The Mars Report – July 27th, 2015

Veteran NASA Spacecraft Nears 60,000th Lap Around Mars, No Pit Stops

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(Veteran NASA Spacecraft Nears 60,000th Lap Around Mars, No Pit Stops)

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Welcome back MY Dear Shoevians to The Other ShoeUnfortunately I got a bit of a late start, today, on this article. It is currently 2:15 PM PDST and that leaves me in a bit of a rush to publish ‘On Time’ for my Central Timer Zone readers. I found myself engaged in rather heated (one posted asking me to “surrender” in one thread… ROFLOL) exchanges where most ‘gun enthusiasts’ do not respect the rights of the unarmed, over their perceived) right to keep and bear any-and-all arms anywhere and everywhere they desire. Lacking a functional understanding of the English language, I was forced to make an appeal based on wording of the Preamble of the Constitution.

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We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,…”

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Right there, the last three words;  “insure domestic tranquility”. None of them, not a single one, ever showed a single regard for our right to domestic tranquility. Nor would they concede that an armed (an likely hopped up on methamphetamines) redneck with an Ak-47 might scare the bejeezeus out of an average American citizen. For all My Dear Shoevians that read from outside America, this is the quagmire that ‘gun enthusiasts’ have created around an inalienable right of the vast majority of the American population. Enough of that, now on with ‘The Mars Report’.

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With the late start I, unfortunately, did not have time to put together another ‘Gargantuan’ edition of this series. Instead, today, you will have six images, one video and the accompanying explanation and content.

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Our first image appears at the top of the article. This is an artist’s representation of NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft. This June the 23rd the Odyssey spacecraft made its 60,000th orbit over the Martian surface. Its orbiting began on October 23rd, 2001 and on December 15th, 2010 it became the longest orbiting spacecraft over Mars. My, notorious, last image of this edition was taken by Odyssey. An image will take your breath away.

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Now, for our next image of this edition, I give you a July 4th inspired image from the Curiosity rover. Taken September 19th, 2012… well I will just post it and talk on the other side.

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Curiosity's Stars and Stripes

Curiosity’s Stars and Stripes

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(Curiosity’s Stars and Stripes)

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Yes, it is the American Flag! This is an image, taken by Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), of the American Flag Medallion.  This flag medallion is riveted to the structure of the rover. Not many Americans have seen this medallion; you can now count yourselves among those few. For our next image I have a wonderful and incredible panoramic view taken by the Curiosity rover.

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Panorama from Curiosity's Sol 1000 Location

Panorama from Curiosity’s Sol 1000 Location

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(Panorama from Curiosity’s Sol 1000 Location)

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This incredible image was taken on May 30th, 2015 with the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on Curiosity’s 1,000th day on the Martian surface! This one image is actually a composite of many dozen independent images taken by the Navcam starting on May 27th, 2015. My Dear Shoevians, I try my best to give you one of these incredible panoramic images every couple of months. Americans should be very proud of the hard work NASA scientists and support staff do to keep projects, like the Curiosity rover working and developing and producing science and imagery.

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NASA's Curiosity Rover Inspects Unusual Bedrock

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Inspects Unusual Bedrock

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(NASA’s Curiosity Rover Inspects Unusual Bedrock)

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This rock outcrop, dubbed “Missoula”, by NASA scientists, was discovered near Marias Pass on Mars. Let me take a few moments to break down what appears in this image for you, My Dear Shoevians. This image was taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager of the Curiosity rover. This target, “Missoula” was unlike anything it had studied before. This rock face contained high amounts of silica. Silica is a combination of silicon and oxygen, commonly known on Earth as Quartz. This is called a ‘Geologic Contact Zone’ due to the meeting of; pale mudstone at the bottom of the outcrop and coarser sandstone at the top of the outcrop.

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“”We found an outcrop named Missoula where the two rock types came together, but it was quite small and close to the ground. We used the robotic arm to capture a dog’s-eye view with the MAHLI camera, getting our nose right in there,” said Ashwin Vasavada, the mission’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. MAHLI is short for Mars Hand Lens Imager.”[5]

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This incredible finding was one of the most recent findings by the Curiosity rover, but one of (what is certain to be) thousands upon thousands of discoveries Curiosity will make in its lifetime on the Martian surface. I am very happy that, while all too many Americans, are preoccupied with guns and wars that a majority of Americans revel in our scientific pursuits and accomplishments. All too often American media only carries the ‘Dark Side’ of America, and Americans. Here, at The Other Shoe, I diligently work to show the world a different and better side of America and Americans.

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Gale Crater's Surface Materials

Gale Crater’s Surface Materials

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(Gale Crater’s Surface Materials)

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The image, above, is a mosaic image made from many images taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter. This is ‘Gale Crater’ the home of the Martian Rover Curiosity. Gale Crater is ninety-six (96) miles in diameter. This image is oriented with ‘top-is-North’. I would try and explain the science behind this image, but I will leave it to a quote from the article accompanying this image.

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“The colors come from an image processing technique that identifies mineral differences in surface materials and displays them in false colors. For example, windblown dust appears pale pink and olivine-rich basalt looks purple. The bright pink on Gale’s floor appears due to a mix of basaltic sand and windblown dust. The blue at the summit of Gale’s central mound, Mount Sharp, probably comes from local materials exposed there. The typical average Martian surface soil looks grayish-green. Scientists use false-color images such as these to identify places of potential geologic interest.”

 

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Next, an homage to the beginnings of ‘The Mars Report’ and one of the very first rover subjects of this article series. More than four years ago, I started writing this article series, when it started I was following two brand new Martian Rovers; Spirit and Opportunity. Unfortunately, two winters ago, we lost Spirit due to a failure of communications. NASA sent commands for Spirit to move to a covered area and to power-down for the Martian Winter. Spirit did not receive the commands, and was left powered up and exposed during a harsh Martian winter season. We have not heard from Spirit again. However, Opportunity just keeps trucking. Operators of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity plan to drive the rover into a valley this month where Opportunity will be active through the long-lived rover’s seventh Martian winter, examining outcrops that contain clay minerals. Recently NASA created, and shared, this video.

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(Opportunity Rover’s 7th Mars Winter to Include New Study Area)

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As always, My Dear Shoevians, as is customary I have saved the very best image, for last. Now, I am not so sure just how each blog location will handle this next image. It is very large in size and scope. I will, likely, have to compress it for use on one or more blog locations. However, if you want to see this image in its original size and scope? Just go to the bottom of the page and click on the corresponding footnote link. That will take you to the NASA/JPL web site page that featured this image. I always do my best to LINK material so that I am not plagiarizing material and so that the real people behind these great images get their due credit. Now, without further adieu, I give you ‘Morning Clouds Atop Martian Mountain’.

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Morning Clouds Atop Martian Mountain

Morning Clouds Atop Martian Mountain

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(Morning Clouds Atop Martian Mountain)

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Taken with the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter this image shows clouds gather in the summit pit, or caldera, of Pavonis Mons, a giant volcano on Mars. This image was taken shortly after the Martian dawn. The clouds are mostly made up of ice crystals. They appear blue, in the image, because the structure of the crystals reflect blue light more strongly than other colors. This image was made by THEMIS through three of its visual-light filters plus a near-infrared filter, and it is approximately true in color. In other words, this image is not ‘false color’ for our viewing. If you were in orbit, over the Martian surface, you could look out a window and this is exactly how it would appear to you, My Dear Shoevians.

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That brings us to the end of this edition of ‘The Mars Report’. As always, My Dear Shoevians, it has been my pleasure to bring this article, these images, and the science and discoveries right to your browser. In hopes that many peoples, from all over the world, get a better and more informed view of America and Americans. We are not all about ‘guns’ and ‘war’. As a matter of fact, a majority of Americans seek a more peaceful nation and world in which to live and raise our children. That view, of America and Americans, is not always featured… even in our own journalism.

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Each and every week, that I am physically able and with less pain, I will work to bring you more and more; science, nature, space, Mars, news, and even some Young Adult Fiction. It is my hope, and dream, to be a small part of a broader understanding of America and Americans… and what we can do for the benefit of all mankind.

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Adieu!

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Thank you!

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Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

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© 2010 – 2015 Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe

 

[1] http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/veteran-nasa-spacecraft-nears-60000th-lap-around-mars-no-pit-stops

 

[2] http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia15882.html

 

[3] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/msl/pia19679/panorama-from-curiositys-sol-1000-location

[4] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/msl/nasas-curiosity-rover-inspects-unusual-bedrock

[5] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/msl/nasas-curiosity-rover-inspects-unusual-bedrock

[6] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/gale-craters-surface-materials

 

[7] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/morning-clouds-atop-martian-mountain

 

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Lost in Space – New Horizons Reaches Pluto

New Horizons Spacecraft

New Horizons Spacecraft

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(New Horizons Spacecraft)

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Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe and the very first article I have written and published in nearly a month! Briefly, I have been plagued… terribly plagued with pains all over my body. From the base of my head all the way down into my arms and hands and now into my thighs and legs. MY spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease has worsened, greatly. I am completely unable to sit up on the side of my bed and writing/publishing. I simply can not last long enough to do research or gather images for a single article (anywhere from six to fourteen images per article).

