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04/19/2007


Scientists Spot Metallic Object as Curiosity Probe Takes First Scoopful of Mars: VIDEO

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Meanwhile on Mars...

Scientists have spotted something metallic on the Martian surface and aren't sure what it is but think it may be a piece of hardware that fell off the rover itself. The object (A screw, perhaps?) was spotted after the Curiosity rover took its first soil scoop of the red planet.

Another time-lapse video shows how the rover vibrates the soil:

The clip includes 256 frames from Curiosity's Mast Camera, taken at about eight frames per second, plus interpolated frames to run at actual speed in this 32-frames-per-second version. The scoop was vibrated to discard any overfill. Churning due to vibration also serves to show physical characteristics of the collected material, such as an absence of pebbles. The scoop is 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) wide, 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) long.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Scientists Spot Metallic Object as Curiosity Probe Takes First Scoopful of Mars: VIDEO" »


The Best Mars Landing Video of All Time? - VIDEO

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Those of you who have been fascinated by the arrival in August of the Curiosity probe to the surface of Mars, have likely seen something like this video before, but you have never seen it like this.

Producer Bard Canning spent four weeks enhancing it:

Ultra-resolution, smooth-motion, detail-enhanced, color-corrected, interpolated from the original 4 frames per second to 30 frames per second. This video plays real-time at the speed that Curiosity descended to the surface of Mars on August 6, 2012.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

And the original is here.

Continue reading "The Best Mars Landing Video of All Time? - VIDEO" »


Descent to Mars: VIDEO

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The Curiosity probe's landing, in 'HD':

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 1600x1200 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.

The video plays at 15fps, or 3x realtime. The heat shield impacts in the lower left frame at 0:21, and is shown enlarged at the end of the video.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Descent to Mars: VIDEO" »


New Images, Video from Mars Show Towering Mountain, Precipitous Descent on to Surface: VIDEO

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New images and video have been presented by NASA from today's historic landing on the Martian surface by the car-sized rover Curiosity.

One new image shows the rover's wheels and shadow with Mt. Sharp in the background. The mountain is Curiosity's main scientific destination and is three miles high and four miles away. The rover will eventually be analyzing its geology.

The other fascinating piece of media released today is a low-res video consisting of 297 images shot by the probe as it landed which show the heat shield falling away and then a cloud of dust kicked up as jets fired to cushion its blow on the planet.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "New Images, Video from Mars Show Towering Mountain, Precipitous Descent on to Surface: VIDEO" »


Mars Orbiter Sees 'Curiosity' Probe as it Lands by Parachute: PHOTO

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A spectacular photo of NASA's 'Curiosity' probe on its descent to Mars was captured by the  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which began circling the red planet in 2006.

Curiosity and its parachute are in the center of the white box; the inset image is a cutout of the rover stretched to avoid saturation. The rover is descending toward the etched plains just north of the sand dunes that fringe "Mt. Sharp." From the perspective of the orbiter, the parachute and Curiosity are flying at an angle relative to the surface, so the landing site does not appear directly below the rover.

The parachute appears fully inflated and performing perfectly. Details in the parachute, such as the band gap at the edges and the central hole, are clearly seen. The cords connecting the parachute to the back shell cannot be seen, although they were seen in the image of NASA's Phoenix lander descending, perhaps due to the difference in lighting angles. The bright spot on the back shell containing Curiosity might be a specular reflection off of a shiny area. Curiosity was released from the back shell sometime after this image was acquired.

Incidentally, this is NOT the first such photograph.

Back in May 2008 I published a shot taken from the Mars Orbiter of the previous rover, the Phoenix Mars Lander, on its descent by parachute. Check it out HERE.


NASA Curiosity Probe Makes Historic Landing on Mars, Beams Back Photos: VIDEO

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NASA's probe 'Curiosity' completed its trip to Mars, landing on the red planet at approximately 1:30 am ET last night:

NasaThe robotic lab sailed through space for more than eight months, covering 352 million miles (566 million km), before piercing Mars' atmosphere at 13,000 miles per hour -- 17 times the speed of sound -- before starting its descent.

Moments after landing, Curiosity beamed back its first three images from the Martian surface, one of them showing a wheel of the vehicle and the rover's shadow cast on the rocky terrain.

The probe and its supersonice parachute, backpack, and 'sky crane' survived a complex sequence of events that scientists had dubbed the "seven minutes of terror" before setting down in the Gale Crater beside a mountain on the Martian surface.

Scientists rejoiced upon learning of their success.

Here's a liveblog from the Guardian chronicling last night's sequence of events.

The rover's full condition is yet unknown, but it did beam back a series of photographs, two of which contained images of its own wheel (above), and shadow (below).

More images here.

Watch Al Jazeera's report on the landing, and NASA's news conference, AFTER THE JUMP...

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