Posts tagged Mars
Posts tagged Mars
Awesome single-purpose website.
(Spoiler: it’s really really far)
So, funny story… We may have contaminated Mars. And broken the Prime Directive.
Read more at the LA Times
Curiosity’s First Low-Resolution Color Panorama
Full color pictures of Mars. Real ones. Unbelievable.
taken by Spirit Rover
Using a Radiation Assessment Detector, the Curiosity has measured how much radiation an astronaut would encounter on a piloted trip to Mars (something they could only guess at before).
Curiosity Rover Lifts Off for Mars
Image Credit: NASA
Explanation: Next stop: Mars. This past weekend the Mars Science Laboratory carrying the Curiosity Rover blasted off for the red planet atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, as pictured above. At five times the size of the Opportunity rover currently operating on Mars, Curiosity is like a strange little car with six small wheels, a head-like camera mast, a rock crusher, a long robotic arm, and a plutonium power source. Curiosity is scheduled to land on Mars next August and start a two year mission to explore Gale crater, to help determine whether Mars could ever have supported life, and to help determine how humans might one day visit Earth’s planetary neighbor.
Explanation: This is the last thing that the Spirit rover on Mars ever saw. Operating years beyond original expectations, Spirit eventually got mired in martian dirt and then ran out of power when investigating the unusual Home Plate surface feature on Mars. Visible in the above panorama are numerous rocks and slopes of the surrounding Columbia Hills of Mars. The strange hill with the light colored top, visible near the top center of the image, has been dubbed von Braun and was a future destination when Spirit got bogged down. A leading hypothesis holds that von Braun is related to martian volcanism. Last week, NASA stopped trying to contact Spirit after numerous attempts. Half a world away, Spirit’s sister rover Opportunity continues to roll toward Endeavour Crater, which could become the largest crater yet visited by an earthling-created robot.
Explanation: What if you saw your shadow on Mars and it wasn’t human? Then you might be the Opportunity rover currently exploring Mars. Opportunity and sister robot Spirit have been probing the red planet since early 2004, finding evidence of ancient water, and sending breathtaking images across the inner Solar System. Pictured above, Opportunity looks opposite the Sun into Endurance Crater and sees its own shadow. Two wheels are visible on the lower left and right, while the floor and walls of the unusual crater are visible in the background. Although the Spirit rover is now stuck, Opportunity is continuing on its long trek to expansive Endeavor crater.
Explanation: This month, four of the five naked-eye planets gather along the eastern horizon near dawn. The celestial grouping is seen here just before sunrise on May 5, from a beach near Buenos Aires, Argentina. Starting near the top of the frame, the brightest beacon is Venus. Mercury is below and right of Venus and brilliant Jupiter is lower still, near image center. Below Jupiter, Mars is relatively faint and struggles the most to shine through a thin cloud bank and the warming twilight glow. Watch, and as the month progresses the tantalizing configuration will change, with Mars and Jupiter moving higher while Venus and Mercury wander through the sky closer to the rising sun.
Explanation: The largest canyon in the Solar System cuts a wide swath across the face of Mars. Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as 600 kilometers across, and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. By comparison, the Earth’s Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across, and 1.8 kilometers deep. The origin of the Valles Marineris remains unknown, although a leading hypothesis holds that it started as a crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled. Several geologic processes have been identified in the canyon. The above mosaic was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.