NASA Mars Mission

Martian Rover ‘Curiosity’ Self-portrait at ‘Big Sky’
                                         Martian Rover ‘Curiosity’ Self-portrait at ‘Big Sky’

(Martian Rover ‘Curiosity’ Self-portrait at ‘Big Sky’)[1]

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                                Welcome, My Dear Shoevians, to ‘The Mars Report’. The very first edition of this multi-year notable article series to be published in many months. This edition contains the most recent images taken by the Curiosity rover of the Martian surface. My Dear Shoevians this return to writing and publishing this, very popular, article series signals my desire to make a genuine attempt to return to writing and publishing at ‘The Other Shoe’. I know that I have tried to return, many times before, just to have my pain and other physical difficulties cloud, and in the end, deter my best wishes. Today I am here to present to you, My Dear Shoevians, the longest edition of this storied series in nearly a year’s time!

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Today I have seven images to share, over the next several pages. These images date back to October 2015 and bring us up to date with very new & ‘fresh’ images from this month, August! I do not know that I will be able to bring the level of writing narrative that some of you, My Dear Shoevians, may have become accustom. However, I will write (in my own words) as much as I can and when I tire? I will quote from the NASA/JPL[2] web site when I found the image shared.

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New Waypoint, Science Team Newcomers for Curiosity

(New Waypoint, Science Team Newcomers for Curiosity)[3]

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The image, above, is a map of the Martian surface showing the progress of the Martian rover ‘Curiosity’. At the top right of the image, just to the left of ‘Yellowknife’ (the blue triangle) is a blue star. This blue star is the Landing Zone of the ‘Curiosity’ rover. Named, by NASA/JPL personnel, ‘Bradbury Point’ (named after the famous sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury) this is the spot where ‘Curiosity’ started its Martian Adventure back in August of 2012. Now, for some of you, My Dear Shoevians, that are recent visitors to ‘The Other Shoe’ you may not know that I started ‘The Mars Report’ (in its current form) with the landing of ‘Curiosity’ now four years ago!

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Four years, this month, which I have been writing and publishing this very article series for all of you, My Dear Shoevians. Humm, you might well think of this edition of ‘The Mars Report’ as the fourth anniversary issue! I hadn’t thought of that, until I wrote the words right now. However, I might just make the next edition… the Anniversary Edition… so I can do it right! Now, as I was explaining, the map (above) shows ‘Bradbury Point’ where the ‘Curiosity’ rover started its journey with the last (and most recent arrival) at ‘”Naukluft Plateau’ shown at the bottom left of the image. Throughout the following images, you can go back and check this map so that you can follow along as we make our way to ‘”Naukluft Plateau’!

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Martian Rover ‘Curiosity’ Self-portrait at ‘Big Sky’
                                          Martian Rover ‘Curiosity’ Self-portrait at ‘Big Sky’

(Curiosity Self-Portrait at ‘Big Sky’ Drilling Site)[4]

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The image above, also seen at the top of the article, is a wonderful self-portrait taken by Curiosity in the ‘Big Sky’ area leading to Mount Sharp. The image was taken (the composite image, this image is a mosaic of several dozen images. The self-portrait was taken October 6th, 2015 by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. The robotic arm is not pictured. This is the most recent self-portrait (in this style) taken by the rover.

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Knobbly Textured Sandstone on Mount Sharp, Mars

(Knobbly Textured Sandstone on Mount Sharp, Mars)[5]

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The image, above, shows patches of Martian sandstone visible in the lower-left and upper portions of the image, they have a knobbly texture due to the nodules that are apparently more resistant to erosion than the host rock. The image was taken with the Mast Cam on the rover, and taken on March 9th, 2016. This sandstone formation was sighted on the rover’s approach to the ‘Naukluft Plateau’.

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The image is present with a color adjustment that approaches the white balance seen here on earth. This mosaic is comprised of six images taken with the Left Eye of the rover’s Mast Cam. The white balancing helps earthbound scientists to recognize materials and elements in the images provided. Now, My Dear Shoevians, when NASA/JPL provides multiple versions of a particular image, then I will share the Real Color’ and the “white Balanced’ versions.

