2 cool things from Nasa this week!

Luckynumber3

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The title of this thread is a bit vague, but here ya' go:

1. This week Nasa released this awesome photo of the earth, which they call the "New Blue Marble" photo (unless I am wrong, the original blue marbnle photo was this from the apollo missions: File:The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )

Here it is, and there is also a mega sized one in the link: http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/618486main_earth_full.jpg

618480main_earth1600_428-321.jpg

Blue Marble

A 'Blue Marble' image of the Earth taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA's most recently launched Earth-observing satellite - Suomi NPP. This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth's surface taken on January 4, 2012. The NPP satellite was renamed 'Suomi NPP' on January 24, 2012 to honor the late Verner E. Suomi of the University of Wisconsin.

Suomi NPP is NASA's next Earth-observing research satellite. It is the first of a new generation of satellites that will observe many facets of our changing Earth.

Suomi NPP is carrying five instruments on board. The biggest and most important instrument is The Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite or VIIRS.

Image Credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring





But there is something even cooler!



2. Nasa's Opportunity rover celebrates it 8th year on mars!

Its solar panels are dusty and its instruments are weakening, but the intrepid Mars rover Opportunity is still undaunted. Today marks the rover’s eighth anniversary on the Red Planet, truly a feat for a mission that was designed to last a single season. As the rover embarks on its ninth year of work, it has some brand-new tasks that will give Mars scientists plenty to do long after it has beeped its last transmission home.

Opportunity is nestled for the winter at a rocky outcropping called Greeley Haven, perched at a southerly angle to provide its solar panels with maximum light. Winds have been kind to Opportunity during the past eight years, occasionally brushing its panels clean, but it’s been a while and the panels are pretty obscured. Opportunity’s science team has some winter missions planned, so the rover needs a steady power supply.


One key mission is a radio science campaign to study Mars’ interior, according to rover scientists. The rover’s high-gain antenna will track Earth and scientists will measure the Doppler shift in the radio signal as Mars wobbles. This will give some information about Mars’ core, said Ray Arvidson, deputy principal investigator on the rover mission and a professor at Washington University in St. Louis. The wobble can indicate how much of the core is melted — the way a raw egg wobbles vs. the tight spin of a hardboiled one.

Opportunity will also use its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer to look at a rocky outcropping called Saddleback, determining what it’s made of, and it will also stare at the floor of Endeavour Crater, checking for wind-caused changes, Arvidson said.

greeley%20haven.jpg

View From Greeley Haven: This windswept vista taken in mid-January shows the outcrop nicknamed Greeley Haven, the winter resting spot for NASA's Opportunity rover. The rover landed on Mars eight years ago Jan. 25 and is heading into its fifth Martian winter. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Its emission spectrometer no longer works, and its Moessbauer spectrometer, which identifies minerals containing iron, is almost out of cobalt-57 juice, so some of these measurements will take a lot longer than they would with a younger rover.


But Opportunity — and its twin, Spirit, before it fell silent two years ago — have already far surpassed scientists’ greatest expectations. Watch some of the rover team discuss their findings in the video below.

<NASA VIDEO>
http://www.popsci.com/technology/ar...an-touchdown-opportunity-rover-still-soldiers

I can barely believe it's been 8 years since Nasa's rover landed on Mars, as I remember the whole thing pretty well.
 

Howard2k

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Incredible, I had no idea Opportunity was still ticking. I thought it died not long after Spirit. That is great.
 

Engel

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I thought Obama cancelled it?... Someone inform me!!!

Get your facts straight! It was the space shuttle program. Not all of NASA. I somewhat agree with it. We need to get our financial business together first before we start exploring other worlds. They aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Once we get our economy straight then I am sure we will dive back in.
 

Luckynumber3

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NASA rocks! I wish they were doing more.
Same here- NASA is on of the greatest things for humankind, letting the human species go further than it has ever gone before. Luckily private rocket industries seem to be growing, but NASA is one of those governmental things that is actually cool!

I thought Obama cancelled it?... Someone inform me!!!
As far as I know, the shuttles were supposed to be retired at a set date. There was originally supposed to be a replacement spacecraft to take over when that happened, but it got defunded and now there is no space shuttle or similar vehicle (If I remember right, that is what happened).

Despite the shuttle program, the rest of NASA seems to be going as normal, and there is even a new rover heading to Mars at the moment.

