Karl Battams reports (The Mercury Transit You Probably Missed) there was a transit of the sun by Mercury recently. Despite this being a rare event nothing was made of it – because it wasn’t visible from earth!
Here is a video of the transit taken by the NASA STEREO-A satellite At the moment this is on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth.
Fascinating that we have enough presence in the solar system now to make such a record.
Well, this is pretty historic!
China has successfully soft landed its probe on the moon and the rover is now on the surface.
The Planetary society’s Emily Lakdawalla has posted TV video of the unloading of the Rover – see Six wheels on soil for Yutu!
These are 3 animated gifs from Emily’s article
For those wanting to follow the process in real-time this is the video from the TV coverage.
I find this fascinating – a short video of an eclipse of the sun by the largest Martian moon, Phobos. Photographed by Curiosity a rover/laboratory landed on Mars just over a year ago.
Mars’ Moon Phobos Eclipses the Sun, as Seen by Curiosity
This week we mark the first anniversary of the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity, in the Gale Crater on Mars.
Self-portrait – Curiosity on Mars
TV and video coverage of this landing had a huge international audience on the night. It was certainly one of the top scientific events of the year.
The video below gives a short review of Curiosity and its landing.
Curiosity Rover: One Year on Mars
Curiosity team members at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., will share remembrances about the dramatic landing night and the mission overall in an event that will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website from 10:45 a.m. to noon EDT on Tuesday, Aug. 6 (2:45 to 4 a.m. Wednesday Aug. 7 NZST).
Immediately following that program NASA TV will carry a live public event from NASA Headquarters in Washington. That event will feature NASA officials and crew members aboard the International Space Station as they observe the rover anniversary and discuss how its activities and other robotic projects are helping prepare for a human mission to Mars and an asteroid. Social media followers may submit questions on Twitter and Google+ in advance and during the event using the hashtag #askNASA.
For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
The events will also be carried on Ustream at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl
And here’s a few links with further information on Curiosity, its discoveries and celebration of the anniversary back here on earth.
Mars Science Laboratory: Celebrate Your Curiosity: Anniversary Week Activities
Mars science laboratory
Curiosity’s Views of Gale Crater
This isn’t your usual rocket lauch.
The viewpoint is unusual – it’s from above. The rocket doesn’t reach great heights but it lands perfectly
via Grasshopper 325m Test | Single Camera (Hexacopter).
Many people have probably just become aware of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield in the last week because of his musical video Space Oddity that went viral.
It might be hard to find anyone who has not watched that video. However, Hadfield has starred in many videos from the International Space Station – sometimes singing but more often introducing viewers to interesting facts about living in a zero gravity environment.
This video is a very short (90 seconds) mashup of some of these.
Houston, We Have A Viral Video – Chris Hadfield In Space
Thanks to Chris Hadfield’s 5-month Space Mission in 90 Seconds – Ontario Stargazing.
UPDATE: Woops! Sorry, I confused the time conversions. The correct NZ times are now present in bold.
It’s all go aboard the International Space Station at the moment. An external ammonia link was found today (see NASA: Space station power system radiator leaking). This is connected to power systems and steps are changes are being made to isolate its effects.
Meanwhile three of the cosmonauts/astronauts will be returning to earth early next week. Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency, Tom Marshburn of NASA and Roman Romanenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will undock their Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft from the station on Tuesday May 14 NZT (7:08 p.m. EDT May 13), heading for a landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan southeast of Dzhezkazgan at 10:31 p.m. EDT (8:31 a.m. Kazakh time, May 14). They will have spent 146 days in space since their Dec. 19 launch from Kazakhstan.
Chris Hadfield, a Canadian, has been very actively photographing the earth – different countries and cities, and sending the photos out to social media via Twitter. He’s also done a lot of communication via video links to schoolchildren and other audiences. Hopefully the remaining cosmonauts/astronauts, and the new arrivals will make efforts continue such communication.
The Canadian Space Agency will mark the landing with a “Tweetup” at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Quebec. This will include live video coverage of the landing.
Photo: Canadian Space Agency/Chris Hadfield
Activities connected with the departure of the Soyuz craft and its landing can be following live on NASA TV. Coverage will begin Sunday, May 12 EDT, with the change of command ceremony between Hadfield and Vinogradov. Coverage will continue May 13 and 14 EDT with Expedition 35 landing and post-landing activities.
- NASA TV’s full coverage schedule is as follows (I have included both NZT and EDT):
- Sunday, May 12, 3:40 p.m. EDT — Expedition 35/36 change of command ceremony
- Monday, May 13, 3:30 p.m. EDT 11:30 p.m. NZT– Farewells and hatch closure (hatch closure scheduled at 3:50 p.m. EDT, 7:50 a.m. Tuesday 14 NZT)
- 6:45 p.m Monday, EDT. 10:45 a.m. Tuesday 14 NZT. — Undocking (undocking scheduled at 7:08 p.m. [11.08 a.m Tuesday 14 NZT])
- 9:15 p.m. Monday EDT. 1:15 p.m. Tuesday 14 NZT — Deorbit burn and landing (deorbit burn scheduled at 9:37 p.m. EDT [1.37 p.m Tuesday 14 NZT], landing scheduled at 10:31 p.m. EDT [2.31 p.m. Tuesday 14 NZT]).
- There will also be later video coverage of post landing activities.
This recent photo of Christchurch from Chris Hadfield now on board the International Space Station appealed to me. It seems to have quite wide coverage – but here it is for readers who have not yet come across it. (Click to enlarge).
Hadfield’s comment accompanying the Twitter of his photo said:
“Christchurch, NZ, taken just after Earth Hour ended. The perfect grid system of the downtown core is clearly visible.”
Photo by Chris Hadfield / NASA: Lake Baikal, Siberia. Immensely old and deep, it holds one-fifth of all the Earth’s fresh water. 26 Feb 2013, 7:31 PM (Click photo to enlarge)
Anyone following Chris Hadfield (
@Cmdr_Hadfield) on Twitter will have seen some of his gorgeous photos taken from the International Space Station (ISS). Somebody should collect them together so we can browse them.
Well, someone has done that with photos taken by Hadfield and other members of the ISS crew. Have a look at the web site Our World From The ISS or click the screen image below.
Here is a nice infogram summarising information on the meteor which exploded over the Urals, in Russia, last Friday. Click twice to enlarge.
Credit - UK Telegraph: Meteor5.png .
But talk about a cosmic coincidence. here we were looking in one direction to watch the flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14 (see Should we be prepared?) when another one, previously undetected, scores a direct hit coming form another direction. Imagine if the Russian one had flown by while the larger asteroid 2012 DA14 hit directly. The damage would have been far greater.
Sort of underlines the need for humanity to develop better systems for early detection of near earth objects, and the ability to divert them where necessary.