Fundamental Physics Workshop discusses how physics can help NASA explore the planets

The 2004 NASA/JPL Fundamental Physics Workshop focused on how physics can aid NASA in its mission to explore the planets of the Solar System and beyond. More than 80 attendees heard ideas for applying instruments developed for physics research for locating and mining useful resources, for navigating precisely to specific sites on planets, for performing fundamental research on the planets, for performing experiments on the Earth in reduced-gravity environments, and for monitoring physical and mental health of space travelers. In addition, organizers scheduled the launch of the Gravity Probe B experiment to coincide with a break in the presentation schedule so that everyone was able to observe the launch from Vandenburg Air Force Base, 20 miles away. Continuing the planet exploration theme, the banquet speaker Jim Erickson, Deputy Manager of the Mars Exploration Rover Project, described how the Mars rovers were delivered to the planet, and how they are operated to learn about the planet's history.