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Curiosity's Arm Over 'Marimba' Target on Mount Sharp

(Curiosity’s Arm Over ‘Marimba’ Target on Mount Sharp)[6]

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Our next image, above, was taken during the week preceding the fourth anniversary of the mission’s dramatic sky-crane landing. This image shows Curiosity lowering the robotic arm directly over the target called ‘Marimba’ on the lower side of Mount Sharp. The image was taken by the Navigation Camera (NavCam) on August 2nd, 2016. (a mere 16 days ago, My Dear Shoevians!) The robotic arm was lowered over a patch of bedrock that was selected for the rover’s next drilling operation. Once the drilling is complete, the rock powder is collected and transferred to the onboard laboratory for analysis and observation. My Dear Readers, in past editions of ‘The Mars Report’ I have shared images of the drill device, holes drilled by the rover and image of bedrock and sandstone post drilling. Today, I am working to give you a wide range of images, in a seven image edition of ‘The Mars Report’.

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Full-Circle Panorama Beside 'Namib Dune' on Mars

(Full-Circle Panorama Beside ‘Namib Dune’ on Mars)[7]

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Now, My Dear Shoevians, this image just might be one of those images. Meaning, that you might have to click on the image and have it take you to a larger version of the image to get the full impact of the image I have shared. What we have here, My Dear Shoevians, is a Full Circle Panorama Self-Portrait of the Martian rover Curiosity! It is not often that NASA/JPL shares for our enjoyment and edification. However, when the do? I really like to share them, as they show a huge area of the Martian surface in a rare landscape format. Directly behind the rover, closest to Curiosity and on the left side of the image, is the downwind face of ‘Namib Dune’.

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‘Nambid Dune’ is part of the ‘Bagnold Dunes’. Further in the background, and in the center-right side of the image, is ‘Mount Sharp’. This image was taken December 18th, 2015. Yes, My Dear Shoevians, this image is a little out of chronologic order. I had hoped that I would get everything perfect in this ‘All New’ edition of ‘The Mars Report’… but, alas, I am still human and did make this minor mistake. L However, in my defense, I am sharing this image of a dune face… because the nest image is a close-up of a dune face… that, well, I thought was incredible! So, without further adieu… I give you… this!

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Mastcam Telephoto of a Martian Dune's Downwind Face
                                                                   Mastcam Telephoto of a Martian Dune’s Downwind Face

(Mastcam Telephoto of a Martian Dune’s Downwind Face)[8]

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Well, My Dear Shoevians, it becomes clear. My reason for placing the previous image out of chronological order, that is, becomes clear with the image above. This is the ‘Nambid Dune’ up close via the telephoto lens of the MastCam (Mast Camera). Again, My Dear Shoevians, you just might want to click on this image, too. This telephoto image of the ‘Nambid Dune’ just really struck me, as I was researching this week, for images for this ‘All New’ edition of ‘The Mars Report’. If you click on the image (now this feature is not available at all my blog location, but it IS available at the primary location of ‘The Other Shoe’). The ‘Nambid Dune’ is a part of the ‘Bagnold Dunes’ field along the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp.

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The image was taken December 21st, 2015 during the 1,200th Martian Day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars. The top of the dune face is about 13 to 17 feet in size. This image, again, uses ‘White Balancing’ so it appears in Earth-Like lighting conditions. Yes, it looks like it is black/white, but if you click or enlarge the image you can see spots of red rocks, in the lower right area of the image. Now, I know that this is an impressive image…. And I said that it “really struck me”… However, if you are a long term Shoevian, then you know that “I save the best image for last”!

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Full-Circle Vista from 'Naukluft Plateau' on Mars

(Full-Circle Vista from ‘Naukluft Plateau’ on Mars)[9]

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My Dear Shoevians, this is a MUST CLICK image! Of all the images that I have shared, in this edition of ‘The Mars Report’, this image is breathtaking! This image was taken mid-afternoon, on April 4th, 2016, as a part of a long-term campaign to document the context and details of the geology and landforms along Curiosity’s traverse since landing August 2012. The view combines dozens of images in a mosaic of a vista from ‘Naukluft Plateau’ on lower Mount Sharp. Here is some of the description, from the NASA/JPL web site.

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The foreground and middle distance show a geologic scene dominated by eroded remnants of a finely layered ancient sandstone deposit. Since landing, the rover traversed through terrains dominated by water-lain sedimentary rocks (mudstones and siltstones, and early on, conglomerates), some of which have contained minerals like clays that attest to the ancient presence of water.  However, the rover crossed into very different geology while climbing onto the Naukluft Plateau. The sandstone here appears to be dominated by thick layers of windblown sand, suggesting that these deposits formed in a drier epoch.  These rocks resemble the types of rocks that a dune field like the “Bagnold Dunes[10] 

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The scene is presented with the ‘White Balancing’ color correction to approximate earth lighting conditions. This gives viewers a better understanding of the view, and scientists a better view of the different types of rocks and rack faces. The center of the image is a portion of the Gale Crater, with the upper Mount Sharp on the horizon at the right of the image. It was taken with the MastCam (Mast Camera) with the left and right eyes.

