Cooperstown

The Martian version of Cooperstown.  Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Martian version of Cooperstown. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Cooperstown around these parts is the home of the (American) National Baseball Hall of Fame.  The Curiosity rover returns this image of Cooperstown on Mars. I wonder if the World Series just completed (YAY Red Sox!!) had anything to do with the naming of the feature.

From JPL

The low ridge that appears as a dark band below the horizon in the center of this scene is a Martian outcrop called “Cooperstown,” a possible site for contact inspection with tools on the robotic arm of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity. The ridge extends roughly 100 feet (about 30 meters) from left to right, and it is about 260 feet (about 80 meters) away from the location from which Curiosity captured this view.

The image combines portions of two frames taken by the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on Curiosity on the 437th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission inside Gale Crater on Mars (Oct. 28, 2013).

Curiosity had just completed the mission’s first use of two-sol autonomous driving. It resumed autonomous driving on Sol 437 where it had left off driving on Sol 436 (Oct. 27, 2013). In autonomous driving, the rover itself chooses the best route to reach designated waypoints, using onboard analysis of stereo images that it takes during pauses in the drive. The combined two-sol drive that brought Curiosity to this vantage point, for seeing Cooperstown, covered about 410 feet (125 meters).

The left edge of the scene is toward south-southwest, with an edge of Mount Sharp on the horizon; the right edge is toward the west, with part of the rim of Gale Crater on the horizon.

Dusty Money

A year of dust on a penny aboard the MSL Curiosity. Click for larger.  Image(s) Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

A year of dust on a penny aboard the MSL Curiosity. Click for larger. Image(s) Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The Curiosity rover has been on Mars since August 2, 2012 and Mars being a dusty place I thought it was time to see how much dust has been accumulating.

An old American penny is part of the calibration target for the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) located on a “shoulder joint” of the rover’s arm.

pennylocation

The left hand side is the penny on September 10, 2012 and the one on the right is from October 2, 2013.

Although the accumulation could be worse the target is on a vertical surface.  The pictures prove there is no escaping the dust.

malinspaceman

Even the Malin Spaceguy (or spacegal they all look the same to me :mrgreen: ) can’t hide.

Two Moons Pass in the Night

The Curiosity rover had an eye to the sky on 1 Aug 2013 and caught an eclipse of sorts.

The Mastcam instrument took a series of images of the Martian moon Phobos passing directly in front of the other Martian moon, Deimos.

In the press release from NASA/JPL (below), the apparent size of the moons is compared to how we see our moon so and NASA included a pictoral comparison>/a>.

The NASA press release:

PASADENA, Calif. — The larger of the two moons of Mars, Phobos, passes directly in front of the other, Deimos, in a new series of sky-watching images from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity.

Large craters on Phobos are clearly visible in these images from the surface of Mars. No previous images from missions on the surface caught one moon eclipsing the other.

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Opportunity Update

Oportunity approaches a boulder field on sol 3392.  Click for larger. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Oportunity approaches a boulder field on sol 3392. Click for larger. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Here’s one of the very latest images from the Navigation Camera aboard the Opportunity rover.

The image is from Sol 3392 (08 Aug 13). Located on the rim of Endeavor crater at the base of ‘Solander Point’ Opportunity approached this boulder field on 5 August.

In the past day or two Opportunity used its robotic arm to collect a sample from a target called ‘Red Poker” and used the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on a target for an overnight integration.

Currently the rover is moving towards another target. Could it be that seemingly large boulder in the image?

The energy production (6 Aug 13) was 385 watt-hours, not too bad. The total odometry is 39.2 km (23.7 miles).

The Mars Exploration Rover website.

The Curious Traveler

A depiction of the routes of the Mars Science Laboratory.  Click for larger. Image credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

A depiction of the routes of the Mars Science Laboratory. Click for larger. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

A year on Mars for the rover Curiosity. It hardly seems possible but it’s true.

