Archive for the ‘Mars’ 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

Europa’s Icewolf is Going to Mars!   35 comments

Europa’s Icewolf is Going to Mars!!

Mars-InSight Boarding Pass 🙂

My name is onboard the “passenger list” for the next mission to Mars-InSight!

InSight will launch in May, 2018. It will study the interior of Mars and listen for Marsquakes. 

BoardingPass_MyNameOnInSight

Feel free to join me! I’ve recently completed an Open University course – How to Survive on Mars, so everyone will be fine! All my shiny new followers welcome too 🙂 It will be the perfect time to get to know each other…it takes a while to get to Mars! Look carefully, and you may even see the Black Wolves of Mars 😉

What If We “Got Shot” of the Moon? :   23 comments

 

No “Year In Review” From WordPress….So!

What If We “Got Shot” of the Moon?!!

‘The geological history of the moon and Earth are intimately tied together such that the Earth would be a dramatically different planet without the moon.’

It would? So what exactly would happen if we just got rid of it altogether and there was no moon? Which there probably wasn’t so far as many of us were concerned over Christmas! But say we blew it up?!! Blasted it completely out of the sky? After all do we actually need this shiny ball in the sky anyway?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sonic_moon_boom_tvtropes.org_creative commons license__moon_explosion___space_art_by_raju7

The Birth of a New Ring World Earth Surprised smile

All those tiny fragments of blown up moon would be far too small to stick back together and create a new, if rather misshapen and little moon, which would have at least managed a near normal gravitational pull on Earth…important scientific detail….

A lovely ring would form around Earth consisting of little lumps of moon shrapnel …very, very tiny ones…very pretty but trouble is they wouldn’t be content with staying out there in space. Oh no, they would much rather make a regular and devastatingly determined habit of periodically hurtling out of their ring-world and slam-dunking into the Earth’s surface, bombarding us with meteorites that should otherwise never have thought of coming anywhere near us…oh dear! Moulton moon rain, cities destroyed, countries obliterated….

Moon formedImage NASA JPL-CaltechOn top of which, if we have blown the moon sky high all those particularly dangerous outer space meteorites that had previously hammered the moon’s surface would no longer have anything to prevent them making a bee-line for Earth, happily re-creating the Moon’s surface on the home-world! Great! Craters everywhere… Even more cities destroyed, countries obliterated….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Axial Tilt of Earth Eye rolling smile

In between moon rocks and meteorite bombardments from the rest of the cosmos, Earth, minus the moon’s gravitational pull would develop a wobble…it had a little one before but it was stabilised by the Moon, which also protected it from the gravitational pull of the other planets…now it would have a huge wobble, and be pulled one way by Mars and another way by Jupiter – our planetary neighbours. Consequently with no moon to slow Earth’s orbit down we would be flying merrily around the sun in a wildly unhinged and erratic orbit…. shortening Earth’s day from 24 hours to only 8 – 10 hours.

Catastrophic seasonal changes Disappointed smile

moon_asexuality.orgOn top of which whilst currently we are worrying about global warming and climate change….or at least those of us with a scrap of common sense are, with the moon gone these problems will seem trivial….of course to the uneducated or just plain stupid they already are, but you “aint seen nothing yet!!”

Earth would be a very, very different place. As it would now be rotating so much faster, 160-200 km winds would be zooming across Earth’s surface.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Earth’s now unstable axial tilt, we would see dramatic environmental changes over the course of thousands-millions of years – the loss of our conventional seasons and radical modifications in temperature would cause wide-ranging consequences for the growth of plant life and crops. This in turn would create some major headaches and very thorny problems for producing food for the billions of people dwelling on Earth. The animal world would have to adapt pretty quickly to a much shorter life pattern in terms of mating, migration and hibernation.

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Moreover, the changing temperatures would lead to the loss of Earth’s N and S Poles. To an extent this is already happening but in such circumstances melting ice would have a hugely dramatic effect on the oceans which would rise to a point where they change the all the world’s coastlines.

Life on Earth both in countries and in cities would have no choice but to adapt pretty drastically in order to survive or disappear into extinction.

 

Tidal Chaos Confused smile

With no moon to affect the tides, which show a configuration related to the lunar phase cycle, Earth’s oceans would become very tranquil and still. Solar tides would have a very small effect; about half that of the Moon, so there would be the odd wave or two. (Assuming we hadn’t blown the Sun up as well 😉 ) Tides were also important in life’s early stages of evolution so this would be terrible news for sea life which would rapidly become extinct. Barely-there tides do not mix oceans which therefore do not circulate nutrients required for sea-life’s survival…so fishermen would quickly go out of business and no –one would be microwaving their “Fisherman’s Pies” ever again!

Game Over_Image Credit fpif.org_Photo Mykl Roventine-Flickr

     Not quite the useless lump rock some people seem to think it is then! Be right back

Happy New Year 2016!

Sources: spaceanswers.com

dailymail.co.uk

“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

Full Wolf Moon–January 5th 2015   21 comments

howling-at-the-moon-hippotipus-dff_080723 

 

119453360_640Full Wolf Moon Registration Banner

The Wolf Moon rising at 17:15 – 5th January 2015, for the one and only time this New year, is the first full moon following the winter solstice. In a little touch of moon wolf magic the 2015 Wolf Moon also coincides with the arrival of Earth at the closest point to the sun that it is possible for it to reach in its orbit (perihelion).

Earth stands just 91.4 million miles from the sun, at this point and consequently the full moon burns brighter than even the Europan Ice Wolves on their frozen world of ice…

The Wolf Moon has also come to mark the start of a long year of stargazing.

January is the only month of the year when Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be viewed without a telescope. And if you look very carefully in the magic of the moonlight and maybe wish upon a star you may see the flash of the moon wolves of icy Europa…moon of Jupiter….if you’re really quiet you may here the call of the wolf-song across the star-ways of time and space…the moon-song of the star-born of Europa….

Happy New Year 2015 from the Ice-wolves of Europa!

You Won’t See This In Sochi! Final Tails Of 2014 Galactic Olympics   51 comments

You Won’t See This in Sochi!!

The Final Tails of Valhalla Basin Winter Galactic Olympics

Running alongside the renowned cosmic Galactic Winter Olympics are the equally well renowned Space Galactic Dog Trials. The enthusiastic and well-informed interstellar tourist will undoubtedly have ensured their place at the Opening Ceremony on Io –the fiery, sulphuric neighbour of Europa’s Icewolves glittering world of ice; home to the magnificent and mysterious Firewolves of Io, creatures as wild and fiery as the stunning sulphur volcanoes erupting in explosive abandon throughout their moon-world, their presence at the trials opening ceremony guaranteed a truly alien dimension to this un-missable cosmic K9 event.

europa_solarsystem.nasa.gov_Credit_NASA_JPL-Caltechnewhorizons_jupiter_iosolarsystem_astro.cornell.eduIo_Jup_RaPWolf

Entertainment abounds at this time of the Galactic Winter Olympics both for the 2-legged thrill seeker and also for the 4-legged K9 variety:

MercuryMercury Tandoori Chicken Tracking Trials

Great for Galactic Olympic tourists who enjoy basking in a slightly warmer environment than is offered by the outer planets of the galaxy where the Winter Olympics are taking place.

  1. K9 Cross-country Tandoori Chicken Tracking – across the Van Eyck Formation (Mountain ranges on Mercury).
  2. Morning jogging –lose 50-60lbs, watch the awesome double sunrises and relax in the evenings and lay down to get great views of the other planets.
  3. Mercury’s Polar Ice Caps which offer wonderfully strange and bizarre views to thrill and tantalise the senses of even the most hardened galactic tourist.
  4. Roast marsh mallows whenever you like without worrying about nasty gases polluting the environment.

Warning!

Don’t forget the sunglasses and shorts!! And definitely don’t forget the sunscreen! Factor 1000000!

Martian chicken_Universe Today_Credit-SDOVenus Piri Piri Chicken Pursuit Events

Arrive here at light speed – about 2 minutes. Arrive by snail transport – 5 months – from Earth/Sochi. But no need to worry about sunburn – sun blocked out by clouds.

  1. 1. Lose weight in the natural outdoor saunas (460 degrees – hottest in Solar System – 40,000,00m closer to the sun).
  2. 2. Shower in the rain afterwards or for the more adventurous enjoy a Venutian mud bath.
  3. 3. Visit the mind bogglingly huge Maxwell Montes volcanoes – a Venutian star attraction for any galactic tourist, and pop down to Maat Mons’s frozen lava rivers.
  4. 4. Hi speed cooking – dinner will be cooked in less than one minute so no need to pack the microwave.

Warning!

Don’t forget the 100000 bottles of sunscreen factor and the 100+ towels! You and your equipment will erode very quickly in Venus’s yellow skied, highly toxic, corrosive atmosphere 🙂 So cover everything up well and check it’s safety certified and insured!

Mars ice cap_rutgersprep.orgMars_Chasma Boreale_N Polar Ice Cap_themis.asu.edu

Mars Dog Agility-Black Wolves of Mars

                                                           Weaving Collie_Photo credit_animalwatchers.comBoxer_agility_tunnel_Photo by Donn Dobkin-Just a Moment Photography_Wiki  GNU Free Documentation License

1. Labyrinthis Noctis- The Labyrinth of the Night-(Maze-like channels on Mars) 

  • Martian Dog Agility Trials 

2. Visiting Mars for the Martian gemstone medal ceremonies if you’re not too dazzled by the glinting opals you may be lucky enough to spot the Black Wolves of Mars!

Callisto_Credit_nssdc.gsfc.nasa.govIditarod Sled Dog Race_Photo Credit(AP Photo-Al Grillo)_newsminer.comCallisto – Valhalla Basin K9-Curling with Liver Cake

  1. Or if you prefer the views there, hop across to the Martian Polar Caps for the K9 Curling Finals.
  2. K9Flyball – High energy, high speed K9 sport – fun for all the family!
  3. Sled Dog Racing across Valhalla Basin and Asgard Crater
  4. Flying Disk dog Sports – Eye-catching, spectacular displays of teamwork and athletics.

 

Titan_Credit NASA JPL Space Science InstituteSaturn-titanSaturn’s Moon Titan – The Big Splash!

Saturn’s mysterious frozen, cloud covered world where methane acts like water on Earth and methane oceans lap its shores.

 Dock Jumping_en.wikipedia.org 1. K9Dock Jumping/Diving– The big splash! Dogs race down dock, fly off the end and into the methane oceans. Distance is the goal.

saturn-compositeSaturn’s rings – Heelwork to Music

  1. Freestyle and Heelwork to music.
  2. Ring rock hopping in this beautiful and exotic zero-gravity playground.
  3. Ring walking in zero gravity.

enceladus_NASA JPL Space Science InstituteEncaladus – Dog Scootering for Kids

Saturn’s bright, white, low gravity, snowy moon with erupting ice plumes shooting into the sky – floats back to the surface as snow.

1. Dog Scootering behind dogs for kids amongst the erupting ice geysers.Laufhundesport_Credit www.canicross.at

2. Great hop scotch attraction so long as no one lands too hard and disappears down an ice crevasse!

Uranus’s Moon Miranda – Bison Staring Stand-Offs

20120905_uranus_voyager_C2709128_rgb_150pct_lakdawalla_f537Miranda_Close up_Credit moon.nasa.govThe star attraction of the Uranian system with its very own Grand Prix racetrack features in the form of a variety of concentric “coronae” ranging from smooth curving corners, to sudden sharp turns – great work-out for Canicross fans.

  1. 1. Canicross-dog powered running where the dog takes you for a run attached by harness and shock absorbing line.
  2.                   1303320624_canicross_2011_033
  3. 2. Skijoring -Skiing behind dogs on the huge cliffs towering far into the Mirandian sky.

                                                 Bison_Credit bloximages3. Bison Staring Stand-offs; low gravity float-downs when you lose your staring stand-off and they butt you off the edge of a cliff, have their own unique thrills – and the views are cosmic! And the kids will love it!