Curiosity on Mars

The Alan Parsons Project is a huge success. Now we have a Mars rover with freakin' laser beams...

High Res version. So much more awesome:

TempestBlayze wrote:

So much more awesome

Indeed!

Someone should add the audio from the landing and sync it up with the touchdown.

The landing site has been named for Ray Bradbury.

IMAGE(http://d3j5vwomefv46c.cloudfront.net/photos/large/642526494.png?key=16001600&Expires=1345665040&Key-Pair-Id=APKAIYVGSUJFNRFZBBTA&Signature=sU3GlGF0td-FZs8m58zJy98zVi2pO06p~LMx8eXscf2L6WyLjOIiUYwKmJ8rZ756NASBZdxUrkd4MreSDbzVTpTVWd4sxJwPfRYFxAKjZs5ovLPPn0~ZBfslSTJNmzduJAONX62daexNRxB9JsaKIUrznPyVNnQPp9yMdJxXgVk_)

IMAGE(http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/679400main_pia16092-43_800-600.jpg)

(link, link)

Curiosity took pictures of Phobos moving across the sun.

(twitter)
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That 360 degree panorama is awesome. It just makes me want to go watch John Carter.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:

That 360 degree panorama is awesome. It just makes me want to go watch John Carter.

Nobody wants to watch John Carter.

mateo wrote:
tuffalobuffalo wrote:

That 360 degree panorama is awesome. It just makes me want to go watch John Carter.

Nobody wants to watch John Carter. :P

LIES!

tuffalobuffalo, I will watch John Carter with you. We can have a watching party in IRC.

Very exciting, indeed.

Here is the picture from the @MarsCuriousity twitter feed, which has labels that are missing from the picture on the Washington Post article.
IMAGE(http://pbs.twimg.com/media/A30YMFaCAAAnaPt.jpg:large)

Do you really need water to have pebbles? Can't you create pebbles with anything that would "jiggle" small rocks against each other? Isn't that a normal manufacturing process today to take out sharp edges from finished casts? Even sand rivers would do it, no? Maybe even faster than water.

MeatMan wrote:

Very exciting, indeed.

Here is the picture from the @MarsCuriousity twitter feed, which has labels that are missing from the picture on the Washington Post article.
IMAGE(http://pbs.twimg.com/media/A30YMFaCAAAnaPt.jpg:large)

I want to know why a centimeter is longer on Mars!

farley3k wrote:
MeatMan wrote:

Very exciting, indeed.

Here is the picture from the @MarsCuriousity twitter feed, which has labels that are missing from the picture on the Washington Post article.
IMAGE(http://pbs.twimg.com/media/A30YMFaCAAAnaPt.jpg:large)

I want to know why a centimeter is longer on Mars!

There is less gravity. Obviously.

farley3k wrote:
MeatMan wrote:

Very exciting, indeed.

Here is the picture from the @MarsCuriousity twitter feed, which has labels that are missing from the picture on the Washington Post article.

I want to know why a centimeter is longer on Mars!

That's the metric system for you.

farley3k wrote:
MeatMan wrote:

Very exciting, indeed.

Here is the picture from the @MarsCuriousity twitter feed, which has labels that are missing from the picture on the Washington Post article.
IMAGE(http://pbs.twimg.com/media/A30YMFaCAAAnaPt.jpg:large)

I want to know why a centimeter is longer on Mars!

Martian women expect more than earth women.

IMAGE(http://smackamack.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/wiploc.jpg)

MoonDragon wrote:

Do you really need water to have pebbles? Can't you create pebbles with anything that would "jiggle" small rocks against each other? Isn't that a normal manufacturing process today to take out sharp edges from finished casts? Even sand rivers would do it, no? Maybe even faster than water.

I could be getting this totally wrong, but I believe moving water is both, the most common, and efficient way, for nature to create rounded pebbles.

farley3k wrote:
MeatMan wrote:

Very exciting, indeed.

Here is the picture from the @MarsCuriousity twitter feed, which has labels that are missing from the picture on the Washington Post article.
IMAGE(http://pbs.twimg.com/media/A30YMFaCAAAnaPt.jpg:large)

I want to know why a centimeter is longer on Mars!

Mars moves slower in its orbit around the sun, therefore units of distance are longer to account for the time dilation. Distance = velocity * time. The time to take the photograph is the same (or close enough for human measurement), but velocity goes down, so distance goes up.

Sounds legit.

Mixolyde wrote:

Mars moves slower in its orbit around the sun, therefore units of distance are longer to account for the time dilation. Distance = velocity * time. The time to take the photograph is the same (or close enough for human measurement), but velocity goes down, so distance goes up.

Sounds legit.

Reducing a factor leads to a larger product in Martian Math.

VicD714 wrote:
MoonDragon wrote:

Do you really need water to have pebbles? Can't you create pebbles with anything that would "jiggle" small rocks against each other? Isn't that a normal manufacturing process today to take out sharp edges from finished casts? Even sand rivers would do it, no? Maybe even faster than water.

