Red Planet Lights the Way for IT Teams
Even after 30 years of using tiny computers, I can still be impressed by the work that they make possible for tiny teams with tiny budgets.Even after 30 years of using tiny computers, I can still be impressed by the work that they make possible for tiny teams with tiny budgets. When university students enter domains that used to be owned by superpowers, we should take a moment to marvel at the tools that enable such things. I have the honor of being a charter member of The Mars Society (www.marssociety.org), the group that believes we should have at least one backup planet. As part of the societys Translife Initiative, students at three universitiesMIT, the University of Washington and Australias University of Queenslandare planning the first private biological space mission, the Mars Gravity Biosatellite (www.marsgravity.org). Launching in 2005, it will yield the first data ever produced on birth and development of mammals in Mars-level gravity (which is three-eighths that of Earth).
Ive followed the projects progress so far, watching the students develop mathematical models for design trade-off studies; produce 3-D visualizations of spacecraft configuration; and collaborate by e-mail with team members and advisers across more than a dozen time zones. Theyre working around-the-clock on everything from metabolic rates of experimental animals to artwork and language for sponsorship proposals. (If you have a spare $10 million, send it along.)