Do you have adblock enabled?
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(National Post)   Best picture so far from Curiosity. Bring your tinfoil hats   (news.nationalpost.com) divider line 58
    More: Cool, heat shield, Martian surface, electrohydrodynamic thruster, impact craters, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mojave Desert, hats, John Grotzinger  
•       •       •

11641 clicks; posted to Geek » on 09 Aug 2012 at 9:38 AM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



58 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all
 
2012-08-09 06:06:08 AM  
Here is what I wonder about. We're presumably looking for life on Mars. We also presume that life as we know it depends upon water. How come (adjusting tinfoil) the rover is picking about in some dry crater looking for ancient signs of life instead of looking around the polar ice-caps that we know contain water?

One might think that there is no real urgency at NASA to settle the question.
 
2012-08-09 08:53:26 AM  

Sgygus: Here is what I wonder about. We're presumably looking for life on Mars. We also presume that life as we know it depends upon water. How come (adjusting tinfoil) the rover is picking about in some dry crater looking for ancient signs of life instead of looking around the polar ice-caps that we know contain water?

One might think that there is no real urgency at NASA to settle the question.


It's the whole sweet zone of sunlight and temperature thing. They are looking for past water-based life, and in the past, we know much of the planet was wet.
 
2012-08-09 09:29:34 AM  
It's 2012 and they couldn't afford to put a color camera on this thing?
 
2012-08-09 09:42:51 AM  
One would think that an article about how Mars looks like the Mojave desert would include a picture of the Mojave desert to allow the reader to make said comparison for himself.
 
2012-08-09 09:44:11 AM  

SuperChuck: One would think that an article about how Mars looks like the Mojave desert would include a picture of the Mojave desert to allow the reader to make said comparison for himself.


It has one, I would hope they would include a picture of Mars though

/Adjusts tinfoil
 
2012-08-09 09:46:40 AM  
If you squint, you can see O.J. Simpson and James Brolin running in the background.
 
2012-08-09 09:48:48 AM  
Seriously it looks like the Boise foothills!
 
2012-08-09 09:49:56 AM  
NASAs technology has improved immeasurably since 1969. They no longer have to film on a soundstage, they can do location filming in Mohave.

/don't tase me, buzz
 
2012-08-09 09:52:28 AM  
I, for one, keep wondering why the Mojave desert looks suspiciously like the surface of Mars. It seems like too much of a coincidence. Is it part of a Martian terraforming project? Is the Mojave even a real place? I'm just asking questions.
 
2012-08-09 09:55:05 AM  
Would it be amusing if we figured out our ancestors trashed mars with global climate change and fled to Earth, now we are here doing the same?
 
2012-08-09 09:58:01 AM  

Rev. Skarekroe: It's 2012 and they couldn't afford to put a color camera on this thing?


It has one, however... a grayscale image has one color in it. (It's not black and white but shades of grey) A color image has three lines of data (RGB) so it takes a lot longer to beam high res color photos back. They have sent a color low res.

To photo geeks, what is the color temp on mars? I know the sun is bright but would it have the same color temp over 36 million more miles away? Since we operate on the world being around 18% grey, what is it on Mars? I just was wondering because this are photos I would want to be right in camera...
 
2012-08-09 10:01:49 AM  
"The rocks and sand on Mars look a lot like the rocks and sand on Earth."

By George, Homes, you've got it. Clearly, the entire space program is a scheme to funnel money to George Soros and the Illuminati, while shooting footage in the desert every few decades to fake progress.
 
2012-08-09 10:02:12 AM  

Sgygus: Here is what I wonder about. We're presumably looking for life on Mars. We also presume that life as we know it depends upon water. How come (adjusting tinfoil) the rover is picking about in some dry crater looking for ancient signs of life instead of looking around the polar ice-caps that we know contain water?


They're looking for life-precursors. Orbital scans (God I love saying that) demonstrated that this area could have potentially been a lake or ocean in the past. The other significant thing about this area is that the rover will be able to scale the walls of the crater and examine millions of years of geological history without too much effort.
 