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With that, My Dear Shoevians, we come to the end of this edition of ‘The Mars Report’. As always, My Dear Shoevians, IF you have enjoyed this article? PLEASE ‘Share’ and ‘Like’ the article via your preferred social media outlets. I hope that all of you enjoyed this article, it did take me several hours, over two days, to; prepare, write, edit and publish. It is a labor of love, because I love sharing these images and the hope that (someday) mankind will return to the stars!

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Thank you!

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Adieu!

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Daniel Hanning- Writer, Research Staff, Editor and Publisher of The Other Shoe

(Daniel Hanning- Writer, Research Staff, Editor and Publisher of The Other Shoe)

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© 2010 – 2016 Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe

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[1] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/pia19920/curiosity-self-portrait-at-big-sky-drilling-site

[2] http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/images/index.html

[3] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/pia20166/new-waypoint-science-team-newcomers-for-curiosity

[4] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/pia19920/curiosity-self-portrait-at-big-sky-drilling-site

[5] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/pia20322/knobbly-textured-sandstone-on-mount-sharp-mars

[6] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/pia20764/curiositys-arm-over-marimba-target-on-mount-sharp

[7] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/full-circle-panorama-beside-namib-dune-on-mars

[8] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/mastcam-telephoto-of-a-martian-dunes-downwind-face

[9] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/pia20332/full-circle-vista-from-naukluft-plateau-on-mars

[10] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/pia20332/full-circle-vista-from-naukluft-plateau-on-mars

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Full-Circle Panorama Beside 'Namib Dune' on Mars

 (Full-Circle Panorama Beside ‘Namib Dune’ on Mars)[1]

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                                    Welcome back to The Other Shoe, My Dear Shoevians! I have decided to take a step away from all things ‘politics’ and ‘political’ heading into this weekend. With that in mind I am happy to bring you the very first edition of ‘The Mars Report’ in many months. Honestly, it feels good to put my head back into subject matter that has always made me smile… and think. Since I was a small boy of seven or eight, I dreamed of walking on the surface of another planetary body. I read the works of Clark, Asimov, and Heinlein while, in my head, turning their words into foreign lands.

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This is, as I have said, the very first edition of ‘The Mars Report’ in many months. Having said, I am a bit out of ‘shape’ when it comes to writing this genera of works, this will end up being a bit of an abbreviated edition. I have four different images to share, and most of them are from months ago. Right now Curiosity is in a dormant mode. Hibernating through the Martian Winter where it is currently located. Below is a map showing the journey of Curiosity since it first landed at ‘Bradbury Landing’ back on August 22nd, 2012. Funny, that, My Dear Shoevians… I have covered the adventures and discoveries of Curiosity since it landed. I am glad that I made this project a priority for my writing and my blog(s).

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Curiosity Rover's Traverse, First 1,163 Sols on Mars

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(Curiosity Rover’s Traverse, First 1,163 Sols on Mars)[2]

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The map shown above highlights the route of the Curiosity rover. As it makes it way slowly from the beginning (at the top of the image, just to the left of ‘Yellowknife Bay’, to where it is halted just below ‘Marias Pass’. Curiosity is now located in the “Bagnold Dunes” dune field. The rover is making its way to higher elevations of Mount Sharp. The image, below, is of Curiosity at its stop in the ‘Bagnold Dunes in front of “Namib Dune”.

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Curiosity Self-Portrait at Martian Sand Dune

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(Curiosity Self-Portrait at Martian Sand Dune)[3]

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This ‘Self Portrait’ is a combination of 57 images taken on Jan. 19, 2016, during the 1,228th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars. All of the 57 images were taken by the (not pictured) Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. Rather interesting, My Dear Shoevians, but as I was just writing this explanation of the image, above, I found a much better and far more recent map of Curiosity’s journey. I am including it, below.

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Curiosity's Traverse Map Through Sol 1221

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(Curiosity’s Traverse Map Through Sol 1221)[4]

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Now, My Dear Shoevians, you should be able to just left click on this image and you will be taken to the full sized rending. In the larger image you will be able to read all of the different locations Curiosity has visited in its more than 1,000 day adventure, so far. At the bottom right corner, of this image, you will see the blue overlay. In this overlay you can see the ‘Namib Dune’ location, where self portrait (show above) was taken. It is marked, in the overlay, with a yellow diamond. That was the current location for the Curiosity rover of Sol 1221 (or the 1,221st day on the Martian Surface).

