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Transformers, Kandaharian Beasts, & Hexagons

Saw three great posts this evening in my Google Reader:

V22 In AfPak

First, the V-22 Osprey has finally taken flight in combat. The good folks over at The Danger Room has some pics of the tilt-rotor hover-to-plane transforming craft over in AfPak. I remember seeing the first flights of the Osprey and then reading about the tragic crashes that followed. It’s good to see that enough progress has been made to make the ship combat-worthy.

The now-not-so-secret RQ-170 Sentinel

Also from The Danger Room, a sharp-eyed French photog caught the above image of a “mystery” plane also in use in AfPak. Dubbed the Beast of Kandahar, the Air Force recently confirmed that the image is of a new unmanned stealth reconnaissance plane, the RQ-170 Sentinel. The question on everyone’s lips is why do you need a stealth drone for use against guys running around the mountains with Kalashnikov’s. Anything to do with Iran being right next door? Hmmmm? Inquiring minds want to know.

The Hexagon @ Saturn's North Pole

And finally over on Bad Astronomy, Phil Plait highlights a great picture from the Cassini team of Saturn’s north pole. If you have not seen the above image, then be amazed! Yes, for some reason the storm raging at the top of Saturn rotates in the form of a hexagon! Wow! Scientists are still working to explain this one. I’m baffled! I can’t wait to read the theories they develop.

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And The Hits Keep Coming!

Last week it was ESA and Rosetta. This week, NASA had to go one up on the Europeans.

Waaaaay back in 2006, Cassini was able to image geysers shooting off of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Since that discovery, the Cassini team has been able to swing the orbiting robot into a few really close passes to the moon.

A few days ago, they were able to capture this fantabulous shot!

Enceladus Geysers!

Stu over at Cumbrian Sky has a nice post that sums up my feelings as well (thanks for the pic!). How I’d love to be able to see these geysers with my own eyes!