A stunning photo of Saturn

Saturn and its rings backlit, taken by NASA's Cassini mission on Sept. 15, 2006
June 7, 2013

  This wonderful photo of Saturn was taken by NASA’s Cassini mission on Sept. 15, 2006. The sun is behind the planet, giving a wonderful view of the rings. Even more spectacular, you can just see the Earth at the left.


Curiosity is sitting on a stream bed

Rounded gravel fragments, or clasts, up to a couple inches (few centimetres), on dry stream beds on Mars and Earth Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS and PSI
September 30, 2012

  The Mars rover Curiosity is driving over a dried-up stream bed. Looking at the gravel under Curiosity, NASA scientists say the water must have flowed about 1 m/s and been somewhere between 10 cm and a metre deep. That’s a lot of water, although it was probably billions of years ago.


Goodbye, Neil Armstrong

I was 7 years old when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon. My parents were always strict about bedtime, especially when I had to go to school in the morning. This was the only exception that I can remember. Mum got us up at about 2 am to watch the landing live, and I’ve very grateful to her. “That’s one small step for a man, one giant…

August 26, 2012

Complete Success!

Curiosity is safely down on the surface of Mars, and sending NASA low resolution images. Everything worked perfectly. She can now get on with finding out if Mars was ever friendly for life. The nerds just took gold in the 560 billion metres. La curiosidad esta viva sobre la superficie de Marte, y envíando imágenes de baja resolución a la NASA. Todo funcionó a la perfección. Ahora puede seguir adelante…

August 6, 2012

Diamond Ice on Mars

Diamond dust in Antarctica. Credit: Wikipedia commons
June 24, 2012

  Sometimes it snows on Mars.  In autumn, the snow is probably water ice, and in the depths of winter, when temperatures drop to -125 º C, it’s carbon dioxide snow. The atmosphere is thin and dry, and the temperature drops very fast after sunset, so the snow flakes are tiny, about 7 microns in diameter, like a human red blood cell.  In fact, it’s a lot like the diamond ice…


NASA video of the Venus transit

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded this video in ultraviolet ( a wavelength of 171 angstroms.) It shows Venus passing in front of the sun, and also very large coronal loops, which are found around sunspots and in active regions. These structures are associated with the closed magnetic field lines that connect magnetic regions on the solar surface. Many coronal loops last for days or weeks but most change quite rapidly….

June 6, 2012