NASA releases new photos of Mars from Curiosity Rover

On November 26, 2011, the rover called Curiosity was launched into space from Cape Canaveral. Nine months later, after a 350 million mile journey, it landed safely on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on the planet Mars to much celebration and cheering from Nasa. NASA released new photos of the planet on Tuesday.

No ideas what a rover is? Scroll to the bottom of this post.

We have an awesome 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle of Mars made by Euro Graphics. Who knows - maybe we will see some new puzzles pop up now that NASA has released new photos of the planet.

While on Mars, Curiosity will be investigating the planet’s geology and climate and we’ll begin to look at the big question of whether or not Mars could have ever supported life — looking into the role of water and the planet’s habitability.

So now is a pretty good time to review what we already know about Mars because we’re about to be learning a lot more about the fourth planet from the sun. If your interested in outer space and the great unknown – make sure to check out some of our educational and fun jigsaw puzzles about space.

Fun Facts about Mars

  • Mars is named after the Roman god of war because of its red color. Other civilizations also gave the planet names based on appearance—Egyptians called Mars “the red one” (“Her Desher”) and ancient Chinese astronomers referred to it as the “fire star.”
  • In reality, Mars’ color appearance is a result of the fact that Mars has a lot of iron in its soil.
  • Mars is the only planet whose surface can be seen in detail from Earth because it is our nearest planetary neighbor
  • The diameter of Mars is 4,200 miles—a little over half the diameter of Earth
  • Mars is home to the largest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons, which tops out at 15 miles high—three times the height of Mount Everest! Its diameter is even more impressive: it’s 370 miles, enough to cover the entire state of New Mexico
  • Mars also has the deepest, longest valley in the solar system, Valles Marineris, which can go as deep as 6 miles and runs east-to-west for about 2,500 miles (the distance from Phiadelphia to San Diego).
  • The Martian “day” is about a half hour longer than Earth’s day, and Mars orbits the sun every 687 Earth days.
  • At its brightest, Mars loses only to Venus, which outshines it
  • Mars is covered in valleys and canyons, so it’s very possibly Mars was once home to large amounts of surface water which now do not exist due to its cold, thin atmosphere
  • Scientists believe the climate of Mars used to be a lot like our climate on Earth—warm and wet.
  • Mars has seasons just like Earth because also just like Earth, Mars has an axis that tilts in relation to the sun.
  • Mars’ seasons are more extreme because its orbit is elliptical and more elongated than any other major planet’s orbits.
  • The average temperature on Mars is about -80°F, though it can drop to -191°F during the coldest periods and rise to 70°F during the hottest at the equator.
  • Mars has two moons, Phobos, meaning “fear,” and Deimos, meaning “rout.” In the Greek version, Mars is named Ares, and his sons are Phobos and Deimos. This is where astronomer Asaph Hall came up with the names.
  • Mars holds another record in the entire solar system: it has the largest dust storms. These can blanket the entire planet and last for months!

Soon we’ll be compiling an even larger list of things to know about the red planet. In the meantime, keep updated on the newest photos of Mars – we’ve never seen in this type of close up, high quality image.

What is a Rover, anyway?

From Wikipedia: A rover (or sometimes planetary rover) is a space exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of a planet or other astronomical body. Some rovers have been designed to transport members of a human spaceflight crew; others have been partially or fully autonomous robots. Rovers usually arrive at the planetary surface on a lander-style spacecraft. Their advantages over orbiting spacecraft are that they can make observations to a microscopic level and can conduct physical experimentation. Disadvantages of rovers compared to orbiters are the higher chance of failure, due to landing and other risks, and that they are limited to a small area around a landing site which itself is only approximately anticipated.

Happy Birthday, Lucille Ball!

Today marks the 101st birthday of the late Hollywood star, Lucille Ball. Best known for her role in I Love Lucy, this lovely woman will always be remembered as the clumsy, crazy and lovable Lucy Ricardo.