Incredible, I had no idea Opportunity was still ticking. I thought it died not long after Spirit. That is great.
According to the article, it is in its typical winter cycle where it powers down nd gathers energy to refuel its batteries (kinda like a hibernating animal). I know that spirit died, but hopefully Opportunity will be able to function normally when they wake it up to drive again.

Amazing. And to think, there's a whole universe out there.
Indeed! One thing that I love about space is that it is so open and free- despite all the crap that happens on Earth, we are like microbes in a pond vs. the whole size of the Earth when you compare the Earth to the size of the whole universe. With so much space out there, there are so many possibilities.
 

GuitarToneFreak

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Even though everybody knows what Earth looks like by now, every time I see a picture of it it still amazes me. We live on a truly beautiful planet, it's breathtaking and I'd love to be able to see it like the astronauts have. :dude:
 

Joeydego

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Sorry to piss in your cheerios, but what a colossal waste of money
 

ptate

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We need to get our financial business together first before we start exploring other worlds. They aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Man...!! You don't know how wrong you are......!!! It's only 5 billion years until the sun starts to die, that's no time at all......... :shock::shock:

Oh sh*t...... Sorry, time is relative so I've just thought you might not think the same :hmm::naughty:
 

Pennyman

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Today marks the rover&#8217;s eighth anniversary on the Red Planet, truly a feat for a mission that was designed to last a single season.


Y'know, I can't help but wonder about that. Did they (NASA) REALLY spend untold millions of dollars to design, build, launch, and monitor that thing if they only expected it to last "...a single season"? A few months? Are you kidding me?

More likely, they knew damn well the thing was going to last at least a few years, and they played up its longevity as a PR win. Granted, it's almost certainly outlived its "true" expectancy, and that's all good. But let's stop with the exaggerations already.
 

No. 44

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Sorry to piss in your cheerios, but what a colossal waste of money

I find it depressing that some people feel this way. IMO wanting to understand the world around us and to increase our knowledge of things is an integral part of what makes us human beings. We refer to ourselves as homo sapiens. "Sapiens" means "wise" or "knowing". Shouldn't we try to live up to that?

And let's not forget that the knowledge which NASA has gained has also lead to many innovations which are used every day, including solar energy technology, water purification methods, and improvements in medicine. Here are a few links on the subject:

50 Consumer Technologies Developed by NASA in the Last 50 Years

NASA spin-off - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NASA - Space Program Benefits: NASA?s Positive Impact on Society

NASA - Space Technology Hall of Fame Inducts NASA Spinoff Technologies

The US Government wastes money on a lot of things, but the pursuit of knowledge isn't one of them.
 

Pennyman

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This thread goes politically nuclear in T-minus 10... 9.... 8....
 

Joeydego

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I find it depressing that some people feel this way. IMO wanting to understand the world around us and to increase our knowledge of things is an integral part of what makes us human beings. We refer to ourselves as homo sapiens. "Sapiens" means "wise" or "knowing". Shouldn't we try to live up to that?

And let's not forget that the knowledge which NASA has gained has also lead to many innovations which are used every day, including solar energy technology, water purification methods, and improvements in medicine. Here are a few links on the subject:

50 Consumer Technologies Developed by NASA in the Last 50 Years

NASA spin-off - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NASA - Space Program Benefits: NASA?s Positive Impact on Society

NASA - Space Technology Hall of Fame Inducts NASA Spinoff Technologies

The US Government wastes money on a lot of things, but the pursuit of knowledge isn't one of them.
I'd rather have social security than go hungry and have a picture of the earth when I'm 70. Evidently, our politicians are telling us we can't have both without trillions in borrowing. NASA is nice and all, BUT if we have to cut, it serves no purpose other than new pictures and very costly retrieval of space dust. We don't DESERVE NASA because we continuously squander our finance on wars, corruption and everything else. Until we get our money straight, let them live of royalty from all those fantastic inventions. By the way, where DOES all that patent money go, anyway? If these inventions are so spectacular, and a few of them are, why can't NASA be self sustaining? Until it is, my vote: mothball it as a bygone era of the cold war.
 

coldsteal2

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Have you guys ever seen how big the Pacific Ocean is?
we are used to seeing pretty much only half of the earth
in photos, when you take a photo from space of the Pacific
its all you can see.

pacificoceanishuge.jpg
 

rcole_sooner

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I hope the new rover will be even half as successful as either of the last 2.
 

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