These above images of Mars were composited by Emily Lakdawalla and display a staggering improvement over what we have seen published over and over again since the Viking missions took place in the mid-70’s (see below). You may be familiar with the bottom image as it is one of the few images of Mars taken in a crescent phase. I never would have guessed that by simply re-compiling the data with today’s everyday image software, it was possible to bring out the real beauty hidden within the data.
Archive for August, 2008
“That’s my colourized version of the already-classic “Midnight Sun” image created by the Phoenix team, showing the path of the Sun across the sky as seen by the Phoenix lander. Up near the martian north pole Phoenix is in the martian Land of The Midnight Sun, and the Sun never sets, it just dips down towards and then rolls over the southern horizon at midnight before climbing up again…”
Taken from phoenixpics.wordpress.com, a nice Phoenix fan site featuring the best images of the Phoenix mission thus far.
Don’t think we ever posted a true color of the Martian surface from the Phoenix mission yet. This was stitched together by James Canvin. Hopefully the next time we post this view it will be covered with Martian frost. Just in time for Christmas!
Okay. Not at all space related… but it is star shaped. It’s made of stars… rock stars. At any rate, you can get it at www.chopshopstore.com. My other day job.
Here is an interesting comparison found on the Japanese Kaguya mission site. The two images shown above are of the Apollo 17 landing site. The top is obviously a photo taken on location by an Apollo astronaut and the lower image is a render from data taken by Kaguya in orbit around the moon. When programmers compile their data to show how the moon looks from the same position as the original Apollo photographer, the results come pretty close to matching. Such a comparison offers an idea of how real other such renders we may see from the mission can be trusted.
Here is one of the vents pinpointed by the Cassini team. This was the only one of the four that seemed obvious to me in appearance. There are boulders scattered throughout the area, but you have to note the larger accumulation of boulders here at the center of this image where one of the 4 vents were revealed. It is conceivable that larger chunks of material (as well as fine particles) could potentially have been spewed from these vents occasionally or perhaps thousands of years ago… or both.
I am no scientist, but I would think that the wispy soft lines billowing from this fracture on Enceladus are the famed geysers we have seen so much of from a distance (see the upper right side of the fracture in particular). The geysers have been easily seen from more distant and back-lit images taken of Enceladus, and we know this area being imaged is the source. So wouldn’t it be fairly safe to assume that it is happening in several of these frames?
It may just be that the particles are too fine to be seen at this distance. Consider that they previously have only visible at greater distances when the plumes are back-lit in low-light situations. Seeing this activity from this distance may be kind of like trying to see a cloud when you are already in it… only harder.
Its been slow around here lately, but the Aug 11 planned close flyby of Enceladus should spice things up a bit. Cassini is now in it’s extended mission and Enceladus has been made a secondary target for the coming months with the primary target being the continued exploration of Titan.