Review: The Year in Space wall calendar for 2014

Credit: Paul Scott Anderson
Credit: Paul Scott Anderson

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.

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Blog update: new theme, image galleries, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pocket

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!

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MAVEN spacecraft is on its way to Mars

The MAVEN spacecraft is launched on Nov. 18, 2013 for a 10-month journey to Mars. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The MAVEN spacecraft is launched on November 18, 2013 for a 10-month journey to Mars. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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.

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Unusual oval pit near Galaxias Chaos on Mars

Oval pit or crater with opening in the bottom, as photographed near Galaxias Chaos on Mars by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Oval pit or crater with an opening in the bottom, as photographed near Galaxias Chaos on Mars by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

This is interesting, a recent HiRISE photo from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft showing an oval pit or crater with an opening in the bottom (cropped here from one of the larger images) near Galaxias Chaos on Mars. The opening is also oval, and you can see some sand dunes on the bottom. How did it form? More images are available here.

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Stunning new image from Cassini of Saturn – and Mars, Earth and Venus too!

Beautiful panoramic view of Saturn, some of its moons, and even some of the inner planets including Earth, as imaged by Cassini on July 19, 2013 as part of The Day the Earth Smiled event. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI
Beautiful panoramic view of Saturn, some of its moons, and even some of the inner planets including Earth, as imaged by Cassini on July 19, 2013 as part of The Day the Earth Smiled event. Click on image for larger version. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

The Cassini spacecraft has taken another stunning new panoramic image, released yesterday, showing Saturn and its rings in all of their glory. It has done this before, including ones showing the Earth and Moon in the far distance, as tiny specks of light. But this new image is even better; not only does it again show Saturn and its rings beautifully backlit against the Sun in natural color, but this one also shows Mars and Venus, as well as the Earth and Moon!

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