Archive for the ‘Curiosity Rover’ Tag

Happy Birthday Curiosity!   13 comments

🚀It’s Mars Rover Curiosity’s Birthday Today!!🎁🚀🍰

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Image Credit: Space Exploration – Science Website (Facebook)

Curiosity’s all alone on it’s birthday WordPress friends! 😥🍰Let’s all get together and sing happy birthday to it 🎶🎂😃 No-one should be alone on their birthday so let’s show Curiosity some love!😍🤗 In the spirit of WordPress! 👩‍🚀👨‍💻

🎶🎁”Happy Birthday Curiosity!!”🙃🎉🎈🎁🎵🚀🛰😃

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Global Martian Dust Storm   12 comments

The View from Insight! 🙂

It’s pretty packed here on the Mars Insight Probe and there’s nothing much to see outside right now… so we’ve been watching live streams of the dust storm taking over Mars to pass the time…Not very impressed with the view there right now either! 😉

BoardingPass_MyNameOnInSight

The Martian dust storm that has been engulfing the red planet for the last two weeks or so has now ballooned into full-blown global dust event magnitudes (officially known as a “planet-encircling” dust event.) as of 20th June. The atmospheric dust-haze now surrounding Mars and blocking out the sunlight as it covers the sky, is in the region of six to eight times greater than its seasonally normal density. In the absence of sunlight dusty red Mars has taken on a weirdly spooky-shadowless appearance.

Mars 2Poor little “Oppy” (NASA’s Opportunity rover) has been somewhat swamped, being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the Martian dust storm has diminished the sunlight it relies on for power, to such an extent (like completely obliterated it) that “Oppy” has been compelled to postpone all of its science activities until further notice. Without enough available power from its solar panels Oppy could not even “call home,” and NASA and Oppy lost contact altogether on 12th June 2018.

Mars 3Over on a different part of the planet at the infamous Gale Crater, Curiosity (NASA’s Curiosity rover), which has been hard at work studying the Martian soil in the region, has fared considerably better and it isn’t anticipated to be unduly bothered by the dust. Despite the antics of the Martian dust storm diminishing both sunlight and visibility in Gale Crater, Curiosity, who arrived on Mars five years after the last Martian dust storm of this nature, in 2007, has the edge over “Oppy” because it sports a nuclear-powered battery running 24/7 and doesn’t therefore have power issues to sweat over, unlike “Oppy”.

MarsThe offending dusty haze floating around the Martian atmosphere, resulting from the storm which is blocking out the sunlight, is known as “tau.” This tau level is at an all-time high rising tau level 8.0 at Curiosity’s location in Gale Crater. No higher tau has ever been recorded by the mission. The area close to Oppy’s location last measured a tau of almost level 11, and at such a high dust intensity it rendered impossible the job of Oppy – the longest working Mars rover, to provide any kind of precise measurements.  

Of course we experience dust storms of our own here on Earth. They occur  in the desert regions of, for example, the Middle East, North Africa and some southwest regions of the USA . However, thanks to our thicker atmosphere and its structural design along with the stronger gravity of Earth than on Mars, the dust is compelled to settle rather than floating around the atmosphere, as on Mars.  Our planet also benefits from the presence of land-growing vegetation.

Mars 4Usually dust storms occurring on Mars are confined locally.  This current storm is distinctive in that it covers an area the equivalent of the combination of Earth’s N America and Russia.  On a positive note it is a great opportunity to gain a more advanced knowledge of the way in which these Martian storms occur, progress and ultimately influence the red planet.

In the meantime Wolfie is passing the time chomping through stray pieces of liver cake floating past, posing for selfies and eyeing up the strange Manor-like building drifting randomly past the windows…. 🙂

Sources:

www.nasa.gov

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

www.space.com

www.astronomy.com

“Let Us Go You and I…”   44 comments

Martian Sunset…But Not As You Know It!

  Mars_Panoramic

“Welcome to Mars! The home of beautiful red sunsets and romantic pink-hued views of Earth in an exotic Martian dusk…lazy summer evenings in Gale Crater relaxing in your rose-tinted deck chairs on the red Sands of Mars, sun hats glowing softly in cooling evening sun… watching the first glimmers of rising stars in the interstellar regions between the neighbouring gas giant Jupiter red oxide beaches of Mars… the distant howls of the Black wolves of Mars shimmering golden-red shades in the setting sun….all the ingredients of the perfect intergalactic holiday Smile

 

But wait! Action replay!! This web page no longer exists! NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has just blown the whole intergalactic holiday guide to Mars straight out of the water!

“Welcome to Mars! The home of serene blue-hued sunsets and softly blue-tinged skies!! … What! What! Stunning blue sunsets on Mars!!! the distant howls of the Black wolves of Mars shimmering cool blue shades of azure light in the setting sun on the towering foothills of Mount Sharp….all the ingredients of the perfect intergalactic holiday …” REALLY?!!

Sunset on Mars April 15 2015 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Apparently so. Smile  Curiosity doesn’t tell ‘porkies’ and along with the images it kindly sent back to Earth it also saw fit to send a tweet too, so it must be true!

@Curiosity Rover “Let us go you and I…”

But WHY??!!! Are Curiosity and NASA finally losing it? Blue skies on Mars my Icewolfie paw!!! Hmm…well according to Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University – the Curiosity science-team member who planned the observations, maybe not…the theory goes like this….

 

mars_sunset Credit: Google

“When the blue light scatters off the dust, it stays closer to the direction of the Sun than light of other colours does. The rest of the sky is yellow to orange, as yellow and red light scatter all over the sky instead of being absorbed or staying close to the Sun.

Just as colours are made more dramatic in sunsets on Earth, Martian sunsets make the blue near the sun’s part of the sky much more prominent, while normal daylight makes the rusty colour of the dust more prominent.”

 

So! What should have looked like this……

Black wolf of Mars A_Image: Europa's Icewolf

 

….apparently looks like this! Welll…maybe this is slightly exaggerated but hey! You get the general picture yes? ;}

Black wolf of Mars B_Image: Europa's Icewolf

The Curiosity rover gathered enough evidence from around where it landed in Gale Crater (August 2012) to give firm grounds for believing that billions of years in Mars’ past a lake and stream system existed with the potential for habitation.

Today, 3 years later in 2015, Curiosity is hard at work in the centre of Gale Crater checking out Mt. Sharp which soars 3.4 miles (5.5 km) into the alien skies of Mars. Its numerous layers of rock (Mt Sharp that is not Curiosity Winking smile ) contain the key to historic environmental situation variants that have occurred on Mars across the centuries. The purpose of Curiosity’s mission here is to discover how Mars developed from a comparatively temperate and moist world somewhere back in the dim and distant past to the cold, arid desert wilderness world it has transformed into in the present times.

Needless to say mission scientists are yet to discover what any self-respecting intergalactic tourist to the Red Planet is fully aware of, from long nights spent lounging in the BLUE Martian sunsets in their favourite deck chair – the presence of “The Black Wolves of Mars,” howling lyrically long into the alien nights! Smile

 

Black wolf of Mars C_Image: Europa's Icewolf

Sources:

Space.com

Press Trust of India/Washington – The Indian Express