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In strides a ‘International Concern’ (that is what I was told to identify the parties involved in assisting me) willing to HELP! They purchased the very ‘Medical Bedside Table’ I pointed out, and have expressed the desire to assist with financing of my first year of an URL (hosting, registration, emails and all) for a web site ALL MY OWN! I am looking at www.theothershoe.co for the All NEW location of the primary blog for The Other Shoe. I will be keeping my blog at WordPress and Blogspot, too. All they have asked in return for their great generosity?

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1) The password to read all the finished pages of ‘The Horror in Smithville.

2) That I give them “First shot” at any novel(s), screenplay(s), and short story(s) that I write and finish in the same one year period.

3) FINISH ONE; novel, screenplay, or short story for them to read.

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That’s IT! They purchased, had shipped and delivered the table I desperately needed and are willing to help with the costs of registration of a domain, web hosting, and email for one blog location outside my current locations. How could I refuse!?!? I didn’t!

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Now, that I have cleared up all your questions My Dear Shoevians, I want to continue with this edition of ‘Lost in Space – New Horizons At Pluto’! As I was writing this article introduction I was also doing my research on the newest images from New Horizions[2]of Pluto and Charon. However, before I present these images and share my thoughts and observations mixed with technical and scientific information from NASA/JPL[3] I would like to take a moment to say “Thank you!”. Thank you to the ‘International Concern’ that took their time, money and effort to make this article and all that will follow for some time to come. If not for their help I would be stuck without the means to write and publish without creating severe pain and suffering. For all of you, My Dear Shoevians, that are regular readers (from all around the world) you know that since my battle with cancer I have repeatedly tried to return to a regular publishing schedule. Each and every time, I have failed. I have failed due to the increased and intractable pain that sitting (in any way), for extended periods of time, causes. Now I have a medical ‘Over-the-Bed’ styled table that I can sit (comfortably) in my bed-chair, with pillows supporting my head, neck and shoulders, thereby relieving all pressure and weight from my neck.

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How Big is Pluto? Decades Long Debate Settled

How Big is Pluto? Decades Long Debate Settled

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(How Big is Pluto? Decades Long Debate Settled)

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Whereas I know that you, My Dearest Shoevians, understand that between; research, uploading images, writing content, editing images, uploading images to three separate blog locations, uploading text and integrating text and images can take anywhere for six-eight hours to several DAYS. All of the ‘Gargantuan’ editions of ‘The Mars Report’ and ‘Lost in Space’ (deemed ‘Gargantuan’ once they reach 14+ pages in length and having 14+ images embedded) have taken two to three days from the very first image downloaded to my computer to the final editing and embedding of images into the finished article. Far from complaining I really rather enjoy these ‘Gargantuan’ editions. I just do not enjoy the days-weeks for pain that follows these endeavors. Now, that will (should be) a thing of the past.

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Right now I have already; researched, captured, uploaded, captioned and saved reference links for the eleven images that will make up this article. I see, from Task Manager, that my system has been ‘up’ for three hours and fifty-nine minuets. Yet, my neck and back… arms and hands are not hurting beyond my regular background level of pain. This IS a ‘Good Thing’! THANK YOU!

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The lead image of this edition is an artist’s impression of the New Horizons orbiter/spacecraft as it approaches Pluto. This was one of the very first images I saw when I started my research for the initial edition of ‘Lost in Space’ about the New Horizons’ mission. That’s right My Dear Shoevians; this is not my first article about the New Horizons mission, the spacecraft or its journey to the Kuiper Belt and Pluto. My original article, titled ‘Lost in Space – NASA Arrives at Kuiper Belt’[5] premiered April 17th, 2015. Long before this month’s media orgy over its arrival, close orbit, of the dwarf planet Pluto. I knew then that the arrival of New Horizons to the Kuiper Belt was a major accomplishment for America and mankind. I am just so very happy that I lived to see the day that man reached the very limits of our solar system. There is still the Oort Cloud, which I wrote about in my ‘Tour of Our Solar System #4’[6] series of ‘Lost in Space’ back in July 1st, 2014 (nearly exactly one year ago). Funny that I knew to write about this material as far back as one year ago, and as recently as in April of this year. Anywho. J

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Observations of Pluto Through the Years

Observations of Pluto Through the Years

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(Observations of Pluto Through the Years)

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The image, above, is a GIF. This GIF is actually a series of images of the dwarf planet Pluto as seen over the years. An animation combines many images taken of Pluto over the decades. The very first frame is a digital zoom of the initial discovery of Pluto in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, image courtesy of Lowell Observatory Archives. The final frame zooms in to a close-up frame of Pluto released on July 15, 2015. I thought this a fitting image to begin our journey into the newest images of Pluto thanks to the New Horizons orbiter spacecraft. Now, My Dear Shoevians, if you would like some information about; the launch of the mission, the mission patch, the spacecraft itself or anything-about New Horizons’ nine year/four billion mile journey you can read it in my original article here: Lost in Space – New Horizons – Redux.

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Pluto Image Sent to Earth on July 14. 2015

Pluto Image Sent to Earth on July 14. 2015

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(Pluto Image Sent to Earth on July 14. 2015)

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The black and white image, above, was taken by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard the New Horizons spacecraft. It was taken on July 13, 2015 when the spacecraft was 476,000 miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface of Pluto. This was, at the time it was taken, the very first High-Definition image ever taken of the surface of Pluto. The clarity and overall sharpness of this image is just breathtaking, to someone that has looked at blurry images and artist’s concept images for his entire life. For me, this image holds the same awe and mystery I found when I looked at the very first images astronauts Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin and Neil Armstrong took of the surface of the moon, forty-six years ago. Next is a false color version of this same image.

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Pluto is Dominated by the Feature Informally Named the “Heart”

Pluto is Dominated by the Feature Informally Named the “Heart”

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(Pluto is Dominated by the Feature Informally Named the “Heart”)

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Above is the single sharpest image, of the dwarf planet Pluto, mankind has ever seen. Everyone associated with the ‘New Horizons’ mission understood, from the onset, that the orbiter would transmit the clearest/sharpest images of Pluto and Charon ever seen by man. I, for one, was just not really ready for what New Horizons delivered! Since I was a boy all I had ever seen, of Pluto, was blurry images that left more to the imagination than my eyes and artist’s concepts. Neither of which contained the all new feature (informally) named ‘The Heart’. If you, My Dear Shoevians, look to the lower right quadrant of the image above you can see the outline of ‘The Heart’. Almost like Pluto texting us a heart. As New Horizons sped towards Pluto it captured the following incredible portrait image, one of Pluto and Charon sharing a frame, together.

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A Portrait from the Final Approach to Pluto and Charon

A Portrait from the Final Approach to Pluto and Charon

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(A Portrait from the Final Approach to Pluto and Charon)

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For decades scientists have theorized that the surface of Pluto (a terran planet out past our Jovian gas giants) would likely have a surface covered with ice. To the joy of scientists the world over the orbiter New Horizons ‘Ralph’ instrument revealed an abundance of methane ice. The ‘Ralph’ instrument is actually several imaging devices in one package.

“Ralph includes the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), which generates visible and near infrared multi-spectral images and a panchromatic “framing” array for navigation, and the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA), provided by NASA/Goddard, which generates short wave infrared hyperspectral images”[11]

However, Ralph (named after the 50’s television character in ‘The Honeymooners’) showed something more about the methane on the surface of Pluto. That this methane ice shows striking differences, from place to place, across the frozen surface of Pluto.

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““We just learned that in the north polar cap, methane ice is diluted in a thick, transparent slab of nitrogen ice resulting in strong absorption of infrared light,” said New Horizons co-investigator Will Grundy, Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona. In one of the visually dark equatorial patches, the methane ice has shallower infrared absorptions indicative of a very different texture. “The spectrum appears as if the ice is less diluted in nitrogen,” Grundy speculated “or that it has a different texture in that area.”[12]

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Below is an early composite infrared image of the surface of Pluto by the ‘Ralph’ imaging package.

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Pluto: The Ice Plot Thickens

Pluto: The Ice Plot Thickens

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(Pluto: The Ice Plot Thickens)

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For our next, and last, images (today) of Pluto I have saved the best for last. This image is a close-up of the surface of Pluto near the equator. These high-definition images held a surprise for scientists and geologists alike. The ‘giant surprise’ was a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body.

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“The mountains likely formed no more than 100 million years ago — mere youngsters relative to the 4.56-billion-year age of the solar system — and may still be in the process of building…” says Geology, Geophysics and Imaging (GGI) team leader Jeff Moore of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.. That suggests the close-up region, which covers less than one percent of Pluto’s surface, may still be geologically active today.”

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The Icy Mountains of Pluto

The Icy Mountains of Pluto

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(The Icy Mountains of Pluto)

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Now, My Dear Shoevians, we move on to one of Pluto’s moons… Charon. Pluto has five moons that orbit the little dwarf planet. (Yes, I am still a little miffed that they took away Pluto’s designation as one of our solar system’s nine planets) New horizons snapped some really impressive images of Charon and of Pluto and Charon together. Below are three of the most recent of these images.

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The image, below, is a false-color image made from composites taken by the Ralph imaging package. They were taken to highlight their compositional diversity. They are shown here in exaggerated colors that make it easy to note the differences in surface material and features on each planetary body.

