Posts tagged “Mars”

Friday, 5 December 2014

Get Your Ass to Mars

NASA has fancy plans... and pants to match [image source]

NASA has fancy plans… and pants to match [image source]

This morning something kinda small but absolutely extraordinary happened. We took our first step towards landing a human being on Mars.

A Delta IV Heavy rocket system carrying the brand-new Orion Spacecraft launched on at 07:05 (Florida Time).

This was the very successful first step in a multi-stage plan (see the image at the top of this post) that ends with human beings setting foot on Mars sometime in the 2030s. Right about the time my daughter will be old enough to buy Alcohol. Perfect timing!

Phil Plait has a good run-down of this launch at his blog, Bad Astronomy.

Actually, one of the most exciting parts of this whole plan is the middle step, where we launch a robot rocket into an asteroid and then push it into a stable orbit around the moon. How cool would that be!? Shoving mineral-and-ore-rich asteroids into stable orbits could be the future of heavy metal mining.

I must admit I got a wee bit emotional watching that launch video. By the time I was born we had long since stopped going to the Moon, so I’ve never actually been alive for any human being touching any celestial object. Tons and tons of robots, yes, but no people. So to have people land on an asteroid and then Mars within my lifetime (hopefully). Is a tremendously exciting prospect after more than 40 years of drought.

You can read a bit more about the planned “Journey to Mars” at NASA’s website.

Categories: Science, Videos.

Friday, 24 August 2012

First-Person Perspective Video of the Mars Curiosity Landing

This is an amazing film of the landing of the Mars Curiosity, from the expulsion of the heat shield until touchdown, from the point of view of the Mars Curiosity itself!

From the YouTube notes:

This is a full-resolution version of the NASA Curiosity rover descent to Mars, taken by the MARDI descent imager. As of August 20, all but a dozen 1600 x1200 frames have been uploaded from the rover, and those missing were interpolated using thumbnail data. The result was applied a heavy noise reduction, color balance, and sharpening for best visibility.

Since this is a series of still frames that have been compiled into a film, the video is about three times as fast as the landing actually took. And you can see the heat shield thud into the Martian surface!

THIS IS SCIENCE! (via Why Evolution is True)

On a completely unrelated note, I’m off to an Open Mic night right now! It’s at the Olive Branch Café inside the Hidden Treasures Antique Mall, across the street from where the Mandolin Café used to be.

Categories: Science, Videos.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Great Success!

Just watch the Curiosity landing live on the internets. Here’s the first tiny thumbnail photo from the surface of Mars!


Categories: Pictures, Science.

Are You Curious About Mars? Curiosity Rover Lands Tonight (Hopefully)! Science!

In about three hours something awexome is (hopefully) going to happen. NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover is going to touch down on Mars at approximately 10:30 PM Pacific Standard Time. If everything goes right. NASA made this pretty funny video about just how frikkin’ difficult this mission actually is. It’s called “Seven Minutes of Terror.”

You can watch live coverage (14 minutes delayed from the Red Planet) of the landing at — you best believe that I’ll be watching!


Categories: Science, Videos.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Dust Devils on Mars

Here’s a neat little video where they took a photograph from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and re-constructed it into a 3D image of an enormous dust devil on Mars:

An interesting thing about Mars is that because its atmosphere is so thin and its gravity so low, huge dust devils form rather easily. But for the same reasons enormous dust devils like these are also exceptionally weak; they couldn’t really do much more damage than a regular-sized dust devil here on good ol’ Earf. In fact, dust devils are claimed to be responsible for fixing two Mars rovers (by blowing all the dust off their solar cells).

What’s that you say? Cite my sources? Frak, dude, I don’t remember where I read that. Heck, maybe I’m mis-remembering something I read years ago. But it sound right, don’t it?

Categories: Science, Tornadoes, Videos.