The Mars Report – March 24th, 2014


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Curiosity Making Headway West of 'Dingo Gap'

Curiosity Making Headway West of ‘Dingo Gap’

(Curiosity Making Headway West of ‘Dingo Gap’)

[CLICK on ANY image in This Article to See LARGER Version]

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Welcome back My Dear Readers to The Other Shoe and ‘The Mars Report’ for March 24th, 2014. With the lost airliner in Asia, the turmoil brewing in the Ukraine, it is difficult to pull our eyes away from all this disaster and look to the skies. However, that is exactly what I did today, and what I am asking you MY Dear Readers to do for the next few moments. Actually, it is comforting to think that not all of our human condition is pain and suffering of other humans. Though it occupies little real estate in; newspapers, Television reporting, cable news networks and even blogs.

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Curiosity, remember, is the Martian rover that we are following here at The Other Shoe. Even though it does not make the news, there is a lot of ‘good science’ happening on the surface of Mars. Hundreds of America; scientists, teachers, students, interns and elder scholars work tirelessly to bring useable science out of the mystery that surrounds our sister planet. Even science from back when I was still in school has relevance today. Take, for example, the image below. This is an image from the Voyager Project back in 1979.

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Martian Morning Clouds Seen by Viking Orbiter 1 in 1976

Martian Morning Clouds Seen by Viking Orbiter 1 in 1976

(Image of Martian Clouds from Orbit – Voyager 1 1976)

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The twin Voyager orbiters were the first, and last, manmade research vehicles to ever capture this sight. This is an image of morning clouds over Valles Marineris area of equatorial Mars. Never before, and not since, has any other humans brought back images of this complexity, and splendor. Even thirty-five years ago, American orbital research vehicles brought back scientific discoveries that help us better understand other climates, and ultimately our own. No other nation, on the planet earth, has ever managed to bring back images like this. American still stands as the founding nation of interplanetary flight, and discovery.

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Now, for something completely different… a recent image from the surface of Mars thanks to the Curiosity rover’s NAVCAM. The navigational camera sits atop the center mast on the rover Curiosity. This image is a composite of several images taken by the NAVCAM on Mars Day 574 dating March 18th, 2014.This image looks southward toward a planned science waypoint at “the Kimberley,” with an outcrop of eroded sandstone in the foreground. ‘The Kimberly’ is named after a region of Australia, here on earth. Now, ‘the Kimberly’ on Mars is made up of sandstone formations. This sandstone area in the Kimberly will be new and different terrain than the mudstone Curiosity has been limited to, since landing. This gives Curiosity, and scientists here on earth, a new opportunity to study sandstone formations on a foreign planet.

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Panoramic of Sandstone Outcrop Near 'The Kimberley' Waypoint

Panoramic of Sandstone Outcrop Near ‘The Kimberley’ Waypoint

(Panoramic of Sandstone Outcrop Near ‘The Kimberley’ Waypoint)

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For our next image, we go back into orbit over the Martian surface. The image, below, was taken by The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was launched prior to Curiosity and is meant as a navigational and support vehicle for the Curiosity rover. Well, let me clarify just a bit there. This orbiter does have its very own missions. However, it does help provide navigation for Curiosity, tracks Curiosity’s movement, and high resolution images from this orbiter are regularly used to help map out Curiosity’s movements and to plot its overall course. It was launched in conjunction with Curiosity and is immeasurably helpful to the Curiosity rover’s missions. The image below shows the rover Curiosity on ‘Murray Ridge’ on the Martian surface.

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Curiosity From Space Murray Gap

Curiosity From Space Murray Gap

(Curiosity from Space on Murray Ridge approaching Murray Gap)

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Staying in orbit, for the time being, our next image is still from the HiRISE camera. This is a very unique image, even for one from the Martian surface. As we approach the spring on the northern continent of Mars, we begin to see Martian sand dunes appear. They appear as they surface from their winter cover of seasonal carbon dioxide (dry) ice. Well… I tried to phrase this different… I could not. So, here is a quote from the NASA web site.

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        “The steep lee sides of the dunes are also ice-free along the crest, allowing sand to slide down the dune. Dark splotches are places where ice cracked earlier in spring, releasing sand. Soon the dunes will be completely bare and all signs of spring activity will be gone.”[1]

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Martian Sand Dunes in the Spring

Martian Sand Dunes in the Spring

(Martian Sand Dunes in the Spring)

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Well now, My Dear Readers, I had planned to share three or four more images. Had it all planned out, saved to my hard drive and ready to upload to both blogs. Going to be a smashing good issue of ‘The Mars report’ for its return to The Other Shoe. Apologies all around, as my pains (the severe sharp pain in my cervical spine, the lovely shooting pains form my cervical down my left arm and all the way into my left hand, and the very entertaining pains into my face and checks… that often make my left eye do the oddest things… even messes with the vision in my left eye)… yes, those pains… are really kicking up. Thus, resulting in a growing severe headache and accompanying irritability. Apologies, that I must include and narrate this final image. I hope for improved health… it never comes. Again, my apologies for this issue being shorter than planned.

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The image below… YES, it does look like ‘communicator badges’ from ‘Star Trek’! However, they are sand dunes. Again, staying in orbit to the very end, this image was taken by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Dec. 30, 2013.

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Martian Dunes Flying in Formation

Martian Dunes Flying in Formation

(Martian Dunes Flying in Formation)

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Well… one more image. The image below is from the Mastcam back aboard the rover, Curiosity. This image is a scene looking back at where Curiosity crossed a dune at “Dingo Gap” combines several exposures taken by the Navigation Camera (Navcam) high on the rover’s mast.  The panorama is centered toward the east and spans about 225 degrees, from north-northwest at the left to west-southwest at the right..

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Panoramic view Backwards at Dingo Gap

Panoramic view Backwards at Dingo Gap

(Panoramic view Backwards at ‘Dingo Gap’)

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That brings us to the end of this edition of ‘The Mars Report’ for March 24th, 2014. My Dear Readers, I want you to know and understand that bringing these images to you brings me great pleasure. All my life I have looked upward to the stars. Filled with boyhood wonder, even at 55, I have looked at the moon and stars. All my life I have wanted nothing more than to slip the surly bounds of earth and set foot on another planet. It is my humble opinion that earth… is/was meant merely as mankind’s cradle. That like our young, we are meant to leave the crib and walk elsewhere. Mankind simply cannot stay on earth. For those in-the-know you understand that, one day, our sun will explode. At that time, all life left on earth shall perish. Period.

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As always I am deeply honored that you come here and read my work.

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Earth as Seen From Nightitme Martian Surface

Earth as Seen From Nightitme Martian Surface

(Earth as Seen From Nightitme Martian Surface)

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Thank YOU!

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[1] http://www.nasa.gov/content/martian-sand-dunes-in-spring/#.UzCnUahdX85

 

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About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

One Response to The Mars Report – March 24th, 2014

  1. Pingback: A Week in Review – March 29th, 2014 | The Other Shoe

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