Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Science, Science, Science!

The first MAHLI image came down!  This is our microscopic imager that can also focus at a distance.  This image was taken through the dust cover of MAHLI, and we kicked up a lot of dust on landing.  Thus, the image is not as sharp as we will see later in the mission.  However, it is really beautiful and reminds me of the Smokey Mountains!  Although the color is different - and this is true color, taken with an RGB imaging chip!  Welcome to Mars, the Red Planet - or maybe orangey-yellow planet.  Just wait until we get that dust cover off or the first pictures with the color MastCams!

Ken Edgett describing the first MAHLI image from Curiosity.  You can see a distinctive peak on the crater rim!  This image reminds me of the Smokey Mountains!  Although the color is a bit different - Welcome to Mars, the Red Planet!  From AP Photo.

The science efforts are really heating up.  We've been working on mapping the geology and geomorphology of Curiosity's landing area using data from orbiters.  These data are amazing!  And when you have a hundred people looking at the same areas, lots of observations get made.  I've worked with several others to compile maps made by ~20 volunteers.  We are now at the stage of identifying better units for one of the particularly interesting rock types.  We'll have a detailed discussion about how we want to map that unit starting at 1 am!  It's absolutely fantastic!

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