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First Pictures From Mars Phoenix Lander

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the now-get-digging dept.

Mars 211

Now that the solar panels have been deployed, the Mars Phoenix Lander has begun sending back pictures of the red planet to the hungry space geeks of earth. In just a few weeks the claw will deploy and they'll start digging a hole. The scientists expect to use the dirt to construct a little sand castle which they will defend with several GI Joe action figures, and a bald barbie stolen from their sisters. Oh, and maybe find water or bacteria.

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Wow (5, Funny)

tingeber (1129619) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543991)

I saw the pictures of a barren landscape and my jaw fell in total awe... I was never so excited about pictures of dirt.

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

steelfood (895457) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544049)

Nothing to see here... move along.

I guess it doesn't NEED to be said... (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545563)

Mars needs women.

Re:Wow (5, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544091)

I saw the pictures of a barren landscape and my jaw fell in total awe...

I was never so excited about pictures of dirt.
It isn't dirt.

Rocks yes, but not dirt.

And I can't just remember what the other stuff is called, but it ain't dirt.

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544415)

I think it's called regolith.

Re:Wow (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545123)

No. It's mud.

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545019)

And I can't just remember what the other stuff is called, but it ain't dirt.

Other than for scientific purposes ... is there fundamentally a difference between "dirt" and "fancy Martian stuff"?

Anyone? I mean really, "fine particulate matter eroded from the local soil" is dirt no matter what planet you're on, innit?

Cheers

Re:Wow (1)

Geirzinho (1068316) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545515)

And I can't just remember what the other stuff is called, but it ain't dirt.
Tundra I guess. That's what NASA uses colloquially at least.

Mars is ugly (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545593)

And its momma dresses it funny.

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544299)

at least it's a different plot of land this time, down the road from the plot where they faked the moon landing because it's busy with the faked mercury fly-by.

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

menace3society (768451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545353)

I've decided that the government faked the Moon and Mars landings to cover up what they're really doing in space. By now there's probably a working military base on the face of the Moon, just waiting for the day that somebody else tries to claim space as their turf.

Of course, they didn't reckon on finding the black monolith....

Re:Wow (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544601)

To be fair, there's ice as well. Ice adds value to my drinks, ergo....

Re:Wow (1)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545267)

No, ice removes value since you get less drink in your glass.

Re:Wow (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545305)

Not with a good bartender! Two jiggers of a smooth single malt on the rocks, and the ice is FREE! OK, no additional cost.

Re:Wow (1)

mdreier (30793) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545599)

Actually - finding dirt would bee cool - far over the wildest exceptions. However I suspect we will mostly find rocks and sand :-)

damn you slashdot (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544003)


I'm working on my seeminly hundredth coffee this morning after reading and watching Mars stuff until the wee hours. Now you do this to me.

Expect a bill from my employer.

Colour? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544005)

Why are the photos black & white?

Re:Colour? (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544063)

looking for the 1080p version? Some people are too hard to satisfy, I swear.

Re:Colour? (5, Informative)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544075)

It's more scientifically useful to put a really good black & white camera onboard, and then include some filters, than to put a color camera.

IIRC, pretty much all the color images from previous landers are composites of multiple images with different filters, making a human-eye approximation.

Re:Colour? (2, Insightful)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544547)

It might be more publically useful to maybe, perhaps, on one of these multi-million dollar missions to see fit to at least put one "real" camera on board one of these landers to placate the taxpaying plebians such as myself. If NASA needs it, I might have a spare Canon digital camera and some duct tape.

The Titan lander was a huge disappointment in this regard.

Re:Colour? (3, Interesting)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544889)

Many of the photos taken during the early Apollo missions were shot with hand held Hasselblad cameras [hasselblad.com] . On the first moon landing Armstrong took a fairly well known shot of Aldrin on the surface. As far as I know all our manned missions since have had Hasselblad on board.

These [hasselblad.com] are more pleasing to the eye than what is being transmitted from the Phoenix lance but a little less scientifically useful. They are also limited to missions that will return, since the film has to be developed.

A good portion of the gear used now shoots photos in stereo so objects can be more accurately scaled and located. And B&W only sensors can be made more accurate in that regard than color (a quick look at any decent graphic explanation of one will illustrate why). As previous posts have noted, filters can be used to determine color.

