The Mars Report – July 27th, 2015

.Veteran NASA Spacecraft Nears 60,000th Lap Around Mars, No Pit Stops

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(Veteran NASA Spacecraft Nears 60,000th Lap Around Mars, No Pit Stops)

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Welcome back MY Dear Shoevians to The Other ShoeUnfortunately I got a bit of a late start, today, on this article. It is currently 2:15 PM PDST and that leaves me in a bit of a rush to publish ‘On Time’ for my Central Timer Zone readers. I found myself engaged in rather heated (one posted asking me to “surrender” in one thread… ROFLOL) exchanges where most ‘gun enthusiasts’ do not respect the rights of the unarmed, over their perceived) right to keep and bear any-and-all arms anywhere and everywhere they desire. Lacking a functional understanding of the English language, I was forced to make an appeal based on wording of the Preamble of the Constitution.

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We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,…”

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Right there, the last three words;  “insure domestic tranquility”. None of them, not a single one, ever showed a single regard for our right to domestic tranquility. Nor would they concede that an armed (an likely hopped up on methamphetamines) redneck with an Ak-47 might scare the bejeezeus out of an average American citizen. For all My Dear Shoevians that read from outside America, this is the quagmire that ‘gun enthusiasts’ have created around an inalienable right of the vast majority of the American population. Enough of that, now on with ‘The Mars Report’.

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With the late start I, unfortunately, did not have time to put together another ‘Gargantuan’ edition of this series. Instead, today, you will have six images, one video and the accompanying explanation and content.

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Our first image appears at the top of the article. This is an artist’s representation of NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft. This June the 23rd the Odyssey spacecraft made its 60,000th orbit over the Martian surface. Its orbiting began on October 23rd, 2001 and on December 15th, 2010 it became the longest orbiting spacecraft over Mars. My, notorious, last image of this edition was taken by Odyssey. An image will take your breath away.

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Now, for our next image of this edition, I give you a July 4th inspired image from the Curiosity rover. Taken September 19th, 2012… well I will just post it and talk on the other side.

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Curiosity's Stars and Stripes
Curiosity’s Stars and Stripes

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(Curiosity’s Stars and Stripes)

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Yes, it is the American Flag! This is an image, taken by Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), of the American Flag Medallion.  This flag medallion is riveted to the structure of the rover. Not many Americans have seen this medallion; you can now count yourselves among those few. For our next image I have a wonderful and incredible panoramic view taken by the Curiosity rover.

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Panorama from Curiosity's Sol 1000 Location
Panorama from Curiosity’s Sol 1000 Location

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(Panorama from Curiosity’s Sol 1000 Location)

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This incredible image was taken on May 30th, 2015 with the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on Curiosity’s 1,000th day on the Martian surface! This one image is actually a composite of many dozen independent images taken by the Navcam starting on May 27th, 2015. My Dear Shoevians, I try my best to give you one of these incredible panoramic images every couple of months. Americans should be very proud of the hard work NASA scientists and support staff do to keep projects, like the Curiosity rover working and developing and producing science and imagery.

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NASA's Curiosity Rover Inspects Unusual Bedrock
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Inspects Unusual Bedrock

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(NASA’s Curiosity Rover Inspects Unusual Bedrock)

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This rock outcrop, dubbed “Missoula”, by NASA scientists, was discovered near Marias Pass on Mars. Let me take a few moments to break down what appears in this image for you, My Dear Shoevians. This image was taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager of the Curiosity rover. This target, “Missoula” was unlike anything it had studied before. This rock face contained high amounts of silica. Silica is a combination of silicon and oxygen, commonly known on Earth as Quartz. This is called a ‘Geologic Contact Zone’ due to the meeting of; pale mudstone at the bottom of the outcrop and coarser sandstone at the top of the outcrop.

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“”We found an outcrop named Missoula where the two rock types came together, but it was quite small and close to the ground. We used the robotic arm to capture a dog’s-eye view with the MAHLI camera, getting our nose right in there,” said Ashwin Vasavada, the mission’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. MAHLI is short for Mars Hand Lens Imager.”[5]

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This incredible finding was one of the most recent findings by the Curiosity rover, but one of (what is certain to be) thousands upon thousands of discoveries Curiosity will make in its lifetime on the Martian surface. I am very happy that, while all too many Americans, are preoccupied with guns and wars that a majority of Americans revel in our scientific pursuits and accomplishments. All too often American media only carries the ‘Dark Side’ of America, and Americans. Here, at The Other Shoe, I diligently work to show the world a different and better side of America and Americans.

