Thursday, September 13, 2007

NASA Missions Updates




Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. September 10th. NASA's Cassini spacecraft made it's closest flyby of Saturn's moon Iapetus. Cassini took images of Saturn's 3rd. largest two toned moon (the pic below) from 1640 kms high. This bizarre moon has a mountain range that runs along the equator. It also has two different colored hemispheres, dark and white, too weird. In Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey Astronaut Dave Bowman finds an alien monolith waiting for him on Iapetus.




A few of NASA's goals on this flyby are:

1. Determine the characteristics and geological history of Iapetus.

2. Define the different physical processes that created the surface of Iapetus.


3. Investigate composition and distribution of surface materials on Iapetus-particularly the dark organic rich material and condensed ices.

Iapetus is cool, my third fav moon in the universe, the first being our moon but my second fav moon in the universe is Mimas shown below.


Mimas is Saturn's 7th. largest moon, whatever hit the little moon that caused the large crater at the top nearly destroyed it, there are fracture lines on its opposite side. Mimas is made up of ice and water with a little smattering of rock. May the force be with you.

NASA's rover, Opportunity started into the Victoria Crater on Tuesday but when it had slipage problems it backed out again. NASA is now trying to figure out whether or not the loose ground is going to be a problem for Opportunity and may prevent Opportunity from doing any science in the crater at all.


The Phoenix Mars Lander which was launched on my birthday August 4, 2007, the day not the year was my birthday, is doing well. NASA did some tests and all its crucial stuff that has to be working like its landing radar checked out well. The Phoenix Lander will be landing on Mars May 25th, 2008 to perform various on board tests with it's cool built in lab. The lander has travelled more than 50 million miles but has another 600 million to go. Below is an artistic rendition of the Phoenix Lander on the surface of Mars.



16 comments:

Danny said...

This is great stuff...didn't know about the lander!...the rovers are still roving?...interesting about Clarke and 2001 reference.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Danny, I think it's amazing the rovers are still going as well.

Rand said...

Some amazing images on the Nasa site aye, don't know to much about Iapetus or our own solar system for that matter.

What's the white stuff in the images? looks like snow.

Bob Johnson said...

Hi rand, they're not quite sure. NASA says surface resembling snow, thats why the flyby, it is most likley ice but the exact composition is unknown, and why does it have such a high reflective surface.

Anna said...

Bob, very interesting post. I still think our moon is the nicest but I enjoyed looking on some other moons. And happy belated bday. Anna :) BTW results are out on my blog.

Vic Grace said...

I wanted to tell you that you are on my reader. I always find your blog interesting but I don't comment as I am abysmally ignorant of these things. It is a great blog though

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Anna, thanks, our moon is definitely the best.

Bob Johnson said...

I appreciate being on your reader, thanks Vic Grace!.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

WOOT!!! Have you ever thought of writing science fiction? You would have such background settings!!!

Hugs, JJ

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks JJ, but writing's not my thing. it's amazing to me I'm even doing this blog.

Scruffyhippo said...

I must admit, I hadn't heard of that moon either but that's why I come here coz I learn something everytime :)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Peter, I think it was cool the moon was in the novel 2001 a space odyssey

zunnur said...

Hi Bob,
"This bizarre moon has a mountain range that runs along the equator" - is that the ring which is quite visible in the first picture?

"Mimas is made up of ice and water with a little smattering of
rock" - its amazing how the little moon managed to withstand such an impact, the crater is very large!

The outer space is full of weird things, thanks for sharing all those interesting pictures.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Zunnur, yep that is a mountain range that goes all along the equator, I will be posting more about the little planet Saturday.

Rick said...

Awesome blog. I've never seen that pic of the earth-like clouds on Mars before!!

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Rick, the cloud pic is one of my all time favs of a real pic of an alien world.