photoJan 11, 2013 12:33 pm
photosetJan 04, 2013 5:38 pm
Imagine a Living Mars
Mars was likely not always the desolate, red-rocked planet that we see today. The Curiosity rover has found what appear to be water-smoothed pebbles, shaped by ancient rivers of flowing water. Curiosity and previous missions have also seen footprints of alluvial fans and river deltas, sure signs of a previously wet world.
Software engineer Kevin Gill has taken those observations to the next level with these simulations of a “living” Mars, covered with seas and lakes and teeming with vegetation and clouds. He used a survey of Martian terrain and elevation, plugged in a sea level to form oceans, and then painted the clouds and terrain as it might look or have looked.
It’s definitely more an exercise in imagination than in reality, as there’s no indication of past forests or marshy plains on the red planet, but it’s an informed imagination, a realization of a planet’s possible rich past or terraformed future.
photoSep 28, 2012 12:18 pm
Today, NASA scientists presented findings that prove water once ran across the surface of Mars. Though the rocks have yet to be analyzed, scientists say the photographs clearly indicate that these rock formations were smoothed and shaped by water. The next step, says NASA, will be drilling into the rock for evidence of carbon deposits. — rachel
photoAug 09, 2012 4:53 pm
I know that Curiosity has landed on Mars, and that’s awesome. Believe me, I follow the Twitter feed, I texted a pile of people when it landed, all that stuff. It’s fantastic. I think that robotic probes are the best route for useful space exploration, and Curiosity is a fantastic robot on a fantastic mission.
That said, you need to look at and absorb this infographic detailing past missions to Mars. (I have a printout of this up in my cubicle at work.) It’s not by me — it’s from Bryan Christie Design. But it’s important.
Here’s the key bit: The first successful mission to Mars was the Mariner 4 flyby, in 1964. Two more flybys, Mariner 6 and Mariner 7, occurred in 1969. Then Mars 3 left an orbiter behind and successfully landed on the surface of Mars for the first time, sending back the first images of Mars taken from the surface in 1971 — a year before I was born, and decades before many of you were a twinkle in your parents’ eyes. A raft of other successes soon followed, including landers in 1973 and (Mars 6), 1975 (Viking 1 and Viking 2), and then, after a long gap, the first rover — the Mars Pathfinder rover in 1996 (16 years ago), followed up by two more rovers — Spirit and Opportunity — in 2003 (9 years ago), and a lander called Phoenix in 2007.
Many (all?) of these landers and rovers have sent back stunning images from the surface of Mars, alongside their primary scientific missions.
Why the long story? Because if I see one more person reblog a photo (especially one taken by a previous lander or rover) of the surface of Mars with the caption, “THIS IS WHAT THE SURFACE OF MARS LOOKS LIKE! WE DIDN’T KNOW THIS YESTERDAY!”, my head is going to explode. And that would suck.
quoteAug 06, 2012 5:01 pm
photoAug 06, 2012 12:56 pm
Bobak FTW! NASA successfully landed the rover Curiosity on Mars today causing the internet to fall in love with Curiosity’s mohawked (sp.) flight director Bobak Ferdowsi. The Atlantic reports that’s Ferdowsi dawns a new hairdo for each mission he’s a part of.
[Source: The Atlantic]
Check out this dreamboat.
photoAug 06, 2012 12:54 pm
photosetAug 04, 2012 12:10 pm
photoJul 20, 2012 2:38 pm
What created this unusual hole in Mars? The hole was discovered by chance on images of the dusty slopes of Mars’ Pavonis Mons volcano taken by the HiRISE instrument aboard the robotic Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter currently circling Mars.
The hole appears to be an opening to an underground cavern, partly illuminated on the image right. Analysis of this and follow-up images revealed the opening to be about 35 meters across, while the interior shadow angle indicates that the underlying cavern is roughly 20 meters deep.
Why there is a circular crater surrounding this hole remains a topic of speculation, as is the full extent of the underlying cavern. Holes such as this are of particular interest because their interior caves are relatively protected from the harsh surface of Mars, making them relatively good candidates to contain Martian life.
These pits are therefore prime targets for possible future spacecraft, robots, and even human interplanetary explorers.