The Mars Report – May 4th, 2015


NASA Research Suggests Mars Once Had More Water Than Earth’s Arctic Ocean

NASA Research Suggests Mars Once Had More Water Than Earth’s Arctic Ocean

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(NASA Research Suggests Mars Once Had More Water Than Earth’s Arctic Ocean)

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                   Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe. Today marks the beginning of my third week back at; researching, writing, editing and publishing here at The Other Shoe. That is an important milestone for me, as just a few months ago (about mid-way through my chemotherapy treatments) I wondered if I would ever return to writing and publishing again. Well, not at all, what I mean is I doubted that I would ever again publish on a regular schedule again. Now, here I am two weeks past and over a dozen articles under my belt since my The Rebirth and Re-Launch of The Other Shoe article of April 13th, 2015.

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HoHowever, don’t let me take all the credit for that accomplishment. Yes, I research each and every article solo. I track down; images, quotes, facts and data by myself. I download images and document their source for footnotes. I write every single word of every article you read here at The Other Shoe. Yes I am the only person that combines the; images, quotes, data, footnotes and writing into the article you read here today, and every day. Yet, that it is not all there is to the production of my blog, and the articles you view and read. For every; image, quote, data point, researched topic and footnote there is someone behind me keeping my going.

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Allen. Allen has been the person who if I have written that day it was Allen that prepared my meal and helped me eat. If I took a bath Allen helped me get that bath and get dressed afterwards. If I went to a doctor’s appointment it was Allen that helped me get dressed, get into my power chair, get on to the Para-transit, sat with me in the waiting room, went into the doctor’s office with me, got me home, and back into bed. Without his help and assistance… NONE of this could be possible.

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I mention this because this same partnership is happening each and every day 140,000,000 miles away, Mars. For the very first time in human history mankind (America) has three spacecraft coordinating efforts for the exploration of Mars. For those of you that have joined The Other Shoe as Shoevians in just the past few months, you are only familiar with the images and efforts of the rover Curiosity. However, Curiosity is but one player in the team that is the Mars Exploration Triad. (Don’t go Googling that title, because you won’t find it anywhere else but here… as I just made it up right now… here, for you My Dear Shoevians)

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

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(Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter)

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First, and most importantly as it coordinates efforts of the two rovers and takes all the images we see from above the Martian surface. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was launched November 5th, 2013 (that would have been my eldest brother Ken’s 66th birthday) and has been in orbit of the Martian surface since September 24th, 2014. This orbiting watchdog takes all of the images taken from space, in this edition of ‘The Mars Report’ and all others. Without this eye in the sky we would never see either of the orbiters as they trek across the Martian surface. As well, this orbiter provides some incredible and startling images for all of us to view and enjoy. Next, the two rovers that currently trek around the Martian surface.

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Opportunity Rover

Opportunity Rover

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(Opportunity Rover)

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Opportunity is the eldest of the two functioning Martian rovers currently providing images and scientific data for NASA/JPL and all of us here on earth. The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity was launched July 7th, 2003 and landed on the Martian surface on January 25th, 2004. There were two MERs, Spirit was launched on June 10th, 2003 and landed on the Martian surface on January 4th, 2004. Currently we Opportunity is the only remaining operating rover of this twin launched rovers. Spirit was lost to us in 2010.

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Curiosity Rover

Curiosity Rover

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(Curiosity Rover)

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Curiosity is the final member of our Mars Exploration Triad. The youngest member of the group, but the most familiar to all of you, My Dear Shoevians, that have just arrived or just started reading ‘The Mars Report’ within the last year. This article series was first started to track and follow the twins, Spirit and Opportunity. It has just been in the last year or so that I have made the images and exploits of Curiosity the major focus of this article series. Today, I have images from all THREE of these incredible inventions. To me, these spacecraft are a symbol of what mankind… … … moreover what AMERICA can do if we put our money where it belongs and our hearts and minds behind a genuine goal.

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Now I will share with you for the reason for the lengthy lead-in and explanation of the Mars Exploration Triad. In today’s edition I will be sharing with you, My Dear Shoevians, images from all three sources! This is unique in the history of this article series, and the real reason for the lengthy lead-in. That and I had told Allen that I would mention him in an article this week. He didn’t believe me, so I have just won a bet! J

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With everything ‘explained’ and (while writing this article so far) all images for this edition uploaded to the two web sites, I am prepared to share with you, My Dear Shoevians, the nine other images that make up today’s edition of ‘The Mars Report’.

