Most of us aren’t of the means to buy boutique, $3200 sweaters and jackets. But it’s fun to see high fashion in artsy, glossy spreads like Vogue. This month, they did a big fashion spread featuring strange retro-futuristic models on a Mars-like landscape wearing Google Glass. It’s both a bit tongue-in-cheek and forward-looking. Via FastCo Design:
Wired has a collection of lesser-seen images from the Mars Curiosity Rover. Over the last year, the incredible rover has drilled into rock, rolled around the surface of the red planet, and taken quite a few striking photos. Here are some good ones.
We think of the Red Planet as red but Curiosity shows that the Martian surface can come in a wide variety of chocolate browns, ruddy pinks, dusty yellows, and even greenish tinges. Here, the rover looks over a small rise towards the foothills of Mount Sharp.
Curiosity inspects a nice rock formation just outside Yellowknife Bay.
Curiosity channels its inner Ansel Adams during its most northern sojourn in Yellowknife Bay.
The rover’s right Mastcam captures an interestingly textured rock.
Wires coil around Curiosity’s intake valve, which allows it to bring samples of the Martian soil to its inner laboratory instruments for analysis.
Drill and Lasers
A line of small holes represent laser shots running up the right side of this image while a larger borehole from Curiosity’s drill occupies the lower left.
The rover keeps a number of instruments on the “hand” of its long arm, seen here.
Looking like a small fence, a row of rocks lines up on the Martian ground.
The intake filter leading to Curiosity’s interior laboratory, which sifts out only the finest dust grains.
The rover looks out over a wide plain to the rim of Gale crater behind it.
A rounded black-and-white shot looking towards Mount Sharp, showing rocks and tracks in the foreground.
On its 85th day on Mars, Curiosity tilted its handheld camera upside down and backwards and snapped a funny-looking selfie.
A beautiful view of the foothills of Mount Sharp.
Curiosity’s handheld MAHLI camera took very high magnification shots of this rock.
Mars is mostly covered in rocks. This small collection is indicative of most of the planet.
Two small brushes help clear the drilling residue from Curiosity’s boreholes.
The tallest and largest volcano in the whole solar system, Olympus Mons would be a true sight to behold, if we ever got to see it in person. The ESA has some really cool images taken by the Mars Express.
We finally have some of our first high-resolution images from NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover, and they’re pretty great. The folks at EDS have digitally stitched together an interactive panorama of the red planet, check it out!
And don’t forget to follow the Rover itself on twitter!
NASA did it. In a stunningly perfect landing, they did what the Russians have failed to do nineteen times in a row: land a craft on Mars. But no matter, the whole world gets to share in this endeavor. In what was surely the most complicated maneuver imagined for a planetary mission, Mars Science Laboratory (MSL, aka. Curiosity) stuck the landing with Olympic grace. It now has a few days to wake up, get the electronics working, and start puttering around the Red Planet. With an onboard plutonium battery, the Jeep-sized rover may be able to keep roving for the next decade or two. Excellent work, NASA.
It’s well known I’m a space geek, and these latest images from the ESA’s Mars Express blew me away. Taken by the 9 year old Mars satellite, the images provide amazing detail of our planetary cousin. Click the photos to see them large.
New images from ESA’s Mars Express show the Syrtis Major region on Mars. Once thought to be a sea of water, the region is now known to be a volcanic province dating back billions of years.
Syrtis Major can be spotted from Earth even with relatively small telescopes – the near-circular dark area on the planet stretches over 1300 x 1500 km.
Even through NASA’s budget cuts and scalebacks, the Mars Science Laboratory has been a work in progress for years, culminating in a launch Saturday out of Cape Canaveral, Florida. After a 354 million mile cruise through space, the MSL will land on Mars, and begin to explore the possibility of life having existed on Mars, and whether it could still exist today.
NASA’s six-wheeled, one-armed wonder, Curiosity, will reach Mars next summer and use its jackhammer drill, rock-zapping laser machine and other devices to search for evidence that Earth’s next-door neighbor might once have been home to the teeniest forms of life.
More than 13,000 invited guests jammed the Kennedy Space Center on Saturday morning to witness NASA’s first launch to Mars in four years, and the first flight of a Martian rover in eight years.
Mars fever gripped the crowd.
