90 days? Ha! How about 15 years!

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opportunity_goodbye

NASA and JPL have closed the books on the Mars Opportunity rover. Designed for a 90 day mission, the little explorer-that-could made it almost 15 years. The last transmission from the rover has been translated into something a bit anthropomorphic and pensive, and variations on the above image have become Internet memes.  Someday someone will find it sitting forlornly in a pile of Martian dust, and at that point we’ll have to decide whether to bring it back to be displayed in the Smithsonian, or to create a permanent historical park on Mars.

Good job, Opportunity (you, too, Spirit and Sojourner). Rest easy, we’ll find you someday.

We landed on Mars today!

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Mars_Insight

Our latest Mars probe landed successfully today, after a 7 month journey from it’s launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Designed to study the physical structure of Mars, the probe will look for water, and use super-sensitive seismometers to study the planet’s interior. It will drill down into the ground beneath the lander to help scientists explore the mantle and core of Mars.

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Jimmiejoe’s Space Age – A Recap

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mars_curiosity

Curiosity takes a selfie. On Mars.

Today, we (deliberately) crash-landed a space probe on a comet.  The Rosetta probe was “gently” crashed into the comet 67P, on which a specifically designed lander had soft-landed on November 12, 2014.  I was watching ESA/NASA TV when the loss-of-signal event indicated the flight had ended with the probe impacting the surface of the comet.

I am one month older than the space age.

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Beefcake, interstellar

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Eta Carinae and the Expanding Homunculus Nebula (2014 Dec 02)

Eta Carinae and the Expanding Homunculus Nebula, 7,500 to 8,000 light years from Earth.  NASA

This is what an astronaut looks like in space, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney not withstanding

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astronaut_selfie

I’m sorry, but Sandra and George didn’t come close.

Running the Dunes on #Mars

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curiosity_mars_dunes_fed_2014

February 10,2014.  Mars. Unbelievably freaking cool.

The JPL source page, here.

Mars is a real place.

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Pictures like this just enthrall me.  This is a real place. On another planet.

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