SCIENCE ON THE WING

Promoting Science and Science Education

Tag: Mars

What’s Up: May 2014

Take a tour of what’s up in the night sky for the month of May, 2014.

Check out HiRise!

While we wait out the Government shutdown, it’s time to acknowledge a few great sites!

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, HiRISE, is a camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter built by Ball Aerospace at the direction of the University of Arizona to provide a detailed view of the surface of Mars.  The images produced by HiRISE are stunning and well worth taking a look.

New Image From Curiosity’s MAHLI Cam

New Image From Curiosity’s MAHLI Cam

A fantastic image from the MAHLI cam onboard the Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity showing the penny that is mounted on the calibration target.

Rovin’, Rovin’, Rovin’

This panorama is a great series of shots of Curiosity’s beefy tires.  You notice the strategic holes in the tires?  They are actually Morse Code, spelling out   J – P – L, the acronym for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  This unique pattern is used by Curiosity to accurately gauge how far it’s been by creating a unique pattern to use for visual odometry.

By using a known pattern, the Rover can look back and assess any number of situations; when traveling in a relatively featureless area, it can see where it has been, judge traction in high slippage areas, such as sand dunes and compare how far it has actually come along with its actual location.   All of this by seeing this unique pattern in the Martian regolith!

. – – – (J),   . – – . (P),   . –  .. (L)                                   photo credit: NASA

To learn more about Visual Odometry visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20120829f.html

And the crowd goes wild…

We’re watching as people all around the world cheer on the Rover that could!  The energy is palpable as we stop to wait for the OK, a signal that tells us Curiosity is on the surface and ON.

What we didn’t expect was to see images!  Staring at the big screens, the question in the air was “what’s that?” followed by a cheer that broke like a wave as we realized it was an image Curiosity was sending back from Mars.

 

photo credit: JPL

 

Seven Minutes of Terror

A great look at what needs to go exactly as planned in order for the MSL to survive its descent and landing to complete it’s mission.

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/space-technology-news/mars-curiosity-rover-vin/

Mars View Of Earth

Earth as seen from Mars                        photo credit unavailable

Have you ever wondered what we look like from the Red Planet?  Imagine, standing on the rust covered surface of Mars and waiting for the Earth to rise; this is what you’d see.

Still Life With Rover

From the Ames Research Center Facebook site:Image

“This full-resolution self-portrait shows the deck of NASA’s Curiosity rover from the rover’s Navigation camera. The back of the rover can be seen at the top left of the image, and two of the rover’s right side wheels can be seen on the left. The undulating rim of Gale Crater forms the lighter color strip in the background. Bits of gravel, about 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) in size, are visible on the deck of the rover.

This mosaic is made of 20 images, each of 1,024 by 1,024 pixels, taken late at night on Aug. 7 PDT (early morning Aug. 8 EDT). It uses an average of the Navcam positions to synthesize the point of view of a single camera, with a field of view of 120 degrees. Seams between the images have been minimized as much as possible. The wide field of view introduces some distortion at the edges of the mosaic.
The “augmented reality” or AR tag seen on the rover deck, in the middle of the image, can be used in the future with smart phones to obtain more information about the mission.”
notes from a dog walker

stories from the sidewalk

dogsinneedofspace.wordpress.com/

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Promoting Science and Science Education