Mars ♥ you, courtesy of NASA

February 15, 2014

Happy St. Valentine's Day from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) team! This collection of images acquired over the past 3 Mars years shows some of the heart-shaped features found on Mars by the MGS MOC.

14 February 2004 NASA caption:  “Happy St. Valentine’s Day from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) team! This collection of images acquired over the past 3 Mars years shows some of the heart-shaped features found on Mars by the MGS MOC.”

No kidding! Mars really ♥s us!  Hope you had a happy Valentines Day.

Original Caption Released with Image:
14 February 2004
Happy St. Valentine’s Day from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) team! This collection of images acquired over the past 3 Mars years shows some of the heart-shaped features found on Mars by the MGS MOC.

  • The heart in E04-01788 is a low mesa located near 46.7°N, 29.0°W, and is about 636 m (2,086 ft) wide.
  • The heart in R10-03259 is a depression located near 22.7°N, 56.6°W, and is about 378 m (1,240 ft) wide.
  • The heart in R09-02121 is a small mesa on a crater floor located near 37.2°S, 324.7°W, and is about 120 m (395 ft) wide.
  • The heart in R09-00918 is a depression located near 35.8°N, 220.5°W, and is about 525 m (1,722 ft) wide.
  • The heart in R04-00395 is a depression in which occurs a low mesa located near 57.5°N, 135.0°W, and is about 1 km (~0.62 mi) wide.
  • The heart in E11-00090 is a depression located near 0.2°N, 119.3°W, and is about 485 m (1,591 ft) wide.
  • The heart in E12-00275 is a depression located near 32.7°S, 139.3°W, and is about 512 m (1,680 ft) wide.
  • The heart in R06-01364 is a depression located near 8.4°S, 345.7°W, and is about 502 m (1,647 ft) wide.
  • The heart in M11-00480 is a depression located near 1.9°N, 186.8°W, and is about 153 m (502 ft) wide.
  • The heart in R08-00939 is a depression located near 12.1°S, 173.5°W, and is about 384 m (1,260 ft) wide.

Other heart-shaped martian landforms were featured in previous MGS MOC image releases:

  • “From Mars, With Love,” 17 June 1999 PIA01342
  • “Happy Valentine’s Day From Mars!” 11 February 2000 PIA02361
Image Credit:
NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Image Addition Date:
2004-02-14

Gold medal to NASA and JPL: Mars mission succeeds against overwhelming odds

August 6, 2012

Curiosity is on the ground.

What were the odds?  What did NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) need to overcome?   Watch this:

Did that astonshingly Rube Goldberg-looking set of devices work?

Here’s the news, from NBC’s science editor Alan Boyle:

PASADENA, Calif. — After eight years of planning and eight months of interplanetary travel, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory pulled off a touchdown of Super Bowl proportions, all by itself. It even sent pictures from the goal line.

The spacecraft plunged through Mars’ atmosphere, fired up a rocket-powered platform and lowered the car-sized, 1-ton Curiosity rover to its landing spot in 96-mile-wide (154-kilometer-wide) Gale Crater. Then the platform flew off to its own crash landing, while Curiosity sent out a text message basically saying, “I made it!”

That message was relayed by the orbiting Mars Odyssey satellite back to Earth. A radio telescope in Australia picked up the message and sent it here to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. When the blips of data appeared on the screens at JPL’s mission control, the room erupted in cheers and hugs.

Congratulations!  We need good news, and this is great news.

So far as I can tell, no U.S. television network covered the event live in Pasadena.  What a shame.

More:


Peter Sinclair update: Mars still doesn’t deny Earth’s warming

September 21, 2009

Cleverly avoiding real discussion of greenhouse gases and their effects on Venus, climate change denialists often claim warming to be a solar system-wide event, caused by the Sun — evidenced, they say, by warming on all the other planets in the solar system.

Peter Sinclair’s “Climate Denial Crock of the Week” dealt with the issue several months ago, but he’s redone the piece, with improvements in sound especially.

Spread the word:

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Phoenix has landed

May 25, 2008

Phoenix landed on Mars today at 4:38 p.m. Pacific Time. Confirmation of the landing took 15 minutes to get to Earth, radio signals traveling at the speed of light.

We have a robot scout on Mars again!

This is another of those teachable moments, an event to note in class that your students might tell their children and grandchildren about.

Artist's drawing of Phoenix, on Mars.Touchdown occurred exactly at the time programmed and predicted. Such accuracy might be interpreted as a good sign that NASA has anticipated problems, and a successful mission of discovery is in store.

The University of Arizona leads the discovery consortium on this mission (one of my alma maters). Educational activities and plans for teachers are listed at Arizona’s Phoenix Mission website.

NASA is the world’s biggest player in astrobiology, the science of figuring out how life could have begun, and where it might be. Astrobiology is one of the topics Texas’s State Board of Education threatened to remove from biology texts in 2003. That this mission has gotten this far is a sweet little bit of beneficial revenge on the anti-scientists who tried to gut the books then. Maybe it will pose a warning to them on the next go-round.

Teachers, strike a blow for science, knowledge and leadership in knowledge gathering: Teach your kids some astrobiology.

Resources:


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