NASA astrobiologist Pan Conrad, whose carbon compound-seeking instrument is on the rover, wore a bright blue, short-sleeve blouse emblazoned with rockets, planets and the words, “Next stop Mars!” She jumped, cheered and snapped pictures as the Atlas V rocket blasted off. So did Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Roger Wiens, a planetary scientist in charge of Curiosity’s laser blaster, called ChemCam.
Surrounded by 50 U.S. and French members of his team, Wiens shouted “Go, Go, Go!” as the rocket soared into a cloudy sky. “It was beautiful,” he later observed, just as NASA declared the launch a full success.
The 1-ton Curiosity – 10 feet tall, 9 feet wide and 7 feet tall at its mast – is a mobile, nuclear-powered laboratory holding 10 science instruments that will sample Martian soil and rocks, and with unprecedented skill, analyze them right on the spot.
It’s as big as a car. But NASA’s Mars exploration program director calls it “the monster truck of Mars.”
“It’s an enormous mission. It’s equivalent of three missions, frankly, and quite an undertaking,” said the ecstatic program director, Doug McCuistion. “Science fiction is now science fact. We’re flying to Mars. We’ll get it on the ground and see what we find.”
The primary goal of the $2.5 billion mission is to see whether cold, dry, barren Mars might have been hospitable for microbial life once upon a time – or might even still be conducive to life now. No actual life detectors are on board; rather, the instruments will hunt for organic compounds.
Curiosity’s 7-foot arm has a jackhammer on the end to drill into the Martian red rock, and the 7-foot mast on the rover is topped with high-definition and laser cameras.
With Mars the ultimate goal for astronauts, NASA will use Curiosity to measure radiation at the red planet. The rover also has a weather station on board that will provide temperature, wind and humidity readings; a computer software app with daily weather updates is planned.
No previous Martian rover has been so sophisticated.
The world has launched more than three dozen missions to the ever-alluring Mars, which is more like Earth than the other solar-system planets. Yet fewer than half those quests have succeeded.
Just two weeks ago, a Russian spacecraft ended up stuck in orbit around Earth, rather than en route to the Martian moon Phobos.
“Mars really is the Bermuda Triangle of the solar system,” said NASA’s Colleen Hartman, assistant associate administrator for science. “It’s the death planet, and the United States of America is the only nation in the world that has ever landed and driven robotic explorers on the surface of Mars, and now we’re set to do it again.”
Curiosity’s arrival next August will be particularly hair-raising.
In a spacecraft first, the rover will be lowered onto the Martian surface via a jet pack and tether system similar to the sky cranes used to lower heavy equipment into remote areas on Earth.
Curiosity is too heavy to use air bags like its much smaller predecessors, Spirit and Opportunity, did in 2004. Besides, this new way should provide for a more accurate landing.
Astronauts will need to make similarly precise landings on Mars one day.
Curiosity will spend a minimum of two years roaming around Gale Crater, chosen from among more than 50 potential landing sites because it’s so rich in minerals. Scientists said if there is any place on Mars that might have been ripe for life, it may well be there.
The rover should go farther and work harder than any previous Mars explorer because of its power source: 10.6 pounds of radioactive plutonium. The nuclear generator was encased in several protective layers in case of a launch accident. The “Plutonium battery” is supposed to work for a minimum of 14 years, possibly up to 18 or 20.
NASA expects to put at least 12 miles on the odometer, once the rover sets down on the Martian surface.
McCuistion anticipates being blown away by the never-before-seen vistas. “Those first images are going to just be stunning, I believe. It will be like sitting in the bottom of the Grand Canyon,” he said at a post-launch news conference.
This is the third astronomical mission to be launched from Cape Canaveral by NASA since the retirement of the venerable space shuttle fleet this summer. The Juno probe is en route to Jupiter, and twin spacecraft named Grail will arrive at Earth’s moon on New Year’s Eve and Day.
Unlike Juno and Grail, Curiosity suffered development programs and came in two years late and nearly $1 billion over budget. Scientists involved in the project noted Saturday that the money is being spent on Earth, not Mars, and the mission is costing every American about the price of a movie.
“I’ll leave you to judge for yourself whether or not that’s a movie you’d like to see,” said California Institute of Technology’s John Grotzinger, the project scientist. “I know that’s one I would.”