The summit takes its informal name as a tribute to Noel Hinners (1935-2014). For NASA’s Apollo program, Hinners played important roles in selection of landing sites on the moon and scientific training of astronauts. He then served as NASA associate administrator for space science, director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA chief scientist and associate deputy administrator of NASA. Subsequent to responsibility for the Viking Mars missions while at NASA, he spent the latter part of his career as vice president for flight systems at Lockheed Martin, where he had responsibility for the company’s roles in development and operation of NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, Phoenix Mars Lander, Stardust and Genesis missions.
Marathon Valley cuts generally east-west through the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The valley’s name refers to the distance Opportunity drove from its 2004 landing site to arrival at this location in 2014. The valley was a high-priority destination for the rover mission because observations from orbit detected clay minerals there.
Dark rocks on Hinners Point show a pattern dipping downward toward the interior of Endeavour, to the right from this viewing angle. The strong dip may have resulted from the violence of the impact event that excavated the crater.
Brighter rocks make up the valley floor. The reddish zones there may be areas where water has altered composition. Inspections by Opportunity have found compositions there are higher in silica and lower in iron than the typical composition of rocks on Endeavour’s rim.
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.
Does this look like fun or what? It does to me. What we are looking at is engineers putting the final touches on the MOSES-2 sounding rocket payload.
The rocket will be launched from the US White Sands Missle Range in New Mexico tomorrow – if all goes well.
The payload is called the Multi-Order Solar EUV Spectrograph, or MOSES-2. The instrument will take images of the Sun in extreme ultraviolet light. The flight will be quick, only 15 minutes but since the atomosphere blocks all extreme ultravoilet light, this is a good cost effective way of getting the job done.
The objective is to help answer one of the biggest mysteries in solar physics – why is the Sun’s atmosphere 1,000 times hotter than the surface? To help answer the question MOSES-2 will look at the transiition area where the photosphere becomes the corona.
Spitzer, which launched into space on August 25, 2003, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, is still going strong. It continues to use its ultra-sensitive infrared vision to probe asteroids, comets, exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) and some of the farthest known galaxies. Recently, Spitzer helped discover the closest known rocky exoplanet to us, named HD219134b, at 21 light-years away.
In fact, Spitzer’s exoplanet studies continue to surprise the astronomy community. The telescope wasn’t originally designed to study exoplanets, but as luck — and some creative engineering — would have it, Spitzer has turned out to be a critical tool in the field, probing the climates and compositions of these exotic worlds. This pioneering work began in 2005, when Spitzer became the first telescope to detect light from an exoplanet. — Spitzer press release:
The Perseid meteor shower is just about here! Named like all showers for the constellation they seem to come from, this is one of the best showers of the year and this time there is no problem with the moon washing things out.
The shower peaks on about 11 August and I would expect good meteor watching for the next few nights.
Why do I like the Perseids? Numbers of meteors. I wouldn’t be surprised to see upwards of 60 or more per hour, just a wonderful show.
Every year is a little different, some more some less. It just depends on how much dust from Comet Swift-Tuttle we encounter. About the only time I’ve been disappointed is whey there have been clouds and the shower wasn’t visible at all.
How do you see them? It’s really never been a problem around here thanks to pretty dark skies, just look up towards the north and you will see them.