2012-08-09 10:08:15 AM  

Fubini: Orbital scans


beats orbital probing
 
2012-08-09 10:11:56 AM  

TyrantII: Would it be amusing if we figured out our ancestors trashed mars with global climate change and fled to Earth, now we are here doing the same?


upload.wikimedia.org

That's as close as I can get.
 
2012-08-09 10:18:49 AM  

Quantum Apostrophe: TyrantII: Would it be amusing if we figured out our ancestors trashed mars with global climate change and fled to Earth, now we are here doing the same?

[upload.wikimedia.org image 325x551]

That's as close as I can get.


Thanks! I was talking about this book with my Dad the other day - couldn't remember the name, but the cover was very memorable. If I remember correctly, the remains in the spacesuit were from a Neanderthal.
 
2012-08-09 10:20:02 AM  

Sgygus: Here is what I wonder about. We're presumably looking for life on Mars. We also presume that life as we know it depends upon water. How come (adjusting tinfoil) the rover is picking about in some dry crater looking for ancient signs of life instead of looking around the polar ice-caps that we know contain water?


Good question. First off, as far as we know, life needs liquid water. Antarctica is a giant ice cap and there are plenty of dormant microbes there, but from a metabolic point of view it's one of the most sterile places on Earth. The moral of the story is that ambient temperature is just as important a factor for active life as the mere existence of H2O. The surface of Mars is dry, but another rover (Spirit, I think) found water ice under the surface of Martian soil, so just because you're not on the ice cap and the soil is bone-dry doesn't mean there's no water to be had. Finally, Mars' atmosphere provides no protection against UV radiation. You could have Snooki rub her grilled-cheese crotch on a Martian rock and in short order it'd be as sterile as an operating table. Whether it's ice or soil, we know life can't exist on the surface. If there's life on Mars, it's going to be underneath the surface, eking out an existence sheltered from the UV. But if the dry soil is warmer and provides a better SPF than the ice cap and water is present (if barely), odds are better they'll find life in the crater than on the ice (which is UV-sterilized) or in it (no liquid water).

The other half of the equation is the rover itself. I think your idea has merit; if I had to pick a spot I'd want to check out the area where the ice caps advance and recede through the seasons. But that's a nightmarish environment for a rover. NASA expects two years' worth of science out of Curiosity but they're probably hoping for about ten. That's a lot of Martian winters. We should probably check out the ice caps at some point, but not with this rover. For that mission it's more appropriate to use a smaller rover or even a probe that won't need to last the winter. That's been done (the Huygens probe sent to Titan lasted a whopping 90 minutes), but if there's no evidence life existed on Mars at all, which is something Curiosity was sent to find out, then there's no justification for a sacrificial probe to the ice cap. NASA's already under daily attack from anti-intellectuals without sending a probe that may not find anything.

NASA may seem like it's dragging its feet, but they're being cautious for two reasons. First, there is still an awful lot to learn about Mars, and two, the political environment is such that they can't afford to waste a mission. It may be a case of just how senseless politics makes things, but you're probably not going to get your ice cap mission until after they have a pretty good idea of what they'll find. I've love to send a probe there just because but that's not gonna get past the Teabagger faction.
 
2012-08-09 10:29:20 AM  

Sgygus: Here is what I wonder about. We're presumably looking for life on Mars. We also presume that life as we know it depends upon water. How come (adjusting tinfoil) the rover is picking about in some dry crater looking for ancient signs of life instead of looking around the polar ice-caps that we know contain water?

One might think that there is no real urgency at NASA to settle the question.


I would think that landing the rover in an area where we have the greatest chance of it surviving landing should take precidence. Say like a large flat bottomed crater that should not have misc boulders sitting around. A goodish boulder would probably crash/tipover the lander on impact.
 
2012-08-09 10:30:23 AM  
What? No three boobed women? What are we doing there?
 
2012-08-09 10:31:07 AM  

soaboutthat: To photo geeks, what is the color temp on mars? I know the sun is bright but would it have the same color temp over 36 million more miles away? Since we operate on the world being around 18% grey, what is it on Mars? I just was wondering because this are photos I would want to be right in camera...


