Fourth Rock from the Sun

Source:  Hubble Space Telescope

Source: Hubble Space Telescope

Now to our planetary neighbor – where one of NASA’s orbiters has its ears cupped listening for an unlikely call from the Mars Phoenix lander.Phoenix, you’ll recall,  landed near the North pole in May 2008 sampled the soil until until winter in November.  Now that it is spring – the Phoenix team cannot resist seeing if their baby survived. No one’s betting on it…but if they get lucky they might have to rename it Timex – you know, takes a licking…keeps on ticking.  Sorry about the dated reference kids.

In warmer Martian climes – the Spirit Rover moved a tad – or maybe a scosh this week. Good – but not enough to make its way out of that sand trap its mired in. The Spirt team has not given up yet – but soon they may have top  focus on tilting the rovers – so its solar panels can better catch the low winter sun.

And here’s a cool postcard from Mars…showing the forest…or so it seems.  This unusual image comes from the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter.  Apparently it is a dune field – and those tree like thingies – dust kicked up by dry ice.

And check out this one.  Looks like a bull dozer has been busy up there – the wind makes this pattern in the dunes.  Those are boulders littering the valleys between.  Desktop wallpaper anyone?

And listen up shutterbugs – you wanna try your hand at interplanetary photography?  The team at the University of Arizona has started a new program called “Pick Pixels on Mars.”  just point your browser here – and suggest a site – you might end up with an enviable photo credit.

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