The Opportunity rover is at the west rim of Endeavour Crater on Mars in this image sent on Sol 3,783 in September 2014 -- after a successful Flash memory reset. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

The Opportunity rover is at the west rim of Endeavour Crater on Mars in this image sent on Sol 3,783 in September 2014 — after a successful Flash memory reset. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

With a newly cleared memory, it’s time for Opportunity to resume the next stage of its long, long Martian drive. The next major goal for the long-lived rover is to go to Marathon Valley, a spot that (in images from orbit) appears to have clay minerals on site. Clay tends to form in the presence of water, so examining the region could provide more information about Mars’ wet, ancient past.

The rover has driven further on Mars than any other human-made machine; as of Sept. 9, it had reached 25.28 miles (40.69 kilometers). But signs of age are showing as the rover moves through its 11th Earth year on Mars.

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Glowing Galaxies Shine Above Trance-Like Telescopic Timelapse

by Elizabeth Howell on September 16, 2014

We often speak of the discoveries and data flowing from astronomical observatories, which makes it easy to forget the cool factor. Think of it — huge telescopes are probing the universe under crystal-clear skies, because astronomers need the dark skies to get their work done.

That’s what makes this astronomical video by Jan Hattenbach such a treat. He’s spent the past three years catching stunning video shots at observatories all over the world, showing timelapses of the Milky Way galaxy and other celestial objects passing overhead.

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Stalking Uranus: A Complete Guide to the 2014 Opposition Season

by David Dickinson on September 15, 2014

Uranus as seen through the automated eyes of Voyager 2 in 1986. (Credit: NASA/JPL).

Enigmatic Uranus as seen through the automated eyes of Voyager 2 in 1986. (Credit: NASA/JPL).

It’s no joke… now is the time to begin searching the much-maligned (and mispronounced) planet Uranus as it reaches opposition in early October leading up to a very special celestial event.

Last month, we looked at the challenges of spying the solar system’s outermost ice giant world, Neptune. Currently located in the adjacent constellation Aquarius, Neptune is now 39 degrees from Uranus and widening. [click to continue…]

Astronomy Cast Ep. 352: Water, Water Everywhere!

by Fraser Cain on September 15, 2014

Where ever we find water on Earth we find life. And so, it makes sense to search throughout the Solar System to find water. Well, here’s the crazy thing. We’re finding water just about everywhere in the Solar System. This changes our whole concept of the habitable zone.
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A view of rivers in Montana, USA, from the ISS. Credit: ESA/Luca Parmitano.

A view of rivers in Montana, USA, from the ISS. Credit: ESA/Luca Parmitano.

A new organization aims to send people to space on private spacecraft while supporting worthy causes on Earth at the same time. Spaceship Earth Grants has launched a contest with a 1-in-50,000 chance for the ultimate ride — a trip into space — and other prizes as well. For example, parabolic flight opportunities will be available for some of the first 5,000 who apply.

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