According to IMDB, the “dizzy sitcom redhead was a show business powerhouse and television pioneer.” Here are some interesting facts about her:

  1. For many years during their marriage, Lucy and Desi Arnaz hid the fact that she was six years older than he by splitting the difference in their ages. She (born in 1911) said she was born in 1914 and he (born in 1917) also said he was born in 1914.
  2. She didn’t like any false form of a bird, she preferred to see them in person so she banned all pictures of birds from her house and any hotel room she was staying in.
  3. She was tutored in comedy by the great Buster Keaton.
  4. Ball appeared on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp in the Early Television Memories issue with Vivian Vance, as Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz, in a scene from “I Love Lucy: Job Switching (#2.1)” (1952). The stamp was issued 11 August 2009.
  5. A quote: “In life, all good things come hard, but wisdom is the hardest to come by.”

Happy Birthday, Lucy! You are missed! For more great Lucille Ball memorabilia, check out selection of I Love Lucy puzzles and our I Love Lucy Trivia Game.

Discount Jigsaw Puzzles – Why You Should Shop for Scratch and Dent Puzzles

It can be hard to pick out the perfect jigsaw puzzle. Since you are probably going to spend a lot of time working your puzzle – from clearing off a table in your kitchen or hobby room to putting that last piece in just the right spot to finish your masterpiece – you’ll want to make sure you pick just the right one. With so many choice to make, like the number of pieces, the puzzle image, the type of puzzle (ribbon cut or random cut pieces, panoramic or square, glow in the dark or 3D) and the brand, the last thing you should have to worry about is this: Am I paying too much for my puzzle? Cheap jigsaws are easy to find, but there is always quality to worry about. When you buy a puzzle, it should be something you want to keep forever, not just throw away when you’re finished! That’s why we have our Scratch and Dent section. Here, you can find a cheap puzzle that is still good as new on the inside – it might just have a ding on the outside of the box. These puzzles are from the same high-quality puzzles brands like Ravensburger, Springbok and Buffalo Games – but we sell them for less than retail prices. Let us explain.

Since we are a reseller, we get shipments every day from over 80 different brands. With hundreds of boxes coming off of trucks and into our warehouse, there are bound to be some damaged items. When we sell you a puzzle at full price – we always make sure it is only in perfect condition. If there is damage to the box at all, we mark it Scratch and Dent and give you a discount. In these cases, the bag of puzzles pieces inside is still intact and in perfect condition. Even though these puzzles are discounted, you won’t find missing pieces or damage to the actual jigsaw puzzle you are putting together. Take a look at the pictures below and you’ll see the best-case and worst-case scenarios for these discounted jigsaw puzzle boxes.

So, why not save a few extra bucks and buy the same high-quality puzzle for less? We have puzzles for adults and jigsaws for kids in this section, from 24 pieces up to some our largest puzzles like 3000 piece jigsaws. And since we get so many shipments every week, you’ll see new additions to this cheap puzzle selection almost every day.

Are you wondering what must be wrong with these cheap jigsaw puzzles? Let me give you an example to show you the puzzles themselves are in perfect condition!

This is an example of what the most minimal damage might be for a scratch and dent. Even if the box just has a slight tare like this, we will take a few dollars off the the full retail price and pass the savings onto you.

You'll see, the puzzle inside is just like new - still sealed in the bag with no loose pieces or any other damage. Just like new!

This is one of the worst types of Scratch and Dent Puzzles you will see - where the corner of the box might have been slightly crushed by a forklift of by other boxes.

Again, you'll find that the puzzle inside is just as good as new - with the pieces intact and the puzzle image still perfectly visible on the box!

So, next time you’re having trouble deciding if you should go for the expensive puzzle brands so that you can get the best quality jigsaw puzzle for your next project, try one of our great Scratch and Dent puzzles and save, without giving up on quality!

Happy 150th Birthday, Gustav Klimt

It was Gustav Klimt’s birthday on Sunday. The art nouveau icon was born on July 14, 1862 and died Feb. 6, 1918. Klimt’s work remains as some of the most expensive on the art market. In celebration of his birthday, Vienna’s museums offered an exhibit called “Klimt: Up Close and Personal” – where his artwork was given a new light – not just beautiful reproductions of his most famous golden work “The Kiss,” but also showing off the “worst of the worst” – some 100+ objects sent from around the world that Klimt’s work has been reproduced on – from toilet-seat covers, bejeweled eggs with rotating figured from “The Kiss” and Elvis music – to pictures of tattoos.

