That is video of the final separation of NASA’s new Mars Science Laboratory rover (named Curiosity), sending it on its way to Mars. The probe launched successfully this past Saturday atop an Atlas V rocket, and will reach Mars in August of 2012. If you follow this blog you’ll know that I’ve mentioned this probe excitedly before- that’s because this is the biggest, boldest of all the robotic rovers we’ve sent to Mars. It’s about the size of a small SUV and it will be looking for evidence of conditions that may have been conducive to the development of microbial life, past and present. Important distinction: the probe is NOT searching for life itself, just for evidence that the planet may have been habitable in the past or maybe even the present. August 2012 will be a tense month for NASA and all following this probe’s progess, because the final landing stages are immensely tedious and complex. (See the landing animation below.) For now though, we just sit and wait as the probe zips through space and the engineers make the final adjustments to its trajectory. For some more expert commentary on this mission, check out Bad Astronomy or Universe Today.

Since I probably won’t be posting again until this Friday’s “A Few Good Shows” post, here are a couple more videos full utter badassery:

“Jetman” Yves Rossy flies alongside fighter jets on his jetpack. It doesn’t get much cooler than that…

Nothing like some shirtless 9-year-olds totally nailing “Crazy Train”

The new She & Him video for the song “In the Sun” is very predictable and run-of-the-mill… not that music videos always have to blow one’s mind, but still… I guess it’s in the record contract that Zooey Deschanel-Gibbard has to dance and skip around blissfully while doing cute grins and eye-winks. Whatevs. Go watch it at Stereogum. Then come back here and watch this Jetpack (now known as the Nobility) video that the She & Him video reminded me of. Some serious Nashville rock nostalgia in there… including yours truly, sans-glasses in the green tshirt and goatee, right behind Sean Williams. I do believe this video (for the song “Mathematics” off their Art of Building a Moat EP) was filmed in May of 2005 in a Lipscomb classroom, if memory serves. This is is an alternate version that translates much better through the pixelation of YouTube. The final version had a bunch of rotoscoping effects that probably looked great in full-quality, but came out pretty nasty through YouTube. Directed and edited by Chad Denning of Gamma Blast.

Those Darlins are heading down under in May to tour with Wagons. They’re apparently also releasing a split EP with them as well. To my knowledge, this is the first time our ladies have left North America to play shows. They may have hopped over to the UK at some point and I just missed it… but frankly I don’t have the time or energy to look that up right now. (Via Spunk)