Re:Colour? (3, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545125)

Do you know how your spare Canon camera works [cambridgeincolour.com] ...? You guessed it, by having a monochrome sensor with appropriate filters in front of certain elements. The cameras on the lander will no doubt out-perform your canon in terms of sensor quality, lens quality, focal range, etc. The only advantage the Canon might have is in the number of megapixels.

Re:Colour? (2, Informative)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545473)

Your Canon digital is a black and white camera with filters that make approximate color images.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to photoshop to make the photograph of a color chart come out close to the same on the screen as it looks in real life. Then there's the real fun -- getting the thing to print out so that it's close to the chart and the computer screen.
There are times when I'm about ready to switch to all black-and-white.

Re:Colour? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544649)

Homosexuality is mentioned in the New Testament, and the evils of Pork may need explanation not like homosexuality. I mean, bestiality is only mentioned in the old testament once.

Re:Colour? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23545579)

bestiality is only mentioned in the old testament once

Amazing. So, bestiality is better (relatively speaking) than: homosexuality, mouthing off to your parents, failing to pay tithes or taxes, wearing mixed-fabric clothing, and working on sabbath?

This is a new and fantastic viewpoint. Somebody find me a sheep. It's biblical!

Re:Colour? (0, Offtopic)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545291)

>Homosexuality: not even mentioned in the Gospels, and the Old Testament has more to say about the evil of pork.

Thou shalt not pork thy neighbor or thy neighbor's wife? (Sorry, not enough espresso yet.)

Re:Colour? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544079)

They need to be processed - there are some color shots up now and more to come I'm sure.

Re:Colour? (1)

Rastignac (1014569) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544081)

Not enough money to buy colour cameras, perhaps ?

Re:Colour? (2, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544215)

No, just that black & white sensors give better detail. They've got a set filters that will allow them to make pretty coloured pictures.

Re:Colour? (1)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545411)

Every digital camera uses black and white sensors with filters to make pretty coloured pictures.

Frack it, now you got me spelling "coloured" wrong. Took me years to break myself of the "haemoglobin" habit...

Re:Colour? (1)

jj421 (642627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544445)

Why are the photos black & white?
The purpose of these photos is to confirm that the lander has deployed correctly. Because of the limited bandwidth size == speed and black and white pictures are smaller.

Re:Colour? (1)

TSDMK (979550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544961)

That's a fair point actually. JAXA's SELENE lunar probe had a HDTV camera on board and it produced some stunning imagery. I can understand that a Mars lander will have greater constraints on what you can bolt on though.

Re:Colour? (2, Informative)

david.given (6740) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545079)

Why are the photos black & white?

Because with that particular camera, taking an RGB photo involves making three separate exposures with different filters, transmitting the result back to Earth, and combining them. Given that the lander has been on the ground for less than 24 hours so far, they're still at the quick-glance-around-to-see-where-we-are stage and don't want to waste bandwidth taking the same picture three times. Give them time. Given the PR value of RGB images I'd expect some to start showing up within a few days.

(In fact a two-colour image [nasa.gov] has shown up already, but it's not true RGB and probably isn't what you're looking for.)

This is really starting to get old now. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544015)

Yes folks, the third story 'bout the Phoenix thingy on the front page.

How about we stop having these stories until we actually have something different to talk about?

I don't know, maybe the fact that they found some bacteria?

OK, yes, it's a great thing, but what about discussing a lake that due to a recent earthquake or two (you may have heard about it), now threatens to overflow and wash away a village or two, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7419756.stm [bbc.co.uk] ?

Or heck, the fact that, yes, the Arctic is fucking up? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7417123.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:This is really starting to get old now. (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544041)

You are right, ACs posting stupid comments does get old. But the freedom to post anonymously is highly valued around here- so the best thing to do is just ignore them. Browsing higher rated comments makes this easier if you are so inclined.

A Stupid question (3)

unixcrab (1080985) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544051)

Why does it takes weeks to deploy a spade? Surely if it landed safely, they just click the 'Deploy spade' button...

Re:A Stupid question (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544449)

...just click the 'Deploy spade' button...

Ok, here goes [amazon.com] ...

Re:A Stupid question (5, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544525)

Its not that. It's waiting for the Cancel/Allow dialog.

