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NASA's Spirit rover took the first ever image of the Earth.
Still more than 100 days before it enters Saturn's orbit, NASA's Cassini spacecraft is delivering great data back to Earth. This week's images released from the spacecraft show clumps embedded within its narrow, outermost F ring. Two images were taken roughly two hours apart when the spacecraft was 62.9 million kilometres away. Clumps like this were seen when the Voyager spacecraft flew past Saturn, but scientists haven't had the chance to watch them for a long time - now they'll have years to keep an eye on them.
NASA's Spirit rover took the first ever image of the Earth from the surface of another planet (other than the Moon). The photo was taken one hour before sunrise on Spirit's 63rd day on the surface of Mars. The image was built up from a series of images that Spirit took of the sky, as well as a panoramic image directly of Earth. The contrast was doubled to make the Earth easier to see; although, it's still a little hard to make out.
The Santa Ana winds, which blow across Southern California, are known to cause dry, fire-hazard conditions inland. But new data gathered by NASA's Quiksat satellite and its SeaWinds instrument shows that these same winds can help stimulate the marine environment. The strong winds blow from the land out to the ocean and cause cold water to rise up from the bottom of the ocean, bringing nutrients to the surface. Quiksat was able to measure the winds, a drop in ocean temperature, and a rise in chlorophyll offshore.
After being on the road for several weeks, NASA's Spirit rover has finally reached the edge of the crater "Bonneville". The rover made a total journey of 335 metres to reach the crater, but it did stop to analyze a few rocks along the way. This crater doesn't have exposed rocks on its edge, like the one that Opportunity landed in, but there are some interesting rock features on the far side that scientists would like to analyze. During night, Spirit took images of the sky, including the constellation Orion.
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