You need to upgrade your Flash Player The theme of this blog is not only and obviously space, but in particular “terrestrial worlds”, places that tend to have surfaces on which one could walk or at least attach oneself to. These places sometimes also have other earth-like familiar features such as atmospheres, weather, volcanos, geysers and perhaps, we are finding, even exotic oceans, rivers or lakes that are not necessarily made of familiar materials we are used to here at home. The second theme is imagery. Occasionally I do some retouching of images when needed if an image is incomplete or sometimes “dirty” or noisy. I will attempt to correct image shortcomings based upon other images or well-accepted presumed attributes. When this is done, notes will be offered as to what was added, why and sometimes how it was done. This way no one should ever wonder if something they are looking at is real or photoshop.

Phoenix: Failure Avoided

Phoenix Boulders

The above image was returned to the team assigned the task of selecting a landing spot for this summer’s launch of the Phoenix lander. This has been considered for years and once the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was placed in orbit around Mars, one of it’s highest priority tasks was the image this proposed area. As you can see, what was previously thought to be a fairly flat safe place to put down a lander has turned out instead to be littered with boulders that compare in size to the lander itself. Many missions to Mars in human history have ended in failure, especially when including the many Russian probes which were lost to various problems. Attempting to touch down in this area could certainly have spelled doom for the Phoenix lander and we would never have known without the high resolution eyes of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Maybe NASA would have gotten lucky again, but this looks to many as a disaster avoided.

3 Responses to “Phoenix: Failure Avoided”

  1. Mark Says:

    I’d say they should go for that. Does the Phoenix lander have an “air-bag”-style landing? If so, it wouldn’t really matter, plus that area seems super-interesting from a geology POV.

  2. thomas Says:

    The air-bag option only works for the rovers. They are delivered via a pyramid shaped capsule surrounded by airbags. This then opens to a ramp and if you think about a pyramid… no matter which side it lands on, when it opens it will orient itself (SEE the post about MAAS digitals animation about this). This is a classic lander like Viking. It has to land feet first… no boucing.

  3. Test Says:



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