Photos – parachutist breaks speed of sound in free-fall, planets in the sky, glaciers

Pictured over Chile’s Atacama desert, the blue star cluster to the left is the Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters. Second from left is Jupiter, followed by Venus and the star Aldebaran.¬†Jupiter and Venus remained large and bright in the early morning through the rest of July.

 

Continue reading Photos – parachutist breaks speed of sound in free-fall, planets in the sky, glaciers

The best video NASA has ever produced – ‘7 minutes of terror’ – landing a robot on Mars

 

On Aug. 5 or Aug. 6, depending on which part of the country you’re in, the Curiosity spacecraft careening toward Mars will hit the Red Planet’s atmosphere, deploy a supersonic parachute and either land safely on the planet’s surface or perish. It’s dramatic stuff, and NASA has produced this Hollywood-style YouTube video, complete with animation and suspenseful music, to preview the landing, evoke that drama and put viewers on the edge of their seats.

As engineers explain, it will take seven minutes for Curiosity to travel from the edge of Mars’ atmosphere to the surface, going from a speed of 13,000 mph to zero. “If any one thing doesn’t work just right, it’s game over,” engineer Tom Rivellini says.

Because Mars is so far away, it actually takes 14 minutes for the spacecraft’s signal to reach Earth. So by the time we learn the spacecraft has hit the top of Mars’ atmosphere, Curiosity will have either have survived the landing or perished for a full seven minutes.

 

Source: Skye –¬†7 Minutes of Terror: NASA’s Dramatic Mars-Landing Preview