Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mars "Beach" Photos

Lest I get too Earth-centric in this blog, I want to mention the progress of MSL (Curiosity to her friends) on Mars. While the JPL team is still taking things slow to make sure everything is carefully checked out, there has been some cool progress, including at least one laser shot and a very short drive away from the landing site. The pictures are amazing, and I think one of the pluses here is that Curiosity's mast cameras are roughly at human eye level, so the perspective is like you would see if you were standing on Mars.

While the color photos are great, I'm really digging the sharp B&W shots we've been seeing recently. Our own robotic Ansel Adams on Mars. They somehow remind me of beach photos from when I was a kid and my parents took me to Cape Cod. I know, I know. No mountains in Cape Cod. No ocean on Mars. But the look of the B&W just does that for me. Takes me back to 5 years old, playing in the sand with my geological drill and laser spectrometer.

There are great official images here. My favorite spot for MSL news is Emily Lakdawalla's blog at the Planetary Society. She really digs up the latest Mars dirt (so to speak). Today she showed a wonderful full color panorama including the mountain. MSL's first tire tracks at the Ray Bradbury Memorial Landing Site on Mars are seen in this August 22 panorama:

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