The Mars Report – December 16th, 2014


NASA's Journey To Mars

NASA’S Journey to Mars

(NASA’s Journey to Mars[1])

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Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe. I am very happy to bring you, My Dear Shoevians, this All New edition of ‘The Mars Report’! It has been several weeks since the last publication of this wonderful and broadly enjoyed article series. I have just lacked the strength and will to write and publish since the start of my chemotherapy treatment for my Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This week I really hope to change that and improve and increase the number of articles I write and publish each week.

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Now, as they say in theater, ‘The show must go on!’ Since the publication of my last edition of ‘The Mars Report’ a lot has happened on Mars and with the rover Curiosity. As well, the spacecraft Maven (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) has arrived and is in orbit around Mars! This orbiting laboratory is dedicated to the study of Mar’s upper atmosphere. Uniquely equipped to measure the composition and structure of the Martian upper atmosphere, it will also investigate its interaction with the Sun and solar winds. The picture below is of the team in Littleton, Colorado celebrating MAVEN’s successful entry into orbit around Mars.

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(image Thanks to NASA/JPL Web Site[2])

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Celebrating MAVEN Orbit

Celebrating MAVEN Orbit

(MAVEN Team in Littleton, Colorado Celebrating Mars Orbit)

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Now, My Dear Shoevians, I have told you why MAVEN is orbiting Mars. However, as I have always believed why just use words when you can use a graphic, too? J That serves as a nice segway into the next image in today’s article. As part of NASA’s ‘Mars Scout’ program MAVEN will help determine just what happened to the Martian atmosphere. As well, MAVEN will assist NASA/JPL scientists answer the big question ‘Did Mars have liquid water… if so, what happened to the liquid water?’ MAVEN has a big job ahead and all the technicians and scientists at NASA and JPL are anxious to get busy putting MAVEN’s scientific instruments to work! Below is a graphic that helps explain MAVEN’s journey and its job once in orbit.

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(Image Thanks to NASA/JPL Web Site[3])

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MAVEN’s Arrival at Mars Explained

MAVEN’s Arrival at Mars Explained

(MAVEN’s Arrival at Mars Explained)

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Now that we have covered MAVEN’s arrival and the job it has ahead. Let me share, with you, images that MAVEN has already sent to us here on Earth! See, I told you that the scientists and technicians were/are anxious to get MAVEN working. The image, below, is of the Martian extended upper atmosphere. There are three images through different three different filters. One showing Hydrogen… one Oxygen… one Reflected Sunlight… and one that is a composite of the three different filters. This gives us, My Dear Shoevians, a very good idea of the make-up of the upper atmosphere and just how far each element extends above the Martian surface.

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(image Thanks to NASA/JPL Web Site[4])

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MAVEN’s FIRST Observations of Mars’ Upper Atmosphere

MAVEN’s FIRST Observations of Mars’ Upper Atmosphere

(MAVEN’s FIRST Observations of Mars’ Upper Atmosphere)

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Now, My Dear Shoevians, our next (and final) image for today from MAVEN is perhaps the most interesting. On October 17th MAVEN came within 5.3 million miles of a comet. ‘Siding Spring’ is the name of the comet and MAVEN managed to catch an incredible image from its Ultraviolet Spectrograph instrument. MAVEN captured an ultraviolet image as hydrogen atoms scattered in the solar ultraviolet light. See, the surface of most comets is water trapped in ice. As comets propel through our solar system, the ice evaporates off the comet’s surface. As this water vapor rises off the comet’s surface ultraviolet light breaks apart the hydrogen and oxygen! The image, below, is of the hydrogen ‘coma’ caused by this breakdown of water molecules.

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(Image Thanks to NASA/JPL Web Site[5])

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MAVEN Ultraviolet Image of ‘Siding Spring’ comet’s Coma

MAVEN Ultraviolet Image of ‘Siding Spring’ comet’s Coma

(MAVEN Ultraviolet Image of ‘Siding Spring’ comet’s Coma)

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That, My Dear Shoevians, brings us to the end of the portion of this “The Mars Report’ devoted to the MAVEN orbiter. Now I have four images from the Curiosity rover to share. First, I want to talk about the image at the top of this article. Labeled NASA’s Journey to Mars it shows the different systems and vehicles that will assist NASA and mankind in its exploration of deep space and Mars. As outlined in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010[6] the goals are as follows;

  • 2018First launch of the powerful Space Launch System[7] rocket. This rocket, and future improve versions, will help propel mankind to land on a comet take samples and return and eventually to Mars.
  • 2025Using the Space Launch System rocket in conjunction with the Orion[8] spacecraft NASA plans to land astronauts on a comet, have them take samples, then redirect the comet to orbit the MOON! As well, bringing back the comet samples using the Orion spacecraft.
  • 2030’s – Using a greatly improved Space Launch System [9] and the Orion spacecraft NASA plans to land a human astronaut on the Martian surface. Using human driver rovers they hope to discover ice bound water near the Martian poles. This water would, then, be converted into fuel for further Deep Space Exploration by robotic rovers then my human astronauts.