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““These images show that Pluto and Charon are truly complex worlds. There’s a whole lot going on here,” said New Horizons co-investigator Will Grundy, Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona. “Our surface composition team is working as fast as we can to identify the substances in different regions on Pluto and unravel the processes that put them where they are.”[15]

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Pluto and Charon Shine in False Color

Pluto and Charon Shine in False Color

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(Pluto and Charon Shine in False Color)

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Well, My Dear Shoevians, as I write this edition of ‘Lost in Space’ I can clearly see that this edition will qualify as a ‘Gargantuan’ edition. That means that this edition of ‘Lost in Space’ has twelve or more pages of content, twelve or more images and twelve or more footnotes. So, when you see me advertise this article in; Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, and Pintrest you will see me use the designation ‘Gargantuan’. I don’t use it often, but when I do you can be sure that you are in for a real treat of an article.

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I started this article back on the 17th of this month. That is the day that I did the research on the images, uploaded the images to my computer, captured the links for the footnotes and copied text from the original sites for quotes, here. This is a long process, but one that yields a high quality article, one that I enjoy sharing and can take pride… in. Our next-to-the-last image, of this edition, is a full screen close-up of Pluto’s moon, Charon. Taken late by New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on July 13, 2015 from a distance of 289,000 miles (466,000 kilometers) this image was a defining moment for the project.

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Charon’s Surprising, Youthful and Varied Terrain

Charon’s Surprising, Youthful and Varied Terrain

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(Charon’s Surprising, Youthful and Varied Terrain)

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Just below the equator, in this image, you can see a swath of cliffs and troughs. They stretch about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from left to right, suggesting widespread fracturing of Charon’s crust, likely a result of internal processes. In the upper right quadrant of this image (just below the upper polar region) the ‘dark spot’ is actually a canyon four to six miles deep!

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My Dear Shoevians we have come to the final image of this ‘Gargantuan’ edition of ‘Lost in Space’. Building on the image above, our following image shows a close-up of another region of the surface of Charon. We see the region of Charon’s surface just to the east of the image above. This image is named ‘Mountain in a Moat’.

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New Horizons Close-Up of Charon’s ‘Mountain in a Moat’

New Horizons Close-Up of Charon’s ‘Mountain in a Moat’

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(New Horizons Close-Up of Charon’s ‘Mountain in a Moat’)

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“The image shows an area approximately 240 miles (390 kilometers) from top to bottom, including few visible craters. “The most intriguing feature is a large mountain sitting in a moat,” said Jeff Moore with NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, who leads New Horizons’ Geology, Geophysics and Imaging team. “This is a feature that has geologists stunned and stumped.”[19]

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Well, My Dear Shoevians, I hope that you have enjoyed this ‘Gargantuan’ edition of ‘Lost in Space’. While it has taken me nearly a week to finish; writing, embedding images, editing and publishing this article? It was a labor of love. For, you see, My Dear Shoevians this is the very first article I have written and produced with my regular method since I landed my new URL! Yes, I have published nearly a dozen articles at all three blog locations, since Friday, for them I used a different method to; write, edit and publish. This way is longer, more difficult and more time consuming… but it is my method.

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As always, My Dear Shoevians, if you have enjoyed this article please be sure to ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ this with all your friends and family and all the social media you use and enjoy. This way more and more people can find and, too, enjoy this article and my works. I will be back, as soon as tomorrow, with more and more articles.

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My Dear Shoevians, if the past four days are any indication? You will see more articles and more often than ever before in my publishing career. I hope you enjoy what I have to share.

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Adieu!

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Thank you!

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Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

© 2010 – 2015 Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe


New Horizons Discovers Frozen Plains in the Heart of Pluto’s ‘Heart’ | NASA

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“In the center left of Pluto’s vast heart-shaped feature – informally named “Tombaugh Regio” – lies a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes. This frozen region is north of Pluto’s icy mountains and has been informally named Sputnik Planum (Sputnik Plain), after Earth’s first artificial satellite. The surface appears to be divided into irregularly-shaped segments that are ringed by narrow troughs. Features that appear to be groups of mounds and fields of small pits are also visible. This image was acquired by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on July 14 from a distance of 48,000 miles (77,000 kilometers). Features as small as one-half mile (1 kilometer) across are visible. The blocky appearance of some features is due to compression of the image.Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

Source: New Horizons Discovers Frozen Plains in the Heart of Pluto’s ‘Heart’ | NASA

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Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe. This article is just the first in a series of articles I have planned for later this week. You can look for all new editions of ‘Lost in Space’ starting Monday. These images will be beaming to earth for the next 16 months. You need go NO futher than right here at The Other Shoe for all your news and images from the New Horizons orbiter.

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Adieu!

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Thank you!

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Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

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© 2010 – 2015 Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe

Lost in Space – New Horizons – Redux

Artist Illistration of New Horizon's Arrival at Pluto[1]

(Artist’s Illustration of New Horizon Arrival at Pluto)

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                                     Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe. Today I am presenting this pervious edition of ‘Lost In Space’ where I originally presented the New Horizons mission. At this point the spacecraft has not yet reached Pluto. Now that this mission, and Pluto, are featured in many media outlets I am doing a redux. For all m,y regular readers… My Dear Shoevoians, for the past month my pain in my head, neck, and arms has prevented me from writing. I am unable to sit upright, on the side of the bed, and write as I have for the past five years and 600+ articles. I was given a gift of a Medical Bedside Table, which I received yesterday. With this I am certain I will get back to my regular (five to seven articles per week) publishing schedule. Thank you to everyone for your support. Enjoy this redux of a wonderful article I wrote before this mission became popular!

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                 Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe and an all-new edition of ‘Lost in Space’. Now, for the past year this article series has; shared images of far-flung galaxies super nova and nebula, taken us all on a “Tour of Our Solar System’, and to the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud. The Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud… wow… such fond memories… That edition of ‘Lost in Space’ was one of my research and share with all of you, My Dearest Shoevians.

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Today we will return to The Kuiper Belt because NASA’s ‘New Horizon’ spacecraft has reached the border of this most far-flung reaches of our solar system. In case you have not read my edition of ‘Lost in Space – Tour of Our Solar System #4’ the Kuiper Belt is the home of Dwarf Planets like; Pluto, Xena and Sedna. The Kuiper Belt is similar to the Asteroid Belt that separates the inner Terran (rocky crust planets) planets from the outer Jovian (Gas giants). The Kuiper Belt differs, as it is the birthplace of new planets.

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774The conditions within The Kuiper Belt are very similar to those of the rest of our solar system at its birth. Rocks and dust, floating freely in the deep freeze of space, falling prey to chance encounters of gravity and inertia. Throwing bodies together and binding until they create their own gravitational fields, and becoming planets. In another hundred million years, or more new plants could appear in The Kuiper Belt. So far only dwarf planets occupy this violent frozen region of space.

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New Horizon’s Mission Patch

New Horizon’s Mission Patch

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(New Horizon’s Mission Patch)

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Named ‘New Horizons’ the spacecraft launched and the journey started, at 2:00PM Eastern Time using the Atlas V 551 variant from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida[3]. Five solid rocket motors and the core engine of the Atlas V rocket lifted the spacecraft into orbit at 2:30PM. Escape velocity was obtained with a third stage burn sending ‘New Horizon’ out of orbit and headed to Pluto and The Kuiper Belt at the speed of 36,373 mph.

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New Horizon’s Atlas Lift-Off

New Horizon’s Atlas Lift-Off

[4]

(New Horizon’s Atlas Lift-Off)

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New Horizon has made several near visits in its nine year four billion mile journey from Earth’s orbit to The Kuiper Belt and Pluto and beyond. The first such stop was a near fly-by of asteroid 132524 APL on June 13, 2006. The spacecraft used it RALPH telescope (named ‘Ralph’ after Alice’s husband in television’s ‘ Honeymooners’). When New Horizon’s flight plan brought it closest to the asteroid, 63,297 miles,. Images were taken by both the visible light CCD imager (MVIC- Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera) and LEISA the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array imaging device. These images are not, yet, available to the general public.

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At this point in New Horizon’s journey the spacecraft shut down most of its systems to conserve energy. Oh, this might be a good time to explain just how New Horizon powers itself. Since the spacecraft’s objective and flight plan would take it more than four billion miles from earth. Solar power was not a viable option as the size of needed solar panels (at the end of mission) would be larger than our lift-off capabilities. It was decided that New Horizon would use a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG).[5]

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New Horizon’s Instrumentation Graphic

New Horizon’s Instrumentation Graphic

[6]

(New Horizon’s Instrumentation Graphic)

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This is the very same electrical generator technology that was used as recently as the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover. It has been used by NASA for decades and has never resulted in a mission disaster or failure. The RTG uses the heat from the decay of plutonium-238 dioxide to fuel a thermoelectric process creating electricity. Voyager 1 & 2 spacecraft, now in interstellar space, both used RTG electrical sources.

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New Horizon’s Interplanetary Cruise Map

New Horizon’s Interplanetary Cruise Map

[7]

(New Horizon’s Interplanetary Cruise Map)

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In the first part of September 2006 NASA sent word to New Horizon to thaw from its deep freeze and awake for hibernation. It was time to start initial work for New Horizon’s fly-by of Jupiter. Shortly after awakening the spacecraft activated the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager aka LORRI to take long-range images of Jupiter. This long focal length imager is designed for high resolution images and to be responsive at all visible wavelengths. New Horizon used KORRI to take these images from a distance of 181 million miles. The spacecraft spent from January to mid-June 2007 observing and imaging the surface of Jupiter.

