❝ Have you ever wished you could go to Mars without taking on the long-term commitment and risks associated with spaceflight? Now you can explore the surface of Mars without leaving the comfort of planet Earth, thanks to troves of imagery from NASA spacecraft and a cool data-visualization software called OpenSpace.
❝ With OpenSpace, you can fly over Martian mountaintops and swoop through the deep canyons of Valles Marineris with the highest-resolution views from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), creating sort of a Google Earth for Mars. And that’s just the beginning; the makers of OpenSpace said they aim to ultimately map the entire known universe with dynamic and interactive visualizations created from real scientific data.
❝ Using data and images from the Context Camera (CTX) on MRO and the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, researchers have already mapped 90 percent of the Red Planet’s surface down to a resolution of about 20 feet (6 meters) per pixel. Incorporating high-resolution images from the spacecraft’s HiRISE camera (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment), OpenSpace has allowed researchers to image parts of Mars down to a resolution of about 25 centimeters (10 inches) per pixel. That’s 24 times sharper than before.
Way cool. As close as I’m ever gonna get!
Republican version of space exploration
❝ China on Sunday recovered an experimental probe launched aboard a new generation rocket, marking another milestone in its increasingly ambitious space program that envisions a mission to Mars by the end of the decade.
❝ Space program authorities said the spaceship’s landing on the vast Inner Mongolian steppe keeps China on schedule to place its second space station into orbit later this year.
The launch of the spaceship aboard the newly developed Long March 7 rocket on Saturday was hailed as a breakthrough in the use of safer, more environmentally friendly fuels. The launch also marked the first use of the massive new Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on the southern island province of Hainan…
❝ A source of enormous national pride, China’s military-backed space program plans a total of 20 space missions this year at a time when the U.S. and other countries’ programs are seeking new roles…
China plans to launch a mission to land a rover on Mars by 2020, attempting to recreate the success of the U.S. Viking 1 mission that landed a rover on the planet four decades ago.
The Republican-controlled Congress has called for further United States research on SUVs weighing over 4 tons and using tractor treads instead of tires. They feel this is a cost-effective alternative to actually repairing our crappy highways.
So – no money for real space rangers.
Using its robotic arm as a selfie stick, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity was able to snap some epic low-angle pictures of itself at a site located in the foothills of Mount Sharp earlier this month.
According to BBC News and Space.com, Curiosity snapped the images using the camera at the end of its robotic arm on August 5 while at Marias Pass. NASA officials then took those pictures and stiched them together to create the rover’s latest selfie, which was released on Tuesday…
Compared with previous pictures, this latest Curiosity selfie shows more of its front and underside, and also shows a pair of grey patches located in front of the rover. One patch (the triangular shaped one) is where the samples were extracted from, while the other was where it dumped the powdered rock grain that was too large to be internally analyzed.
Helluva lot more interesting than the crap selfies that pass for entertainment news.
Our source warns — This motion picture has been employed in enhanced interrogation programs.
Deep shadows create dramatic contrasts between light and dark in this high-resolution close-up of the martian surface.
Recorded on January 24 by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the scene spans about 1.5 kilometers across a sand dune field in a southern highlands crater. Captured when the Sun was just 5 degrees above the local horizon, only the dune crests are caught in full sunlight. With the long, cold winter approaching the red planet’s southern hemisphere, bright ridges of seasonal frost line the martian dunes.
From the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter…The image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on the agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter released Wednesday shows a crater about 100 feet in diameter at the center of a radial burst painting the surface with a pattern of bright and dark tones, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported.
The impact that excavated this crater threw some material as far as 9.3 miles, JPL said.
The scar on the Red Planet’s surface appeared some time between imaging of this location by the orbiter’s Context Camera in July 2010 and again in May 2012.
I surely wish I was there. My idea of real adventure travel.
Ten years ago, when the rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover mission, engineers expected them to each last 90 Martian days, about three months of Earth time. Spirit lasted a remarkable six years before getting stuck in soft sand, and ultimately losing radio contact with its minders on Earth.
Compared to Opportunity, though, Spirit was a flash in the pan. Hundreds of millions of miles away in the bitter Martian cold, Opportunity has kept on ticking—exploring new areas, taking scientific measurements and capturing beautiful photos—this entire time.
As part of a new exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum, “Spirit and Opportunity: 10 Years Roving Across Mars,” John Grant and other scientists involved with the mission have curated 50 of the most scientifically significant and visually stunning photos taken by the rovers over the years from a collection of several hundred thousand images.
NASA scientists say tests on a Mars rock show the planet could have supported primitive life.
At a briefing at NASA’s Washington headquarters on Tuesday, NASA scientist said that an analysis of a Mars rock sample by the Curiosity rover had unveiled minerals, including hydrogen, carbon and oxygen, that are the building blocks of life…
“A fundamental question for this mission is whether Mars could have supported a habitable environment,” said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Programme. “From what we know now, the answer is yes…”
The rock sample was drilled from a sedimentary bedrock sample and found to contain clay minerals, sulfate minerals and other chemicals.
Based on the analysis of those chemicals, researchers were able to determine that the water that helped form the rocks were of a relatively neutral pH.
“We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and supportive of life, that probably if this water was around and you had been there, you would have been able to drink it,” said John Grotzinger, Curiosity project scientist from the California Institute of Technology.
Yes, that does give you a lot to think about. Could there have been a civilization on Mars that succeeded in destroying the ecology – and themselves? Worth reflecting on given the quality of politicians our own species is saddled with.