Archive for the ‘Mt Scarp’ Tag

“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

2012 Gale Crater Galactic Olympics   59 comments

Galactic Olympics ~ Gale Crater 2012

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Mars Rover Curiosity – the Mars Science Laboratory has arrived safely on Mars  August 6th 2012 ~ right in the middle of Earth’s Olympics…

 

Let the Galactic Olympics Begin!!

Valles Marineris Canyon (The Mariner Valleys)

imageNamed after its discoverer the Mariner 9 space probe, Valles Marineris is definitely not for the faint-hearted! For those with nerves of steel it is perfect for **Abseiling. However! Assuming that you haven’t already fallen over one of the massive cliff edges; be warned! The colourful canyon walls are unstable and could collapse suddenly due to the onslaught of temperature changes and Martian dust storms. It will be little consolation in this case scenario to know that Valles Marineris, as the presence of sedimentary rocks shows, was once an underwater area – because it isn’t now! It’s very rocky and you will meet your doom on them! You will also meet it considerably faster than you would on Earth due to Mars’s low air density meaning that it will not slow your worrying speedy descent to a rather unpleasant doom.

Winter Olympics are best held very early in spring as Martian night lasts for thmars-snowree months and whilst Skating on the Martian Polar Icecaps may be a fantastic sport and lots of fun doing so in pitch black conditions on an alien and potentially dangerous planetscape may not be the most well-advised of activities. And unless you have a particular penchant for breaking your neck, ski-ing is probably best saved for Jupiter’s moons Europa (watch out for Ice wolves) and Callisto where frosty-white Valhalla Basin offers excellent skiing options. Alternatively you may prefer to visit Saturn’s moon Titan where high-speed Winter Olympian Ice skating and Ice Hockey events take place on the frozen methane ice sheets.

However spring does not disappoint bringing rewards of its own. With the sunlight reflecting off dazzlingly layers of frosted Carbon Dioxide the crunch through the Martian snow, will show the true depths of the very beautiful sights the Polar Icecaps of Mars have to offer.

There are of course certain other risks attached to holding the Olympics on Mars…

Discus ThrowingThere is of course only one place for this Olympic event to take place; from the very top of the huge extinct volcanic mountain Olympus Mons. The largest known volcano in the solar system it is best viewed either at sunrise or sunset on Mars, when the rippling lava flows, otherwise hidden are brought into sharp relief and are easy to see. This is in sharp contrast to your discus which will travel at rocket speeds in Mars’s low wind resistance. Your distance scores will be phenomenal but unfortunately so will everybody else’s. It is also quite possible that you will never see your discus again unless you are also an Olympic marathon sprinter.

Alternatively The Tharsis Bulge, a chain of Great Volcanoes ; Arsia, Paionis and Ascerus Montes, of which Olympus Mons, although it is set apart from, also belongs to, is a fantastic venue for the Olympian Mountain Biker and also for BMX Racing. It also provides something of a challenge for those athletes unfamiliar with Mars, who are not so heavily weighted down by gravity as on Earth, or elsewhere. It does raise the issue of exactly how high and how far you’re going to bounce when you leap-frog over those lava ridges and the bumps in the track. But if you harbour a secret, all-consuming desire to risk becoming rocket man careering into space at something resembling light-speed, this is the sport for you.

Warning! Riding a mountain bike down the sides of a volcano is not recommended for the non-Olympian mountain biker. Stick to rock climbing at the base of Olympus Mons and fossil hunting in its dried-up ocean basins. Even the smaller volcanoes all stand higher than the Hawaiian volcanoes that rise up from the Pacific Ocean floor on Earth, and far above the Tharsis Bulge itself on Mars.

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Galactic Olympic Events are taking place at various different venues around the Solar System…

Sailing The Jovian moon of Callisto is a dangerously thrilling venue offering rowing races in the dark on a liquid ocean of sea salt.

You might wish to take your Olympic Torch with you to this event, (one that will stay alight on Callisto would be useful) assuming you wish to see where you’re going and keep tabs on far behind you your opponent is trailing. And if they’re not and look like they may be in danger of ‘going for gold’ you may wish to torch their boat.

titan_surfacenasaWater Polo and Canoe Sprints are highly popular Olympic events on Saturn’s moon Titan, in the methane oceans, though depending on what species you are and which world you hail from Swimming may not be a great experience for the average Olympic swimmer. It may be an interesting experience but if you’re from Earth, best not to give it a go. You won’t get the gold and you’re unlikely to live to tell the tale. Spectators should take note, unless you thrive in methane rain you would be well advised to bring an umbrella. Earth dwellers will be comfortably familiar with the rain showers routine and will carry an umbrella as a matter of course, but anyone else, take heed!

The razor-blade crags of Saturn’s moon Hyperion play host to Olympic Hurdling events whilst the Caloris Basin on Mercury, a crater with cliffs that reach up to 3km (2miles) high and stretching for hundreds of kilometres in diameter, provides great terrain for the Equestrian Cross-country events. For sight-seeing spectators the polar ice caps, a strange and bizarre sight on this baking little world are home to frozen water-ice lakes that co-exist alongside roasting rocks so hot they could easily melt the Earth metal, lead.

Venus Credit J WhatmoreThe frozen lava runs on Venus’s Maat Mons offer thrill-seeking spectators heart-stoppingly dangerous Bob sleighing races along with stunning views of Venus’s highest mountain at 4.9km (3miles) high – Maxwell Montes. And if you have survived this far you may wish to return to Gale Crater on the host world, Mars for the Olympic Show Jumping and Dressage events. Don’t get too carried away if you are taking part in the Martian Show Jumping. The low gravity on this world is something of a liability in this sport and unless you have changed your mind about not becoming the next rocket man and wish to do so still attached to your mighty Olympic steed, extra care should be taken at jump-take off. Given the excessive speed you will be propelled forward at should you have an ill-timed collision with a fence in such low Martian wind resistance, you would be well advised to avoid such an error of judgement unless you fancy plastic surgery.

Galactic Olympics Closing Ceremony at: Mount Scarp, Gale Crater!

Curiosity - Gale Crater_Mt Scarp

**(Not strictly an Olympic sport that I’m aware of, but if the Olympic Torch can abseil to London Bridge then I think that qualifies it for a mention)