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Jupiter’s Moon Io as seen by Galileo and New Horizon

Jupiter’s Moon Io as seen by Galileo and New Horizon

[8]

(Jupiter’s Moon Io as seen by Galileo and New Horizon)

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At the end of June, passing the longest possible distance for good imaging of Jupiter, New Horizon was placed back into hibernation. For the next seven years the spacecraft spent the majority of its time in hibernation mode, except for periodically awakening to test system functionality. The flight plan has New Horizon crossing the orbital boundary of Saturn on June 8th, 2008 and cut through the orbit of Uranus on March 18th, 2011.

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It just earlier this month that NASA sent the ‘wake-up’ order, once again, to the spacecraft to make the final 93 second burn aligning it with an orbit around Pluto. New Horizon is scheduled to arrive at the dwarf planet Pluto on July 14h, 2015. This scheduled arrival has NASA and all the scientific community, world wide, chomping at the bit for all the new data and images. This will be the very first manmade object to orbit a dwarf planet and navigated within The Kuiper Belt.

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Searching for the Boundary between Interstellar space and the Heliosphere

Searching for the Boundary between Interstellar space and the Heliosphere

[9]

(Searching for the Boundary between Interstellar space and the Heliosphere)

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This is a major accomplishment for; America, NASA, and mankind as a whole. We must continue our exploration of our solar system and of space. There is no end to the knowledge we will gain about; gravity and gravitational forces, magnetism, planet formation, and even the discovery of new elements. One thing that most people are not aware? IN the 80’s, 90’s and early 21st century we watched as computer processors (CPUs) became faster and faster. First 1GHz, then 2GHz, then 3GHz the major chip manufactures (Intel and AMD) were in a “Speed Race’ to see which company could beat the 4GHz speed limit, break it and sustain.

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Well, both companies achieved the 4GHz speed limit, and could slightly and briefly break that speed. However, it all came to a Big STOP there after. Not known to the general public (the the reason tablets were introduced and desktops were geared back) was that these chip manufactures had hit NOT a speed limit due to design or desire. No, rather, they had hit a limit of ELEMENTS! Both Intel and AMD had many designs for SINGLE CORE processors going 5GHz and 6GHZ and better. Thing was? When built these chips would simply… melt!

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More precisely the insulation materials could not stand up to the heat generated and simply no longer insulated. Everyone was all ready to go up to 5… 6… 7… 87.. 9GHz but mankind simply does not have elements to use as adequate insulators! Mankind needs NEW elements!!! They cannot and will not be found on Earth! So long as we are limited by the current number of elements on the Periodic Table, we will never continue on our Speed Race in computer processors, and that is a terrible shame.

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Flight Plan and Schedule for New Horizon Spacecraft

Flight Plan and Schedule for New Horizon Spacecraft

[10]

(Flight Plan and Schedule for New Horizon Spacecraft)

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Our journey into space is not limited to wonderful images, the thrill of a man walking on another planet’s surface, and the accompanying expansion of technologies. We need to continue, and even accelerate, our exploration and MINING of other planets, asteroids and dwarf planets. It is only through this exploration and discovery that we will advance all technologies and sciences.

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Starting July 14th of this year mankind will take the closest look at the furthest planet in our solar system. This is not just exploration and discovery. This is human evolution in its purest form. New Horizon could show us more about the beginnings of our solar system; give up new facts about gravity and its correlation with magnetism and maybe even give us a glimpse at what lies beyond our solar system.

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As more information and images come in from New Horizon I will share them with you all, My Dearest Shoevians. NASA and the American taxpayer have, once again, brought mankind a little further. Carried us deeper in space and no to the very edge of our solar system. I am confident that for every journey, every dollar, and every endevbour we will reap knowledge that will move us forward as a people and as a nation. Space exploration is an investment! It is a very long term investment, but it always pays off… and one day it will pay off big time and we will find the ‘new element’ that allows our chip manufactures to continue their Speed Race’ to faster and faster computers and processors.

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Pluto and Charon from New Horizon Closest Point Yet!

Pluto and Charon from New Horizon Closest Point Yet!

[11]

(Pluto and Charon from New Horizon Closest Point Yet!)

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Thank you all, My Dear Shoevians, for dropping by and reading this edition of ‘Lost in Space’. I hope that I have peaked your interest, expanded your understanding, and given you plenty of ‘Food for Thought’. This brings to close my publications for this week. Tomorrow, Saturday, I will publish ‘A Week in Review’ and then on Sunday I will publish a very special edition of ‘Sunday Funnies’. It will be ‘A Tribute to Alexander R Hanning’. The star of Sunday Funnies for several years, and my most recent loss. I hope that everyone drops by and checks out his newest videos and my homage to him and his work here at The Other Shoe.

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New Horizon’s Arrival at Pluto – Artist Concept

New Horizon’s Arrival at Pluto – Artist Concept

[12]

(New Horizon’s Arrival at Pluto – Artist Concept)

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Thank you!

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Adieu!

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© 2010 – 2015 Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe

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Author/Editor Danny Hanning in Rolling Hills Estates February 2015

Author/Editor Danny Hanning in Rolling Hills Estates February 2015


Lost in Space – Cassini – June 10th, 2015

Herschel's View of G49 Filament

Herschel’s View of G49 Filament

[1]

(Herschel’s View of G49 Filament)

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Welcome back MY Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe. Today I have a wonderful edition of ‘Lost in Space’ to share with all of you. This edition features NASA’s ‘Cassini’ project. We start today’s edition with the wondrous image above taken at the Herschel Space Observatory at the California Institute of Technology. This striking image is of a huge filamentary structures of gas and dust, within our Milky Way Galaxy, named G49.

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While consisting of nothing more than gas and G49 stretches 280 light-years in length with a diameter that is only about 5 light-years across. It is amazing to image that this one filament, within our own galaxy, contains an equivalent mass of 80,000 suns! When we view these interstellar phenomenon, we begin to realize, though our planet’s construction is complete? Our solar system and our galaxy are in a continuous state of flux, birth and rebirth. Kind of makes a person think, right?

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 Cassini CIRS MIssion Patch

Cassini CIRS MIssion Patch

[2]

(Mission Patch for the Cassini CIRS)

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Now, on to the main subject of today’s edition of ‘Lost in Space’. The Cassini project started, on the drawing table, in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It was to be the single most ambitious space project, headed to Saturn, in the history of NASA. For astronomers Saturn, and its moon Titan, sparks the imagination. The most mysterious of the Jovian/Gas Giant planets, Saturn has been the focus of scientific debate. From the rings of Saturn to its thirty-year0long storms, to the odd shaped moons to Titan. Saturn is at the center of much science fiction, and fantasy. Cassini was the mission to pull back the veil on Saturn, and Titan.

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Saturn

Saturn

(Saturn)

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Cassini was not only one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by NASA/, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI). It was the one of the largest, and the second heaviest, non-manned spacecraft ever launched. Standing to a height of more than 22 feet (6.7 meters) and 13.1 wide (4 meters) Cassini was an enormous spacecraft. The total weight, at launch, of both the Cassini spacecraft and the Huygens probe was 12,539 pounds (5,712 kilograms). Only the Former Soviet Union-made (two) Phobos spacecraft weighed more, at the time of launch. Cassini was launched October 15, 1997, at 4:43 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (0843 Universal Time) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a Titan IVB/Centaur launch system – the most powerful launch vehicle in the U.S. fleet.

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Cassini Spacecraft

Cassini Spacecraft

[3]

(Cassini Spacecraft)

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Ok… … … All of you, My Dear Shoevians, all know and understand that I (Danny Hanning-Author/Editor/Researcher/Publisher) am a truthful a person as one could possibly ever meet, right? You have learned of my physical disabilities, just as soon as the get worse. Know when I ran an Indiegogo Campaign for my needed power chair, since I drag my left foot and can barely walk. Know when I was diagnosed with cancer, and what type. You, My Dear Shoevians, know I am truthful and that I will always tell you the truth.

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I started this article on June 5th, 2015 (Friday) for publication last week. Well, on Friday there were problems with availability (for publication) at my primary blog location (www.theothershoe.blog.com). Here it is Monday June 8th, 2015 the following Monday. I got to my blog location, hoping to be able to upload my Mars and Cassini images, and find that it is still ‘down’. (Meaning I am getting ‘502’ and ‘504’ page errors. I’ve checked it is their server and not me). That leaves me with; publishing today’s ‘The Mars Report’ at my other two ‘secondary/tertiary locations.

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I am not happy about this situation. I am now behind-the-eightball’ for nearly two dozen images to upload, uploading two articles, and embedding those two dozen images into the two articles. All that has to be done, prior to my publication at my primary blog location. This leads to frustration, and adds to the obstacles between me and my goal of publishing ‘tri-blog’ as it where. Just wanted to let all of you, My Dear Shoevians, know there are difficulties and I am working to correct them. I hope, that within the next couple of days, the problem at Blog.com will get resolved. Once that happens I will publish all missing articles, and announce the publication on all social media. Now, as they say in the entertainment industry, “On with the show!”

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Now, My Dear Shoevians, there are not a lot of color images that are coming back from Cassini. The black/white images are of the highest quality and are HD in resolution. They are just not in color, and I wanted to warn all of you of that fact. In our next image we see something that had the NASA/JPL scientists scratching their heads for months. When taking passing images of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, they witnessed a phenomenon of unexplained origin. Check it out!