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Full-Circle Panorama Beside 'Namib Dune' on Mars

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(Full-Circle Panorama Beside ‘Namib Dune’ on Mars)[5]

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The image, above, appeared at the top of this article. However, I decided to include it in the body, too. This is the ‘360 Full Circleversion of the ‘Self Portrait’ captioned three images above. Now, My Dear Shoevians, as I have mentioned before you can left-click on any of these images and it will transfer your browser to another page that is just the full sized version of any given image. As well, there are footnotes at the bottom of the article. The number at the end of the caption, of any/all, images corresponds to the link at the bottom of the page. Click on a link to go to the credited page for each and every image. There you can, if you wish, download the High Definition version of any/all of the images included in my articles.

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These high definition images make for great desktop wallpapers, or for any other image needs you may have, like sharing on Facebook or any of the other social media that you enjoy. Having said, I would like to ask all of you, My Dear Shoevians, to SHARE my articles (that you enjoy) via any/all the social media outlets that you enjoy. I am sure that all your; family, friends, and co-workers would enjoy seeing these images and learning of all our (hard earned) tax dollars at work!

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'Garden City' Site

(‘Garden City’ Site)[6]

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That brings us to the image, above, our final image of this edition of “The Mars Report’ for April 22nd, 2016. This image was taken back in March of 2015 and shows a ridge at the bottom of Mount Sharp. The site’s name is ‘Garden City’ as shows a prominent network of mineral veins below a cap rock ridge. This rock ridge is located in the Pahrump section of the Lower Murray Formation of Mount Sharp. The mineral veins, pictured in this image are formed where fluids move through fractured rocks, depositing minerals in the fractures and affecting chemistry of the surrounding rock. In this case, the veins have been more resistant to erosion than the surrounding host rock.

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The images that make up this mosaic view were taken by the left-eye camera of Mastcam (Mast Camera) on March 27, 2015, during the 938th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars. The image has been improved with white balancing so that the formation is seen as it would appear in natural light here on earth. Further image enhancement was accomplished by using Curiosity’s laser-firing Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument. It was used to record the spectra of sparks generated by zapping 17 Garden City targets with the laser. Prior to taking this mosaic  the ChemCam team had completed the most extensive upgrade to the data-analysis toolkit (which the ChemCam is part) since Curiosity reached Mars in August 2012. The cap rock scarp, pictured here, is about three feet in height.

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That brings us to the end of this edition of ‘The Mars Report’ for April 22nd, 2016. I would like to take a moment to “Thank you!” all., My Dear Shoevians, for dropping by and reading this newest edition of ‘The Mars Report’. As I mentioned earlier in this article, I hope to have another edition of this series later next week. I have already located the images I would like to showcase, and many of them are very striking! They have been taken by the Mars Orbiting Observatory and display the harsh nature of a Martian winter.

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Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. In closing, I would like to ask your indulgence. We all use social media of many types; Facebook, Pintrest, Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram just to name a few. Now that you have read and (hopefully) enjoyed this article, today? Don’t you think that others (family, friends, co-workers) would enjoy it, too? Why not be the one that shares an informative article filled with eye-candy? I think that most people would be grateful to find enjoyable content on the web that isn’t all about politics and all things political. Be that person and share this article, and all my works, and bask in the light of their thanks.

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Thank you!

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Be Good To One Another!

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

© 2010 – 2016 Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe

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[1] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/full-circle-panorama-beside-namib-dune-on-mars

[2] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/curiosity-rovers-traverse-first-1163-sols-on-mars

[3] http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/pia20316-main_take6dune.jpg

[4] http://mars.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/images/?ImageID=7640

[5] http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/full-circle-panorama-beside-namib-dune-on-mars

[6] http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/pia19921-main_blaney1_sol-0938_ml.jpg

 

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                                                                                               Recurring ‘Lineae’ on Slopes at Hale Crater, Mars

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              Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe. Today I start this edition of ‘The Mars Report’ with the ‘Holy Grail’ of extraterrestrial exploration, water. Essential to all life, the birthplace of mankind, and (until recently) never before found outside the surface of earth. That all changed on September 28th, 2015 with the announcement of a discovery on the Martian surface. Since early in the life of the Curiosity rover, there had been speculation and observations of other liquids. However, with the image, below, all speculation ended with a single discovery.

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Recurring ‘Lineae’ on Slopes at Hale Crater, Mars

[1]

(Recurring ‘Lineae’ on Slopes at Hale Crater, Mars)

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That, My Dear Shoevians, is most certainly the single most famous image of modern science. Published around the world, late last month, this is the image that has ended the search for the ‘Holy Grail’ of extraterrestrial exploration. Now, this image is rather difficult to navigate for the average reader, or Shoevian.

