As the Curiosity rover keeps making its way closer to Mount Sharp, we are starting to see the foothills, mesas, buttes and valleys in more detail. All of these Mastcam images are from sol 467. The scenery could easily be mistaken for the American southwest, but no, this is Mars. These are just the foothills; Mount Sharp itself is about 4.8 kilometres (3 miles) tall and just out of view to the left. What a stark, yet beautiful, landscape. All of Curiosity’s raw images can be seen here.
There was a lot of disappointment when it was announced that the crippled Kepler Space Telescope would not be able to continue its search for exoplanets after a malfunction left it unable to stabilize enough to focus properly. There was some comfort in the knowledge that there was still a lot of its original data to go through, and that a few thousand planetary candidates had already been found. But now, it seems that Kepler’s assumed death may have been a bit premature.
Every year at this time there are a lot of new calendars to choose from, but only a few that are space or astronomy-related, or visually stunning or unique enough to stand out from the crowd. If that is what you are looking for, then look no further. The new 2014 edition of the Year in Space calendar is now available! This beautiful calendar is published in cooperation with The Planetary Society.
I’ve been revamping the blog a bit again, with a new WordPress theme, Retina, and a few other additions. The theme is nicely responsive for smartphone and tablet screens. I’ve updated the header image for a new look. I’ve tidied up the image galleries and will add more as I can. I’ve added a “Pin it” button to images, which shows up on the images themselves when you hover over them, for faster posting to Pinterest. Also, in the social sharing footer on posts, I’ve now added Pocket for easy saving of posts. The “about” pages have been updated too. I’m still tweaking things a bit, but this is the basic idea. There is also now a LinkedIn group page as well as an Instagram for the blog!
Only a couple of weeks after India launched its first-ever mission to Mars, NASA has also just sent another probe to the Red Planet. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) spacecraft was successfully launched yesterday, November 18th, at 1:28 pm EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.