MSL Curiosity is starting to look around and will calibrate her camera using the pixelated sticker mounted on her frame (in photo #2)
She may have seen her own shadow, but as Mars is near the end of summer at the moment, so it won’t be having six more weeks of winter. #joke
UPDATE: I changed out the top two images for a spliced one from NASA. w00t!
Image grabs from live NASA TV broadcast of Curiosity landing on Mars.
Haunting Photos of Saturn Moons Snapped by Cassini Spacecraft
This raw image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft was taken on March 27, 2012. The camera was pointing toward Saturn’s moon Enceladus at approximately 19,810 miles (31,881 kilometers) away.
CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
NASA’s GRAIL mission has beamed back its first video of the far side of the moon. The imagery was taken on Jan. 19 by the MoonKAM aboard the mission’s ‘Ebb’ spacecraft.
NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) is getting into a festive mood this Christmas after imaging a beautiful nebula called Barnard 3, or IRAS Ring G159.6-18.5.
Nicknamed the “Wreath Nebula” by mission scientists, Bernard 3 does have some familiarity with the green and red wreath hanging peacefully on your neighbor’s door. But looks can be deceiving.
Map of the asteroid Vespa show it is worthy of being called a protoplanet
While the colors are indeed appealing, the implications of this image from NASA’s Dawn probe are pretty interesting. The colors represent different frequencies given off by minerals on the asteroid’s surface. Green, for example, may represent pyroxene, an iron-rich mineral. According to scientists, the findings mean this:
This all goes to show that Vesta is a diverse object with different cosmic ingredients and well-separated layers. This bolsters claims that Vesta is a protoplanet — an embryonic world that might have become a major planet if it weren’t trapped in the lethal asteroid belt.
Dawn will continue to study Vespa for a year before moving on to Ceres, the largest protoplanet in the asteroid belt.
NASA’s New Horizons probe has achieved another milestone on its already historic mission to our solar system’s erstwhile ninth planet: it is now officially the closest any human-made spacecraft has ever come to Pluto! And it will be only getting closer each day (by about a million kilometers!) until it finally makes its closest pass by the dwarf planet and its family of frozen moons on July 14, 2015.
The previous distance record was held by the Voyager 1.
This new topographic map, from Arizona State University in Tempe, shows the surface shape and features over nearly the entire moon with a pixel scale close to 100 meters (328 feet). A single measure of elevation (one pixel) is about the size of two football fields placed side-by-side. (NASA)
The science team that oversees the imaging system on board NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has released the highest resolution near-global topographic map of the moon ever created.
Mystery of oldest recorded supernova solved. In 185 A.D., Chinese astronomers noted a “guest star” that mysteriously appeared in the sky and stayed for about eight months. By the 1960s, scientists had determined that the mysterious object was the first documented supernova. Later, they pinpointed the object, known as RCW 86, as a supernova remnant located about 8,000 light-years away but remained puzzled at how the star’s spherical remains were larger than expected.