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Cassini Flies by Tethys

Cassini Flies by Tethys and Hyperion, and the photos so far have been awesome and weird. I especially want to point out this fascinating view, which, if you look at it closely, reveals what appears to be a string of small impact craters, in a straight line over older terrain. What kind of meteor impact could have produced such an excellent formation of craters? Hyperion photos are coming. (Kokogiak's got backup in case the JRUNS strike.)
posted by brownpau on Sep 26, 2005 - 29 comments

Spirit photographs Phobos and Deimos

Two Moons Passing in the Night. Mars rover Spirit took these sequential photos of Martian moons Phobos and Deimos passing overhead in the night sky. Those rovers are still going strong!
posted by brownpau on Sep 10, 2005 - 17 comments

Moonies

Google Moon - Google Maps gets the Lunar treatment, in honor of the first manned moon landing. No directions, though, so you won't be able to plot the best route from Tycho Crater to Mare Imbrium. (Fun Hint! - try the maximum zoom level)
posted by nervestaple on Jul 20, 2005 - 41 comments

Cassini Photos of Saturn's Rings and Moons

Rocks Among the Rings. The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla has compiled some of the loveliest imagery of Saturn's ring-and-moon system from Cassini. More on Saturn from the Planetary Society here. Also see the Cassini at Saturn photoset, from our very own kokogiak, and watch for updates on the latest Enceladus flyby.
posted by brownpau on Jul 15, 2005 - 5 comments

View the universe in 3d

Ever have trouble visualizing how the solar system is put together, how the orbits work, how everything is positioned relative to everything else? This site helps you see how we think it all fits together.
posted by Fozzie on Jun 22, 2005 - 16 comments

The Summer Moon Illusion

For the sake of your sanity, for five minutes this week forget the memos, the autopsies, the celebrity verdicts, and the rest. Go outside and look at the full moon, which will hang in the sky at its lowest point in 18 years over the next three nights, says NASA, creating the "summer moon illusion." If you're a US resident, calculate your local moonrise time here.
posted by digaman on Jun 19, 2005 - 26 comments

Pioneer Anomaly

The Pioneer Anomaly. Something's up in deep space: the Pioneer spacecraft, now out of contact, have shown an unexplained Doppler drift, indicating sunward acceleration, effectively decelerating the probes cumulatively. The effect may be be nongravitational, and could be explained by any number of factors: an undiscovered twist in Newtonian physics, localized cosmological contraction issues, or just venting gas. Other deep space probes may have experienced the anomaly as well, and a new mission could explore the puzzle; but for now, all we have is past Pioneer data, and that's stored on old 9 track tape which can only be read by antique readers. What's to be done? (Also see Pioneer Odyssey for a nostalgic romp through those early days of deep space exploration. And NASA, bring back the original Pioneer home page plz, kthx.)
posted by brownpau on Jun 13, 2005 - 21 comments

Huygens Makes it!

It worked! Huygens has successfully landed on Saturn's moon Titan and the Cassini orbiter is sending good data back to Earth as I type. Isn't it amazing how we can take a probe the size of a compact car, send it on a 7 year journey in the most inhospitable environment imaginable, deploy a sub-probe that has been dormant for that entire time and land it where we had planned on another solar body so far away that it takes 67 minutes to get a signal back and forth. Exploration and research has never been so cool.
posted by tgrundke on Jan 14, 2005 - 37 comments

There can be no escape. . .

NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory recently detected [reg required] the largest explosion ever detected in the universe: an eruption releasing the energy of hundreds of millions of gamma ray bursts. Just to put it in perspective, a single GRB releases enough radiation to wipe out just about everything human beings would require for survival in a 1000 light year radius. (The Milky Way spans ~100,000 light years, while the United Federation of Planets spans about 8,000). Arthur C. Clarke has gone so far as suggesting that GRBs might be one of the reasons for Extra-Terrestrial silence: Gamma Ray Bursts are so large and inescapable, a single one would wipe out even an enormous galactic empire. Makes killer asteroids seem downright quaint.
posted by absalom on Jan 8, 2005 - 24 comments

