And here’s a close up picture of Pluto from the New Horizon spacecraft (Credit: NASA/APL/SwRI):



The New Horizons spacecraft will make its closest approach to Pluto tomorrow. Here’s a picture it took on Saturday (Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI):


New Horizons is currently around 500,000 miles from Pluto travelling just under 31,000 mph (by the way, NASA has a nice app of this here) and will make its closest approach tomorrow morning at 7:49:57. It will have travelled for 9 years and 3 billion miles.

It’s sunny in Malden

This is a great picture of the Sun, showing how dynamic it is (Credit: NASA/SDO):


It seems that astronaut Scott Kelly took a picture of the Boston area this morning:


At first this confused me because the river in the middle of the picture is a mix of the Boston Harbor and then the Mystic and Chelsea rivers (the Charles is the one that appears to be going south–this also explains why it confused me at first, the Charles is mostly going east to west). The little spur off the Mystic near the left part of the picture is the Malden River, I live not too far from the end of it (the river goes underground. What looks like three white dots is Malden High School, I live a few blocks east of there (almost directly above it in the picture)). At 9:39 am I was inside or you could have seen me.

Once you get your bearings you can see downtown, the Commons and Public Gardens, Logan Airport (this is obvious), South Boston is at the bottom right (the enclosed body of water is at the end, you can see Fort Independence Park), East Boston is just to the west of the airport (yeah, South Boston southeast of East Boston), the peninsula at the top is Deer Island (you can see part of the waste treatment facility that has made Boston Harbor so much cleaner; it was an island until the hurricane of 1938) which goes into Winthrop if you follow it back.

A selfie of the Earth and Saturn

It’s time for some more pictures. First, you can never go wrong with Saturn (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute):


And here’s a nice picture taken over the Grand Canyon, sorry about my thumb (Credit: NASA astronaut Terry Virts):


Scanning for life

This is pretty impressive:

Four men trapped under as much as 10 feet of bricks, mud and other debris have been rescued in Nepal thanks to a new search-and-rescue technology developed in partnership by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The device called FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response) uses microwave-radar technology to detect heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage.

By the way, it’s still a good time to donate to help in Nepal.

Small star doesn’t like planets attitude

This looks like a nice picture (Credit: NASA):


but then you realize this is what happens when a planet gets too close to a star (in this case a white dwarf). Or something.


So, it seems that NASA has a spacecraft that is getting close to Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt (I’m said to hear that this doesn’t mean it’s a planet with dwarves). Anyway, here it is (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA):


The Dawn spacecraft will enter orbit on March 6, so better pictures should be coming shortly.

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