NASA’s Curiosity rover looks back to ramp with 4th drill site target at ‘Bonanza King’ rock outcrop in ‘Hidden Valley’ in this photo mosaic view captured on Aug. 6, 2014, Sol 711.  Inset shows results of brushing on Aug. 17, Sol 722 that revealed gray patch beneath red dust.  Note the rover’s partial selfie, valley walls, deep wheel tracks in the sand dunes and distant rim of Gale crater beyond the ramp. Navcam camera raw images stitched and colorized.  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ken Kremer-kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo

Curiosity brushes ‘Bonanza King’ drill target on Mars
NASA’s Curiosity rover looks back to ramp with 4th drill site target at ‘Bonanza King’ rock outcrop in ‘Hidden Valley’ in this photo mosaic view captured on Aug. 6, 2014, Sol 711. Inset shows results of brushing on Aug. 17, Sol 722, that revealed gray patch beneath red dust. Note the rover’s partial selfie, valley walls, deep wheel tracks in the sand dunes and distant rim of Gale crater beyond the ramp. Navcam camera raw images stitched and colorized.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ken Kremer-kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo

Eagerly eyeing her next drill site on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover laid the groundwork by brushing the chosen rock target called ‘Bonanza King’ on Wednesday, Aug. 17, Sol 722, with the Dust Removal Tool (DRT) and collecting high resolution imagery with the Mast Camera (Mastcam) to confirm the success of the operation.

By brushing aside the reddish, more-oxidized dust scientists and engineers leading the mission observed a gray patch of less-oxidized rock material beneath that they anticipated seeing while evaluating the utility of ‘Bonanza King’ as the rover’s fourth candidate for Red Planet rock drilling and sampling. [click to continue…]

The small fuzzy potential comet is at center in this photo taken discovered by Terry Lovejoy. Credit: copyright Alain Maury and Joaquin Fabrega

The fuzzy object at center is new comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy. Copyright Alain Maury and Joaquin Fabrega

It’s confirmed! Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy just discovered his fifth comet, C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy). He found it August 17th using a Celestron C8 fitted with a CCD camera at his roll-off roof observatory in Brisbane, Australia.  [click to continue…]

There’s a bit of a mystery buried in the heart of the Cigar Galaxy, known more formally as M82 or Messier 82. Shining brightly in X-rays is a black hole (called M82 X-1) that straddles an unusual line between small and huge black holes, new research has revealed.

The new study reveals for the first time just how big this black hole is — about 400 times the mass of the sun — after about a decade of struggling to figure this out.

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A Mars Express image of craters in Hellas Basin, an impact basin on Mars that is one of the biggest in the solar system. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin

A Mars Express image of craters in Hellas Basin, an impact basin on Mars that is one of the biggest in the solar system. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin

Did that impact 4.1 billion years ago ever leave a scar! Here, a Mars Express photo from late 2013 (and just highlighted now) shows off craters in Hellas Basin, which was formed when the planets in our young Solar System were under intense bombardment from leftover remnants.

But over time, wind and erosion on Mars have changed the nature of this basin, the German Space Agency explained.

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Uwingu's latest fund-raising project is 'Beam Me to Mars.' Image courtesy Uwingu.

Uwingu’s latest fund-raising project is ‘Beam Me to Mars.’ Image courtesy Uwingu.

A new project from Uwingu to help address funding shortages for researchers, scientists, educators and students allows people from Earth to give a global “shout?out” to planet Mars. The project is called “Beam Me to Mars,” and it celebrates the 50th anniversary of the launch of f NASA’s Mariner 4 mission, the first successful mission to Mars.

“Nothing like this has ever been done,” Uwingu CEO Alan Stern told Universe Today. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, and, I think, historic.”
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