Not a photo geek, but I have been studying color models as of late for work-related reasons. The extra distance will not chance the spectral distribution of sunlight (which is the basis for color temperature,) and should not chance the apparent color of the sun, at least above the atmosphere. IIRC, the sun is approximately 48% dimmer on Mars than on Earth, and that is easily still in the range where cone-cell-based color perception models can be used, (i.e., you don't need to factor in the response factor of rod cells.)

However, the big difference between the surfaces of earth and Mars would be that on the Earth's surface your diffuse lighting is much more blue, whereas on Mars the diffuse lighting would be redder. I would assume that this would lead to a slightly "warmer" color on mars, and that your images would be much less saturated.

I could also be completely wrong, so if someone wants to correct me, go ahead.
 
2012-08-09 10:35:14 AM  

soaboutthat: To photo geeks, what is the color temp on mars? I know the sun is bright but would it have the same color temp over 36 million more miles away? Since we operate on the world being around 18% grey, what is it on Mars?


I'm no photo geek but the Sun's color doesn't change whether you're right next to it or halfway across the galaxy. The atmospheric conditions, though, are very different. On Earth, the color of sunlight changes from white (the Sun's actual color to a human eye -- the air is effectively transparent) at high noon to yellow (early morning, late afternoon) to red at dawn/dusk. That's caused by Rayleigh scattering. On Mars, dust and other factors make the sky a "butterscotch" color at high noon, orange or pink in morning/afternoon (depends on the dust IIRC) and blue at dusk/dawn.

Our eyes evolved to observe light wavelengths where the Earth's atmosphere is most transparent. At those same wavelengths, there's no such thing as a "true" color photo on Mars because you can't get white light from the Sun at any time of day. Photos of the polar caps seem from space appear white, but that could be a result of processing. NASA cameras don't try to make a true "human vision" experience so much as serve scientific purposes; any publicly released "sexy" shots typically work backwards from there. It's kind of like cooking a meal using an industrial temperature chamber -- you could do it, but it's not ideal and that has nothing to do with the quality of the equipment.
 
2012-08-09 10:39:55 AM  

dragonchild: NASA may seem like it's dragging its feet, but they're being cautious for two reasons. First, there is still an awful lot to learn about Mars, and two, the political environment is such that they can't afford to waste a mission. It may be a case of just how senseless politics makes things, but you're probably not going to get your ice cap mission until after they have a pretty good idea of what they'll find. I've love to send a probe there just because but that's not gonna get past the Teabagger faction.


I was at a Taco Bell telling my wife about how innately awesome the phrase "jet powered skycrane" is and another guy waiting for his food interrupted and asked whether "it was really worth it". I explained to him the engineering goals and the scientific aim of the mission, and told him that this is the kind of world-class science that makes America great. He was pretty obviously of the opinion that ANY expenditure by NASA is too much expenditure. A long discussion later and I said that the total cost of the mission was $7.50 per American, and that you can't beat that kind of utility and prestige for that price. His reply was that he wanted his $7.50 back.

This guy said he worked for Boeing, of all places. How on earth do you work for Boeing and think space exploration is a waste of money?
 
2012-08-09 10:42:15 AM  

Sgygus: How come (adjusting tinfoil) the rover is picking about in some dry crater looking for ancient signs of life instead of looking around the polar ice-caps that we know contain water?


Others have answered as well, but I'll also point out that NASA has tried exactly that. The Phoenix mission landed near the north ice caps (69 degrees latitude) a few years ago, to look for sub-surface water among other things. Before that, NASA tried the Mars Polar Lander which was headed to the south pole in '99, but it was a well-publicized failure.

There's plenty for the various rovers to look at on the rest of the planet, too.
 
2012-08-09 10:48:51 AM  
That one looks just like the Mohave desert.

However, this one below tells us more about the whole success of the mission after all.........


kirbymuseum.org


/Hot..like "Nova" in the movie
 
2012-08-09 11:04:40 AM  
We need a space or mars tag for FARK. Especially with the curiosity rover now going to be sending pictures and data back weekly.
 
2012-08-09 11:06:52 AM  

Martian_Astronomer: I, for one, keep wondering why the Mojave desert looks suspiciously like the surface of Mars. It seems like too much of a coincidence. Is it part of a Martian terraforming project? Is the Mojave even a real place? I'm just asking questions.


