Monday, November 18, 2013

MAVEN Lifts Off to Mars

Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The MAVEN spacecraft launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1:28 pm EST today.  It's going to Mars to attempt to determine why Mar's atmosphere diminished to it's current state from what was believed to be its atmosphere of billions of years ago that was similar to Earth's current atmosphere.  The trip to Mars will take 10 months and MAVEN will go into orbit around Mars in September 2014.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Beautiful Launch and Docking to the International Space Station Last Week

Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
On November 7, 2013 Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of Russia, Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of the USA and Koichi Wakata of Japan lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on their way to the International Space Station.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Lakes of Titan

Photo Credit: NASA
For those of you that haven't seen this amazing photo, this is not a photo of Earth, but is instead an enhanced image of the lakes in the northern hemisphere of Titan, one of Saturn's moons.  NASA reports that the data for the above image was taken by the Cassini Orbiter during a close flyby of Titan on September 12, 2013, and that the image is actually a false-color mosaic made from infrared data.  The hydrocarbon lakes are believed to be made of liquid ethane and methane.  Titan is the only other body in the solar system known to have a stable liquid weather system on its surface.  For more information about the above image and about the lakes on Titan see NASA's "Titan's Northern Lakes: Salt Flats?" and "Cassini Gets New Views of Titan's Land of Lakes."