Things are still a bit slim, weekly roundup wise, but here you go:
Keep on rovin’
Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the Mars rover Spirit, which touched down on the red planet on 3rd January, 2004. Spirit was joined 21 days later by a second rover, Opportunity
NASA had planned for the plucky little robots to last for at least three months, but half a decade later they’re still providing useful information about our planetary neighbour. The data gathered by the pair has conclusively shown that Mars was at one point home to liquid surface water, raising the possibility that life once existed there.
The pair of rovers are starting to show their age, however. Spirit has to explore the Martian surface backwards due to a jammed wheel, and Opportunity’s robotic arm has a glitchy shoulder. When they do eventually fail completely they will not be replaced until the 2011 launch of a more advanced probe, the Mars Science Laboratory, which has been delayed by technical and monetary difficulties.
The Sky in Motion
This video is made from a series of 7,000 separate images, and depicts the changes in the night sky over time. Stars dancing around, the Moon and Sun flying by, and many other astronomical wonders are all highlighted in this rather neat video: