Low number of links this week. I’ve been busy at work and I’m going out of town this weekend. Hopefully you enjoy the pretty pictures at the end and catch the Atlas 5 launch in just a couple of hours!
Down to Earth
The big news of course is the President’s proposal for the 2013 federal budget, including NASA’s allocations. I’m not going to go into my personal opinions right now, but here is the Planetary Society’s reaction (I am a member).
One of NASA’s 747s used to ferry the Space Shuttle Orbiters around the world took its last flight this month. This airplane will not go into a museum but will instead be used for parts for NASA’s SOFIA airplane based observatory.
Masten Space tested their Xaero vehicle in a tethered hover test last month. I love the extendo-legs.
In a separate test, Masten demonstrated on their Xombie rocket some autonomous guidance systems they have been working on with NASA (via Parabolic Arc).
Phil Plait outlines his top 5 books to learn something about the universe in an interview with The Browser.
Russian cosmonauts aboard ISS completed the 30th spacewalk on the Russian Segment on Thursday. The EVA lasted about 6 hours and involved tasks to prep the DC-1 module (docking compartment) for jettison to make way for the new larger MLM module.
Around the Solar System
First color image of the Spirit Mars rover landing site in color.
More beauty from Cassini. Rhea and Titan.
Because it’s Cool
Check out the similarities between these two images. The first is a gigantic swirling eddy of phytoplankton in the Indian Ocean (via Earth Observatory).
The second is a swirling aurora photographed in the Yukon (via Universe Today).
Nature has certain patterns it always repeats, even across such dissimilar environments as the warm Indian Ocean to the edge of the atmosphere.