The Saturn system reveals tantalizing vistas. NASA’s robotic spacecraft named Cassini carries with it 12 instruments designed to take precise measurements of Saturn and its surroundings, including Titan, other icy moons, and the rings, as well as the magnetic environment.
For many of us, however, the images are what put us there, at Saturn, almost a billion miles away from home. Some of those images unveil overwhelming beauty. Others show tricks of light and seemingly magical oddities. Some reveal events from the distant past that have been preserved for eons, while other views depict processes that are changing now, like live news.
ESA’s Rosetta team create history. So much could have gone wrong in those 10 long years. If the rest of mission goes as planned then it will become the first spacecraft to orbit a comet on its journey around the sun, and in November 2014 mission controllers will look to place the Philae robotic lander on the surface of the comet, another first.
Today’s milestone is just the beginning in many ways.
To avoid any confusion, the little spaceship seen in each frame is irrelevant to the message. I believe the original designer put them there to help establish how much light the sun generates on each planet. (Each comparison was based on the approximate apparent visual magnitude of the sun for each planet)
International Space Station astronaut Alexander Gerst has posted his “saddest photo yet.” From all the way up in the thermosphere, ISS personnel orbiting 200 miles over the Middle East can see bombs and missiles exploding in Gaza and Israel as the two sides go to war.
We are stardust, made of the stuff of dying suns. NASA simulates our basic building blocks. Scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California have developed a way of recreating the dust and gas found around dying red giant stars that eventually become planet-forming interstellar dust.: http://www.gizmag.com/interstellar-dust-planet-formation-nasa/31957/
This is such a fascinating research project. Who knew we could gleam such fascinating insights from humble dust grains?