Jason Smith

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APOD: Martian Anniversary Selfie (2014 Jun 27) Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140627.html Explanation: June 24th marked the first full Martian year of the Curiosity Rover's exploration of the surface of the Red Planet. That's 687 Earth days or 669 sols since its landing on August 5, 2012. To celebrate, consider this self-portrait of the car-sized robot posing next to a rocky outcrop dubbed Windjana, its recent drilling and sampling site. The mosaicked selfie was constructed with frames taken this April and May using the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), intended for close-up work and mounted at the end of the rover's robotic arm. The MAHLI frames used exclude sections that show the arm itself and so MAHLI and the robotic arm are not seen. Famous for panoramic views, the rover's Mastcam is visible though, on top of the tall mast staring toward the left and down at the drill hole. http://www.nasa.gov/ http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ http://www.msss.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=140627 #APOD

APOD: The Iris Nebula in a Field of Dust (2014 Jun 24) Image Credit & Copyright: Mikel Martínez http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140624.html Explanation: What flowers in this field of dark star dust? The Iris Nebula. The striking blue color of the Iris Nebula is created by light from the bright star SAO 19158 reflecting off of a dense patch of normally dark dust. Not only is the star itself mostly blue, but blue light from the star is preferentially reflected by the dust -- the same affect that makes Earth's sky blue. The brown tint of the pervasive dust comes partly from photoluminescence -- dust converting ultraviolet radiation to red light. Cataloged as NGC 7023, the Iris Nebula is studied frequently because of the unusual prevalence there of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), complex molecules that are also released on Earth during the incomplete combustion of wood fires. The bright blue portion of the Iris Nebula spans about six light years. The Iris Nebula, pictured above, lies about 1300 light years distant and can be found with a small telescope toward the constellation of Cepheus. http://fotoastro.blogspot.com.es/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=140624 #APOD

Planetary Resources wants your help spotting asteroids

Eager to help Planetary Resources look for asteroids and bring humanity that much closer to space mining? Well, it's time to get cracking. The company has launched Asteroid Zoo, a site that relies on crowdsourcing (i.e. you) to both find rocks in the void and train computers to do the same. It's …

VW Golf R 400 could produce even more than 400 horsepower

When Volkswagen revealed the Golf R 400 concept at the Beijing Motor Show last month, it emerged as the most extreme version of the hatchback we once called Rabbit since the bonkers GTI W12-650 concept of 2007. The main difference is that while that 641-horsepower, mid-engined, twelve-cylinder …

Volkswagen Golf R 400 Concept

Excited for Volkswagen’s hot 2015 Golf R? Well, take that giddiness and multiply it by, oh, a thousand: allow us to introduce to the Golf R 400 concept. With nearly 400 horsepower, a wider stance than the Golf R, and a 174-mph top speed, the 400 concept doesn’t just drip with appeal—it gushes the …

Volkswagen Golf