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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

Now That Philae Has Landed, a Wealth of Data is Forthcoming

KQED Science | November 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

Now That Philae Has Landed, a Wealth of Data is Forthcoming

Yesterday morning, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft successfully launched the landing probe, Philae, to a landing on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a historic first.

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A Historic First: Rosetta Spacecraft Plans to Land Its Probe on a Comet

KQED Science | October 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

A Historic First: Rosetta Spacecraft Plans to Land Its Probe on a Comet

After 10 years of travel and three months orbiting the comet 67p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft is poised to deliver its landing probe, Philae, to the comet's surface -- a first in history.

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NASA’s MAVEN Mission Investigates Mars’ Atmosphere

KQED Science | October 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

NASA’s MAVEN Mission Investigates Mars’ Atmosphere

NASA's latest mission to Mars, MAVEN (Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution), entered Martian orbit less than a month ago on September 21. It's already rewarded us with revealing insights into the disappearance of Mars' atmosphere.

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Set Your Alarm for the Early Morning Total Lunar Eclipse on October 8

KQED Science | October 3, 2014 | 0 Comments

Set Your Alarm for the Early Morning Total Lunar Eclipse on October 8

In the wee morning hours of Wednesday, October 8, a total lunar eclipse will occur, delighting anyone of the lucky side of the Earth willing to set their alarms extra early.

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover Arrives at the Foot of Mars’ Mount Sharp

KQED Science | September 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Arrives at the Foot of Mars’ Mount Sharp

Curiosity has reached the base of Mount Sharp, its primary mission goal. It's a 3-mile-high mound of sediment that preserves a geologic record of Mars going back billions of years.

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NASA’s MAVEN Spacecraft Will Explore Mars’ Upper Atmosphere

KQED Science | September 5, 2014 | 1 Comment

NASA’s MAVEN Spacecraft Will Explore Mars’ Upper Atmosphere

On September 21, NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) spacecraft will go boldly where no one has gone before: to the very top of the Martian atmosphere!

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ESA’s Rosetta Spacecraft Makes a First-Ever Comet Rendezvous

KQED Science | August 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

ESA’s Rosetta Spacecraft Makes a First-Ever Comet Rendezvous

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta has reached its target -- the Comet 67p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko -- becoming the first spacecraft in history to rendezvous with a comet.

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NASA’s Opportunity Rolls a Record Distance on Mars

KQED Science | August 8, 2014 | 1 Comment

NASA’s Opportunity Rolls a Record Distance on Mars

One of NASA's most senior and still-operational spacecraft reached a milestone: the rover Opportunity completed its first 25 miles traveling across the surface of Mars!

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Europe’s Rosetta Spacecraft Will Soon Ride a Comet

KQED Science | July 25, 2014 | 1 Comment

Europe’s Rosetta Spacecraft Will Soon Ride a Comet

Europe's Rosetta mission is poised to add another extraterrestrial landfall to a very short list, and top a new list as it becomes the first mission to land a probe on a comet.

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft: A Decade of Discovery at Saturn

KQED Science | July 11, 2014 | 0 Comments

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft: A Decade of Discovery at Saturn

A decade ago, NASA's Cassini spacecraft, the largest and most complex robotic probe yet built, arrived in the Saturn system to begin a marathon exploration of the gas giant, its famous and awe-inspiring rings and what has turned out to be a collection of some of the most eye-opening moons in the solar system.

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Newly Discovered Object in Space May Signal the Presence of Two Distant Worlds

KQED Science | June 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

Newly Discovered Object in Space May Signal the Presence of Two Distant Worlds

Will the generation that is coming into the world today know more than eight, more than nine, solar planets? Some recent observations make this prospect sound like a strong possibility.

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Kepler 10c: An Unexpected Heavyweight Earth

KQED Science | June 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

Kepler 10c: An Unexpected Heavyweight Earth

How big can an Earth-like planet be? Astronomers thought they had a pretty good handle on this question but have just been given a fresh example of how nature never ceases to outpace our imaginations and show us something unexpected.

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From 63 Light Years Away, An Exoplanet is Ready for Its Closeup

KQED Science | May 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

From 63 Light Years Away, An Exoplanet is Ready for Its Closeup

Recently, a major milestone in space exploration was reached: a planet was captured in a picture! The big deal is that the planet captured in this shot, a gas giant planet named Beta Pictoris b, is 63 light years away--over 100,000 times farther away than even Pluto.

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Major Solar Storm Narrowly Misses Earth

KQED Science | May 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

Major Solar Storm Narrowly Misses Earth

Two years ago, a solar coronal mass ejection of possibly the greatest recorded strength in history blasted by Earth's orbit. Had it impacted Earth's protective magnetic field, we could have experienced major disruptions in communication, brilliant aurora displays at tropical latitudes, damage to orbital satellites and possibly even major power blackouts.

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Citing Budget Concerns, NASA Defends Long-Term Plan To Reach Mars in 20 Years

KQED Science | May 2, 2014 | 0 Comments

Citing Budget Concerns, NASA Defends Long-Term Plan To Reach Mars in 20 Years

Recently, NASA administrator Charles Bolden rephrased the "Moon, Mars and Beyond" mission plan to better align the steps toward Mars with budgetary realities and to balance human space programs with more cost-effective robotic missions.

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NASA’s Cassini Divines Hidden Waters of Saturn’s Moon Enceladus

KQED Science | April 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

NASA’s Cassini Divines Hidden Waters of Saturn’s Moon Enceladus

Modern explorers have found a previously unknown ocean -- but this one's on Saturn's moon Enceladus. Learn more from Chabot Space & Science Center's Ben Burress at KQED Science.

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Shows Us Something New: A Disintegrating Asteroid

KQED Science | April 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Shows Us Something New: A Disintegrating Asteroid

Upholding a long-standing tradition of showing us things in space that we have never seen before, the Hubble Space Telescope recently witnessed the break-up of an asteroid.

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NASA’s WISE Mission Reports No Signs of ‘Planet X’

KQED Science | March 21, 2014 | 1 Comment

NASA’s WISE Mission Reports No Signs of ‘Planet X’

A recent study of data collected by NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Explorer (WISE) spacecraft may have exorcised the notion of the hypothetical existence of the fabled "Planet X."

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Martian Meteorite May Contain Evidence of Past Life on Mars

KQED Science | March 7, 2014 | 0 Comments

Martian Meteorite May Contain Evidence of Past Life on Mars

Investigation of an ancient Martian meteorite has re-fueled a debate about evidence of possible past life on Mars.

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Recent Observations Confirm Presence of Water Vapor on Dwarf Planet Ceres

KQED Science | February 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Recent Observations Confirm Presence of Water Vapor on Dwarf Planet Ceres

Recent observations of the dwarf planet Ceres by the European Herschel Space Observatory have revealed for the first time the presence of water vapor on this object in the Main Asteroid Belt.

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