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That’s right, there will be twelve images contained in this week’s edition of this article series. That is a record number, since my return to publication. Quite honestly, there should/could have been twice as many… it’s just the twenty-odd images was going to be a lot more work and wouldn’t have finished until way after midnight. Even though I have paired down the number of images, for this edition, I assure you that this edition is one of the longest with the most images in the history of ‘The Mars Report’. So, sit back, have something nice to drink, and enjoy!

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Opportunity rover’s Progress Toward Spirit of St. Louis Crater

Opportunity rover’s Progress Toward Spirit of St. Louis Crater

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(Opportunity rover’s Progress Toward Spirit of St. Louis Crater)

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Our first image of this edition, above, shows the progress of the Opportunity rover towards the ‘Spirit of St. Louis Crater’. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took the images on March 23rd, 2015. I have chosen to share this image, and make it first, for two reasons. First, I am just amazed at how far Opportunity has trekked since its arrival eleven years four months ago. Second, it shows the arrival of the Opportunity rover to the area that is the subject of the next three images. See, my Dear Shoevians, how that works? I am using the orbiter to show the arrival of the rover to the area, and then I switch down to a terrestrial view and show what the rover sees once it has arrived! J

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As indicated above, the rover Opportunity has just recently arrived at the Spirit of St. Louis Crater. Upon arrival scientists spotted a ‘Rock Spire’ in the middle of the crater. This is a unique situation so the scientists at NASA/JPL took a large amount of images, for future study back here on earth. I have sifted through all the images, deciding to share with you, My Dear Shoevians, the best three images. They are, in order of appearance; a true color image of the rock spire. That is the image directly below this narrative. ‘Real color’ means that the image has not been altered in any way to improve of change the image. If you, My Dear Shoevian, were to arrive on Mars and look at this spire, this is how it would appear to you, outside your space suit.

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Rock Spire in 'Spirit of St. Louis Crater' on Mars - Real Color

Rock Spire in ‘Spirit of St. Louis Crater’ on Mars – Real Color

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(Rock Spire in ‘Spirit of St. Louis Crater’ on Mars – Real Color)

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Before continuing, I would like to take this opportunity to explain a little something to all of you, My Dear Shoevians. As most of you are aware, I publish this blog at two different locations. One at Blog Dot Com, and the other located at Word Press. I understand that each blog has its own followers, and I would not want to try and force people to view and read anywhere they are not comfortable. However, I feel compelled to point out one Fact. Here at Blog Dot Com the images are reduced to fit the page, when you click on them nothing happens. NOW, conversely at the Word Press location that is different! There, when you click on an image you arrive at a page with just the image in its original resolution! That means little, except for ‘The Mars Report’ and ‘Lost in Space’! If you would like to see these images in their full resolution and glory? I would hope over to the Word Press location and check them out. (www.theothersshoe.wordpress.com )

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Rock Spire in 'Spirit of St. Louis Crater' on Mars (Stereo))

Rock Spire in ‘Spirit of St. Louis Crater’ on Mars (Stereo)

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(Rock Spire in ‘Spirit of St. Louis Crater’ on Mars (Stereo))

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Above, is the very same image only this one was taken by two different camera aboard Opportunity. One of the images was taken by the right navcam, the other taken from the left navcam. One image was tinted with blue, the other was tented with red. If you place one of the old ‘Red/Blue – 3D Glasses’ on, this image would appear three dimensional! NASA/JPL use this process often, many times to help to determine distances to objects and to improve depth of field. Also, it looks really cool!

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Rock Spire in 'Spirit of St. Louis Crater' on Mars (False Color))

Rock Spire in ‘Spirit of St. Louis Crater’ on Mars (False Color)

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(Rock Spire in ‘Spirit of St. Louis Crater’ on Mars (False Color))

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The term “False Color’ indicates that NASA/JPL have used a color shift on the image. They do this to show people just how the feature (in this case the rock spire) would look if it were on earth. If Mars had our atmosphere, or this geologic feature appeared on earth, this is how it would look. Whereas, I really enjoy looking at the images form Mars in their original state. Often, as in this case, I much prefer viewing the geologic feature in this ‘False Color’ treatment. In this case, I am able to discern more detail in the image.