I would be interested in a newsletter and any broadcasts of your talk show.
 
2012-08-09 11:11:01 AM  

Sgygus: Here is what I wonder about. We're presumably looking for life on Mars. We also presume that life as we know it depends upon water. How come (adjusting tinfoil) the rover is picking about in some dry crater looking for ancient signs of life instead of looking around the polar ice-caps that we know contain water?


because you're an idiot, that's why.
 
2012-08-09 11:21:46 AM  

Sgygus: Here is what I wonder about. We're presumably looking for life on Mars. We also presume that life as we know it depends upon water. How come (adjusting tinfoil) the rover is picking about in some dry crater looking for ancient signs of life instead of looking around the polar ice-caps that we know contain water?

One might think that there is no real urgency at NASA to settle the question.


the polar ice caps on Mars is not just water, but about 95% or more Carbon-Dioxide ice.
 
2012-08-09 11:32:11 AM  
*ohjeeznotthishiatagain* pic
 
2012-08-09 11:34:54 AM  

Smoking GNU: Sgygus: Here is what I wonder about. We're presumably looking for life on Mars. We also presume that life as we know it depends upon water. How come (adjusting tinfoil) the rover is picking about in some dry crater looking for ancient signs of life instead of looking around the polar ice-caps that we know contain water?

One might think that there is no real urgency at NASA to settle the question.

the polar ice caps on Mars is not just water, but about 95% or more Carbon-Dioxide ice.


I'm curious as to the possibility of liquid water *UNDER* the icecaps.

We have something like that here on Earth, and I'd be curious if the ice would provide enough pressure to heat up and melt any water ice trapped underneath enough that, in combination with mineral content, it's enough to have liquid-ish water there.

/Probably not enough.
//We should send a decent radar mission to Mars anyway.
 
2012-08-09 11:35:49 AM  
The Rover is looking out at the desert and saying "Vegas..Vegas baybeeee"
 
2012-08-09 12:04:41 PM  
"One of the mission's goals is to figure out how Mars transformed."

I didn't think there was much doubt about that. Once, Mars must have had a magnetosphere similar to Earth's. Assuming it had oceans and a denser atmosphere. Then it lost it, or most of it, probably because the core of the planet cooled. Bye bye atmosphere and oceans when that happens. I guess I'm curious as to why Mars still has a thin atmosphere. Maybe it still has a weak magnetosphere; maybe the solar winds aren't as powerful that far out; maybe both.

Cool picture in any event. Really looking forward to what this thing accomplishes.
 
2012-08-09 12:17:00 PM  

dittybopper: If you squint, you can see O.J. Simpson and James Brolin running in the background.


I see what you did there. I can't remember the title of the movie, but I do remember it.
 
2012-08-09 12:17:08 PM  

Sgygus: Here is what I wonder about. We're presumably looking for life on Mars. We also presume that life as we know it depends upon water. How come (adjusting tinfoil) the rover is picking about in some dry crater looking for ancient signs of life instead of looking around the polar ice-caps that we know contain water?

One might think that there is no real urgency at NASA to settle the question.


In addition to dragonchild and Fubini's responses, other questions you might ask, is:

If the first Curiosity cost $7.50 per person, how much would the second Curiosity cost, and the third cost, and the fourth?

Also, a quick google of "how much did spirit and opportunity cost per person" indicates Spirit and Opportunity cost about $0.03 per person,

So how come we don't have two dozen Spirits and Opportunities crawling around the planet?
 
2012-08-09 12:18:42 PM  
Link

4 Meg image of pretty much the same view.
 
2012-08-09 12:19:39 PM  
Link

Trying again.
 
2012-08-09 12:21:36 PM  

Fubini: I was at a Taco Bell telling my wife about how innately awesome the phrase "jet powered skycrane" is and another guy waiting for his food interrupted and asked whether "it was really worth it".


I don't buy the "was it worth it" argument not because of the prestige or RoI, but because it actually has an RoI. Over 95% of the money spent on sports (to pick on only one superfluous expenditure) has absolutely no value beyond a year. Quick -- who finished third place in the AL Central in 2003? Don't remember? Was it worth it, then? Ballpark tickets cost a lot more than Curiosity did. Hell, I think the watery beers are $7.50.
 