I could be getting this totally wrong, but I believe moving water is both, the most common, and efficient way, for nature to create rounded pebbles.

True, assuming water is the most common substance around. But using existence of pebbles to therefore conclude the existence of such water is... well a fallacy.

MoonDragon wrote:

True, assuming water is the most common substance around. But using existence of pebbles to therefore conclude the existence of such water is... well a fallacy.

Use your own experience, MoonDragon. How many pebbles have you seen, rounded that way, in dry areas? In the desert? The Earth has a much thicker atmosphere, so if wind erosion would do that kind of thing, we should see those pebbles everywhere. But we don't. We only find them around water, most frequently in river beds.

These are some of the best geologists in the world, MD. They've thought about this.

farley3k wrote:
MeatMan wrote:

Very exciting, indeed.

Here is the picture from the @MarsCuriousity twitter feed, which has labels that are missing from the picture on the Washington Post article.
IMAGE(http://pbs.twimg.com/media/A30YMFaCAAAnaPt.jpg:large)

I want to know why a centimeter is longer on Mars!

It's Martian Law.

MoonDragon wrote:

Do you really need water to have pebbles? Can't you create pebbles with anything that would "jiggle" small rocks against each other? Isn't that a normal manufacturing process today to take out sharp edges from finished casts? Even sand rivers would do it, no? Maybe even faster than water.

The vast majority of our pebbles are formed by running water, which tumbles and smooths rocks into pebbles, so why should be process be radically different on Mars?

Doing the same on Mars without water would mean that the rocks had to tumble quite a distance and from quite a height, something that the geology of the area doesn't bear out, and even that would be less effective because Mars' gravity is some 60% lower than Earth's.

Forming pebbles by wind erosion faces the same challenge. Mars' atmosphere is 1% as dense as ours. While we know it's strong enough to move sand dunes over time, we don't know if it's strong enough to erode rock.

Besides we've seen geological formations that pointed to Mars once having had liquid water ever since we sent Mariner 9 back in the early 70s and that evidence has gotten stronger and stronger with every mission. We even know now that there's water under the soil trapped as ice, which is exactly what should have happened as Mars' atmosphere got progressively thinner because it lacked a magnetic field. As the atmosphere thinned, the liquid water on the surface boiled away and only left sub-surface deposits which turned to ice.

I wonder if it was water the way we think of water here, or another water-like liquid, or some other liquid altogether...

I'm excited to hear what Curiosity finds out about that. And for more high res photos. Those are so cool.

OG_slinger wrote:
MoonDragon wrote:

Do you really need water to have pebbles? Can't you create pebbles with anything that would "jiggle" small rocks against each other? Isn't that a normal manufacturing process today to take out sharp edges from finished casts? Even sand rivers would do it, no? Maybe even faster than water.

The vast majority of our pebbles are formed by running water, which tumbles and smooths rocks into pebbles, so why should be process be radically different on Mars?

Doing the same on Mars without water would mean that the rocks had to tumble quite a distance and from quite a height, something that the geology of the area doesn't bear out, and even that would be less effective because Mars' gravity is some 60% lower than Earth's.

Forming pebbles by wind erosion faces the same challenge. Mars' atmosphere is 1% as dense as ours. While we know it's strong enough to move sand dunes over time, we don't know if it's strong enough to erode rock.

Besides we've seen geological formations that pointed to Mars once having had liquid water ever since we sent Mariner 9 back in the early 70s and that evidence has gotten stronger and stronger with every mission. We even know now that there's water under the soil trapped as ice, which is exactly what should have happened as Mars' atmosphere got progressively thinner because it lacked a magnetic field. As the atmosphere thinned, the liquid water on the surface boiled away and only left sub-surface deposits which turned to ice.

Occam's Razor at work here. Any other explanation for why pebbles would roll around for ages would be far more weird than there having been bodies of rapidly moving water.

The pebbles are too large to have been lifted and tumbled in the air. Also, the sorting of materials in the aggregate is indicative of sorting and settling in a liquid, rather than what you'd find in a wind-driven dune or the like. A "sand river" environment would show a very different morphology; we'd see sand rivers today, but we don't. So we can infer that a liquid was involved. Given the environmental conditions on Mars, water is the one that fits the bill.

The 1cm scale, are you guys serious? That's a mystery? I must be missing a joke here.

Robear wrote:

The 1cm scale, are you guys serious? That's a mystery? I must be missing a joke here. :-)

It should be obvious that we're desperate for humor, Robear. I even attempted to turn it into a penis joke.

Puhlease. The rocks are round and smooth because they're Martian poop.

The 1cm scale, are you guys serious? That's a mystery? I must be missing a joke here.

Yeah, they're just being silly. I don't think it's a mystery to anyone.

It IS pretty funny, because at first glance, it does look like centimeters are bigger on Mars.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/4RuB4.jpg)