Polly Want A Polygon?

MRO photo of Phoenix descent to the surface yesterday — NASA/JPL-Caltech/U of A Talk about an amazing photo. Take a look at this image, the first-ever picture made of a spacecraft landing on another planet. It was taken by the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter, and shows the Phoenix lander suspended from a parachute during its descent…
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Touchdown! Mars Probe Lands Safely

A first look at the Martian surface and one of the Phoenix landing pads – NASA/JPL The Martian arctic landscape taken shortly afterlanding by the Phoenix stereo camera. Notice thatthe soil is broken into plates. This pattern is called polygonalcracking, and is also seen in permafrost on Earth. It’scaused by seasonal freezing and thawing of ice. – NASA/JPL We did…
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Countdown To A Mars Landing

Artist conception of Phoenix just before touchdown this evening / NASA This is the big day. If all goes according to plan, the Mars Phoenix lander will land safely in the Martian arctic just before 7 p.m. Central time. It’s equipped with a stereo camera to take pictures of the landscape, a robotic arm for digging beneath the surface, and…
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Catch A Dragon By The Tail

Look high in the north to find Draco around 10:30 p.m. – created with Stellarium As we walked toward the east, my older daughter remarked last night how many stars she could see in that direction. The spare spring sky is giving way to the richness of summer and the Milky Way. Vega is the vanguard…
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The Present Day In A Galaxy Not So Far Away

The space station zips across the telescope field of view last night – Bob King We had two International Space Station (ISS) passes last night, and I hope you got to see them. Both were brilliant. I managed to chase down the station in my telescope at low power on each occasion. To do it,…
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