2012-08-09 12:29:38 PM  

Kibbler: "One of the mission's goals is to figure out how Mars transformed."

I didn't think there was much doubt about that.


What you know is only just what science surmised from cumulative observations. These things have been known to completely change with new findings. That's what exciting and great about science, though the anti-intellectual movement sees it as a failure.

RoyBatty: how come we don't have two dozen Spirits and Opportunities crawling around the planet?


Diminishing returns. It makes sense to send two identical rovers, but I'm not sure what more science could be gained by sending a tenth. Curiosity isn't just some dumb rover that supersized all the equipment on Spirit just so NASA could be badasses. The only people jizzing over its one-ton weight are media. If it's like every other engineering experience I've had but taking into the account the launch costs, pretty much every gram of mass sent was fiercely contested by competing scientists and engineers. The instruments Curiosity carries are by necessity far heavier than the ones put on Spirit or Opportunity; they do things those rovers can't.
 
2012-08-09 12:42:34 PM  

dragonchild: Diminishing returns. It makes sense to send two identical rovers, but I'm not sure what more science could be gained by sending a tenth.


Well, you sound like you have a lot more knowledge than I do, which is just speculation, but at 3 cents a person for two of them, I would be tempted to "create a platform" out of them (like we do with satellites), reduce the cost to 2 cents or 1 cent or even less by planning a series of them, automate the data capture and interpretation like SETI and then like radiosondes send them to the poles or likely future landing spots.

Same thing with Curiosity.

But then, I am admittedly pretty easy with other people's money in the name of science and space.
 
2012-08-09 01:03:19 PM  

RoyBatty: Well, you sound like you have a lot more knowledge than I do, which is just speculation, but at 3 cents a person for two of them, I would be tempted to "create a platform" out of them


I'm not an insider, though. I'm just a space enthusiast with engineering experience who practically stalks academics like Phil Plait and Niel deGrasse Tyson.

There's merit to making a "platform" as NASA has some of the worst-scaling operations in history, but at that point we're talking more surveying than discovery so the objective changes to one outside NASA's mission. NASA is about blazing trails, as only a government entity can afford the inefficiency of uber-frontier research. If anyone's going to deploy a dozen probes to a single planet, it ought to be done by private sector. There's a lot of innovation that goes on in private sector, but it's low-risk, self-interested and incremental. Where they kick NASA's ass is economies of scale.

It's not like your idea isn't implemented in any form. Because NASA's exploration probes are always built to do things that have literally never been even tried in history, they're 100% custom spec and that's why they cost so much. Custom design, especially with exacting specs, is what turns a ten-cent lump of metal into a $100,000 part. But rocket launches are far more routine, which is why the rockets NASA uses are (IIRC) operated by for-profit companies that can do these sorts of things more efficiently.
 
2012-08-09 01:21:59 PM  
It's 2012 and they couldn't afford to put a color camera on this thing?

Good lord, people like you are allowed to vote.
www.nasa.gov

p.twimg.com

www.nasa.gov
 
2012-08-09 01:31:57 PM  
TyrantII: Would it be amusing if we figured out our ancestors trashed mars with global climate change and fled to Earth, now we are here doing the same?

red colony
 
2012-08-09 01:33:39 PM  

thecpt: Fubini: Orbital scans

beats orbital probing


They did help find rings around Uranus.
 
2012-08-09 01:35:10 PM  

mikieb: dittybopper: If you squint, you can see O.J. Simpson and James Brolin running in the background.

I see what you did there. I can't remember the title of the movie, but I do remember it.


media.screened.com
 
2012-08-09 03:06:20 PM  

Jackpot777: mikieb: dittybopper: If you squint, you can see O.J. Simpson and James Brolin running in the background.

I see what you did there. I can't remember the title of the movie, but I do remember it.

[media.screened.com image 420x538]


Such a good film. I really like it when Savalas turns up to fly Gould like a crazy motherfarker. And OJ's pretty good in this too, you know, for a murderator.
 
