SpaceX successfully re-launches and lands orbital rocket booster

SpaceX today successfully launched a communications satellite into orbit and also flew the first stage booster back down for a safe landing onto a floating platform at sea. This launch and landing are historic because the booster had flown once before (April 2016). This was the first time an orbital rocket booster had been re-flown.

Screen capture of SpaceX webcast shows the booster shortly after it landed on the company’s floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean.

Here is a video clip from the webcast showing video from the booster as it came down towards the sea. The video transmission dropped out briefly (the antenna on the platform is shaken by the plume of the rocket) but then the image comes of the rocket in the center of the ship:

Some words from Elon Musk about the successful mission:

A video of the launch from Kennedy Space Center:

Here is the whole webcast:



Juno: Citizen scientists turn Jupiter’s stormy clouds into dramatic artworks

The Juno spacecraft made its latest close flyby pass above the clouds of Jupiter:  Juno Spacecraft Completes Fifth Jupiter Flyby | Mission Juno

At the time of closest approach (called perijove), Juno will be about 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers) above the planet’s cloud tops, traveling at a speed of about 129,000 miles per hour (57.8 kilometers per second) relative to the gas-giant planet. All of Juno’s eight science instruments will be on and collecting data during the flyby.

Some of the most dramatic Juno images of the solar system’s largest planet have come from private individuals who have downloaded raw images from the JunoCam and applied their own image processing recipies. The Juno mission in fact invites public to participate in such activities: JunoCam : Processing | Mission Juno 

… do your own image processing, and we encourage you to upload your creations for us to enjoy and share.  The types of image processing we’d love to see range from simply cropping an image to highlighting a particular atmospheric feature, as well as adding your own color enhancements, creating collages and adding advanced color reconstruction.

Here is an example: Dark Spot and Jovian ‘Galaxy’ | NASA

Full size version.

This enhanced-color image of a mysterious dark spot on Jupiter seems to reveal a Jovian “galaxy” of swirling storms.

Juno acquired this JunoCam image on Feb. 2, 2017, at 5:13 a.m. PDT (8:13 a.m. EDT), at an altitude of 9,000 miles (14,500 kilometers) above the giant planet’s cloud tops. This publicly selected target was simply titled “Dark Spot.” In ground-based images it was difficult to tell that it is a dark storm.

Citizen scientist Roman Tkachenko enhanced the color to bring out the rich detail in the storm and surrounding clouds.  Just south of the dark storm is a bright, oval-shaped storm with high, bright, white clouds, reminiscent of a swirling galaxy. As a final touch, he rotated the image 90 degrees, turning the picture into a work of art.

JunoCam’s raw images are available at for the public to peruse and process into image products.

More information about Juno is at: and .

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko

Here is another example: Jupiter’s Raging Storms by Rachel Richards

Jupiter’s Raging Storms by Rachel Richards
2017-03-16 12:14 UT
Credit : Rachel Richards © PUBLIC DOMAIN
Submitted By : DocRocket
Mission Phase : PERIJOVE 3
Processed image of juno’s
LATITUDE COVERAGE of Jupiter // Mission Phase : PERIJOVE 3


MRO images: A sampling of Martian sand dunes

Beautiful views of sand dune formations on Mars via the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO):

** The Splitting of the Dunes

The mound in the center of this image appears to have blocked the path of the dunes as they marched south (north is to the left in this image) across the scene. Many of these transverse dunes have slipfaces that face south, although in some cases, it’s hard to tell for certain. Smaller dunes run perpendicular to some of the larger-scale dunes, probably indicating a shift in wind directions in this area.

Although it might be hard to tell, this group of dunes is very near the central pit of a 35-kilometer-wide impact crater. Data from other instruments indicate the presence of clay-like materials in the rock exposed in the central pit.

This is a stereo pair with ESP_013319_1685.

** Dunes of the Southern Highlands 

Sand dunes are scattered across Mars and one of the larger populations exists in the Southern hemisphere, just west of the Hellas impact basin. The Hellespontus region features numerous collections of dark, dune formations that collect both within depressions such as craters, and among “extra-crater” plains areas.

This image displays the middle portion of a large dune field composed primarily of crescent-shaped “barchan” dunes. Here, the steep, sunlit side of the dune, called a slip face, indicates the down-wind side of the dune and direction of its migration. Other long, narrow linear dunes known as “seif” dunes are also here and in other locales to the east.

NB: “Seif” comes from the Arabic word meaning “sword.”

** Layers and Dark Dunes

Much of Mars’ surface is covered by fine-grained materials that hide the bedrock, but elsewhere, such as in this scene, the bedrock is well exposed (except where covered by sand dunes).

Colors are enhanced in the cutout of a pit exposing reddish layers. This is part of a stereo pair, so check out the stereo anaglyph for a 3D view.

This is a stereo pair with ESP_039581_1520.