Touchdown on Mars

On August 6, 2012 the Curiosity rover will attempt a completely automated landing in Gale Crater on Mars. Curiosity is about five times larger than Spirit or Opportunity, so it can’t just deploy a huge beach-ball and bounce to safety — instead it needs to pull off a much more precise (and dramatic!) landing.

Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity’s Seven Minutes of Terror

Team members at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory share the challenges of the Curiosity Mars rover’s final minutes to landing on the surface of Mars.

That video is all the more impressive when you have a mental image of exactly how large the Mars Science Laboratory is:

The Mars Science Laboratory

Actual size

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Zombie Apocalypse Now In A Minute

Keith Zombie Apocalypse Now In A Minute is a Cardiff-set webcomic documenting the rise of the undead in Wales. Inspired by Shaun of the Dead and the feel of a post-match Cardiff, the story follows the adventures of Keith, an overweight, sarcastic bartender who attempts to hide out in the castle.

The webcomic is the work of Jamie McGowan who himself runs a bar in Cardiff, which has no doubt provided him with plenty of inspiration. The artwork is stylish and imaginative, and captures Cardiff perfectly.

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Long exposure photographs from the International Space Station

Talk about stunning!

ISS Star Trails, a set on Flickr from NASA_JSC_Photo

Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit relayed some information about photographic techniques used to achieve the images: “My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure.”

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Pizza / not pizza

Here is the Google search results page for ‘pizza’, circa 2012:

Google results for 'Pizza' — 2012

Clearly what you want to see and what Google wants you to see are now two different things. It wasn’t always like this. (And in fairness, it isn’t always as bad as this example.) Continue reading