Archive for the 'Mars' Category
Occasionally they find things on Mars that I don’t bother posting because they are obviously bits of plastic that fell from descent, or are just shadow tricks. But this one has me and others scratching our collective heads. It really seems to be “growing” from the rock below and is clearly a shiny metallic material. Possibly a dropped Martian hammer?
Read more at The Atlantic.
Back in 2007 I posted this image of a dark hole on Mars. In late 2011 they took additional images of a similar feature with the HiRISE cameras on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Turns out it is in fact a “sky light” or a hole in the surface to an underground cavern. This one spans 35 meters (115 feet) across and 20 meters (65 feet) deep.
It’s origins are likely due to ancient lava flows that continued underground and eventually were drained to leave behind a cavern. How vast such a system might be is yet unknown.
The background hills are not just all… the whole “sky” in the back is actually the Gale crater rim. Wish there was an additional image taken above to stitch together for the full dramatic view.
I have a whole lot of catching up to do with Curiosity. I was locked out of the site for months and only got back in after the landing. So I missed much of the buzz and excitement of the first few days. We got spoiled from the everyday images from Spirit and Opportunity and sometimes the images from Curiosity will often feel like more of the same, but I don’t recall any images from the previous landers looking like a Chesley Bonestell painting.
I last wrote about this mission in 2007. Now it is actually upon us. So never mind the launch… what is remarkable about this trip is when it arrives. JPL commissioned this incredible animation that is so real you feel like it was videotaped live. This is expected to take place August of 2012.
You Are The Sun is the latest space themed tee by Chop Shop Store. Following on iconic tees that collected various deep space missions and historic Earth orbit missions, this new design draws a new picture of The Solar System as we know it today, complete with Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot.
With your head as a stand-in for The Sun — the tee includes all 8 planets, 7 major moons, The Asteroid Belt and even details little Pluto lost among countless Kuiper Belt objects. We are now providing yet another link here to get it for Men on American Apparel 2001 or Tultex tees and for Women on American Apparel 2102 tees.
It seems pretty unlikely to happen, but starting on January 18 the Mars Odyssey Orbiter will begin listening for signals from the Phoenix. The mission ended last November as the Sun became too dim to continue to provide the solar cells enough energy to keep Phoenix warm and operable. The lander was never intended to survive a Martian winter and has most likely been devastated by the extremes and unlike the rovers, Phoenix is in a polar region which makes those extremities of a Martian winter even greater. Now with the end of Martian winter comes the addition of more sunlight, comparable warmth and therefore a reason to think maybe we can grab enough power to wake up and resume operations. So nobody really expects a technical miracle to take place this week, but in the unlikely event that the lander has survived… the science teams already have a plan in place to take that advantage.
Above is an impressive mosaic image of the frozen water that was found beneath the lander later in the mission. It is thought that the thrusters (which enable a soft surface landing) kicked away the top soil on the way down, revealing a sheet of frozen ice water right underneath the lander’s feet.
This is so nice, but I am furious that I didn’t get to design this. This is Information design at it’s best naturally by National Geographic. You can see 50 years of robotic planetary exploration at a glance. It even includes failed missions represented by darker desaturated lines. As far as I can tell the cream colored lines are US and the red ones are Soviet. Interesting to see how many of those lines go dark around Mars.
Now where does one purchase such a thing? Perhaps this month’s issue of NG? Here is the link to it on their site complete with zoom viewer and them some kind samaritan posted a hires version to flickr.
Not to re-post old material, but our iPhone planetary skins were recently posted to fuelyourcreativity.com for free download. So I thought I would just remind everyone and maybe direct a little traffic love their way.
Nice full color image of Deimos, Mars’s smaller of two moons. There is a second one as well if you go to the NASA site and check out the hi-res link. I would say that this is now the definitive best image yet aquired of this body to date.
One of the nicest panoramas in a while. See the planetary blog for more.
A Martian dust devil… or at this size, a tornado. We have seen these at much smaller scales from the rovers on the ground, but it would be exciting to see one of this size from the ground. This image was returned from the Mars Recon Orbiter from almost directly above and this spiral probably measures about 30km wide for an idea of scale.