The Science of Sustainability

Ben Burress

Ben Burress

Benjamin Burress has been a staff astronomer at Chabot Space & Science Center since July 1999. He graduated from Sonoma State University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in physics (and minor in astronomy), after which he signed on for a two-year stint in the Peace Corps, where he taught physics and mathematics in the African nation of Cameroon. From 1989-96 he served on the crew of NASA’s Kuiper Airborne Observatory at Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. From 1996-99, he was Head Observer at the Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer program at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ.

Read his previous contributions to QUEST, a project dedicated to exploring the Science of Sustainability.

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Ben Burress's Latest Posts

It's a Long, Long Way to Alderaan, but Kepler 10B is a Sight Closer

It's a Long, Long Way to Alderaan, but Kepler 10B is a Sight Closer

Among the thousands of vivid and unique Earth-sized planets we have come to know through Science Fiction, NASA's Kepler mission has now given us our first real one: meet Kepler 10b.

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To Boldly Go…Alone

To Boldly Go…Alone

The idea of a one-way, one-astronaut mission to Mars isn't brand new, even in the non-sci-fi world of real space exploration chatter, but it has recently resurfaced in the news.

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Midnight Delight: Total Lunar Eclipse

Midnight Delight: Total Lunar Eclipse

The Moon and the Earth have a very special relationship in the Cosmos, and one of the most striking and beautiful examples of the this takes place Monday evening: a total lunar eclipse.

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Arsenic and Old Lakes: NASA Finds Life NOT As We Know It

Arsenic and Old Lakes: NASA Finds Life NOT As We Know It

NASA announces finding "life NOT as we know it" in the arsenic-laced waters of Mono Lake.

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Comet Hartley 2: Up Close and Personal

Comet Hartley 2: Up Close and Personal

On November 4, 2010, NASA's EPOXI flyby mission captured stunning close-up images of comet Hartley 2, and let web and satellite audiences fly along on an exciting live experience of the encounter.

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Every Little Bit Counts

Every Little Bit Counts

Ever tried to count the stars in the sky on some clear, lazy night, or the kind that fall from the sky during a meteor shower? How about craters on the Moon, or distant galaxies in deep space? If you like this kind of work, there is a job for you! Several, in fact….

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Flashes in the Night

Flashes in the Night

"I was visiting my parents, and around ten o'clock I went outside to take a look at the stars, looked straight up—and I saw a strange flash of light. Did I see a UFO?"

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Reality Rocks:  Prospecting on Mars

Reality Rocks: Prospecting on Mars

It really is an amazing time to be alive: each new report from our exploration of space reminds me of the state of our knowledge of the solar system when I was a starry-eyed child, back in the 1960s.

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The Observatory, the Castle, and the Web of Stars

The Observatory, the Castle, and the Web of Stars

It's now a year since the kickoff of Web of Stars, and I'm happy to report the program is still going strong! With a total of eight observing sessions under our belts, we now prepare to launch a second year of remote, Internet-linked astronomy with a new set of Cork schools!

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Spitzer Samples an Assortment of Asteroids

Spitzer Samples an Assortment of Asteroids

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed that asteroids may have more variety than once imagined.

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The Jupiter Opposition

The Jupiter Opposition

We're approaching the Opposition of Jupiter, the time when Earth passes between the Sun and Jupiter, making the Earth-Jupiter distance its smallest.

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Panning for Starstuff

Panning for Starstuff

40,000 metric tonnes of material fall to Earth every year. How long can this go on?

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Mars Trek: The Next Generation

Mars Trek: The Next Generation

They just keep getting bigger and better-and curiouser. The next generation Mars rover-The Mars Science Laboratory, "Curiosity"-is well off the drawing board and into its gestation phase…no longer just the gleam in the eye of robotics engineers and Marsologists.

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Show Me Science

Show Me Science

If science is nothing else, I feel, it is the frame of mind to question one's own interpretations of reality, and to poke and prod the perception to test what may be fact, and what may be misinterpretation.

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Kepler Spots Hundreds of Possible Planets

Kepler Spots Hundreds of Possible Planets

It's been a little over a year since NASA's Kepler telescope was launched into space. It's mission: to stare unblinkingly at 156,000 stars in a patch of sky in the constellations Lyra and Cygnus on a quest to spot extrasolar planets transiting their stars. Results so far? As anticipated…astounding.

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A Night to be Out Under the Stars…and Planets…and Moon…and Meteors….

A Night to be Out Under the Stars…and Planets…and Moon…and Meteors….

A Night to be Out Under the Stars…and planets…and Moon…and meteors….

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SOFIA's First Light

SOFIA's First Light

After nearly a 14-year hiatus, NASA is once again conducting astronomical observations…from the stratosphere!

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The Sun—Live In Your Own Backyard!

The Sun—Live In Your Own Backyard!

Chabot volunteers are running a live solar observatory for the public.

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Sun-Earth Day: Magnetic Magic

Sun-Earth Day: Magnetic Magic

Saturday, March 20th, was not only Vernal Equinox, but the annual Sun-Earth Day: a NASA-promoted effort around the country to focus attention on the special connections between the Sun and the Earth. This year's theme: magnetism!

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Shifting Sands of Far-Off Lands

Shifting Sands of Far-Off Lands

What started out to be a workaday chore—replacing a broken motor in an exhibit—panned out to be a voyage of discovery to the shifting sands of another world.

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