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Icy Tendrils Reaching into Saturn’s Ring Traced to Their Source

Icy Tendrils Reaching into Saturn’s Ring Traced to Their Source

[4]

(Icy Tendrils Reaching into Saturn’s Ring Traced to Their Source)

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These long and sinuous threads, that stretch from somewhere near/around Enceladus to Saturn’s rings. Above are some of the best images of these threads, along with a computer simulation that allowed the scientists to figure out where they originate. Enceladus. It seems that evidence proves that these tendrils originate from geysers erupting on the surface of Enceladus. Icy and very strong geysers shooting blasts of sediment, rock and dust from the surface of Enceladus to the rings of Saturn.

 

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“We’ve been able to show that each unique tendril structure can be reproduced by particular sets of geysers on the moon’s surface,” said Colin Mitchell, a Cassini imaging team associate at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and lead author of the paper. Mitchell and colleagues used computer simulations to follow the trajectories of

ice grains ejected from individual geysers. The geysers, which were discovered by Cassini in 2005, are jets of tiny water ice particles, water vapor and simple organic compounds.”[5]

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For our next image I have found, and prepared, a moving GIF. This is a series of several images stacked by an image processing program so that it appears in one frame, and in sequence. I like using GIFs, in my blogs, as they add a little flare and entertainment to scientific material. Today’s GIF is of Saturn’s second largest moon Rhea passing overhead of Saturn’s fourth largest moon, Dione. What makes this image… amusing? Rhea is a larger moon than Dione, yet in this image Dione is in the foreground and looks much larger! Here is “Dione Dwarfing Rhea”

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Dione Dwarfing Rhea

Dione Dwarfing Rhea

[6]

(Dione Dwarfing Rhea)

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HYPERION-

Gotta be, hands down, the single funkiest shaped moon, like, ever! This from a guy that was looking at images of the moons of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in my family’s Encyclopedia Britannica as a boy of 8 and ten years old. I’ve seen icy moons, I’ve seen blue moons, I’ve seen shimmering moons and I’ve seen red moons. However, never before in my life have I seen a moon that looks like a peanut! Well. My Dear Shoevians, you are about to see the moon Hyperion for yourself. Tell me, what do you think?

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Hyperion

Hyperion

[7]

(Hyperion)

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Hyperion was discovered by by William Cranch Bond, George Phillips Bond and William Lassell in 1848. These men first noticed that not only was it irregularly shaped but also that it kept an erratic and irregular (even chaotic) orbit with Saturn. It was Cassini’s imaging that brought it’s sponge-like surface into full focus. Imaging and sounding from Hyperion shows that it has an unusually low density and very porous surface. That gives Hyperion a very low gravitational pull, resulting in impact craters show impacting rather than excavating material on impact. Our next image is a false-color image created by NASA/JPL to reflect how it should look in color images.

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False-Color View of Hyperion

False-Color View of Hyperion

[8]

(False-Color View of Hyperion)

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On May 31st, 2015 (just days ago, when I wrote this article) Cassini passed within 21,000 miles from the surface of Hyperion. TO us, that seems like kind of a long distance 21,000 miles. However, in space? In space that 21,000 miles is nearly too close. For our imaging systems and hardware, this gives us a unique opportunity to gain real clarity thanks to the short distance. This was Cassini’s final flyby of the moon Hyperion. Therefore, this was Canssini’s ‘Farwell Image of Hyperion’.

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assini Sends Final Close Views of Odd Moon Hyperion

assini Sends Final Close Views of Odd Moon Hyperion

[9]

(Cassini Sends Final Close Views of Odd Moon Hyperion)

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TITAN-

For decades mankind has wondered at Titan. The largest of all of Saturn’s many many moons, even from Earth Titan has a yellowish/green surface. Titan is the only moon of Saturn that has dense atmosphere and stable bodies of liquid on the surface. That last one there; “stable body of liquid on the surface”? That one give Titan the distinction of being the only ‘other’ planet than EARTH! Have I peaked your curiosity?

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Good, because until Cassini scientists have been left with speckled images of the surface of Titan.

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        “Typically, Cassini’s radar images have a characteristic grainy appearance. This “speckle noise” can make it difficult for scientists to interpret small-scale features or identify changes in images of the same area taken at different times. Despeckling uses an algorithm to modify the noise, resulting in clearer views that can be easier for researchers to interpret.”[10]

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Here is the despeckling of Titan!

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A New Way to View Titan 'Despeckle' It

A New Way to View Titan ‘Despeckle’ It

[11]

(A New Way to View Titan ‘Despeckle’ It)

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SATURN-

The second largest planet in our solar system, Sol. Saturn is second in size only to Jupiter. A Jovian planet it is a Gas Giant thought to have no surface or a very small surface at the center under tremendous gravitational pull. Saturn has a long standing mystery that adds to its scientific appeal and popularity among younger and junior astronomers and scientists. The mystery of Saturn is the reason/cause for the (well documented by 140 years of telescope observations) enormous seething storms seen every 30 years on the surface. Mankind has been witness to the start of the enormous storms six times in that 140-year period.

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When I say “Enormous’, My Dear Shoevians, I really and genuinely mean enormous. In that they tend to fill entire bands of the atmosphere, fully 1/3 of a hemisphere in size. Saturn is 95 times larger than earth, so these bands would be wide in miles than the diameter of Earth! In my lifetime I have witnessed three different storms on the planet Saturn. The third, and last, started in August of 2010 and ended in August 2011. Considering the next super-enormous storm will appear on Saturn’s surface in 2041, this will be my last storm.

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Thank Goodness that NASA/JPL had Cassini in the immediate neighborhood during this last super-enormous storm! I am still looking for a good GIF for the even, but have yet to find one. If I don’t find one in the next few months I will make one of my own, and share it in a feature edition of ‘Lost in Space’. Here is a series of six images of the surface of Saturn, during the last Thrity-Year Super-Enormous Storm.

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View of Saturn's Violent 30 Year Storms

View of Saturn’s Violent 30 Year Storms

[12]

(View of Saturn’s Thirty-Year Violent Storms – Northern Hemisphere)

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As Cassini initially headed for these icy moons, it took some parting pictures of Rhea as it passed within close range. Our next images are framed as one and show two of the best images Cassini took with its last glimpses of this icy giant. Rhea- Rhea is the second largest moon of Saturn, second only to Titan, and is the ninth largest moon in our entire solar system. The images, below, are some of the best images ever taken of Saturn’s moon, Rhea.

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Rhea-Saturn Spacecraft Returns to the Realm of Icy Moons

Rhea-Saturn Spacecraft Returns to the Realm of Icy Moons

[13]

(Rhea-Saturn Spacecraft Returns to the Realm of Icy Moons)

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Well, My Dear Shoevians, we come to the end of this edition of ‘Lost in Space’. I am pleased to inform you that you have just; read, witnessed, wondered, smiled and viewed the most recent ‘Gargantuan’ edition of Lost in Space’! That particular article designation is saved for use by editions only numbering greater than fifteen pages, when written, and contain twelve or more images. BINGO! This article, prior to editing and upload, numbers 15 right now… I still have the last image… …. My parting words… … the copyright… … logo is coming soon… … an image of me… … YES! It will easily be 17 pages when I upload this puppy!

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‘The Best for Last!’ Should be the motto for both article series; ‘The Mars Report’ and “Lost in Space’. Today shall be no exception for, right here and right now, I have for you the single most stunning… the single most incredible… … the single Best Image of the Edition!

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Saturn's C and B Rings From the Inside Out

Saturn’s C and B Rings From the Inside Out

[14]

(Saturn’s C and B Rings From the Inside Out)

FYI

[This image was taken with the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph instrument, which is capable of resolving the rings to show features up to 97 kilometers (60 miles) across, roughly 100 times the resolution of ultraviolet data obtained by the Voyager 2 spacecraft.]

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Awesome. Just frigging awesome. Right there, My Dear Shoevians, that image right there is the why I; research, upload, link, write, edit and publish ‘The Mars Report’ and ‘Lost in Space’ here at The Other Shoe. If, in the past five years of publication, I manage to get to an image like this one to a; thousand, hundred, dozens of people from all around the world that might not, have. If not for me. THAT IS WHY! J

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As always it is my pleasure to bring this material and images to you My Dear Shoevians. If you have enjoyed your time spent here? Please tell others. Tell your family. Tell your friends. Tell your co-workers. Tell you In-Laws. That is how we grow.

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Thank you!

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Adieu!

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Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

© 2010 – 2015 Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe

 

[1] http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA19340

[2] http://spacepioneers.msu.edu/logos/logos_design_camp.html

[3] http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/infographics/uploads/infographics/full/10735.gif

[4] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/cassini/icy-tendrils-reaching-into-saturn-ring-traced-to-their-source

[5] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/cassini/icy-tendrils-reaching-into-saturn-ring-traced-to-their-source

[6] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/cassini/pia18319/dione-dwarfing-rhea

[7] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/cassini/pia17193/farewell-to-hyperion

[8] http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA07740

[9] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/cassini-sends-final-close-views-of-odd-moon-hyperion

[10] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/cassini/a-new-way-to-view-titan-despeckle-it

[11] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/cassini/a-new-way-to-view-titan-despeckle-it

[12] http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4546

[13] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/cassini/saturn-spacecraft-returns-to-the-realm-of-icy-moons

[14] http://www.nasa.gov/content/saturns-c-and-b-rings-from-the-inside-out

The Mars Report – June 8th, 2015

Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Mojave' Site on Mount Sharp

Curiosity Self-Portrait at ‘Mojave’ Site on Mount Sharp

[1]

(Curiosity Self-Portrait at ‘Mojave’ Site on Mount Sharp)

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Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe. As I promised last week, I am going to give it my very best to provide a full week’s worth of material and regular articles. Starting, today, with this full edition of ‘The Mars Report ’at The Other Shoe. Earlier today I started my search for images for this edition, and found that Curiosity has yet to send, of NASA has not processed, any newer images for me to share. Images, that is, from the Martian surface. I sorted through a large amount of RAW images, images that come via navigation, testing, and maneuvering and found them not up to my standards for publication.