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Mars 'Marathon Valley' Overlook (False Color

Mars ‘Marathon Valley’ Overlook (False Color

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(Mars ‘Marathon Valley’ Overlook (False Color))

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When I saw the image, above, today while researching this article I was awestruck. This is exactly the kind of extraterrestrial view I have wanted to see, first hand, since I was a young boy. Reading science fiction novels, following the ‘Space Race’ and the many missions leading up to Apollo then when we finally landed on the moon. All the while I had images in my head, of these foreign lands and their panoramic views, exactly like the one I have just shared. This is the final image from the rover Opportunity, in this edition. Can you image standing beside Opportunity and taking in this view? I would never want to leave. I would want to build my home right on this spot!

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Layers and Dark Dunes on the Surface of Mars

Layers and Dark Dunes on the Surface of Mars

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(Layers and Dark Dunes on the Surface of Mars)

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The image, above, was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. You can just make out the dark sandy dunes mid-field of the left side of the image. Surrounding the dunes are layers of the Martian surface, likely exposed by a meteor strike thousands of years ago. The right side of the image shows the craggy surface that is prominent in this part of Mars. This image uses the false color process, displaying the features in earth light.

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Frosty Slopes on Mars

Frosty Slopes on Mars

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(Frosty Slopes on Mars)

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The image, above, was taken November 30th, 2014 by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (See a pattern developing, yet?) The featured area was about 1 mile by 2 miles in size, and yes that is frost in gullies on the Martian surface! Can you imagine going to Mars for a ski vacation? Who knows, one-day mankind just may be able to do just that! It takes my imagination for a frosty adventure!

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Well, so far My Dear Shoevians we have enjoyed many images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and from the senior rover Opportunity. Now, as we reach the end of this edition I shift my focus to the last member of our triad Curiosity. As with our visual adventure so far, we will begin sharing Curiosity’s images by taking a birds-eye-view.

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Mars Orbiter Views Curiosity Rover in 'Artist's Drive'

Mars Orbiter Views Curiosity Rover in ‘Artist’s Drive’

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(Mars Orbiter Views Curiosity Rover in ‘Artist’s Drive’)

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As we wrap up this edition of ‘The Mars Report’ the Martian rover Curiosity approaches Artist’s Drive. Having past Pahrump Hills on its way to Logan Pass Curiosity is moments away from breaking the ten-kilometer mark. This is yet another step to the summit of Mount Sharp, the ultimate goal for the beginning of Curiosity’s adventure on Mars. My Dear Shoevians, I just cannot put into words how much I enjoy the combining the view of the Orbiter, with the images taken by our rovers. Never before, in the history of space exploration, have we enjoyed this mulit-viewed approach to extraterrestrial exploration. We will never go back.

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Curiosity View Ahead Through 'Artist's Drive

Curiosity View Ahead Through ‘Artist’s Drive

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(Curiosity View Ahead Through ‘Artist’s Drive)

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With that, My Dear Shoevians, I bring you the very last image of this edition of ‘The Mars Report’. As we began, we end with an image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Taken from miles above the surface I am still just amazed at the level of detail I see in these images. The following image shows gullies. Now, I understand… many of you are saying “pictures of gullies? I am supposed to get excited about pictures of gullies on Mars?” YES!

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Yes, when you consider that these gullies are created by carbon dioxide frost on the frozen and barren landscape of Mars! Unlike here on Earth these gullies are not formed over years, and made by flowing water. These gullies are hundreds of feet thick and are formed in a matter of days! They were formed by carbon dioxide gas brought to freezing at -109ºF and forming frost flows! Now that is exciting!

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Changes Near Downhill End of a Martian Gully

Changes Near Downhill End of a Martian Gully

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(Changes Near Downhill End of a Martian Gully)

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That brings us to the end of this extended edition of ‘The Mars Report’. Yes, you may not have noticed but this edition has fourteen images and stretches to a total of fifteen pages. That is, roughly, twice the length of the average edition of ‘The Mars Report’. I hope that you, My Dear Shoevians, have enjoyed this expanded edition and remember to Share this article through your social media. What better way to show your friends you know where to find great reading, than to share this article!

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Have a great Monday, and a great week!

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Thank you!

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Adieu!

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Author/Editor Danny Hanning in Rolling Hills Estates February 2015

Author/Editor Danny Hanning in Rolling Hills Estates February 2015

© 2010 – 2015 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!

One Response to The Mars Report – May 4th, 2015

  1. Pingback: A Week in Review – May 10th, 2015 | The Other Shoe

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