And some lagniappe–look up more often!
You might be able to view this unusual video. I can’t, but it is getting all the good reviews.
They posted “Fistful of Stars” as a regular video, though it’s designed for virtual reality. Check it out, if you can.
That’s actually just art–part of the Hubble Cantata.
Hubble itself is old, in space terms, and new scopes are on the planning horizon.
The next big one will be the Webb Telescope. NASA recently pushed back its launch date to correct sunshield and cable problems found during a March 2018 test. It’s now expected to go up in 2020.
And, as mentioned in that video, the next “space” telescope after Webb will stay on Earth, in Chile’s Atacama Desert! The Giant Magellan Telescope is due for completion in 2025.
Bumping into new discoveries–I like that!
As Georges Méliès knew back in 1898, astronomers’ dreams sometimes go awry.
Here is the LRO website.
The Curiosity rover passed its 2000-sol mark last week (1 sol = one Martian day, about 39 minutes longer than an Earth day). But the Opportunity rover–which was photographed from a spacecraft in orbit around Mars–has been going for over 5,000 sols!
Why are the instruments in a titanium vault?
Well, for one thing, Jupiter “roars” at you, even before you get there:
For another, Jupiter’s radiation belts are much stronger than Earth’s. Reportedly, particles trapped in those belts actually hit the spacecraft like BBs.
Nevertheless, Juno and its Lego crew have been in orbit for a while now, and are doing well. The images coming back are incredible. You probably saw this one recently. It’s of polar storms:
Juno has also taken us into the Red Spot:
And recently, the Juno mission to Jupiter accomplished its chief goal by enabling astrophysicists to look inside the gas giant indirectly for the first time.
By doing this —
–scientists found that the Red Spot and all those bands at the surface are an extension of what is going on farther down in the planet.
You might be thinking “of course!”, but it’s not really simple. Look at the ocean and its currents. Deeper currents sometimes follow much different paths than those at the surface.
And Jupiter is a dense fluid, experts say, though it’s made out of hydrogen and helium, not water.
So, congratulations, Juno! You have succeeded at Jupiter, but my favorite series of images are still the ones you took years ago of my home and its orbiting Moon.
But our first perception of anything is just its form. All the thinking and imagining and exploitation come later.
This video is an excellent animation, but it also cuts through the whole “naming” part of perception to show that first moment of contact.
It’s a refreshing look at the wide variety of wonders in this world, natural and human.
Amazingly, some of the older ones continued exploring the Red Planet long after their mission time was expected to expire. And recently, five thousand Martian days (“sols”) after arriving, one of them took a selfie.
Lookin’ great, Opportunity!
Featured image is by NASA. (I cropped it a little bit.)
They made up this montage in 2010, when Opportunity was a newcomer and 12 miles of Martian travel was considered a huge success. Exploration has gone much farther, in various parts of Mars, since then.
Below is a reblog I really like from Jason Major’s excellent Lights In The Dark blog on space exploration.
It’s finally happened—after over 14 years on Mars (14!!!) NASA’s Opportunity rover has turned its arm-mounted camera around to take a look at itself, giving us the very first true “selfie” of the Mars Exploration Rover mission! Hello Opportunity!
This is too bad.
Here is what was planned:
But reportedly they couldn’t meet the XPRIZE deadline.
NASA just released this overlook video – if you’re like me, you’ll have to keep repeating to yourself “this is Mars, this is Mars…”
In this six-part series, NASA Goddard’s chief scientist, Jim Garvin, gives a talk on what scientists have found out about Mercury, Venus, Mars, some near-Earth objects, and the Moon. He explains it in a way that helps us to understand our own planet better.
Time is a bit tight this week, so there will be guest videos through Thursday, and then a big post about firestorms on Friday.
"The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it." - Terry Pratchett
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