Ring-around-the-posie

" It was beyond description, really, it was mind-blowing," she said. "I'm surprised at how surprised I am at the beauty and the clarity of these images. They are shocking to me."
posted by moonbird on Jul 2, 2004 - 2 comments

90 Sols in 90 Seconds

With all this talk of wars in distant countries, it's easy to forget that there's exciting things going on just 300 million km from your back porch. NASA has provided 90 second videos of the first 90 sols of the Spirit [5MB .mov] and Opportunity rovers [5MB .mov].
posted by fatbobsmith on May 18, 2004 - 11 comments

Life On Mars's Meethane Traces Thought To Be Detected

Life on Mars? Methane has been found in the Martian atmosphere which scientists say could be a sign of present-day life on Mars. It was detected by telescopes on Earth and has recently been confirmed by instruments onboard the European Space Agency's orbiting Mars Express craft. Methane lives for a short time in the Martian atmosphere so it must be being constantly replenished. There are two possible ways to do this. Either active volcanoes, but none have yet been found on Mars, or microbes. The Independent has it as Methane find on Mars may be sign of life. The second group to detect signals of methane in the Martian atmosphere is led by Michael Mumma of Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, who used powerful spectroscopic telescopes based on Earth. This team is even believed to have detected variations in the concentrations of methane, with a peak coming from the ancient Martian seabed of Meridiani Planum, which is being explored by a Nasa rover. This could indicate a subterranean source of methane which is pumping out the gas, either due to some residual geological activity or because of the presence of living organisms producing it as a waste gas. Asked whether the continual production of methane is strong evidence of a biological origin of the gas, Dr Mumma said: "I think it is, myself personally." As to how...
posted by y2karl on Mar 28, 2004 - 25 comments

Mars Rover, Quicktime.

Next Best Thing to Being There. A Quicktime Mars Rover Simulation.
posted by kozad on Jan 17, 2004 - 8 comments

European Space Agency's webpage about the Mars Express / Beagle 2 project.

Mars ho! In about 24 hours, the Beagle 2 lander will descend to the surface of Mars, courtesy of the European Space Agency. After a few mighty bounces, encased in a giant rubber ball, the lander will open up and allow its instrument payload to start sampling the surface. This is the first in a trifecta of landers destined for Mars during the next month. NASA's landers, Spirit and Opportunity, land on January 3rd and January 24th.
posted by warhol on Dec 23, 2003 - 25 comments

planetary photojournal

planetary photojournal
posted by crunchland on Nov 18, 2003 - 1 comment

Intense Solar Flare

The largest solar flare of the current solar cycle shot off the sun earlier today. After the media latched on to what was predicted to be mostly a non-event last week (probably due to a NASA article released around the same time about a super spacestorm) , it's not making as much news this time. But you should pay attention this time. This could be the best and last chance for a lot of us farther south to see some auroras before the sun dives into solar minimum, assuming all the variables line up correctly this time. I recommend watching the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch, as it is a great all around resource for solar activity and auroras that includes live data and sightings reports by the general public. Unfortunately though, no doubt as word IS spreading, that site is being hammered again and may be quite slow.
posted by yupislyr on Oct 28, 2003 - 21 comments

Galileo Dies.

NASA's Official 'Galileo Dies' Page. Galileo is set to crash into Jupiter on Sunday. Responsible for many great images and tons of information, Galileo served well. Find a complete history of the Galileo mission here. Also, don't forget to watch the End of Mission webcast this Sunday at approx. 2 PM EST here.
posted by Ufez Jones on Sep 16, 2003 - 7 comments

Oh, the humanity!

Asteroid orbits Enter the designation or name of any asteroid or comet, and a 3D orbit visualization tool will appear for that object. If Chicken Little had this link he might have calmed down a little. Or not...Find out if your favorite asteroid is about to rock your world.
posted by konolia on Sep 2, 2003 - 5 comments

Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. Journals, records and some images from the Apollo lunar missions.
posted by plep on Mar 10, 2003 - 13 comments

The oldest light in the cosmos

BAM! The Microwave Anisotropy Probe's long-awaited map of the afterglow of the big bang was released today, and all of a sudden, most of the uncertainty in the concordance model of cosmology has disappeared. We now know, to within 1%, that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. We now know that Hubble constant is 71, plus or minus 4. And though the results agreed stunningly well with the weird picture that cosmologists have about the nature of the cosmos, there was one surprise -- the first stars were born way before expected. Great day for science, and a likely future Nobel.
posted by ptermit on Feb 11, 2003 - 25 comments

Is there Life on Mars?

