The Mars Report – June 30th, 2014


              Welcome back My Dear Readers to The Other Shoe. I’d like to welcome you to an all new edition of ‘The Mars Report’. Thankfully, when I checked with the NASA/JPL web site today there were several new images from Curiosity. This is welcome news to be and means that you, My Dear Readers, have some great new images, from the Martian surface, to enjoy!

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To be honest, this is a kind of special edition in that we have i9mages from two different Martian rovers, today. There will be two images from Curiosity, and there will be two images from Opportunity. That’s right; Opportunity is still working hard and producing great images and science. However, Spirit has fallen out of service. Remember, it was Spirit and Opportunity that were lunched, nearly simultaneously, the last time NASA/JPL sent rover(s). IT was their hope that two rovers, of a smaller design, could bring more differing imaging and science experiments.

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Earlier, this year, I published an overview of the lives of both Spirit and Opportunity. There I discussed the ‘passing’ of the Martian rover Spirit during the last Martian Winter. NASA/JPL was unable to ‘park’ Spirit in a “shielded” environment prior to the onset of the harsh Martian Winter. Spirit was unable to charge its batteries and fell prey to the harsh conditions at are a Martian Winter. Now, on with today’s offerings from Curiosity and Opportunity.

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Our first image of the day is a ‘Self-Portrait’ of Curiosity! The image, below, is a composite of dozens of images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI),of the Curiosity rover during the months of April and May, 2014. The images were taken at the ‘Windjana’ sandstone rock site at ‘The Kimberly’ waypoint. The image does not include the end of the ‘rover arm’ in the image, because the MAHLI sits on the very end of that rover arm.

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((Image thanks to NSA/JPL Curiosity team and the NASA/JPL web site)[1]

Self-Portrait of/by Curiosity at ‘The Kimberly’ 4/2014

Self-Portrait of/by Curiosity at ‘The Kimberly’ 4/2014

(Self-Portrait of/by Curiosity at ‘The Kimberly’ 4/2014)

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Our next image, staying with the Curiosity rover, is of the sandstone rock sample take from Windjana. The rock sample has been named ‘Winnipesaukee’ by the scientists at NASA/JPL. Now, My Dear Readers, there are two images that make up of next offering. The image on the top half is of the rock sample ‘Winnipesaukee’. This image is a composite of two images; the first is a high definition ‘Black and White’ taken by the rover’s ChemCam remote micro-imager. This image was then combined with a Color image that was taken with the telephoto-lens camera of Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam). The result is a strikingly deep and colorful image. Now, the bottom half of this offering is of the Spectrograph taken by the 3-D laser imaging system on the ChemCam of the rover. Each of the ten different colors, represented in the image above, correlates to the spectrograph bar in the image below. This gives us an accurate representation of the different minerals/chemicals found in this one rock sample.

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(Image thanks to NSA/JPL Curiosity team and the NASA/JPL web site) [2]

Martian Rock and Dust Filling Studied with Laser and Camera

Martian Rock and Dust Filling Studied with Laser and Camera

(Martian Rock and Dust Filling Studied with Laser and Camera)

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That, My Dear Readers, will being us to the two final images of this week’s edition of ‘The Mars Report’. Yes, as usual, I have save the BEST for the last. We move from the Curiosity rover, at ‘The Kimberly’ waypoint to ‘Pillinger Point’. ‘Pillinger Point’ was named, out of a deep respect for, Collin Pillinger the ‘Principal Investigator’ for the ‘Beagle 2” Mars exploration project. The ‘Beagle 2” project ended just before the launch of the Opportunity project launch. The current team for Opportunity named this viewpoint overlooking Endeavor Crater out of respect for Collin and his team of Beagle 2.

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Now, for the more sciency’ stuff, Opportunity was driven to this site due to observations by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Observations by the Orbiter showed signs of “a spectrum with the signature of aluminum bound to oxygen and hydrogen”[3] For most of us that means _____. However, for an extra-planetary biologic scientists this is;

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“It’s like a mineral beacon visible from orbit saying, ‘Come check this out,'” said Opportunity Principal Investigator Steve Squyres, of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.”[4]

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So, some pretty exciting stuff, one can well imagine, from a scientific viewpoint of course! Remember, hydrogen bound with hydrogen is water! So, NASA/JPL set this location as the next targeted waypoint for Opportunity. The two images, below, are of the vista that Opportunity encountered upon arriving at this new location, ‘Endeavor Crater’. Our first image is in the natural light of Mars. No changes or additions to the image were made, aka ‘True Light’.

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Opportunity overlooking Endeavor Crater – True Color

Opportunity overlooking Endeavor Crater – True Color

(Opportunity overlooking Endeavor Crater – True Color)

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Our next image has been altered… enhanced! This next image is in what is referred to as ‘False Color’. This means that NASA/JPL have made shifts in light filters to simulate the same lighting conditions as if we saw this sight, right here on Earth! I always enjoy these enhanced images from NASA/JPL, they give us a better… more natural view of the Martian surface.

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(Opportunity Overlooking Endeavor Crater – False Color)

(Opportunity Overlooking Endeavor Crater – False Color)

(Opportunity Overlooking Endeavor Crater – False Color)

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Now doesn’t that look better? With our human eyes, trained right here on Earth, this image gives us a much better view of the spectacle of this panoramic of the Endeavor Crater! You can see all the different types of rock and sediment… it just looks more natural.

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That brings us to the end of another edition of ‘The Mars Report’! I hope that everyone has enjoyed the images and even got a little something out of the science. I look forward to seeing all of you, My Dear Readers, back here next week for another edition of ‘The Mars Report’!

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Adieu!

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Thank YOU!

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Danny Hanning of The Other Shoe - May 6th, 2014

Danny Hanning of The Other Shoe – May 6th, 2014

 


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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 – June 30th, 2014

  1. Pingback: FIVE HUNDRED Articles – #2 – The Mars Report | The Other Shoe

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