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Therefore, I have opted to split this edition between a few images from/of Curiosity and the rest of the edition with images and information about the next NASA/JPL rover Insight[2]! She is still in sterile rooms and undergoing assembly, but NASA is anxious to build support. They are releasing a steady stream of images of the testing and assembly process, and I have some of those images for you, My Dear Shoevians! .

Our very first image, above, is a ‘Selfie’ taken by Curiosity January 2015. IT is a composite of many dozens of images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. I try to start out each and every edition of “The Mars Report’ with an image of the main subject of this series, the Martian rover Curiosity. We Shoevians have been following the sojourn of Curiosity since it’s landing at Bradbury Point August 6th, 2012. That means we will be celebrating its third year, this August, so mark your calendars!

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RAW MastCam Right May 30th 2015

RAW MastCam Right May 30th 2015

[3]

(RAW Image MastCam Right May 30th 2015)

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The image, above, was taken just nine days ago, May 30th 2105, from Curiosity’s MastCam right imager. This shows the ground, to the right, of the rover when last they took positional images. This shows a mixed terrain with sandstone and harder rock outcrops. This image was taken from Mount Sharp as Curiosity descends from the summit.

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RAW MastCam Left May 30th 2015

RAW MastCam Left May 30th 2015

[4]

(RAW Image MastCam Left May 30th 2015)

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Our next image, for today, is from the same MastCam from the Curiosity rover, but it was taken from the right side imager. Again, we can clearly see the mixed terrain of sandstone rock and harder outcrops. When we look at these images, side-by-side, it is easy to imagine that Curiosity is moving down crevice or gully for its decent. These outcrops stretch out higher than the viewing range of the MastCam. These rock faces must stretch over fifteen feet in height. What I wouldn’t give of moving images… a video of Curiosity’s decent, as see from these MastCam images.

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For our next, and final, image of/from Mars I have picked an incredibly impressive image taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on March 309th 2015. Taken with the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, it shows a “fresh” crater on the Martian surface. The crater is “fresh” in geologic terms, but rather old when measured by the human lifespan. This impact carter is located in the the Sirenum Fossae region of Mars.

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Fresh Crater Near Sirenum Fossae Region of Mars

Fresh Crater Near Sirenum Fossae Region of Mars

[5]

(Fresh Crater Near Sirenum Fossae Region of Mars)

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That, My Dear Shoevians, brings us to the end of the first part of today’s edition of ‘The Mars Report’. There is one image, at the end of the article, taken by the Curiosity rover. It is of a Martian Sunset taken from Mount Sharp. Last week’s edition end with the same image, but it was a Gif and you could watch as the sun set over the Martian horizon. Today, we have a solitary image as the sun sets under the horizon. Hang on, that comes at the end of this article.

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Our next several images are all of the upcoming Martian Lander from NASA named ‘Insight’. This will not be a rover like; Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity. This spacecraft will land on the Martian surface at a prime location, as scouted by the previous rovers. This location has been picked as most beneficial to the project with the highest concentrations of geologic formations and rock outcrops for analysis.

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Our fist image, in this series, if of the Insight Lander completely deployed, exactly as it will be when it lands on the Martian surface. With its solar array deployed, Insight looks a great deal like some prehistoric bug. One aspect, of the solar arrays, I am sure all of you, My Dear Shoevians, will notice. They look nothing like the solar; sails, shields, and arrays of the past several decades. Solar cell technology has changed, substantially, over the past decade. These solar arrays take full advantage of these changes and improvements. They area called “ gallium arsenide solar array panels”. For more information on the process, materials, and other improvements, click on the embedded link in the name, above. For most of us? The fact that they are dark black and orange, is well enough to know.

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InSight spacecraft solar array deployment

InSight spacecraft solar array deployment

[6]

(InSight Lander in Mars-Surface Configuration)

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Awesome looking, huh? The image of the InSight Lander was taken inside a clean room at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver. These solar arrays were deployed in this test while in the clean room. Can you imagine? You are taking a casual stroll, on the Martian surface, when you come upon this monster? WTH? J

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Now, My Dear Shoevians, we are going to go backward, chronologically speaking, for our next image. I wanted to show the InSight lander with the solar array fully deployed, first. It is visually striking, and helps to drawn in new readers. However, the next image I have for you was actually taken prior to the image above. This image is of the solar array during assembly and prior to the testing that see in our image above.

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`Solar-Array Deployment Test for InSight

Solar-Array Deployment Test for InSight

[7]

(Solar-Array Deployment Test for InSight)

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Now, My Dear Shoevians, we move back even further in time for our next image. This image shows the development team during the initial assembly of the InSight lander in January of 2015. Again, we are in t clean room, with technicians donned in sterile suits and masks. In our next image, of this edition of “The Mars Report’, we see the InSight lander in its initial assembly.

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InSight Lander in Assembly

The InSight lander undergoing assembly in a clean room at Lockheed Martin.

[8]

(InSight Lander in Assembly)

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Now, My Dear Shoevians, let’s get back into the ‘Way-Back Machine’ and move forward in time. Forward past the image that started this half of the article, and forward to January of this year. This is a shot of the InSight lander, completely assembled, and folded into its ‘stowed’ configuration. These are unique images, My Dear Shoevians. Images that NASA always takes, but usually does not release until just prior to a spacecraft’s landing. NASA is working hard to improve overall attention to its projects and accomplishments.

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Lowering Back Shell onto Stowed InSight Lander

The back shell of the InSight spacecraft is lowered onto the lander in a clean room at Lockheed Martin.

[9]

(Lowering Back Shell onto Stowed InSight Lander)

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Well, My Dear Shoevians, that brings us to the end, and close, of this edition of “The Mars Report’. As I indicated, on Facebook, earlier this week you can look forward to; ‘Lost in Space’, ‘News from Around the World’, ‘A week in Review’ and ‘Sunday Funnies’. My cancer surgery will not be until next week… or the week after. So, I am determined to bring as much content to you, My Dear Shoevians, as I can… before I ‘go under the knife’.

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Our last image of the day is a revisit of our closing image from last week’s edition. This is a Martian Sunset as captured by the Curiosity Martian rover. I do not think it will become as iconic as the Earth-set taken on the moon, but who knows?

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Sunset in Mars' Gale Crater Curiosity Image

Sunset in Mars’ Gale Crater Curiosity Image

[10]

(Sunset in Mars’ Gale Crater Curiosity Image)

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As always, My Dear Shoevians, I would like to express my deep and heartfelt “Thanks!” for dropping by and reading my work. If you have enjoyed your visit, be sure to tell others about ‘The Other Shoe’ and ‘The Mars Report’. Your kind words, ‘Shares’ and ‘Likes’ because that is what drives new traffic and more and more Shoevians.

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Thank you! .

Adieu!

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Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

© 2010 – 2015 Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe

 

[1] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/msl/pia19142

[2] http://insight.jpl.nasa.gov/home.cfm

[3] http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/msss/01000/mcam/1000MR0044630480503608E02_DXXX.jpg

[4] http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/msss/01000/mcam/1000ML0044630500405147E01_DXXX.jpg

[5] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/fresh-crater-near-sirenum-fossae-region-of-mars

[6] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/pia19664/insight-lander-in-mars-surface-configuration

[7] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/pia19665/solar-array-deployment-test-for-insight/

[8] http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/pia19402_insight_lander_in_assembly_1-15-15a.jpg

[9] http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/pia19666_20150429_insight_backshell_install3.jpg

[10] http://mars.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/images/?ImageID=7189

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The Mars Report – June 1st, 2015

Curiosity Rover

Curiosity Rover

[1]

(Curiosity Rover Near Mount Sharp Peak)

                               Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe and another edition of ‘The Mars Report’. Each and every week I work to bring all of you, My Dear Shoevians, the latest news, science and images from the Martian surface. Today I have some incredible images, one reminiscent of a very popular poster of the early 70’s. This will be only the second edition of ‘The Mars Report’ to be published ‘Tri-Blog’. Meaning that all of you, My Dear Shoevians, can read this article and view these incredible images from any one of my three blog locations.

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First, my primary blog location is at Blog Dot Com www.theothershoe.blog.com/ . The second location is at Word Press www.theothersshoe.wordpress.com/ . The third and final location is at BlogSpot www.theothersshoe.blogspot.com/ . I encourage everyone to take a look at all three locations and decide which location and layout serves your needs best. This does make for a bit more work, on my part, but I have high hopes that these efforts will not go without reward, in that I hope to continue to expand my readership = more My Dear Shoevians!

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Though, I may have been absent the past week (due to mounting pain and doctor appointments leading to surgery in the near future) NASA/JPL and the Martian rover Curiosity spent that time productively. Today I have images; showing the course of Curiosity over this spring, an unusual ultraviolet aura on the Martian surface, to a sunset sequence on the Martian surface at Gale Crater. This proves to be an exciting edition packed full of spectacular images from the Martian surface, let’s get started!

