Rovers on Mars

Reply Sun 5 Aug, 2012 11:35 pm
First pictures from Mars received.

NASA – 43 seconds ago – We've got thumbnails from Mars Curiosity: NASA - First images from Mars will appear when available
NASA – 2 minutes ago – Touchdown confirmed for Mars Curiosity!!!
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Reply Sun 5 Aug, 2012 11:39 pm
First image in Ed...... Mr. Green


Over and Out.
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Reply Mon 6 Aug, 2012 12:26 am
Touchdown, but how hard?
Reply Mon 6 Aug, 2012 01:01 am
roger wrote:
Touchdown, but how hard?

It was a perfect landing. Absolutely flawless.

Half an hour from now (landing + 2 hours) one of the orbiters will be back over the lander and we should get more pictures sent up from the lander.
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Reply Mon 6 Aug, 2012 03:33 am

Pictures from the lander:


Reply Mon 6 Aug, 2012 04:58 am
It landed about 12:30 my time. I expected 1:30, else I would have waited up.
Thanks for posting those pictures.
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Reply Mon 6 Aug, 2012 05:41 am
I had feared nothing so advanced would get there in my lifetime. The other active rover is also nearing a milestone. It has about travelled the distance of a marathon, with countless hours of broadcast yet in its power.
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Reply Mon 6 Aug, 2012 05:44 am
Spectacular results! Smile I loved seeing the reaction of the people in mission control too.
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Reply Mon 6 Aug, 2012 12:17 pm
from Christian Science Monitor

Take, for example, the mission of Curiosity, the aptly named rover that just made a spectacular landing on Mars.

Its unique purpose is to search for carbon, amino acids, and other building blocks of life – at least as life is known on this planet. Within weeks its three chemistry labs could possibly beam back the first evidence of extraterrestrial life – either as it may have existed in the past or as it currently survives under the Mars surface.

Such news would trigger a revolution in human perspectives not seen since Copernicus announced that Earth was not the center of the universe.

MONITOR'S VIEW: NASA and Obama's budget

Or take a particle detector called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. It was delivered to the International Space Station last year with a mission to find the elusive “dark matter” that makes up about a quarter of the universe and may be tied to the equally puzzling substance known as antimatter.

Last month, scientists announced that the $2 billion detector had found particles never before seen in nature. Or as one researcher put it, the device is searching for “phenomena that so far we have not had the imagination or the technology to discover.”

And then there was the announcement July 4 of the discovery of the Higgs boson, or the so-called God particle. This subatomic particle is considered essential to the theory of how matter has mass and indeed how the stars and planets were formed. “We’re reaching into the fabric of the universe at a level we’ve never [reached] before,” said one physicist.

Not perhaps since Einstein upended Newton more than a century ago has science had the potential to challenge humans about the nature of reality or the origins of life.

As might be seen from these latest projects, new discoveries should not be viewed merely as marvels of science. Nor can they be expected to be supported only if they are “practical,” in the way that NASA tries to show how space missions influence daily life on Earth.

Rather they are the latest attempts to push back frontiers of knowledge in the hope of understanding what is eternal, not just in natural laws but for what humans regard as life. Or as NASA puts it in defining its main goal: “Humans are driven to explore the unknown, discover new worlds, push the boundaries of our scientific and technical limits, and then push further.”

This desire to explain creation or find basic principles is itself a thing to behold in the universe. It can’t be found in particles or amino acids. Yet it drives humans to probe the cosmos and the subatomic, perhaps in the hope of knowing that meaning relies on more than mere matter.

Each new scientific discovery, whether it is Darwin’s theory of evolution, Einstein’s theory of relativity, or Crick and Watson’s discovery of DNA – only whets the human appetite to discover deeper truths below the surface of what is visible.

Perhaps after so many discoveries in recent centuries, humans are ready to absorb the news from Curiosity that Mars has sustained life or that there is evidence of dark matter or forces that give mass. If the human spirit of inquiry is infinite, so, too, is its capacity for understanding something beyond what it now grasps.