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That is the explanation of the graphic above, and the general outline for NASA’s and mankind’s adventure into Deep Space, the Martian surface and beyond. Our first image for this second half of today’s ‘The Mars Report’ was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter[10]. What we are looking at, here, is a geological separation on the Martian surface. A ‘Geologic Transition’ between the ‘Murray formation’ and a ‘Hematite ridge’. This transition is important in that they show dramatic changes in the soil composition and the layering of the formations. This is the very next location target for the rover Curiosity.

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(Image Thanks to NASA/JPL Web Site[11])

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Geologic Transition from Murray formation to Hematite ridge

Geologic Transition from Murray formation to Hematite ridge

(Geologic Transition from Murray formation to Hematite ridge)

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Our next image, My Dear Shoevians, is one of the clearest and sharpest high definition images I have ever seen come out of the MastCam (Mast Camera) of the rover Curiosity. We, Curiosity and Us, have arrived at ‘Alexander Hills’. Alexander Hills is in the ‘Pahrump Hills’ at the very base of Mount Sharp. The image is of an outcrop of bedrock that Curiosity encountered as it makes it final approach to Mount Sharp. The image, below, is a mosaic of six images taken by the Mastcam on November 23rd, 2014. The very next image shows just where Curiosity is and where it took this spectacular image. As always, My Dear Readers, the images at blog dot com have been cropped and compressed. However, if you go over the the secondary location at Word Press (www.theothersshoe.wordpress.com) you can click on any image and see it in the original resolution.

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(Image Thanks to NASA/JPL Web Site[12])

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Mosaic of Six Mastcam shots at ‘Alexander Hills’

Mosaic of Six Mastcam shots at ‘Alexander Hills’

(Mosaic of Six Mastcam shots at ‘Alexander Hills’)

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As I explained, above, the image below outlines Curiosity’s path from ‘Confidence Hills’ to the high point on Mount Sharp ‘Salsberry Peak’. This gives us the current location of Curiosity at ‘Alexander Hills’ and shows the path forward.

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(Image Thanks to JPL Web Site[13])

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Curiosity’s Path to Salisberry Peak

Curiosity’s Path to Salisberry Peak

(Curiosity’s Path to Salisberry Peak)

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That brings us, My Dear Shoevians, to the final image of the day and the final image of this expanded edition of ‘The Mars Report’. As always I would like to express my thanks to the NASA and JPL web sites for all of the images that I have shared here today. Without the use of these incredible images I would not be able to bring you edition after edition of ‘The Mars Report’. The image, below, was taken back on September 7th, 2013 from the ‘Darwin’ waypoint. I include it today because it shows the incredible bluffs of Mount Sharp. Mount Sharp is the first major waypoint and scientific point of interest for Curiosity. Reaching Mount Sharp will be an incredible achievement for Curiosity and the incredible people at NASA/JPL. Without whom none of this would be possible. I leave you with Mount Sharp!

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(Image Thanks to NASA/JPL Web Site[14])

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Mount Sharp Buttes and Layers

Mount Sharp Buttes and Layers

(Mount Sharp Buttes and Layers)

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Well, My Dear Shoevians, today we have made quite a journey. From MAVEN reaching Martian orbit, and providing incredible images of the Martian upper atmosphere and an ultraviolet image of hydrogen atoms fleeing a comet’s surface. All the way back to the Martian surface joining Curiosity as it makes its final climb to the summit of Mount Sharp. Today’s edition of “The Mars Report’ was a heroic reintroduction of this article series to you, My Dear Shoevians. I hope that you have enjoyed every single image, and gained some knowledge from the information I have shared.

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This article is set to self-publish as I am sitting at the Total Care Infusion Center receiving my forth chemotherapy treatment. I have prepared this article, in advance, so that you, My Dear Shoevians, could have something beautiful to enjoy while I battle my cancer. My Dear Shoevians, I grow weary of… begging for support. I have written, pleaded, even ran a campaign at Indiegogo to try and raise funds for me… to battle cancer… and not engage in this battle… broke and poor.

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My situation has not changed. Except for the fact I am gut tired of asking for your assistance. Next week is Christmas… and I am looking at a bleak… and painful holiday. This is my lot… I understand. But nothing says I have to face it broke and depressed. You, My Dear Shoevians, can change my Holiday Season. With little more than the cost of a couple of days Starbucks coffee you can donate and make a huge difference in my holidays… and my battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer. It is very easy. Just go to PayPal and send; $5, $10, $20 or more to – Daniel Hanning with my email of Enzomatrix@earthlink.net. I will get immediate notification of your donation to my battle with cancer. And… I just might be able to have a genuine Merry Christmas.

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Thank you for your time, your consideration, and (if you so choose) your donation. I hope that all of YOU, My Dearest Shoevians, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays! Thank you for your visits… thank you for your time… thank you for your kindness.

 

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P.S. You all may have noticed… as of this week you are NO longer merely ‘Readers’ of The Other Shoe… You ARE, in fact, ‘Shoevians’. Readers of this blog, The Other Shoe, at either location earns you the (dubious) honor of the deisgnation a ‘Shoevian’. A little Christmas present from me to Shoe… 😉

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays!.

Adieu!

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Thank YOU!

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Danny Hanning @ Chemotherapy

Danny Hanning @ Chemotherapy

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© 2010 – 2014
Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe

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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!

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