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Curiosity's Path to Some Spring 2015 Study Sites

Curiosity’s Path to Some Spring 2015 Study Sites

[2]

(Curiosity’s Path to Some Spring 2015 Study Sites)

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At the risk of repeating myself, the image above is the course plotted for Curiosity over the spring. Taking us, and the rover Curiosity, from Jocko Butte all the way around Logan’s Pass to the base of Mount Stimson. This journey will take the nest three months to traverse, and I will share images all along the way. My Dear Shoevians, you are in a unique place… a unique blog, to see this travel relayed to you, MY Dear Shoevians, right here on the pages of The Other Shoe.

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Rover's Reward for Climbing: Exposed Geological Contact

Rover’s Reward for Climbing: Exposed Geological Contact

[3]

(Rover’s Reward for Climbing: Exposed Geological Contact)

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Above we see an example of “geologic contact” as seen by Curiosity upon arrival at the top of Mount Sharp. This image shows The Martian outcrop where pale rock meets darker overlying rock near the middle of this May 21, 2015. Notice the difference in shading, visible even in this black and white photo. This image was taken from the MastCam of the Curiosity rover.

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MAVEN Captures Ultraviolet Aurora on Mars

MAVEN Captures Ultraviolet Aurora on Mars

[4]

(MAVEN Captures Ultraviolet Aurora on Mars)

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Now, My Dear Shoevians, just how many of you remember the ‘Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission’ as I explained it in a pervious edition of ‘The Mars Report’? Also know as MAVEN, this spacecraft arrived September 21st, 2014 into Martian orbit. Dedicated to study of the Martian atmosphere, and to discern just what happened to the Martian atmosphere. The image above shows MAVEN’s Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) auroral detections in December 2014 overlaid on Mars’ surface. This aura is widespread in the northern hemisphere and not situated over any geologic feature or location.

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Our next two images, My Dear Shoevians, are of the same geographic locations and taken at the same time by the same instrument, Curiosity’s MastCam. The only difference, between the two images, is that the first (below) is annotated with the locations for upcoming travel. Whereas, the second image does not contain these annotations. I include both for one reason. I know that a great many of you, My Dear Shoevians, use my images as wallpapers for your desktops. I wanted you to have the opportunity to see and know Curiosity’s upcoming pathway, and have an image suitable for use as wallpaper for your desktop.

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Looking Toward Curiosity Study Areas, Spring 2015– Annotated

Looking Toward Curiosity Study Areas, Spring 2015

[5]

(Diverse Terrain Types on Mount Sharp, Mars – Annotated)

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Now, for the image suitable for using as your desktop wallpaper, the un-annotated version of the same image from Curiosity’s MastCam. A quick reminder, if you are viewing this article at either my Blog Dot Com location or the new location at BlogSpot… I want to remind you that the very best images (for use as desktop wallpapers) are at the Word Press location. Just click on the embedded link in the previous sentence to take you to that blog. I am not sure just why it is, but that blog allows for complete uploads of HD images.

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Diverse Terrain Types on Mount Sharp, Mars

Diverse Terrain Types on Mount Sharp, Mars

[6]

(Diverse Terrain Types on Mount Sharp, Mars)

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While, My Dear Shoevians, I greatly enjoy bringing you gargantuan editions of ‘The Mars Report’, alas today’s is not the case. We have but two images left for this, today’s, edition. As always, I am saving the very best image for last, today. Next, however, I have to share with you a shot forward in Curiosity’s journey on the Martian surface. If Curiosity is anything like its predecessor, Opportunity, we will receive images for another decade. Our next image shows some “unfavorable terrain” that lies ahead for Curiosity. This view southeastward from Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) shows terrain judged difficult for traversing between the rover and an outcrop in the middle distance where a pale rock unit meets a darker rock unit above.

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Unfavorable Terrain for Crossing Near 'Logan Pass'

Unfavorable Terrain for Crossing Near ‘Logan Pass’

[7]

(Unfavorable Terrain for Crossing Near ‘Logan Pass’)

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Now, MY Dear Shoevians, that brings us to the final image of today’s edition of ‘The Mars Report’. I do not know just how many of you, MY Dear Shoevians, were alive and aware of the Apollo lunar missions. However, out of those missions came an image that was turned into millions of posters. Posters, some of which were turned into wallpaper. I cannot count how many young men, and boys, that I saw this wallpaper in their bedrooms. The image I am talking about, of course, was the ‘Earthrise on the Moon’!

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That historic shot of the Earth coming over the lunar horizon was nothing short of historic. I still see it, in older movies and television shows, in backgrounds all around. Today I share what could soon be, another historic image taken by Curiosity of a sunset on the Martian surface. This is a GIF image, and is a composite of several images. Be sure to stay with your browser focused on this part of the page until you see this image, change. ENJOY!
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Sunset Sequence in Mars' Gale Crater

Sunset Sequence in Mars’ Gale Crater

[8]

(Sunset Sequence in Mars’ Gale Crater)

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That brings us to the end of this edition of ‘The Mars Report’ for June 1st, 2015. MY Dear Shoevians I hope that you have enjoyed your time here, today. As always, I want to do my best to give you images to enjoy combined with news and science to engage. I thank you for your time, your support and your ‘Shares’ and “Likes’. If you have enjoyed this edition, remember to Share it with friends, family and co-workers. That way more and more people can enjoy these images, and my work.

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Thank you!

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Adieu!

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Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

© 2010 – 2015 Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe

Lost in Space – Hubble’s 25th – Redux

Hubble's Sharpest View of the Orion Nebula[1]

(Hubble’s Sharpest View of the Orion Nebula)

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Today I find myself quite bereft of strength enough to publish an all new article. I have decided to republish this wonderful edition of ‘Lost in Space’ dedicated to the 25th anniversary of its launch. I hope you enjoy. Thank you!
Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe. Today is Wednesday April 22nd, 2015 and when I started the research for this article I quickly became aware that today is the 25th Anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope! What a glorious day to pay tribute to this wonder of the modern age, by sharing some of the most recent images captured by Hubble.

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Today I am going to share with you, My Dear Shoevians, several of the most recent (and I thought best) images I found during my research this morning. However, I encourage all of you to, if you are of the mind, go to the anniversary web site and check out some of the images and scientific accomplishments Hubble has been part. Here is a lick to the web site: Hubble 25th Anniversary.

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Last week I share with you, My Dear Shoevians, some of the accomplishments of the NASA project ‘New Horizon’. Some of the image s I shared were actually taken by the Hubble Space Telescope for the ‘New Horizon’ project. Aside from this endeavor, the work and accomplishments by Hubble are broken down in to three separate categories: Cosmology[2], Planetary[3], and Galactic Science[4]. I will share a couple of images from each of these three categories, here today.

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Hubble ‘Ultra Deep Space’ Field

Hubble ‘Ultra Deep Space’ Field

[5]

(Hubble ‘Ultra Deep Space’ Field)

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Beginning with Cosmology our very first image of the day, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, is what is called “Ultra Deep Space”. This means that the Hubble has made a wide field image focusing billions of light years past our own galaxy (the Milky Way Galaxy). Termed the Hubble Deep Field[6]imaging, prior to Hubble no telescope had the resolution needed to image these far-flung galaxies. This was one of the most historic and incredible accomplishments of our Hubble Space Telescope.

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Hubble Ultra Deep Field Movie

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Bringing us back a bit closer to home, our next image is of the Andromeda galaxy with a section singled out for a close-up. The Andromeda galaxy has been made famous in many modern science fiction novels and movies, as man as often dreamed of reaching this celestial neighbor. Alpha Centuri is the closest galaxy to our own Milky Way, and Andromeda is the very next galaxy out from our own. Below is an incredible image of Andromeda, including a close-up fo one small section of the image. Never before Hubble was this image, or the close-up, possible.

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Andromeda Galaxy with Close-Up

Andromeda Galaxy with Close-Up

[7]

(Andromeda Galaxy with Close-Up)

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Now, My Dear Shoevians, we will move on to the second category in our Hubble Anniversary Tribute edition of ‘Lost in Space’. Our very first image in this category is an incredible accomplishment, by NASA scientists, in the filed of Planetary Discovery. Astronomers took a high definition image of the star Fomalhaut. Then they blocked out the light coming from the star to discover the planet Fomalhaut b. Below is the finished product showing the discovered planet in the pop-up portion of the image.

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Fomalhaut Star with Enlargement of Foralhaut b Planet

Fomalhaut Star with Enlargement of Foralhaut b Planet

[8]

(Fomalhaut Star with Enlargement of Foralhaut b Planet)

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The category of Planetary Science is not limited to the study of Extrasolar Planets but also includes Comets! The image below was taken on July 17th, 1994, by the Hubble Space Telescope. It shows several comet impact sites along the southern hemisphere of the planet Jupiter. These were the very first high-definition images of their kind, and the very first images of comets impacting another planet in our solar system.

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Comet Impact Sites on Jupiter – July 1994

Comet Impact Sites on Jupiter – July 1994

[9]

(Comet Impact Sites on Jupiter – July 1994)

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Our final category, for today’s 25th Anniversary Celebratory edition of ‘Lost in Space’ is ‘Galactic Science’. In February of 1987 astronomers witnessed a star explode! They named the celestial target Supernova 1987a. Out next image, and the first in the category Galactic Science is of this event as seen byu the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994. The image shows growing gas and dust clouds encircling the core of the dead star.

