Mars: Curiosity roves to the apex. Bob Zimmerman

Mar 08, 12:52 AM
Image:  This self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the "Big Sky" site, where its drill collected the mission's fifth taste of Mount Sharp. 

The scene combines dozens of images taken during the 1,126th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work during Mars (Oct. 6, 2015, PDT), by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the rover's robotic arm. The rock drilled at this site is sandstone in the Stimson geological unit inside Gale Crater. The view is centered toward the west-northwest. It does not include the rover's robotic arm, though the shadow of the arm is visible on the ground. Wrist motions and turret rotations on the arm allowed MAHLI to acquire the mosaic's component images. The arm was positioned out of the shot in the images, or portions of images, that were used in this mosaic. This portrait of the rover was designed to show the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument atop the rover appearing level. This causes the horizon to appear to tilt toward the left, but in reality it is fairly flat. For scale, the rover's wheels are 20 inches (50 centimeters) in diameter and about 16 inches (40 centimeters) wide. The drilled hole in the rock, appearing gray near the lower left corner of the image, is 0.63 inch (1.6 centimeters) in diameter.

Robert Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack.com: From the surface of the planet Earth we’re headed to the surface of the planet Mars. There were two rovers, but Opportunity shut down; we’ll concentrate on the big one, Curiosity.  It was last seen climbing.  The clarity of the photos is remarkable. Looks like walking in a river valley: rock is under the moraine left by the glacier. There’s no vegetation on Mars, but I can imagine it.

High-res panorama the Curiosity science team was released this week; ‘twas a mosaic of hundreds of their best images. Have recently decided to send Curiosity to a surprise place. They’d been working up the slope of a plateau; a clay layer they’re on is not structurally very sound.  They’re close to the top of the piedmont now and in a week hope to get to the top and get data.

The newly-named Perseverance rover (name picked by a middle school student from Virginia). Will it be nicknamed Percy or Vera?

ExoMars 2020, originally a US program, but Obama Administration pulled out. Consequently, Euros and Russian teamed up.   . . .  The poles of Mars.  . .  Three-thousand-foot cliff . . . a tourist spot!  Sit there and watch the avalanches coming of the scarp of the ice cap. . . . Deep-space network comms.