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Roving Mars, One Step at a Time

Spirit has taken its first sample of Martian dust, and soon it will start roving around for evidence of what used to be running water. In three days the next rover, Opportunity, will land, unfold, reach out and finally start…
January 21, 2004

Spirit has taken its first sample of Martian dust, and soon it will start roving around for evidence of what used to be running water. In three days the next rover, Opportunity, will land, unfold, reach out and finally start moving around–this time on the opposite side of the planet. NASA has made a detailed computer simulation of how the rover navigates. (The more technical stuff comes in the second half.)

Time is critical. Martian dust will slowly build up on the rover’s solar arrays. It will eventually block the energy needed to recharge the batteries that keep the rover alive. The rover has to move as quickly as possible to interesting places without the need to wait for orders from Earth. The trick is to make it move automatically. And the best way to do that is not to try to plan a long journey across the Martian surface all at once, but rather to analyze just a small portion of the landscape ahead. NASA provides frequent updates of the rover’s status.

Deep Dive

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Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.

lucid dreaming concept
lucid dreaming concept

I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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