Space Updates

A quick linkfest to a couple NASA missions:

  • Cassini beams back new image of Titan – Cassini sent back another amazingly detailed image of cloudy Titan this week, one of the best images of the planet-sized moon yet. Cassini is nearing a critical burn to enter orbit around Saturnian system later this week. If anything goes wrong, the probe will continue past Saturn and be lost in deep space. Let’s hope seven years of space travel hasn’t affected the rocket motor adversely. I am really excited about what new wonders Cassini will unveil at Saturn. It is an eerily beautiful world.
  • Mars rovers continue to impress – The Opportunity rover continues a delicate traverse into Endurance Crater, uncovering new geologic layers in exposed rock, while Spirit explores the Columbia Hills. NASA really put together a couple amazing rovers. They both continue functioning, well after their 3-month expected lifespan, with only a few systems succumbing to the intense cold of the Martian winter. I never thought Spirit would make it to those distant Columbia Hills, but I was happily proved wrong. This extended mission helped paint a fuller picture of a wet, water soaked Mars that existed eons ago.