Even More Incredible Photos from New Horizons

Good morning, readers!

I apologize for the long break. I started a new job this week, and then, unluckily, fell ill. It’s been a tad bit hectic. For now, I have some new photos of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons mission. The first is stunning–a large swath of land that has a “snakeskin-like” texture due to some mystifying geological formations of some sort. Scientists are still working on what could create such formations. The mountainous region has been named (informally, at the moment) the Tartarus Dorsa. Check it out:

pluto_snakeskin

The second is a lovely, detailed panorama of part of the Sputnik Planum, showing close up details of craters and mountains. And it’s close–the image is only 330 miles across. Make sure to click on it to see larger resolution.

pluto_detailed

Finally, there is the most detailed color of Pluto we have yet received, and it has enormous potential for helping scientists to determine the geological and climate history of the dwarf planet. You can see the Sputnik Planum there in the middle, and the Tartarus Dorsa in the middle right:

pluto_color

Enjoy the photos! I hope to be posting some solid content soon. Thanks for checking in!

Image credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

Advertisements

The Global Subsurface Ocean of Enceladus

enceladusPhoto credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Exciting news from research using NASA’s Cassini mission data–confirmation that there is a global subsurface ocean on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus!

The southern pole of Enceladus has active jets of water and vapor (as you can see in the photo). This means that there had to be at least a liquid reservoir of some sort under the surface–or there would be no water and vapor to expel. However, previous research had posited a regional body of water under the southern pole, as there was no evidence that corroborated anything more.

Here’s where the new research comes in.

Continue reading “The Global Subsurface Ocean of Enceladus”

More Photos of Pluto Incoming from NASA’s New Horizons

The data and images from the New Horizons Pluto flyby are still coming in. NASA  released some more photos today–and these are impressively detailed. The first one is a beautiful 1000 mile wide mosaic featuring the Sputnik Planum and some of the surrounding features. The second two are the more close-up single photos.

Read what NASA has to say about Pluto’s incredible terrain here. There are also some pretty cool pictures of Charon, Pluto’s largest moon.nh-surface-features-9-11-15 Continue reading “More Photos of Pluto Incoming from NASA’s New Horizons”

NASA’s Journey to Mars & MAVEN video

mars-512489_1280

NASA is currently working on a “Journey to Mars,” a step-by-step process focused on getting human feet on the surface of the Red Planet by the 2030’s. It’s ridiculously exciting stuff, but there’s a lot of work to be done.

The International Space Station is the first step, where astronauts are even now testing the effects of space on the human body, communications capabilities, and other significant technologies. The next step is the Asteroid Redirect Mission, when the ARM robot will capture an asteroid mass and redirect it into a stable orbit around the moon. By 2025 or so, astronauts will utilize the Orion Spacecraft (whose first test flight took place in December 2014) to land on the asteroid, collect samples, and return them to Earth.

Continue reading “NASA’s Journey to Mars & MAVEN video”

Cassini’s Dione Flyby – Images

cassini-92364_640

The Cassini Mission to Saturn has been a powerful and significant step in the exploration of our solar system—a cooperative venture of NASA, the European Space Agency, and Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (the Italian Space Agency).

Since being launched in 1997, Cassini has flown by Jupiter, done tests regarding general relativity, orbited Saturn, and done close flybys of several of Saturn’s moons, not to mention delivering the Huygens probe to the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan—all while sending back reams and reams of data to scientists.

Continue reading “Cassini’s Dione Flyby – Images”

SD Comic-Con 2015 The Martian Panel

Here’s the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con panel for The Martianthe film version of Andy Weir’s bestselling novel, directed by Ridley Scott.

The panel consists of Jim Green, NASA’s director of planetary science; Todd May, the manager of NASA’s space launch system; Victor Glover, a NASA astronaut; and, of course, the author of the book, Andy Weir.

It’s great to see NASA engaging with popular culture, which is something I think The Martian has great potential to do. I’m glad NASA is working to emphasize that strength.

I haven’t had a chance to check out the whole video yet, but if there’s a moment you particularly enjoyed/learned something from, feel free to leave the timestamp below!

Enjoy!