[Images: Kevin Gill]
On Thursday, Mars’s Gale Crater was treated to a fantastic sight: a partial solar eclipse. An eclipse very similar to the kind we’re used to seeing from here on Earth, but with the sun blocked, in this case, by a different moon: Phobos, one of the two moons that orbit Mars.
Fortunately for us, Curiosity was there to take a picture of Phobos’s transit.
See more. [Image: NASA/JPL]
Robotic probes launched by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and others are gathering information all across the solar system. We currently have spacecraft in orbit around the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Saturn — and one new rover recently landed on Mars. Several others are on their way to smaller bodies, and a few are heading out of the solar system entirely. Although the Space Shuttle no longer flies, astronauts are still at work aboard the International Space Station, performing experiments and sending back amazing photos. With all these eyes in the sky, I’d like to take another opportunity to put together a recent photo album of our solar system — a set of family portraits, of sorts — as seen by our astronauts and mechanical emissaries. This time, we have some great shots from the new Mars rover Curiosity, a parting shot of the asteroid Vesta, some glimpses of Saturn and its moons, and lovely images of our home, planet Earth
Read more. [Images: Reuters, NASA]
NASA’s Curiosity rover has been sending back awesome images of the Martian surface since it landed on the red planet in early August. But to see the rover itself, you need the work of another NASA craft, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the planet since 2006. Earlier this week, it was able to capture the above picture of the rover, in which you can clearly see the tracks it has left in the Martian dust. (NASA notes the color in the image has been enhanced to show detail, hence the bluish tinge.)
Read more. [Image: NASA]
Earth, From Mars
Meet the most boring rock in the world. It’s probably basalt, an igneous rock, which makes it like many, many other rocks and pebbles all over the world.
What makes it interesting is that the world in question is Mars, and this random little piece of stone happens to be sitting near the Mars Curiosity rover on the floor of the Gale crater. And, N165, as it is being temporarily called, also happens to have a nice, flat face that happens to be in the range of the rover’s laser.
That all makes this poor little guy a perfect test rock for everyone’s favorite Martian robot to fire upon.
Read more. [Image: NASA]
LMFAO meets NASA’s Curiosity rover.