NASA's Mars Opportunity rover sets a new driving record, beats an old Soviet one

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The NASA Opportunity Mars rover landed on Mars ten years ago, and was not expected to be trucking along in the dust an entire decade later. But truck along it has, and NASA this week announced that Opportunity now "holds the off-Earth roving distance record after accruing 25 miles (40 kilometers) of driving." The previous record was held by the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 rover.

"Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer and was never designed for distance. But what is really important is not how many miles the rover has racked up, but how much exploration and discovery we have accomplished over that distance."

A drive of 157 feet (48 meters) on July 27 put Opportunity's total odometry at 25.01 miles (40.25 kilometers). This month's driving brought the rover southward along the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover had driven more than 20 miles (32 kilometers) before arriving at Endeavour Crater in 2011, where it has examined outcrops on the crater's rim containing clay and sulfate-bearing minerals. The sites are yielding evidence of ancient environments with less acidic water than those examined at Opportunity's landing site.

More at NASA JPL website.

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Apollo 11's Michael Collins on the view from space

From a classic FAQ by Michael Collins, command module pilot for Apollo 11, which splashed down 45 years ago today after carrying the first human beings to the moon:

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Icons of animals in space

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Wonderful illustrations of "Animal Space Travellers" by Budapest designer/artist Norbert Mayer. (via Ariel Waldman)

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Tempering hype around 3D printing in space

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In a new report on "3D Printing In Space," the US's National Research Council says, “For in-space use, the technology may provide new capabilities, but it will serve as one more tool in the toolbox, not a magic solution to tough space operations and manufacturing problems.”

Apollo 11-inspired sneakers from GE

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General Electric and Jack Threads are releasing a super-limited edition of Apollo 11-inspired sneakers, called "The Missions," designed by Android Homme.

The company, which is perhaps publicly better known for its consumer appliances and lighting products, provided in 1969 the silicone rubber that was used to create the now-iconic tread that lined the bottom of the Apollo moon boot. GE also produced the Lexan polycarbonate plastic used in forming the astronauts' bubble helmets....

The redesigned moon boots have components made from the same lightweight carbon fiber used for jet engine components and they sport a hydrophobic coating similar to the materials that are used to prevent ice from forming on wind turbine blades.

The Missions sneakers (via CollectSPACE)

Largest slice of the moon on Earth

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In celebration of today's Apollo 11 launch anniversary, BB pal and space enthusiast Steve Jurvetson shares this photo of the largest slice of the moon on Earth, on display in his office, and other Apollo 11 images, artifacts, and memories.

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Space Shuttle console ties


Even though I wear neckties about as often as I pilot spacecraft, I'm rather taken by Etsy seller Cyberoptix's Space Shuttle Console silk tie.

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Lunar bootprint doormat


The lunar footprint doormat is $23: 18"x26". One small step for a guest, one giant leap if that guest doesn't want to wipe her feet and tries for a longjump. (via Crazy Abalone)

GIF of the day: NASA satellite images reveal air pollution improvement in US

Nitrogen dioxide pollution, averaged yearly from 2005-2011, has decreased across the United States. Image: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio/T. Schindler


Nitrogen dioxide pollution, averaged yearly from 2005-2011, has decreased across the United States.
Image: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio/T. Schindler

NASA satellite images released this week in animated GIF form show how air pollution has decreased across the United States over the past decade.

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Earth from space doormat

You can own the classic "Big Blue Marble" Earth-from-space shot as a 24" circular doormat for $23. (via Crazy Abalone)

Diamond the size of Earth

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Astronomers have found a diamond the size of Earth. The cooled white dwarf star, a huge chunk of crystallized carbon, is orbiting a pulsar about 900 light-years away, according to National Geographic.

Nigerians in Space: afrofuturist science fiction debut novel

This sounds good: Afrocyberpunk reviews the debut novel of Deji Olukotun, Nigerians in Space: "He wouldn't hit golf balls like the American astronauts. He would squeeze out rhythms from a talking drum into the blackness between the stars. These were the drums of war and death, of celebration, the drums that had bonded the towns of his homeland over centuries in tonal communication… He would bind the stars with the drums. There would be dancing."

Review [Afrocyberpunk]

Nigerians in Space [Amazon]

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover completes its first Martian year today

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover captures a selfie to mark a full Martian year -- 687 Earth days -- spent exploring the Red Planet. [NASA/JPL]


NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover captures a selfie to mark a full Martian year -- 687 Earth days -- spent exploring the Red Planet. [NASA/JPL]

NASA shares a Mars Curiosity mission update with us. The little rover that could completes one Martian year today.

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Betabrand line of space-themed streetwear

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Our friends at crowdfunded clothier Betabrand held a hack day to design a line of space-themed streetwear called Mission Control! A slew of space enthusiasts participated, including BB contributor Ariel "Spacehack" Waldman. The crowdfundable prototypes include the Voyager Gold Record Tee above, Galactic Carry-On and Dopp Kit, a sweatshirt with the Arecibo message (which would be a great complement to our own Boing Boing Areciboing t-shirt), and other far out designs! Betabrand Mission Control