APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug 15)

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APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug 15)

Post by APOD Robot » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:06 am

Image Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater

Explanation: If you could stand on Mars, what would you see? The above image is a digitally re-colored approximation of what you might see if the above Martian landscape had occurred on Earth. Images from Mars false-colored in this way are called white balanced and useful for planetary scientists to identify rocks and landforms similar to Earth. The image is a high resolution version of a distant wall of Gale Crater captured by the Curiosity rover that landed on Mars last week. A corresponding true color image exists showing how this scene actually appears on Mars. The robotic Curiosity rover continues to check itself over and accept new programming from Earth before it begins to roll across Mars and explore a landscape that has the appearance of being an unusually layered dried river bed.

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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by ta152h0 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:32 am

It seems like the description tends to lead to a conclusion, before the rover even stretched its shock absorbers, there was water there once. many things look like riverbeds without actually ever being such. And this thing was the location of a very large collision, lot of heat released and melted stuff flowed.
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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:29 am

ta152h0 wrote:It seems like the description tends to lead to a conclusion, before the rover even stretched its shock absorbers, there was water there once. many things look like riverbeds without actually ever being such. And this thing was the location of a very large collision, lot of heat released and melted stuff flowed.
Well, it does say "has the appearance of" not "is". But people have been looking at channels like this closely for years now, and the consensus is that many were formed by flowing water. And FWIW, impact craters don't typically (ever?) have flow structures on their walls. It's much more likely the channels came later.
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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by Alan Clark » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:50 am

What amazes me is the brightness of the sky! despite Mars' thin atmosphere there is a lot of dust obscuring the distant landscape and making the sky look bright even by Earthly standards.

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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by starsurfer » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:25 am

I prefer the true colour version but I can understand why they do a white balanced false colour version to help analyse features in the image.

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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by E. Polin » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:34 am

What is this kind of path in the middle?
The bed of an former river?

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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by KeithMc » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:13 am

E. Polin wrote:What is this kind of path in the middle?
The bed of an former river?
It sure looks like a dirt road to me.

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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by thongar » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:56 pm

The wall as I loosly figured out (not knowing exactly where on the wall it is) is about 25 miles away. that Jeep trail then to look like it does is probably about 1/2 to 1 mile wide. which should make no difference to the conspiracy folk.
thank you APOD
Congradulations Curiousity Team

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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by neufer » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:18 pm

E. Polin wrote:
What is this kind of path in the middle?
The bed of an former river?
http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php? ... 42#p181442
http://www.universetoday.com/96790/curiosity-wheels-initial-rove-in-a-week-on-heels-of-science-success/#ixzz23chxyh4X wrote:
<<“We have a fully healthy rover and payload,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) deputy project scientist. “We couldn’t be happier with the success of the mission so far. We’ve never had a vista like this on another planet before.”

In just a week we’ve done a lot. We’ve taken our 1st stunning panorama of Gale crater with focusable cameras, 1st ever high energy radiation measurement from the surface, the 1st ever movie of a spacecraft landing on another planet and the 1st ground images of an ancient Martian river channel.”

Watkins and Vasavada are confident they will find a safe path though the dunes and multistory tall buttes and mesas that line the approach to and base of Mount Sharp. “Curiosity can traverse slopes of 20 degrees and drive over 1 meter sized rocks. The team has already mapped out 6 potential paths uphill from orbital imagery.”

“The science team and our rover drivers and really everybody are kind of itching to move at this point,” said Vasavada. “The science and operations teams are working together to evaluate a few different routes that will take us eventually to Mount Sharp, maybe with a few waypoints in between to look at some of this diversity that we see in these images. We’ll take 2 or 3 samples along the way. That’s a few weeks work each time.”

“We estimate we can drive something like a football field a day once we get going and test out all our driving capabilities. And if we’re talking about a hundred football fields away, in terms of 10 kilometers or so, to those lower slopes of Mount Sharp, that already is a hundred days plus. It’s going to take a good part of a year to finally make it to these sediments on Mount Sharp and do science along the way,” Vasavada estimated.>>
Last edited by neufer on Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by neufer » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:36 pm

Image
thongar wrote:
The wall as I loosly figured out (not knowing exactly where on the wall it is) is about 25 miles away. that Jeep trail then to look like it does is probably about 1/2 to 1 mile wide. which should make no difference to the conspiracy folk.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_the_Jeep wrote:
<<In the August 9, 1936, strip, headlined "Wha's a Jeep?" Popeye asks Professor Brainstine what exactly a Jeep is. He gets the following response:

A Jeep is an animal living in a three dimensional world—in this case our world—but really belonging to a fourth dimensional world. Here's what happened. A number of Jeep life cells were somehow forced through the dimensional barrier into our world. They combined at a favorable time with free life cells of the African Hooey Hound. The electrical vibrations of the Hooey Hound cell and the foreign cell were the same. They were kindred cells. In fact, all things are, to some extent, relative, whether they be of this or some other world, now you see. The extremely favorable conditions of germination in Africa caused a fusion of these life cells. So the uniting of kindred cells caused a transmutation. The result, a mysterious strange animal.