From NASA (link goes to much larger images at NASA):

The total distance driven by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity passed the one-mile mark a few days before the first anniversary of the rover’s landing on Mars.
This map traces where Curiosity drove between landing at “Bradbury Landing” on Aug. 5, 2012, PDT, (Aug. 6, 2012 (Universal Time and EDT) and the position reached during the mission’s 351st Martian day, or sol, (Aug. 1, 2013). The Sol 351 leg added 279 feet (85.1 meters) and brought the odometry since landing to about 1.05 miles (1,686 meters).
The mapped area is within Gale Crater and north of the mountain called Mount Sharp in the middle of the crater. After the first use of the drill, the rover’s main science destination will be on the lower reaches of Mount Sharp. For broader-context images of the area, see http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA16064 and http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA16058.
The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) in NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Curiosity’s Travels

The MRO captures the travels of the rover Curiosity in this HiRISE image.  Click for larger. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

The MRO captures the travels of the rover Curiosity in this HiRISE image. Click for larger. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter aimed it’s high resolution camera known as HiRISE (High Resolution Science Experiment)at the area where the rover Curiosity is working. I should say where it was on June 27th.

On the left you can see two dark spots called Bradbury Landing. The spots were created when the landing jets from the Curiosity lander blew away the red surface coating with the rocket jet blast.

From there going to the right you can easily see Curiosity’s tracks. To put some scale on this image, those tracks are about 3 meters (10 feet) apart. If you follow the tracks sure enough you will end up at Curiosity which shows up as a shiney object near an outcrop called Shaler located in the “Glenelg” area of Gale Crater. The rover has since moved to the southwest.

Larger versions including a full-res TIFF are availble at the JPL/Cal Tech web page with the image located here.
The MRO captures the travels of the rover Curiosity in this HiRISE image. Click for larger. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

One Kilometer Down and More

The road ahead for Curiosity.  Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The road ahead for Curiosity. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The rover Curiosity just passed the one kilometer driving mark, that’s 0.62 miles for us metrically challanged Americans.

This image was obtained with the left front Hazard-Avoidance Camera or Hazcam just after the odometer clicked over. The date this all transpired was July 16, 2013.

The direction you are looking at is southwest, generally in the direction of an area if interest and destination of Mount Sharp about 8 km distant (~5 miles). Hope they can get pictures of some of those rocks, I’m “curious” about what they are, it appears there appears to be a couple different varieties there. I wish I knew more about geologly.

I will give more of an update this weekend. I wanted to put this up because I just switched my desktop background. If you would like one go on over to the webpage with the image to download a version for yourself.

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Here’s looking at you!

Now there is a couple of other things going on we have TWO space probes about to take pictures of good old Earth.

One is the Cassini, if you lean to the geeky side like I do, you will want to run outside and wave between 5:27 and 5:42 pm EDT / 21:27 and 21:42 UTC. Be sure to be looking at the camera and smile. Just go out face due south if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, I think the opposite in you are in the Southen Hemisphere. Ok once you face South, you could take a slight turn to the East and SMILE!! LOL. Hey I’m going to do it.

The Messenger spacecraft around Mercury is also going to be taking a picture of us on July 19 and 20. The times of these images will be: 7:49 a.m., 8:38 a.m. and 9:41 a.m. EDT, or 11:49, 12:38, and 13:41 UTC. We should be able to see Europe, Middle East and Central Asia as these will be illuminated in the images.

Interesting thing about the MESSENGER imaging is researchers are actually looking for possible un-resolved satellites around the planet. Wouldn’t that be something to find and it’s NOT out of the question!!

Botany Bay

 Opportunity's View in 'Botany Bay' Toward 'Solander Point'.  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Opportunity’s View in ‘Botany Bay’ Toward ‘Solander Point’. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The rover Opportunity is crossing a very interesting assemblage of flat rock in what is known as Botany Bay.

Ah the magic words: Botany Bay, I immediately thought of Khan — yeah you know what I mean.

Here’s the NASA/JPL and you can get desktops of this image here too):

Opportunity’s View in ‘Botany Bay’ Toward ‘Solander Point’. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This view shows the terrain that NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is crossing in a flat area called “Botany Bay” on the way toward “Solander Point,” which is visible on the horizon.
The rover used its rear hazard-identification camera to record this southward view at the end of a southward drive covering about 387 feet (118 meters) during the 3,355th Martian day of Opportunity’s work on Mars (July 2, 2013). Rover planners have been driving Opportunity in reverse to mitigate wear on wheel actuators. For scale, the distance between the two rear wheels visible in the foreground is about 3.3 feet (1 meter). The underside of Opportunity’s deck appears at the top of the image.
The surface Opportunity is driving upon while crossing Botany Bay has a mosaic pavement of fractured, light-toned bedrock. A mixture of darker-toned basaltic soil and small spherules nicknamed “blueberries” fills cracks between the bedrock pieces and thinly covers some of the bedrock.