of observations, scientists from the SETI Institute have found an exotic orbit for the largest Trojan asteroid, (624) Hektor — the only one known to possess a moon.

image of AJAX project airplaneStudying our Atmosphere at 500 kph: The AJAX Project at NASA Ames
It's one of the biggest questions you can ask: has the universe existed forever? The Big Bang is supposedly the moment it all began. But now scientists wonder if there isn't an earlier chapter to our origin story.

Large Synoptic Survey TelescopeThe Large Synoptic Survey Telescope
It will be the mother of all telescopes, and you can bet it will do for astronomy what genome sequencing is doing for biology.

bullet galaxyBullet Galaxies and Dark Matter
In this talk, Marusa Bradac will discuss how astronomers observe the invisible matter in one of the true gems on the sky: a giant cluster of galaxies also called the Bullet Cluster.

LoriFentonMeet Our Scientists — Lori Fenton
Planetary scientist Dr. Lori Fenton joined the SETI Institute as a principal investigator in 2006, and was awarded NASA's Carl Sagan Fellowship for Early Career Researchers that same year.

NathalieCabrolMeet Our Scientists — Nathalie Cabrol
Nathalie Cabrol is a planetary scientist, an explorer, and a leader of research projects in astrobiology and extreme terrestrial environments, planetary missions and robotics.

Big Picture ScienceBig Picture Science Radio Show: We Heart Robots
The machines are coming! Meet the prototypes of your future robot buddies and discover how you may come to love a hunk of hardware.

Big Picture ScienceBig Picture Science Radio Show – Space for Everyone
Is space the place for you? With a hefty amount of moolah, a trip there and back can be all yours. But when the price comes down, traffic into space may make the L.A. freeway look like a back-country lane.

Big Picture ScienceBig Picture Science Radio Show: Before the Big Bang
It's one of the biggest questions you can ask: has the universe existed forever? The Big Bang is supposedly the moment it all began. But now scientists wonder if there isn't an earlier chapter to our origin story.

Big Picture ScienceBig Picture Science Radio Show - Skeptic Check: Paleo Diet
What's for dinner? Meat, acorns, tubers, and fruit. Followers of the Paleo diet say we should eat what our ancestors ate 10,000 years ago, when our genes were perfectly in sync with the environment.

sun emerging from begind saturnAccidental beauty: the Sun and Saturn
We saw this posted by our friends at Planetary Society yesterday. A stunning view of the Sun emerging from behind Saturn, on September 15, 2006. The image has not been processed except for calibration.

planet systems illustrationNASA's Kepler Mission Announces a Planet Bonanza, 715 New Worlds
Jackpot! A team led by SETI scientist Jason Rowe, finds ‘mother lode’ of 715 planets using Kepler data. Nearly 95% of the planets are smaller than Neptune, and four of them are in their star's habitable zone.

2m-followersTwo Millions Fans on Google+!
We celebrated this enormous milestone with our amazing Google+ community.

Mars rock formationMartian dune field
In this image of a Martian dune field in a large crater, the dunes give the impression of flying in a "V" formation. The spacing of individual dunes is a function of sand supply, wind speed, and topography.