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The dark narrow streaks that we see, left of center, in this image are “inferred” to be formed by“Seasonal flow of water on contemporary Mars.” This is not flowing water like here on earth. This is a “briny liquid water” heavy with hydrated salts. It is these hydrated salts that brought NASA’s attention to this flow, and others found on the Martian surface. It is thought that during the winter months (occurring now) on Mars moisture in the thin atmosphere collects and solidifies on the upward sides of these slopes. As the Martian surface heats, the briny liquid water flows down slopes, like those seen in this image. This is only one example of the briny liquid water flows on the Martian surface.

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Now, as for the how this image was made? Let me quote the NASA/JPL web site for their expert explanation.

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        “The image was produced by first creating a 3-D computer model (a digital terrain map) of the area based on stereo information from two HiRISE observations, and then draping a false-color image over the land-shape model. The vertical dimension is exaggerated by a factor of 1.5 compared to horizontal dimensions. The camera records brightness in three wavelength bands: infrared, red and blue-green. The draped image is one product from HiRISE observation ESP_03070_1440.[2]

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Now, as a special added treat, My Dear Shoevians, I have a short animation of this discovery as provided by NASA/JPL below. Enjoy!

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Animation of Site of Seasonal Flows in Hale Crater, Mars

 

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The image, above, is made with a process called ‘false color’. If you are a regular Shoevian then you are familiar with this process of image enhancement. Our next image is of the very same process of briny liquid water taken at Horowitz Crater, without the image enhancements.

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                                                                               Recurring “Lineae” on Slopes at Horowitz Crater

[3]

(Recurring “Lineae” on Slopes at Horowitz Crater)

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MY Dear Shoevians, this discovery is the single most important scientific discovery of mankind. With the presence of liquid water, comes the distinct possibility of the formation of life. The possibility of life existing on the surface of another planetary body in our solar system is nothing short of incredible. Now, My Dear Shoevians, aside from the implications of life of another planetary body within our own solar system (as if that is not enough) liquid water on the Martian surface gives us the opportunity of a gas station in space!

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By breaking down liquid water into its component hydrogen and oxygen, then pressurizing said gases into a liquid form yields liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen (LOX). As well, the oxygen can be used for breathing by the astronauts and water… well, to drink!

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Now, for any still remaining nay Sayers I give you the following image, captured at the Kimberly Formation at the base of Mount Sharp.

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                                                                        NASA’s Curiosity Rover Team Confirms Ancient Lakes on Mars

[4]

(NASA’s Curiosity Rover Team Confirms Ancient Lakes on Mars)

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Well, My Dear Shoevians, I am pretty darn good with words. However, when it comes to explaining the above captioned image, I am going to leave this one image to the experts at NASA/JPL.

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A new study from the team behind NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity has confirmed that Mars was once, billions of years ago, capable of storing water in lakes over an extended period of time.

Using data from the Curiosity rover, the team has determined that, long ago, water helped deposit sediment into Gale Crater, where the rover landed more than three years ago. The sediment deposited as layers that formed the foundation for Mount Sharp, the mountain found in the middle of the crater today.

“Observations from the rover suggest that a series of long-lived streams and lakes existed at some point between about 3.8 to 3.3 billion years ago, delivering sediment that slowly built up the lower layers of Mount Sharp,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and co-author of the new Science article to be published Friday, Oct. 9.”[5]

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Well, My Dear Shoevians, I have reached the very limit of my endurance to my pain… today. I had really wanted to share another ‘Gargantuan’ edition of ‘The Mars Report’ for all of your today. However, I simply am not going to push myself and be in pain for days and days to come. I hope to write, and publish, an all new edition of ‘Lost in Space’ later this week. There are still tons of great images, I have put aside, from the Chandra X-Ray Telescope for future editions. I hope to share some more of these, later on this week.

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I would like to extend my thanks to all of you, My Dear Shoevians, for dropping by today. For taking the time to revel in the scientific discovery of the ‘Holy Grail’ on the Martian surface. I know that I have been greatly absent, from these pages. I hope to change that reality and appear here on a more and more frequent basis. I do love to write, love to share my discoveries, and love to publish. But for my disabilities, my pain and growing physical limitations, I would be here every single day!

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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

© 2010 – 2015 Hanning Web Wurx and The Other Shoe

 

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NASA Spacecraft Detects Impact Glass on Surface of Mars

. Welcome back My Dear Shoevians to The Other Shoe. And, welcome to an abbreviated edition of‘The Mars Report’. This week, well, there just isn’t than many new images (yet) […]

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

[1]

(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

[2]

(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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