May 26, 2011

Goodbye Spirit, You were a Good Rover

He's gotten to Mars in the begging of 2004. He landed with a bouncy airbag, and got out safely. At first he could only find lots of volcanic rocks, and some thought Spirit was a failure and that volcanic rocks weren't interesting.
(in my opinion, what rocks is that he actually went to another planet and took pics there.)
And he conquered Columbia hills, a Martian mountain. 
He had luck too. When dust settled on the solar panels and seemed like the rover would shut down because of energy loss, a miraculous "dust devil"(sorta like little tornadoes) came and washed the sand away.

tornado on mars
Cool, huh?

But it finally ran out of luck when one of its wheels stopped working and stuck in the sand.

March 22, 2010 was the last time JPL communicated with Spirit.

And a while ago, NASA announced it would stop searching for Spirit.

I guess this had to come sooner or later. We still have Opportunity, and yes, there is the new rover Curiosity launching later this year.

Martian exploration is just beginning.
Martian sunset- breathtaking.

dust-covered panels.

May 23, 2011

Moon of Saturn; the weird Iapetus

Iapetus is one of the 30- odd moons of Saturn. (Titan, which is likely to be holding life, is one of them too)
iapetus saturn's moon 1
Its diameter is1436 km, and it was found in 1671 by Cassini.

It orbits an area within the radius 50 times that of Saturn's.
The weirdest thing about this moon is that, when it's on the east side of Saturn, its gets as much as7 times brighter! It's thought that one side of the moon has a light color and the other has a dark color.

Well, this looks like something is going on, I hope there was a probe to Iapetus to go find out why it's so weird.
For the moment, it's said that the dark stuff is residue from evaporation of water ice from the surface.

There were a few cool pictures of Iapetus on the web, so I'll post a few. Enjoy!