10 Years of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data gathered together: Magnificent Mars is a short but intense video highlighting the last decades worth of images brought back from the red planet. It’s next project may be selecting a landing area for the first manned flight.
NASA assembled this amazing video of the Sun in Ultra-HD (4K) from footage generated by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, and added some tasty music by Lars Leonhard to it. On top of that, the folks at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center decided to make this video public domain, posting it so it can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/12034, along with several others. If they keep doing this, I might have to break down and buy myself a TV suitable for watching these on, and download the entire collection.
Robert Picardo hosts Planetary Post, launched this month by the Planetary Society as a monthly Video Newsletter designed to keep you up to date on space news. For its pilot episode Robert had Bill Nye the Science Guy as his guest (not a difficult thing to get the leader of the Planetary Society to volunteer to hype his organization), and it was all silly fun. I am looking forward to seeing a lot more episodes in this series, some of which may accidentally include news and video from Space!
When I hear Planetary Defense I think Doctor Who and U.N.I.T. or several other sci-fi franchises. But this is NASA in real life, protecting the planet from another Extinction-Level Event in the form of a big hulking rock slamming into Earth at trans-orbital velocities. You can follow them on Twitter if you want to keep track of what might be headed our way, and learn about the next step, the Asteroid Redirect Mission.
On December 21st SpaceX made history by bringing the first stage of a rocket launch safely back to Earth, as part of a mission that put 11 satellites in various orbits. What makes this important is the fact that being able to reuse the first rocket stage reduces the cost of going to space to 1% of its current price tag. Check out the article about reusability on the SpaceX web site for their take on the topic. The Falcon 9 rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral and the first stage landed back there as well. There is an excellent article about the mission at MIT Technology Review if you would like a few more details. Besides covering the launch and landing the video also covers the satellite launches.
Japan’s first planetary orbiter Akatsuki is now sending back images of Venus from close up, and the folks at the Planetary Society have posted a nicely detailed Akatsuki Mission Status Report on their web site which includes those pictures. Besides telling us about the satellites current status, they also give some information about its mission as the Venus Climate Orbiter and the three cameras that are its primary data gathering instruments. There was also some background on the JAXA planetary orbiter history, of which this mission is the first success, and a translation of their press conference announcing the achievement. While I would personally rather move to Mars, the knowledge we can gain from studying the weather dynamics on Venus will be very useful in better understanding our own.