May 16, 2012 is the third martian anniversary of the start of Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) observations from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. MCS started measuring the atmosphere of Mars three Mars years ago, on September 24, 2006. We can now compare the weather and behavior of the atmosphere in three different years, and find the temperature differences to be surprisingly large.
This summer should provide great opportunities for stargazers to view planets, meteor showers, the transit of Venus, and for some, the annular solar eclipse. Check out these highlights of what you can look forward to this summer.
On May 8, 2012, Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson brought their unique brand of motivational speaking to Capitol Hill. In a standing-room-only lunch discussion in one of the meeting rooms for the Committee on Space, Science, Technology, these two space superstars, along with planetary scientist Louise Prockter, explained to members of Congress, staffers, and media why we must continue to invest in planetary exploration.
Planetary exploration is in trouble. Massive budget cuts threaten to starve NASA’s planetary program for years to come. If you are as angered and frightened by this situation as I am, I ask you to make your voice heard. Please share this video. And tell Washington, “We Must Explore.”
As winter began to retreat in the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet, Opportunity was commanded to finish up her science assignments in April in preparation for leaving its refuge, and the Mars Exploration Rover mission rolled through its 100th month of exploration.
Marc Rayman's monthly check-in with the Dawn mission describes the achievements of the spacecraft in its Low-Altitude Mapping Orbit (including near-global high-resolution imaging!) and explains what's next.