I just wanted to give people a quick digest of some interesting developments of the Mars Exploration Rovers and the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn. First the rovers: Opportunity is continuing its trek towards Victoria Crater, and is currently observing Beagle Crater. You can track their progress here. From that you can get an idea of just how big Victoria will be once Opportunity gets there!
Here is a winter report of both rovers that has one of the most captivating images I have ever seen. The first image in the report is one of last year’s pictures. The indefatigable Spirit took this picture of a Martian sunset at Gusev Crater.
Seeing that makes me marvel at the universe. It reminds me that even alien worlds are not necessarily unlike our own. But, simultaneously, it impresses on me just how distant and different other places still are. It’s thrilling to think of the prospect of people someday travelling to to far away places, but then I am in awe of how impossible it seems.
Who knows what the future will hold…
And about the Cassini Mission. I reported here that there were potential lakes on Titan. It appears that has been confirmed! The remarkable resemblances to our own homeworld continue to be discovered. We now know it rains on Titan, too! Well, drizzles, but that still makes it only the second place confirmed in the solar system that does that. The Huygens probe that landed on Titan last January has provided the evidence of that. Here is a link to a movie (10MB) of the landing! This is like watching Star Wars, but it’s real. Lastly, for the geology fans, here is an item that links to a movie (6MB) about Titan’s topography. It details potential rivers, lakes, craters, and mountains.