Curiosity has drilled into rock for the first time:
NASA JPL report:
NASA’s Curiosity rover has, for the first time, used a drill carried at the end of its robotic arm to bore into a flat, veiny rock on Mars and collect a sample from its interior. This is the first time any robot has drilled into a rock to collect a sample on Mars.
The fresh hole, about 0.63 inch (1.6 centimeters) wide and 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) deep in a patch of fine-grained sedimentary bedrock, can be seen in images and other data Curiosity beamed to Earth Saturday. The rock is believed to hold evidence about long-gone wet environments. In pursuit of that evidence, the rover will use its laboratory instruments to analyze rock powder collected by the drill.
“The most advanced planetary robot ever designed is now a fully operating analytical laboratory on Mars,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. “This is the biggest milestone accomplishment for the Curiosity team since the sky-crane landing last August, another proud day for America.”
Bob Zimmerman has February update on solar activity: The weak solar maximum continues – Behind The Black.
Sky and Telescope reports on five amateur astronomers being recognized for their comet discoveries: Five Amateurs Share Edgar Wilson Award: Discovering a comet remains one of amateur astronomy’s greatest accomplishments, and five individuals are being honored for doing just that. – SkyandTelescope.com
Recently five amateurs were honored with the 2012 Edgar Wilson Award. Established in 1998, this award goes to those dedicated observers lucky enough to spot a comet using amateur-grade equipment. Below is the list of winners:
- Leonid Elenin of Russia, who spotted comet P/2011 NO1 on July 7, 2011
- Artyom Novichonok and Vladimir Gerke of Russia, co-discoverers of comet P/2011 R3 on September 7, 2011
- Terry Lovejoy of Australia, for his discovery of comet C/2011 W3 on November 27, 2011
- Fred Bruenjes of Warrenburg, Missouri, for his discovery of comet C/2012 C2 on February 11, 2012
Robert Lamb writes about the “cosmic hip-hop” of the album
Deltron 3030, by the trio of Del the Funky Homosapien, Kid Koala and Dan the Automator: Space Music: The Futurist Hip-Hop of Deltron 3030 – The Blogs at HowStuffWorks
The album takes us on a socially-conscious, sci-fi journey to 30th century Earth, a dystopian age defined by super science, environmental disaster, intergalactic turmoil and tyrannical rule. The robotic Deltron Zero serves as our guide on this odyssey as he abandons his military programing to rise up against the tyrants of New Earth in a cosmic rap battle.
All the tracks can be heard at Deltron 3030.