When asked if he had any further questions, Popeye, totally unenlightened by this explanation, repeated, "Wha's a Jeep?">>
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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by Boomer12k » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:44 pm

The first thing I noticed was the left pointing V shape. If you have Google Earth...it has a MARS section under explore, search Gale Crater...turn off all names, and such in the left frame...and you have a nice clear picture...unfortunately it is mostly in shadow...but THIS FEATURE and others like it are shown...

It is where a channel comes down from the side it APPEARS....to me it "is" or "could be" SAND PRODUCED...the place has been nothing but sand for billions of years...sand, pushed over the top and flows down. My opinion... void where prohibited... :D

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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by Selim Işık » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:52 pm

first of all, i am very sorry, about my awfull english. But, i'll try to explain, what i feel... Yes, i am so exiting, about the photos. they, all, remain me the begining of the awesome movie "2001, a space odessy"... At the begining part of the film, "Dawn of man", the world was seen like that... Congratulation all the scientist, all the people, who they are...

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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by zbvhs » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:55 pm

Just out of curiosity, any word on whether the controllers are planning to send Curiosity around to check out the bits and pieces of the spacecraft that got it there?
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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by Fliberty Giblet » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:04 pm

thongar wrote:The wall as I loosly figured out (not knowing exactly where on the wall it is) is about 25 miles away. that Jeep trail then to look like it does is probably about 1/2 to 1 mile wide. which should make no difference to the conspiracy folk.
thank you APOD
Congradulations Curiousity Team
If you click on the link for
APOD Robot wrote:Gale Crater
in the picture explanation and scroll down near the bottom of the Wiki page, you'll find the true color version of this picture with the following caption:
"This image of the crater wall is north of the landing site, or behind the rover. Here, a network of valleys believed to have formed by water erosion enters Gale Crater from the outside. This is the first view scientists have had of a fluvial system - one relating to a river or stream -- from the surface of Mars. Known and studied since the 1970s beginning with NASA's Viking missions, such networks date from a period in Martian history when water flowed freely across the surface. The main channel deposit seen here resembles a dirt road ascending into the mountains, which are actually the north wall and rim of Gale Crater.
Although Curiosity is about 11 miles (18 kilometers) away from this area and the view is obscured somewhat by dust and haze, the image provides new insights into the style of sediment transport within this system. Curiosity has no current plans to visit this valley system, since the primary objective of the rover is south of the landing site. But images taken later and with the 100-millimeter Mastcam are likely to allow scientists to study the area in significantly more detail.
The images in this mosaic were acquired by the 34-millimeter MastCam over about an hour of time on Aug. 8, 2012 PDT (Aug. 9, 2012 EDT), each at 1,200 by 1,200 pixels in size."

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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by BMAONE23 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:15 pm

KeithMc wrote:
E. Polin wrote:What is this kind of path in the middle?
The bed of an former river?
It sure looks like a dirt road to me.
perhaps it could be Curiosity's eventual road out of Gale

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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:50 pm

Looking alternately at the white-balanced image and the true color image makes me wonder how this scene would appear to a human being standing on the surface of Mars.
Click to view full size image 1 or image 2
We unconsciously assume that we simply see things as they are. But our eyes, brain, and mind process sensory input to maximize the value of the information received -- tuning out superfluous details, highlighting relevant features, maximizing contrasts and edges, stitching together separate bits into a coherent whole, etc. For instance, looking at the full Moon, it's hard to believe that the surface of the Moon is about as dark as asphalt. The Moon looks so bright because the surface reflects enough sunlight to be a lot brighter than the perfect blackness of the surrounding vaccuum of space.

Getting back to the Mars picture, I suppose it would also make a difference whether you were wearing sunglasses or not.
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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by Mactavish » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:49 am

According to JPL’s Photojournal, “The colors in a second version (Figure 1) have been modified as if the scene were transported to Earth and illuminated by terrestrial sunlight. This processing, called "white balancing, . . .".
Since the source of the light illuminating the subject, i.e. the Sun, why would “white” light be any different on Mars than “terrestrial sunlight” on Earth? Is it because of the color of the two different atmospheres filtering the sunlight?

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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:44 pm

Anthony Barreiro wrote:Looking alternately at the white-balanced image and the true color image makes me wonder how this scene would appear to a human being standing on the surface of Mars.
Click to view full size image 1 or image 2
Hey, who made that cool mouse-over? I should learn some html ... .
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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by ta152h0 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:00 pm

They are gouing to have to get a human there first and that is going to be quite a trick. After the announcement was made that the goal for NASA is to put a man on Mars, I read a notice that the radiation between the earth and Mars anbd the time to transit would be deadly to humans. So they have a ways to go. Perhaps installing a color wheel on the rover and approximate the camera settings to what a human would see when looking at the color wheel might be one way.
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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by neufer » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:48 pm

ta152h0 wrote:
Perhaps installing a color wheel on the rover and approximate the camera settings to what a human would see when looking at the color wheel might be one way.
  • Is that Martian salmon brick-red, ochre or salmon-colored?
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-08/how-mars-rover-curiositys-sundial-will-help-rover-see-mars-living-color wrote: How A Sundial Lets Curiosity See Mars in Living Color
Mars Rover Curiosity
Is that rock brick-red, ochre or salmon-colored?
By Rebecca Boyle Posted 08.08.2012 at 4:15 pm 1 Comment