Is there Life on Mars? As NASA announce a nuclear-powered Mars and beyond project, British scientists are looking forward to the launch of the Beagle 2 which will search for signs of life on the Red Planet. Is this the return of the Space Race in a new form? And will they find any sign of life?
posted by anyanka on Jan 22, 2003 - 3 comments

Leonid Meteor Storm 2002

They're back--and promise to as brighter or brighter than last year:
NASA scientists' predictions for the 2002 Leonid meteor storm.

Such meteor storms rarely happen in consecutive years, but 2001 and 2002 are exceptions. Experts have just released their predictions: Depending on where you live (Europe and the Americas are favored) Leonid meteor rates in 2002 should equal or exceed 2001 levels.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the Moon will be full when the storm begins on Nov. 19th. Glaring moonlight will completely overwhelm many faint shooting stars. Indeed, I often hear that the Moon is going to "ruin the show."


We shall see.
posted by y2karl on Nov 16, 2002 - 22 comments

Coolest sun picture ever

Coolest sun picture ever - sunspot closeup... The Swedish Institute for Solar Physics web site has some other cool pictures. (As an aside, I wonder what equivalent shutter speed, aperture, and focal length would be?)
posted by notsnot on Nov 15, 2002 - 15 comments

Swan song for a great explorer.

Swan song for a great explorer. Tomorow, the Galileo explorer will make a flyby of Jovian moon Amalthea ending pehaps the geatest unmanned mission in NASA history. Galileo telemetry may not survive the flyby having already receieved much more radiation than it was designed for. Even if it does survive, this will be its final orbit scheduled to crash into Jupiter in September of next year. In spite of antenna difficulties, the spacecraft returned many beautiful images of Jupiter's moons, along with coverage of the Shoemaker-Levy collision and the first atmospheric probe to decend into Jupiter's weather.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Nov 3, 2002 - 9 comments

Next Thursday, NASA will announce the discovery of huge water ice oceans on Mars. Lying less than a metre beneath the surface south of 60° latitude, the water ice reservoirs if melted would form an ocean 500m deep covering the entire planet. NASA insiders believe these findings could result in a manned landing within 20 years.
posted by adrianhon on May 26, 2002 - 24 comments

The Solar System Simulator

The Solar System Simulator 'is designed to simulate - as realistically as possible - what one would actually see from any point in the Solar System. The software looks up the positions of the Sun, planets and satellites from ephemeris files developed here at JPL, as well as star positions and colors from a variety of stellar databasees, and uses special-purpose renderers to draw a color scene. Texture maps for each of the planets and physical models for planetary rings have been derived (in most cases) from scientific data collected by various JPL spacecraft.' Far too complicated for me to even begin to understand, still I've always wondered what Saturn looks like from Triton.
posted by RobertLoch on Mar 27, 2002 - 15 comments

Puzzling X-rays from Jupiter

Puzzling X-rays from Jupiter "We weren't surprised to find x-rays coming from Jupiter." Other observatories had done that years ago. The surprise is what Chandra has revealed for the very first time: the location of the beacon -- surprisingly close the planet's pole -- and the regular way it pulses. (Via Fark.)
posted by Mwongozi on Mar 7, 2002 - 8 comments

Public Survey for Input to the Planetary Decadal Survey.

Public Survey for Input to the Planetary Decadal Survey. The Planetary Society is seeking input from the public for NASA's planetary research priorities for the next 10 years. The deadline for taking the survey is January 31st.
posted by homunculus on Jan 26, 2002 - 4 comments

Cassini's just outside the orbit of Jupiter.

Cassini's just outside the orbit of Jupiter. Where is the space program in all of this? Have mundane zealots hobbled humanity's greatest feats to come? Should we be plotting ourselves to the stars now?
posted by crasspastor on Sep 22, 2001 - 4 comments

Did the Viking landers find life on Mars 25 years ago?

