Friday links

Down To Earth

The legenday Shannon Lucid retires from NASA. What everyone isn’t talking about is that there is still another active female TFNG astronaut in the office – Anna Fisher.

Sign this petition for a new New Horizons probe forever stamp (via Bad Astronomy)!

Armadillo Aerospace launched their reusable STIG-A rocket to a 50 mile altitude last weekend and got some cool photos of their re-entry system, which unfortunately didn’t function completely.

Wayne Hale writes about how growing up in the old American frontier reminds him of what the space frontier may mean to future space colonists.

Space Adventures – the corporation that makes a business out of being the middleman between space agencies and rich thrill seekers that want a ride in space – has announced 2017 as their target date for a circumlunar flight for their tourists. The last I heard, they were planning to do this with the Russians. See this post of mine for my thoughts on how likely that date is.

Science is sometimes about destroying cool ideas, instead of making cool discoveries. It turns out one of the first planets ever directly imaged – Fomalhaut B – is probably not a planet after all. The good news is, there are other confirmed direct observations of exoplanets (see the gallery at the bottom of the linked post).

In Orbit

ISS performed another debris avoidance maneuver last Saturday (ISS on-orbit status from that day).

First MoonKAM video of the moon from the GRAIL spacecraft (via EarthSky). And no this is not the “first ever video of the dark side of the moon” as Fox News reported. Good Grief.

Around the Solar System

Beautiful animation from the Mars rover Opportunity showing clouds moving over Endeavour crater.

I love this photo of Saturn’s moon Dione in front of the thin profile of the rings.

The Juno Jupiter probe completed the first course correction burn of its long trip to the outer solar system.

Because it’s cool

A sort of time-lapse shot of Sirius showing the twinkling cause by the atmosphere (via ESPOD and Bad Astronomy)

Sirius Twinkling

Fun shot of the recent aurorae lighting up the northern hemisphere from APOD.

This is a galaxy:

February 3, 2012 6:00 am

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