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This is an actual time-lapse video, comprising images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope over a four-year period, of the exploding star V8C8 Monocerotis.  It also represents GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s political career as of the June 10 Virginia primary.  (via Sploid)

BVT News Roundup, Friday 7 March 2014

So NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity found something interesting: what appears to be a rock, coated with some sort of white substance, on the surface where it hadn’t been just days earlier.  During a press conference held by the space agency, one scientist said, of the mysterious object, “This is strange,” adding “Mars keeps throwing new stuff at us.”   Which prompted a reportorial question, via Twitter, from William “Captain Kirk” Shatner: “Are you going to cover the alien rock throwers?”  (via the New York Times)

So NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity found something interesting: what appears to be a rock, coated with some sort of white substance, on the surface where it hadn’t been just days earlier.  During a press conference held by the space agency, one scientist said, of the mysterious object, “This is strange,” adding “Mars keeps throwing new stuff at us.”   Which prompted a reportorial question, via Twitter, from William “Captain Kirk” Shatner: “Are you going to cover the alien rock throwers?”  (via the New York Times)

Year after year, (NASA’s Mars rover) Opportunity goes farther than anyone dreamed. The expectation had been that it would drive about a kilometer — six-tenths of a mile — before dust accumulated on the solar panels and the batteries drained.

Unexpectedly, fortuitous winds periodically cleaned off the solar panels, and Opportunity, as well as its twin, Spirit, continued to operate. Spirit got stuck in a sand dune 2009 and then fell silent in 2010 after it was not able to point its solar panels toward the sun during the winter months.

Instead of one kilometer, Opportunity has driven 38.7 kilometers, or about 24 miles, exploring a series of ever larger craters, taking 170,000 pictures along the way.

“It’s a well-made American vehicle,” said Raymond E. Arvidson, the (mission’s) deputy principal investigator.

The New York Times, "Mars Rover Marks an Unexpected Anniversary With Mysterious Discovery"

BVT News Roundup 10 January 2014.

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Evening News Wrap 17 December 2013.

Evening News Wrap 12 December 2013.

(Photo: AP via The New York Post)

Evening News Wrap 3 December 2013.

FLAIR FLIGHT   A contrast-enhanced image produced from the Hubble images of comet ISON taken April 23, 2013 reveals the subtle structure in the inner coma of the comet; the coma decreases in brightness proportionally to the distance from the nucleus.  Comet ISON, thought to have travelled from the Oort Cloud surrounding our solar system beginning a million years ago, will make its closest approach to the Sun on Thursday.  (Photo: NASA via AP / The Telegraph)

FLAIR FLIGHT   A contrast-enhanced image produced from the Hubble images of comet ISON taken April 23, 2013 reveals the subtle structure in the inner coma of the comet; the coma decreases in brightness proportionally to the distance from the nucleus.  Comet ISON, thought to have travelled from the Oort Cloud surrounding our solar system beginning a million years ago, will make its closest approach to the Sun on Thursday.  (Photo: NASA via AP / The Telegraph)