This is a cropped, reduced version of panorama from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity with 1.3 billion pixels in the full-resolution version. See full panorama below. It shows Curiosity at the “Rocknest” site where the rover scooped up samples of windblown dust and sand. Curiosity used three cameras to take the component images on several different days between Oct. 5 and Nov. 16, 2012. Viewers can explore this image with pan and zoom controls at http://mars.nasa.gov/bp1/. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
NASA’s newly produced and absolutely spectacular panorama from the Curiosity mega rover offers armchair explorers back on Earth a mammoth 1.3 billion pixels worth of Mars in all its colorful glory.
And everyone can move back and forth around the interactive panorama and zoom in – with special embedded tools- to your hearts delight in exquisite detail at the ‘Rocknest’ site where the rover spent her first extended science stay in late 2012.
A test of the 3-D printer in a microgravity-like environment simulated on an airplane that flies parabolas. Credit: Made in Space
The joke about home renovation projects is it takes at least three trips to the hardware store to finish the work. In space, of course, spare parts are a lot harder to come by, meaning astronauts might have to wait for a spacecraft shipment, if, say, the toilet breaks. (Yes, this yucky situation has happened before.)
Some spare parts could be manufactured in space as early as next year, though, providing a 3-D printer passes all the preliminary steps. It recently got a big boost in that direction after passing its microgravity tests successfully, but there are still environmental tests to come, said the company that was behind the work.
Three-image panorama of the Milky Way arching of the Badlands of South Dakota. Credit and copyright: Randy Halverson/Dakotalapse
We’ve oohed and ahhed many times over the handiwork of Randy Halverson and his Dakotalapse timelapse videos and imagery of the night sky. He may have outdone himself with his latest timelapse, called “Horizons.” Randy shot the footage from April – October 2012, mostly in South Dakota, but also some at Devils Tower in Wyoming.
“Growing up in South Dakota the landscape itself can be beautiful at times,” Randy says, “but that doesn’t compare to what the sky can do, especially at night.” Not only is the imagery absolutely breathtaking, but the accompanying music is an original called “I Forever” by Bear McCreary (The Walking Dead, Defiance, Battlestar Galactica, etc) his brother Brendan McCreary and his band Young Beautiful in a Hurry.
The above video should satisfy your daily need for rocket foom. Morpheus — a NASA testbed for vertical landing systems — did two firing tests this week that produced a fair amount of the usual fire and smoke, as you can see above.
You’ll actually see two separate firings in that video. In the first one, the lander strayed out of its safety zone and did a soft abort. The second test, NASA stated, “was a complete success.”
The first lander of the program crashed and burned in a test failure in August 2012, but officials recently praised the program for the progress it has made since then.
We love a good space debris mystery. Hey, who doesn’t, right? Regular readers of Universe Today know that it’s a shooting gallery out there, from meteor fireballs caught on dashboard cams to rogue space junk reentries lighting up our skies. [click to continue…]