PASADENA, Calif. -- <<We've seen a brief sample of the full-color environment at Gale Crater on Mars, but before the Mars rover Curiosity can beam back full-size versions, its cameras need a checkup. Scientists want to be sure they're seeing Mars as it really looks, in real ochre -- so the cameras have to be calibrated. To do it, Curiosity will call upon one of the most ancient tools of astronomy: A sundial.

Mars images are stunning to see, but they offer real science value, too, because Curiosity's science team will use them as their eyes on Mars. Curiosity's view of the rim of Gale Crater and Mt. Sharp at its center will help the team determine where the rover should drive first, and after that, which rocks will be most interesting to zap with its ChemCam laser or drill with its robotic arm. Determining a rock's interestingness is largely accomplished by just looking at it, so the view must be accurate, explains Tyler Nordgren, associate professor of physics at the University of Redlands in California.

"[Images] allow you to figure out what the landscape is made of, and what the rock is made of. Part of how you figure out what rocks are made of is by figuring out what color they are," he says. "It allows you to figure out the history of Mars."

Curiosity will continue to calibrate its high-resolution, 3-D color cameras later today (or to-sol?) on Mars, NASA managers said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

Mars' atmosphere is very different from Earth's -- it's much thinner and it's full of carbon dioxide, and it lacks the type of tiny aerosols that contribute to the Rayleigh scattering effect on Earth that turns our sky blue. The sun is also far fainter at an extra 50 million miles away. Dust kicked up by Mars' howling winds fills the skies, much more so on windy days, and as a result Mars' atmosphere looks slightly pink. This can cast a rosy hue on anything in Curiosity's surroundings.

Every camera needs a color cue to be sure the images represent reality. If trees on Earth look blue in your image, you can easily tell the color balance is off. But Curiosity doesn't have any natural color cues on Mars. Everything is pretty much red -- "it's all variations on a theme," Nordgren says. "You need to determine, when you look at a rock wall or cliff face and it looks red, how much of that is due to the rock, and how much of that is due to the lighting."

To do this, Curiosity is carrying a 4-inch square plaque mounted near its backside, which will be the first subject for the MastCam cameras. It has four slices of color, representing known shades of blue, red, green and yellow. A little post and ball at the middle act as a sundial that casts a shadow. This way, the rover can tell the right color in full light and in shadow.

Curiosity's cameras will shoot the sundial with its set of filters. Then it will take science images, ones the team will use to determine likely targets for exploration. Afterward, the cameras might shoot the dial again just to be sure. "That tells you, under the current lighting conditions that are going on, here’s how we tweak the different images as we put them together, to get the color balance just right," Nordgren says.

Scientists can then make false-color images, heightening contrast or hue to highlight certain topographical or morphological features of the rocks. They could even take out the sky's reddish glow, Nordgren says. "Imagine you could transport that section of Mars here to Earth, and have a nice yellow-white light shining on it, as if you were in the lab. Then you could see, 'Ah, this rock is still red, but it’s not quite salmon-colored, it’s more of a brick color.'"
Curiosity's plaque is the same, except that Nordgren and mission scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory added updated plaques. Curiosity's sundial is actually a leftover from the MER missions. "That’s really all you need to be scientific," Nordgren says. "But we thought, why not use this very dry boring technical piece of equipment, and turn it into something beautiful and evocative?"

On the target's face, the name MARS appears in 16 different languages. In the center, the sundial itself represents the sun, and concentric circles surrounding it represent the orbits of Earth and Mars, which are themselves represented by a pale blue dot and a red dot. Each home-plate color slice has a phrase describing what the mission means for human exploration. It reads:

For millennia, Mars has stimulated our imaginations. First we saw Mars as a wandering red star, a bringer of war from the abode of the gods. In recent centuries, the planet's changing appearance in telescopes caused us to think that Mars had a climate like the Earth's. Our first space age views revealed only a cratered, Moon-like world, but later missions showed that Mars once had abundant liquid water.
Through it all, we have wondered: Has there been life on Mars? To those taking the next steps to find out, we wish a safe journey and the joy of discovery
."
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by quigley » Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:01 am

Why would Mt. Sharp not erode away like the rest of the crater's contents?

Bruce Bowker

Re: APOD: Curiosity on Mars: A Wall of Gale Crater (2012 Aug

Post by Bruce Bowker » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:15 pm

KeithMc wrote:
E. Polin wrote:What is this kind of path in the middle?
The bed of an former river?
It sure looks like a dirt road to me.
Yes who will be the first to "prove" it is all fake because one can clearly see a " dirt road".