2012-08-09 03:25:42 PM  

Pro Zack: Quantum Apostrophe: TyrantII: Would it be amusing if we figured out our ancestors trashed mars with global climate change and fled to Earth, now we are here doing the same?

[upload.wikimedia.org image 325x551]

That's as close as I can get.

Thanks! I was talking about this book with my Dad the other day - couldn't remember the name, but the cover was very memorable. If I remember correctly, the remains in the spacesuit were from a Neanderthal.


I don't remember anymore but I think they're not from Mars but some planet that became the asteroid belt. It's a fun read IIRC.
 
2012-08-09 03:45:27 PM  

Fubini: dragonchild: NASA may seem like it's dragging its feet, but they're being cautious for two reasons. First, there is still an awful lot to learn about Mars, and two, the political environment is such that they can't afford to waste a mission. It may be a case of just how senseless politics makes things, but you're probably not going to get your ice cap mission until after they have a pretty good idea of what they'll find. I've love to send a probe there just because but that's not gonna get past the Teabagger faction.

I was at a Taco Bell telling my wife about how innately awesome the phrase "jet powered skycrane" is and another guy waiting for his food interrupted and asked whether "it was really worth it". I explained to him the engineering goals and the scientific aim of the mission, and told him that this is the kind of world-class science that makes America great. He was pretty obviously of the opinion that ANY expenditure by NASA is too much expenditure. A long discussion later and I said that the total cost of the mission was $7.50 per American, and that you can't beat that kind of utility and prestige for that price. His reply was that he wanted his $7.50 back.

This guy said he worked for Boeing, of all places. How on earth do you work for Boeing and think space exploration is a waste of money?


I work in a construction company with a bunch of people who studied engineering, even if they aren't practicing engineers.... I feel like I'm the only person who is excited about Curiosity. It blows my mind that they have no appreciation.

Not sure what I'm adding to this... it just makes me sad to realize how short sighted people are, even those with SOME level of higher education.
 
2012-08-09 03:46:00 PM  

skodabunny: Jackpot777: mikieb: dittybopper: If you squint, you can see O.J. Simpson and James Brolin running in the background.

I see what you did there. I can't remember the title of the movie, but I do remember it.

[media.screened.com image 420x538]

Such a good film. I really like it when Savalas turns up to fly Gould like a crazy motherfarker. And OJ's pretty good in this too, you know, for a murderator.


He wasn't a murderator at the time. At least, that we know about. Just a washed-up football player.
 
2012-08-09 03:48:49 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: TyrantII: Would it be amusing if we figured out our ancestors trashed mars with global climate change and fled to Earth, now we are here doing the same?

[upload.wikimedia.org image 325x551]

That's as close as I can get.


That series is a GREAT read.
 
2012-08-09 04:17:57 PM  

SmellsLikePoo: I work in a construction company with a bunch of people who studied engineering, even if they aren't practicing engineers.... I feel like I'm the only person who is excited about Curiosity. It blows my mind that they have no appreciation. Not sure what I'm adding to this... it just makes me sad to realize how short sighted people are, even those with SOME level of higher education.


It's always nice to meet an engineer with curiosity, but my naivete about engineers was destroyed a long time ago. Most (not all, but most) engineers became engineers because they were told it's good money or a secure job. They're just as bad as lawyers and doctors in that regard, all ambition and greed, no curiosity or appreciation. In my years in industry, most of them talked more like businessmen than academics. The ones that lack curiosity are also shiatty but don't realize it, because "big fish in a small pond" ego runs rampant among engineers. Engineers are like diamonds; there are a few good ones and a LOT of crappy overpriced ones but idiots think they're all special. There's a huge difference between a guy who took a few technology courses at a local college and an MIT grad, but everyone who has studied engineering at all thinks they're elite.

So, this doesn't surprise me at all, especially in a field as ironed-out as construction. The odds of finding someone with genuine curiosity is higher in advanced research fields, but still not a given. Heck, I'd bet a good number of people who worked on the Curiosity project itself only did it because it was a well-paying job. By beer o'clock, without a hint of irony, they'd be talking about how much the government wastes their tax dollars.
 
Displayed 50 of 58 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
Advertisement
On Twitter






In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report