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Posts Tagged "planetary exploration"

Life, Unbounded

The Grand Texture of Planets

color_etopo1_ice_low

              In an idle moment, while staring at a set of solar system data, it occurred to me that it might be interesting to display a set of planetary surfaces on an equal footing, where the overall texture of these worlds was visible (although topography is probably a more [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Vortex

Northern polar view (NASA/Cassini)

This is simply too good to pass up, although it’s been doing the rounds online. As the seasons change on Saturn the north polar region is now getting its share of faint solar illumination. Cassini recently (very recently, as in Nov 27th) took this amazing image of the swirling atmospheric circulation at the northern pole [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Skiing To Mars: The Original Rovers

A Prop-M rover

As the world waits with bated breath for NASA’s Curiosity rover to attempt a safe landing on Mars on August 6th (EDT), it’s interesting to recall the rovers of times past. We’ve all heard about Spirit (R.I.P. 2010) and Opportunity (still kicking), and their immediate technological precursor Sojourner (part of the Mars Pathfinder mission), but [...]

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Observations

After Enduring a Martian Marathon, NASA’s Opportunity Rover Faces an Uncertain Future

The path of NASA's Opportunity rover during its marathon journey on Mars

It’s been a long time coming, but this week NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover completed the first-ever Martian marathon. After landing on the Red Planet in January 2004 on a mission originally planned to only last 90 days, Opportunity has instead endured for more than a decade, and has taken eleven years and two months to [...]

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Observations

What Interstellar Gets Wrong about Interstellar Travel

A starship travels through a cosmic wormhole

Christopher Nolan’s new film, Interstellar, is a near-future tale of astronauts departing a dying Earth to travel to Saturn, then through a wormhole to another galaxy, all in search of somewhere else humanity could call home. It’s a gorgeous, ambitious work, with outstanding performances from a star-studded cast augmented by high-fidelity visual effects and a [...]

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Observations

This Video Montage of Saturn’s Rings and Moons Is Simply Gorgeous [Video]

For more than nine years, NASA’s Cassini probe has orbited Saturn, examining its rings and moons in unprecedented detail and sending back images of things and places humans had never seen. Filmmaker Fabio di Donato has managed to collapse that discovery and wonder into four minutes. In a new film posted on Vimeo, di Donato [...]

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