Regular readers of this blog will find the content of today's 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast familiar, because it's an update on what the solar system exploration spacecraft are up to, based on my monthly "what's up" updates.
April 2011 will see MESSENGER begin the science phase of its orbital mission at Mercury, and should, I think, also see the start of Dawn's approach observations of Vesta. At Mars, Opportunity is back on the road again, rolling inexorably toward Endeavour. At Saturn, Cassini will continue its focus on Saturn and Titan science.
I've spent the day noodling around in the current issue of Icarus, following up some of the more interesting stories within its table of contents, and came across a picture of this very cool crater -- actually, set of craters -- on Mars.
I think a goodly proportion of you readers have already figured this out for yourselves since it was launched last March, but I didn't download and install it until last weekend, so this is new to me: Google Mars is awesome.
I just received one of those chillingly-titled missives from JPL: "Mars Odyssey Mission Status Report." The words "Status Report" in a JPL email title almost always mean that something has gone wrong with a spacecraft, but this time it's not as bad as it sounds.
Last week, the Mars Odyssey team announced that their mission is being extended another two years. This mission extension will be slightly different from previous mission phases due to a planned change in the spacecraft's orbit.