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Submission + - Another Weird Shiny Thing on Mars. (universetoday.com)

ColdWetDog writes: The Mars Science Laboratory (AKA Curiosity) seems adept at finding curious items on the Martian surface. Not withstanding the little incident with the Madi Gras beads, there are been a couple of other unidentified objects found in the rover's path. The latest object appears as a small, half centimeter metallic bit sitting up in a rock. Part of an ancient Martian civilization? Part of Curiosity? Part of the sound stage in Arizona?

At least this one doesn't appear to be hoax.


Submission + - Martian Terror Movie (nasa.gov)

ColdWetDog writes: Forget the scary bits in Prometheus. JPL has it's own planetside terror trailer. 7 Minutes of Terror is a well done video short describing the difficulty of landing the Curiosity Lander on Mars.

Watching this thing, you have to be impressed with JPL's risk taking. Certainly a step beyond the usual NASA conservative thinking.

It's going to be a scary ride in August.

We have obviously covered much of this before


Submission + - To Boldly Go Nowhere (theatlantic.com)

ColdWetDog writes: A brief note in the Atlantic notes that Congress has failed to supply funds to continue Plutonium-238 production, needed for radioisotope generators for NASA's interplanetary probe programs. No PU-238 means no more missions like Cassini-Huygens and pretty much anywhere that the sun doesn't shine enough to power the satellite via solar cells.

The article notes that the only other source of PU-238 is Russia — either through the government or through trolling through Siberia and the Russian coastline looking for old Soviet Era lighthouses and power stations.

"Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown!" -- The Ghostbusters