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Hubble Finds Mysterious Ring Structure around Supernova 1987a

Hubble Finds Mysterious Ring Structure around Supernova 1987a

[10]

(Hubble Finds Mysterious Ring Structure around Supernova 1987a)

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As always, saving the best image for last, My Dear Shoevians, I have an incredible image taken by Hubble in October of 2007. In this image we see Nebula NGC 3603 with thousands of young stars held within its gaseous boundaries. My Dear Shoevians I was just taken aback when I first viewed this image, and just had to save it for last in today’s anniversary edition of ‘Lost in Space’. Enjoy!

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Star Cluster Bursts into Life in New Hubble Image

Star Cluster Bursts into Life in New Hubble Image

[11]

(Star Cluster Bursts into Life in New Hubble Image)

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Well My Dear Shoevians that brings us to the end of this week’s edition of ‘Lost in Space’. As always I am deeply flattered and moved by your; visits, comments, suggestions and time that you spend here reading my work. I seek to expand your experiences among the stars, enlighten you about the universe around you, and thrill you with the most incredible images I can find. I hope that you have enjoyed this Celebratory Edition of “Lost in Space’ here at The Other Shoe. Please, if you have enjoyed this article, please share it; on Facebook, with friends, and in any other social media you enjoy. If it brought joy to you then it will bring joy to your friends and family.

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I look forward to seeing you all, My Dear Shoevians, back here on Friday for… … … well now… I am not too sure just what I will be publishing on Friday. But rest assured I will be back here with more enjoyable content for all fo you, My Dear Shoevians, to enjoy.

.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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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

[1]

(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

[6]

(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

[10]

(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

[11]

(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

[14]

(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


Lost in Space – The Messenger Mission

Color Image of Mercury with Image of Messenger Overlaid

Color Image of Mercury with Image of Messenger Overlaid

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(Color Image of Surface of Mercury with Picture of Messenger Overlaid)

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Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe. Today I am excited to bring you a Special Edition of ‘Lost in Space’. The ‘Messenger’ mission! NASA’s Messenger ((MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) mission was launched August 3rd, 2004. The Messenger spacecraft traveled 4.9 billion miles, including; 16 trips around the sun, two around Venus, and one fly-by of Earth, settled into orbit around Mercury in 2011.

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My Messenger is reentered the news, of late, is that it is about to end the space flight part of its mission. Soon Messenger will be flown, deliberately, directly into the surface of Mercury. The graphic, below, is the whole Messenger mission by the numbers. It shows that, over the past eleven years, Messenger has; traveled Eight billion miles (the 4.9 mentioned above is just the distance from Earth to Mercury, the added 3.1 billion miles trajectory flights and orbits included), returned 255,858 images back to Earth, 35 million mages by the Mercury Laser Altimeter, 29 trips around the sun, 6 flybys of inner planets, 10 terabytes of information sent back to Earth, while traveling 8 billion miles at an average speed of 97,730 mph.

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Messenger Mission by the Numbers

Messenger Mission by the Numbers

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(Messenger Mission by the Numbers)

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In this article today, My Dear Shoevians, I will share some of the most incredible images, from the (and related to) the Messenger mission, I was able to find. With over 250,000 images sent back to earth I took me some time to filter through and find the very best to share. However, today I am in incredible pain in my neck… … no, writing for you, My Dear Shoevians, is not a ‘pain in the neck’. It is just that I have not received any treatment since my two falls… and my neck is pretty wracked up. I mention this to ask for your indulgence, when it comes to my writing and narrative. It is just that it might not be up to snuff. Please bear with me, thank you.

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While sorting through all the images, one of the things that really struck me was the timely names for features. Below, is a very close image (only 50 meters above the surface) of Lennon Crater. Yes, it was named after famed Beatles musician, John Lennon. There is a Tolkien Crater, too. The black and white image, below, was taken during a low orbit flyby January 2008.

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Lennon Crater Mercury taken by Messenger Spacecraft

Lennon Crater Mercury taken by Messenger Spacecraft

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(Lennon Crater Mercury taken by Messenger Spacecraft)

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For our next image, My Dear Shoevians, I picked a wonderful sunlit image of Mercury’s southern hemisphere. The Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) of the Mercury spacecraft took the image October 2, 2013. It reminds me of a very famous image, taken during the Apollo moon missions of my boyhood. It is these types of images that help to invoke awe and wonder at our solar system, in our youths and the public. This awe and wonder helped initially catapult mankind from the surface of the earth. Motivated mankind to leave our cradle and head outward into our solar system… and beyond.

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Sunlit Side of the Planet Mercury

Sunlit Side of the Planet Mercury

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(Sunlit Side of the Planet Mercury)

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Well, My Dear Shoevians, you are in for quite a treat today. During my search of images from Messenger at Mercury I stumbled upon a video! This video, made by NASA, is of a low altitude flyby by Messenger of the southern hemisphere of Mercury. Directly below this paragraph is an image that shows the path of Messenger during the video. I sat and watched this video, time and time again, then decide I simply must share. It is moments, like thee, when I remember/understand why I started these blogs… and why, in spite of terrible pain… and great emotional upset, I continue.

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Mosaic Showing Messenger Path During Video

Mosaic Showing Messenger Path During Video

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(Mosaic Showing Messenger Path During Video)

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And, what edition of ‘Lost in Space’ would be complete without a video? You know, My Dear Shoevians, I search a lot of bogs… and media… and web sites as I comb for content, images and do my research. I have to tell you that I do not find many publications that have videos. I am one of the very few blogs that include videos of the topic they are presenting. Therefore, My Dear Shoevians, you can consider yourselves very fortunate that you come here for your reading pleasure!

(Video of Low Altitude Flyby Mercury’s Surface)

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Just so you, My Dear Shoevians, are emotionally prepared, we are reaching the end of this edition of ‘Lost in Space’. I would like to take a moment and post an apology. I would like to apologize for the absence of ‘The Mars Report’ from this week’s line-up. I know a great many of you, My Dear Shoevians, greatly enjoy that weekly article series. I was not remiss n this, nor am I bereft of images or discoveries to share. Quite honestly, ‘The Mars Report’ was just this week’s casualty of my growing pain. I deeply apologize for this shortcoming, and promise to do my best to deliver next week. However, if I am feeling better… later in the week, I will do my best to correct this shortcoming. Thank you.

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Our very next image was created by overlaying the spectral analysis results from the Mercury Atmosphere and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS)[6] on to a monochromatic mosaic. The spectral analysis was done with the Visual and Infrared Spectrometer (VIRS) portion of MASCS. Whereas the monochromatic mosaic was taken with wide- and narrow-angle cameras that make up the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)[7]. The result was the incredible image I have shared, below.

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Unmasking the Secrets of Mercury

Unmasking the Secrets of Mercury

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(Unmasking the Secrets of Mercury)

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As always, My Dear Shoevians, I have done my best to save the best for last. As I researched, eliminated images, laid out the page design, and finalized the look of this edition of ‘Lost in Space’ I kicked around two images that I felt were the best. Images with the great visual impact, images that speak to a viewer, and images that convey the sense of “awe and wonder” that I mentioned at the beginning of this article. These are the images I like best to save for last. You see, My Dear Shoevians, I want the last image you see in this article to be one that sticks with you. Images that stick with you for, the rest of today, into tomorrow and for days… weeks… months and years to come. That is what I am working to achieve. I am deeply saddened that America has given up on manned space flight.

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Artist’s Concept of Messenger Reaching Mercury

Artist’s Concept of Messenger Reaching Mercury

(Artist’s Concept of Messenger Reaching Mercury)

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Terribly frustrated that Americans have not placed our flag on another terrestrial surface, in my lifetime. It is a failure, in my opinion. However, rather that cry into my Wheaties I have taken it upon myself to try to motivate change. Perhaps if the images I share are enjoyed by young people, all around America. Maybe… just maybe one of these young people takes these images, and that sense of “awe and wonder” at our solar system, with them on their life’s journey to… public service, elected office, NASA, and maybe ever… just even… the White House. Then, just maybe, mankind.. Americans will reenter space… themselves.

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Data Suggests a Reoccurring Meteor Shower Strikes Mercury

Data Suggests a Reoccurring Meteor Shower Strikes Mercury

(Data Suggests a Reoccurring Meteor Shower Strikes Mercury)

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With that, My Dear Shoevians, I leave you to the rest of your Wednesday. As always, it has been my pleasure to bring these wonderful and awe inspiring images to you via ‘Lost in Space’ and my blog(s) The Other Shoe. All I ask, in return, is that if you have enjoyed your visit? Please share my blog(s), this work, and my dreams with; friends, family, social acquaintances, and loved ones. What greater gift can one give that the gift of “awe and wonder’?

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ADDENDUM & UPDATE:

Going out with a ‘bang,’ our MESSENGER mission came to a planned, but nonetheless dramatic, end today when it slammed into Mercury’s surface at 3:26 p.m. EDT. The spacecraft’s impact at about 8,750 mph created a new crater on the planet’s surface. Among its many accomplishments, the mission determined Mercury’s surface composition, revealed its geological history, discovered its internal magnetic field ish offset from the planet’s center and verified its polar deposits are dominantly water ice. Details: http://go.nasa.gov/1zvc5lY

See you all, soon.

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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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