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March 21, 2011

Updates from Space

Image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI
There has been some exciting news from space over the last week. Here are some of the highlights.

Things are looking dim for the Martian rover Spirit. We haven't heard from this hardy rover in almost a year. Sounds like they will keep trying for a few more months but things don't look good. For a rover that was designed to last 3 months, 5 years is not bad.

On a brighter note, the Messenger spacecraft has dropped into orbit around Mercury. There it can now study Mercury's strange magnetic field. Messenger will also image the 5% of Mercury's surface that has yet to be mapped.

Thought Earth was the only place in the solar system to get spring showers, think again. Scientists using the Cassini spacecraft have gathered evidence of rain showers on Titan. At almost -300 degrees Fahrenheit, Titan's rain is likely a mix of liquid methane and ethane. This weird moon never ceases amazing me.