We think Gustav Klimt Jigsaw Puzzles are a much classier way to honor the intricate artwork of this great, late, artist. After all, only some of the highest quality puzzle brands have reproduced his work – Heye, Piatnik and Pomegranate to name a few of our favorites. Below, see some of the artwork that is available on jigsaw puzzles from Gustav Klimt. Puzzles are a great way to enjoy your favorite artwork time and time again because they can either be glued and framed to form a wonderful piece of wall decoration – or disassembled and put back together over the years.

11 Fun Brain Activities for Children

Puzzles and brainteasers are great for helping young brains develop and grow. They teach problem solving skills, hand-eye coordination, sorting, pattern recognition and more! The best part? There are so many different types of puzzles and images on puzzles that they are certain to entertain as much as they educate. While puzzles will help develop reading, math and logic skills – they also provide a feeling of accomplishment and achievement when the puzzle is solved – which is why kid’s love to do them over and over – and might just give them a confidence boost too!

Putting together jigsaw puzzles and other types of puzzle brainteasers can also be a great family or group play activity, along with individual play. But how do you pick a good puzzle for your youngster? Here are few tips from an article in a Young Children periodical.

1. Small knobs for toddlers. Knobs or chunky puzzles help small fingers with coordination and strengthen the grips used for writing. These are the first puzzle children 2-3 year’s old will enjoy putting together over and over.

2. Children like puzzles of things they know, animals, shapes, story scenes and bright colors.

3. Well designed, sturdy pieces that will withstand some wear and tear are a must. Wooden puzzles from Melissa and Doug, for example, make great starter puzzles for younger puzzlers.

4. When they get bored – it just means they need a step up in challenge – find a puzzle with more pieces, without frames, knobs or trays, or with new topics like letters, numbers or anatomy.

Here are 11 Great Kid’s Puzzles and Games for Brain Development

Five progressive puzzles from 2 to 5 pieces. The pieces are larger, thicker and easier to handle, stimulating attention, curiosity and imagination in children 12 months and older.

Getting dressed won't be such a puzzle once zipping, buckling, snapping, lacing and tying, and other dressing skills are mastered. Each skill is contained on a separate, wooden puzzle piece for easy practice. Develop fine motor and life skills with this great activity. For ages 3+.

Hear the sounds of six favorite vehicles when the two wooden cubes are properly placed in the wooden tray! Find the halves that match and hear six different, realistic sounds. Develops visual perception and fine motor skills. For ages 2+

Easy to grasp, thick chunky pieces fit perfectly into a background tray and help teach kids as young as two about life under the sea! For ages 2 and up.

From Acrobatic Alligator all the way to Zigzag Zebra, this colorful wooden alphabet puzzle has beautifully detailed pictures. When the piece is removed, a full color illustration with a matching image helps children find every letter its home. For ages 3 and up.

 

Ideal for travel, this wooden magnetic board includes three interchangeable animal habitat cards, farm, sea and savanna, and 26 magnetic, wooden play pieces for educational and creative play. For ages 3 and up.

Designed for hours of play and ideal for travel, this wooden magnetic board includes 120 colorful geometric magnets. Younger children (3+) will enjoy using the shapes to replicate the 12 geometric pictures included, while older children will enjoy creating mosaic patterns and pictures directly on the magnetic board.

Fun and fact filled card games for kids of all ages! Features great topics like Lost Civilizations, The Human Body, Earth Science, Sports and more! For ages 8 and up.

PlaySmart Digits in a Box Puzzle Game. First, spill the ten digits (0-9) from the box and give them a scramble. Then, place the pieces back in the box so that the lid closes flat. There are over 4000 possible solutions. For ages 6-8.

The incredible inner workings of the human body are beautifully portrayed in this double - sided educational floor puzzle. One side of this 100 - piece cardboard puzzle features the skeletal structure, and the other side shows internal organs and the circulatory system. For ages 8+.