NuSTAR, the most sensitive X-ray telescope ever developed, launched successfully at 16:00 UT. This was a fun launch to watch, because the launch vehicle was a Pegasus XL air-launched rocket, dropped like a bomb from open bay doors of an L-1011 airplane.
There was good news and bad news in this morning's press briefing about Curiosity rover's upcoming landing on Mars, just eight weeks from now. First, the good news: the landing ellipse has shrunk. The bad news: there's a contamination problem with the drill, and the Odyssey orbiter is in safe mode.
On June 6 I hosted the Cosmoquest Weekly Science Hour. My guest was Dan Durda of the Southwest Research Institute. We talked asteroids, impact mitigation, searches for Vulcanoids, and suborbital experiments, and then he took us through how he creates his digital space art.
Thank you Ray; you changed the world. At the Planetary Society we will do our best to see to it that your dreams and hopes of exploring the distant regions of the Solar System, Mars especially, and are kept alive.
The last words Ray said to me were, “Yes, I will shout HURRAH!” I was visiting him at his home and had spent a hour or so talking with him about our favorite subject, Mars, as well as reading to him a couple of his own poems. Yesterday he passed away at the age of 91.
Ray Bradbury passed away last night, June 5, 2012, at the age of 91. He was a friend to the Planetary Society and an inspiration to its members. We'd like you members to share your recollections and stories of his singular influence in your lives.
Since you last visited, Opportunity has continued to drive downhill – well, what passes for ‘downhill’ on Cape York! – and is now not far at all from the northern edge of the Cape. From where she is now she sees the Meridiani desert stretching away to the north and west, the eastern hills on her right, and the Cape itself behind her. And around her? lots and lots of Homestake-like gypsum veins.
Dawn is beginning its departure from Vesta, spiraling upward from its low-altitude mapping orbit to a higher one from which it will map north polar terrain not visible during the earlier mapping orbit.
On June 9, UCLA faculty and students will join institutions across the country in voicing their support for continued funding of NASA's planetary science program through the National Planetary Science Bake Sale and Car Wash. If you aren’t able to make it to an event, be sure to make your voice heard by contacting your local representatives.
A measurement of the Andromeda galaxy's proper motion shows it's coming directly at us, and will collide with the Milky Way in 4 billion years. The event will transform the appearance of our night sky.
Unless you are lucky and healthy enough to live for another 105 years, tomorrow will be your last chance to see a Venus transit from the surface of the Earth. But this need not be the last transit of Venus that you will ever see.