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Gale Crater's Surface Materials
Gale Crater’s Surface Materials

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(Gale Crater’s Surface Materials)

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The image, above, is a mosaic image made from many images taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter. This is ‘Gale Crater’ the home of the Martian Rover Curiosity. Gale Crater is ninety-six (96) miles in diameter. This image is oriented with ‘top-is-North’. I would try and explain the science behind this image, but I will leave it to a quote from the article accompanying this image.

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“The colors come from an image processing technique that identifies mineral differences in surface materials and displays them in false colors. For example, windblown dust appears pale pink and olivine-rich basalt looks purple. The bright pink on Gale’s floor appears due to a mix of basaltic sand and windblown dust. The blue at the summit of Gale’s central mound, Mount Sharp, probably comes from local materials exposed there. The typical average Martian surface soil looks grayish-green. Scientists use false-color images such as these to identify places of potential geologic interest.”

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Next, an homage to the beginnings of ‘The Mars Report’ and one of the very first rover subjects of this article series. More than four years ago, I started writing this article series, when it started I was following two brand new Martian Rovers; Spirit and Opportunity. Unfortunately, two winters ago, we lost Spirit due to a failure of communications. NASA sent commands for Spirit to move to a covered area and to power-down for the Martian Winter. Spirit did not receive the commands, and was left powered up and exposed during a harsh Martian winter season. We have not heard from Spirit again. However, Opportunity just keeps trucking. Operators of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity plan to drive the rover into a valley this month where Opportunity will be active through the long-lived rover’s seventh Martian winter, examining outcrops that contain clay minerals. Recently NASA created, and shared, this video.

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(Opportunity Rover’s 7th Mars Winter to Include New Study Area)

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As always, My Dear Shoevians, as is customary I have saved the very best image, for last. Now, I am not so sure just how each blog location will handle this next image. It is very large in size and scope. I will, likely, have to compress it for use on one or more blog locations. However, if you want to see this image in its original size and scope? Just go to the bottom of the page and click on the corresponding footnote link. That will take you to the NASA/JPL web site page that featured this image. I always do my best to LINK material so that I am not plagiarizing material and so that the real people behind these great images get their due credit. Now, without further adieu, I give you ‘Morning Clouds Atop Martian Mountain’.

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Morning Clouds Atop Martian Mountain
Morning Clouds Atop Martian Mountain

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(Morning Clouds Atop Martian Mountain)

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Taken with the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter this image shows clouds gather in the summit pit, or caldera, of Pavonis Mons, a giant volcano on Mars. This image was taken shortly after the Martian dawn. The clouds are mostly made up of ice crystals. They appear blue, in the image, because the structure of the crystals reflect blue light more strongly than other colors. This image was made by THEMIS through three of its visual-light filters plus a near-infrared filter, and it is approximately true in color. In other words, this image is not ‘false color’ for our viewing. If you were in orbit, over the Martian surface, you could look out a window and this is exactly how it would appear to you, My Dear Shoevians.

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That brings us to the end of this edition of ‘The Mars Report’. As always, My Dear Shoevians, it has been my pleasure to bring this article, these images, and the science and discoveries right to your browser. In hopes that many peoples, from all over the world, get a better and more informed view of America and Americans. We are not all about ‘guns’ and ‘war’. As a matter of fact, a majority of Americans seek a more peaceful nation and world in which to live and raise our children. That view, of America and Americans, is not always featured… even in our own journalism.

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Each and every week, that I am physically able and with less pain, I will work to bring you more and more; science, nature, space, Mars, news, and even some Young Adult Fiction. It is my hope, and dream, to be a small part of a broader understanding of America and Americans… and what we can do for the benefit of all mankind.

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Adieu!

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Thank you!

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Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe
Danny Hanning Writer, Editor, Research Staff and Publisher at The Other Shoe

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© 2010 – 2015 Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe

 


 

[1] http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/veteran-nasa-spacecraft-nears-60000th-lap-around-mars-no-pit-stops

 

[2] http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia15882.html

 

[3] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/msl/pia19679/panorama-from-curiositys-sol-1000-location

[4] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/msl/nasas-curiosity-rover-inspects-unusual-bedrock

[5] http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/msl/nasas-curiosity-rover-inspects-unusual-bedrock

[6] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/gale-craters-surface-materials

 

[7] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/morning-clouds-atop-martian-mountain

 

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