A mystery rock which seemed to appear out of nowhere on Mars last month stirred up much speculation among alien enthusiasts, but it appears the mystery is solved. The answer is more simple than sci-fi.
Mars loves us. And how do we know? Because it's covered in heart-shaped features that are obviously there to tell us how much we're loved by our red neighbor.
Today, as a special NASA Valentine, the space agency shared a set of photographs of the various Martian hearts, images it gathered over three Martian years, and first published on Valentine's Day 2004.
The imagery was gathered by the Mars Global Surveyor Mars Obiter Camera team.
Among the photographs are hearts located in various Martian mesas and depressions.
The imagery may be more than ten years old, but … Read more
Google subsidiary Planetary Ventures will soon be in charge of maintaining and improving a federal airfield.NASA and the US General Services Administration have chosen Planetary Ventures as the "preferred lessee" to manage Moffett Federal Airfield, which sits between Mountain View and Sunnyvale in Northern California. Assuming the entities can agree on lease terms, Google will be charged with managing the airfield and rehabbing the historic hangars on the site.
NASA has been trying to offload the responsibility of managing the airfield for quite some time. In a statement Monday, the agency said the lease will help it … Read more
There could be salt water runnin' in them thar Martian hills! At least that's how NASA's news Monday of new evidence of the potential presence of flowing salt water sounded to my ears here in the southern Rockies.
The above photo from NASA's spacecraft orbiting Mars is a picture of dark markings that scientists say suggest seasonal flows down a slope, overlaid with colors from a mineral-mapping spectrometer observing the same region. NASA says the dark, fingerlike markings advance down some slopes when temperatures rise. … Read more
Put yourself in Curiosity's wheels for a moment. You're 99 million miles from where you were born. You can never go back. The only other creatures like you are somewhere else on a big planet, and you're unlikely to ever meet. You're doing amazing things for science and you're adored by millions. Still, you might want to take a picture of home for posterity.
That's just what Curiosity did, snapping its first picture of Earth and the moon from the surface of Mars. Though the two heavenly bodies are just pinpoints of light, they are still much brighter than any star seen through the Martian twilight.… Read more
Here's the problem with living on Mars someday: You're sitting in your lawn chair in your fully self-contained envirosuit, sipping a marstini (see what I did there?) through your suit's built-in straw module and then WHAM! A space rock slams into the ground next to you ruining a perfectly good time.
It's likely to happen, as NASA recently concluded that space rocks causing craters in excess of 12 feet in diameter rocket into the planet about 200 times per year. Mars lacks Earth's protective atmosphere, so instead of burning up at higher altitudes, the rocks … Read more
Why should advertising executives and their wives have all the fun? While "Mad Men" tackles Madison Avenue, "The Astronaut Wives Club" will be dealing with pressures only NASA could sympathize with. ABC just ordered 10 episodes of the original drama TV series planned for summer release.
Based on the best-selling novel by Lily Koppel, "The Astronaut Wives Club," the TV series is set in 1969 and tells the real story of women who were married to the biggest legends of the space race, and how they coped with sudden fame. … Read more
Going into space does havoc on the human body.
One of the biggest problems is muscle atrophy. When the body isn't working against the forces of gravity to move, or even stay upright, thereby putting weight on the muscles of the legs and back, those muscles can waste away pretty quickly. To combat this, astronauts in space have to work out for two hours a day to keep their muscles in check.
As you can see in the video below of astronaut Colonel Michael Hopkins training aboard the International Space Station, it's pretty intense. … Read more
NASA said today that its Kepler space telescope has identified a "weird, wobbly" planet that spins wildly on its axis like a child's top.
The newly-discovered planet, which is being called Kepler-413b, has a spin axis that was found to vary by up to 30 degrees over 11 years. That means that the planet, which is in the constellation Cygnus and located 2,300 light years away, goes through extreme variations in its cycle of seasons. NASA pointed out that Earth's "rotational precession" is a mere 23.5 degrees over 26,000 years.
Every 66 days, Kepler 413-b rotates around a pair of red and orange dwarf stars, and even that orbit seems to wobble, NASA said, thanks to the fact that the plane of the orbit "is tilted 2.5 degrees with respect to the plane of the star pair's orbit." That means that someone watching from Earth would observe the orbit going up and down continuously.… Read more
This year's notorious polar vortex caused plenty of cold, pain, and suffering for folks across the continent (and allowed Northerners the opportunity to chuckle at the 2-inch snowpocalypse that brought Atlanta to its knees), but that's small snowflakes compared with the rest of our solar system, Saturn in particular.NASA released the above image of Saturn's remarkable hexagonal polar jet stream on Monday, although it was taken by the Cassini spacecraft from its position 1.6 million miles above the ringed planet in November of last year.… Read more