Sign up for our free weekly Commentary newsletter (every Thursday). You can also add Opinion and Commentary to your free daily Monitor newsletter.
cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 6 Aug, 2012 12:54 pm
A photo of the rover landing.

cicerone imposter
Reply Tue 7 Aug, 2012 11:53 am
@cicerone imposter,
First photos from Mars.

Reply Tue 7 Aug, 2012 11:54 am
@cicerone imposter,
Thanks. I have been waiting for those.
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Reply Tue 7 Aug, 2012 02:00 pm
I just wanted to say how much i've enjoyed this thread over the years, EB.
Reply Tue 7 Aug, 2012 02:18 pm
Thanks. It will continue, I am sure.
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Reply Tue 7 Aug, 2012 07:58 pm
Picture of the heat shield just after separation:

Picture of dust being kicked up by the sky crane thrusters:

View from orbit of the parachuting lander (top) and falling heatshield (bottom):

View from space after landing:

View from front:

View from front, processed to remove fisheye effect:

View from rear, processed to remove fisheye effect:
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Reply Tue 7 Aug, 2012 08:00 pm
Setanta wrote:
I just wanted to say how much i've enjoyed this thread over the years, EB.

I've enjoyed it as well. The discovery of the Martian "Blueberries" was thrilling, and I wouldn't have had anyone else to enjoy discussing it with if it weren't for this thread (and the other members of A2K).
cicerone imposter
Reply Wed 8 Aug, 2012 01:41 pm
More news from Mars (`).

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Reply Wed 8 Aug, 2012 02:18 pm
Aside from upcoming pictures, it will be a few weeks before Curiosity sets out. Not if I was behind the wheel. Razz
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Reply Wed 8 Aug, 2012 07:38 pm
Images from the latest Mars rover’s navigation cameras reveal a remarkably familiar landscape -- one that looks like the California desert.

Black-and-white photos stitched together from the Curiosity rover’s Navcams show gravelly terrain with what looks like well-cut, pyramidal mountains in the background – the kind of terrain found in the Mojave, said John Grotzinger, lead scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

The familiar ground “kind of makes you feel at home,” Grotzinger said at a Wednesday news conference.

Curiosity’s ultimate goal is Mt. Sharp, a mountain several miles away in the middle of Gale Crater. But the rover's landing spot near the edge of the crater has proved to be interesting in its own right. Scientists have picked up evidence of an alluvial fan – a water-caused feature found on hill slopes on Earth.

“You would really be forgiven for thinking that NASA was trying to pull a fast one on you, and we actually put a rover out in the Mojave Desert and took a picture – a little L.A. smog coming in there,” Grotzinger joked.

Recent discoveries were filled with other pleasant surprises. Mike Malin, lead scientist for the rover's MARDI descent imager, revealed a new, higher-resolution shot of the heat shield in midflight – in shining detail showcasing the stitching in the shield’s thermal blanket and drawing gasps from Wednesday's audience.

“You’ve been hearing us saying, ‘Just wait till you see the good stuff.’ Well, this is the good stuff,” Malin said.

Malin, who also works on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, pointed out a colleague’s find from the satellite: Six dark spots showing the final resting place of the rover spacecraft’s half-dozen, 55-pound tungsten slugs jettisoned before its supersonic parachute deployed.

Finding the slugs will help scientists better understand how inert objects fall, Malin said.

The rover won’t be taking off for Mt. Sharp for a few days yet; in the meantime, scientists are keeping an open mind about the landing spot.

When Grotzinger was asked if there was possibly gypsum in the shown image – a sign that water had been present – the Caltech geologist said, “Sure, why not? ... That’s an entirely reasonable suggestion.”

The scientists hope to release color images from the Mast Camera over the coming days.

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Return to Science Now.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

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"When Grotzinger was asked if there was possibly gypsum in the shown image – a sign that water had been present – the Caltech geologist said, 'Sure, why not? ... That’s an entirely reasonable suggestion.' "

---And if you watched this interview, you also know when he said, "Sure, why not," the entire audience and panel burst out laughing.

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Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2012 03:45 am

Click on picture for larger version.

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