Did the Viking landers find life on Mars 25 years ago? Some scientists think so. I have too much faith in planetary scientists and the newly minted field of exobiology, to believe this is a just a ploy to rekindle waning public interest in space exploration. I think this is genuine 20/20 hindsight coupled with better scientific understandings of life existing in the extreme hinterlands of possibility. . .
posted by crasspastor on Jul 30, 2001 - 29 comments

$145 million

$145 million in a search for evidence of Big Bangs! So far the popular vote indicates most are in favor of the spending--whatever the cnn data is worth. Am I the only one who'd prefer it spent on my undergrad work, or even biosciences research?
posted by greyscale on Jul 1, 2001 - 21 comments

I know someone has posted an Amazon Purchase Circle before for Microsoft, but the one for NASA is hilarious. Introduction to Space Physics?
posted by jeb on Jun 14, 2001 - 6 comments

This picture

This picture of the Space Shuttle and the ray of "shadow" from the moon is pretty cool. I even think I buy the explanation.
posted by aflakete on Feb 19, 2001 - 15 comments

New career option! Be slave worker on the Martian surface!

New career option! Be slave worker on the Martian surface!
This is pretty cool, actually. It's an internet based pilot study run by NASA to identify and classify all of the craters on the surface of Mars. This is a big job. All you need is a IE 5 or Netscape 6 web browser. Since its inception on November 17, web users combined have contributed 111,938 crater-markings and 26,877 crater-classification.
posted by lagado on Jan 9, 2001 - 2 comments

please lord, make it stop---

please lord, make it stop--- just a little quote from red meat. i was looking up the times for the last eclipse of the millenium and thot i'd share. view at your own risk (%*)
posted by ethylene on Dec 24, 2000 - 0 comments

Putting it all in perspective

Putting it all in perspective -- this is one of my daily links, reminding me that there is always a bigger picture to consider.
posted by fpatrick on Nov 22, 2000 - 8 comments

Get a piece of the Rock.

Get a piece of the Rock. Moon that is. I say boy, you got to think of the future. Just remember all these worlds are yours except Europa.
posted by john on Nov 20, 2000 - 6 comments

NASA to announce 2005 mission to Mars.

NASA to announce 2005 mission to Mars. Forget the mapping missions. Send over some monkeys already!
posted by Brilliantcrank on Oct 27, 2000 - 9 comments

A striking photo of The Sigma Orionis star cluster

A striking photo of The Sigma Orionis star cluster where the astronomers have found 18 "planets" which are not orbiting around any central star. On the same note, you may want to visit the new planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. My mother was not impressed by the New Hayden Planetarium when she visited NY this summer. I thought the Rose Center was a real life version of the Hawking book, The Illustrated A Brief History of Time. The book was a much better experience.
posted by tamim on Oct 7, 2000 - 0 comments

This reminded me of one of the stupidest things I've ever seen.

This reminded me of one of the stupidest things I've ever seen. Once on vacation in Eastern Oregon, there was a total eclipse of the moon, just like this one. And some people nearby were taking photographs of it. Flash photographs. The round-trip time to the moon at the speed of light is 3 seconds and I wouldn't even want to calculate the attenuation caused by 320,000 miles of range. Sometimes it seems as if some people are completely and totally clueless about what they're doing.
posted by Steven Den Beste on Jul 25, 2000 - 12 comments

Satellite Tracking -

Satellite Tracking - NASA keeps adding great resources online. The JTrack 3d applet lets you track every satellite in orbit (as a 3d model). ...and we've all seen the Astronomy Picture of the Day. Just goes to show that faster, cheaper, better isn't the only thing they are working on.
posted by jamescblack on May 4, 2000 - 1 comment

A Mars Lander is set to touch down on Mars

A Mars Lander is set to touch down on Mars sometime between December 1st and December 20th of this year. Keep your eyes peeled on this mars site, it will be the primary location of new information about the mission. I doubt if they find water on Mars though...
posted by mathowie on Nov 16, 1999 - 0 comments

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