Where on the planet did it land? (3, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544057)

Is there a picture or something that shows roughly where it landed on the planet? I spent some time on their web site but couldn't find anything.

Somewhere in the red circle... (5, Informative)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544111)

Here [nasa.gov] . The blue ellipse was the intended landing zone, the red the actual, and the green box was... umm... a Martian football field? I dunno.

Re:Somewhere in the red circle... (2, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544283)

And that card, is that the side of a table, or the size of 250.000 football fields? As I have no frame of reference, I have no idea if I must be impressed or not.

Re:Somewhere in the red circle... (1)

Geirzinho (1068316) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544551)

Wikipedia lists Mars' radius as 3,396 km, so I guess 1 degree translates to about 60km. That should make the semi-major axis of the target ellipse (very roughly) about 30km.

Prime Meridian / I Had No Idea (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544369)

Thanks for the lat/long! Now, the prime meridian on Mars, what's that near?

I had no idea the Air Force was involved in this mission. It's clear they are because of the green blobs in the right lower corner of the map which are apparently a golf course adjusted for lower gravity and reduced atmosphere.

Re:Prime Meridian / I Had No Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544633)

I had no idea the Air Force was involved in this mission. It's clear they are because of the green blobs in the right lower corner of the map which are apparently a golf course adjusted for lower gravity and reduced atmosphere.
Alan Shepard was US Navy and the first extra-terrestial golfer. [nasa.gov] Your comment woke old memories of watching the coverage.

Re:Prime Meridian / I Had No Idea (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545343)

I must admit, I watched the live coverage as well.

The reason they chose a Navy man, was he was used to not retrieving the balls! Splash!

Re:Somewhere in the red circle... (-1, Troll)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544877)

"Homosexuality: not even mentioned in the Gospels, and the Old Testament has more to say about the evil of pork."
Luke 17:34-35, KJV: "I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left."

I love abusing scripture. Anyway, it's just some sort of brain damage. Someday we'll figure out how to zap whatever has been causing it -- just like the deaf population imploded after the Rubella vaccine -- and then everybody will wonder what the fuss was about.

Re:Somewhere in the red circle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544987)

Correct on the green box. The American public can't comprehend the size of something without relating it to football fields, so the green box was included for the casual viewers.

Re:Somewhere in the red circle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23545381)

Here's a Google Mars link [google.com] for that area. I think the light blue is a sort of smooth valley or plain, the brown is a highland area, the orange circle is the inside of a crater, presumably the splattery yellow stuff is where the mission planners believe ejecta may be. I can't even guess what the dark blue is...

Re:Where on the planet did it land? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544117)


It landed on the North Pole of the Planet.

Re:Where on the planet did it land? (2, Informative)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544225)

if you wanna go 3d theres a mars overlay for google earth - http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/download.php?Number=73974 [keyhole.com] and i'm sure they are going update for phoenix locations.

Community forum for Google Earth - Mars section: http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/postlist.php/Cat/0/Board/mars [keyhole.com]

Re:Where on the planet did it land? (2, Informative)

Kifoth (980005) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544927)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7411113.stm [bbc.co.uk]

There's a map at the bottom showing Phoenix's position relative to the other landers.

Not sure if it's on the NASA site?

Re:Where on the planet did it land? (2, Informative)

Kifoth (980005) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545043)

To answer my own question...

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/phoenix/images-all.php [nasa.gov]

That seems to have just about everything, plus some earth comparisons that should give you an idea of where on Mars it landed.

Awesome (4, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544065)

Those are some amazing shots. I was just looking at them with my 5 year old son. Hopefully by the time he is my age, pictures from Mars will have people in them.

Re:Awesome (3, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544553)

I'm sure my father said exactly the same thing when the Viking craft landed back in the 1970s.

It would be great if space exploration went at a faster pace, but as long as there are wars to be fought, don't hold your breath.

Re:Awesome (4, Funny)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544653)

Photoshop doesn't take that long to start up...

This clip... (3, Funny)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544097)

here [nasa.gov] looks like the start of a BSG Episode. It's almost as if Moore has directed it - I expected number Six to turn up any minute, laughing, and invading our computer systems only to begin a sneak attack on the 13th colony.

Oh wait... this is reality ? In that case, I have another beer - make that five please.... And some peanuts.

Colour Imaging? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544133)

Not that I don't appreciate NASA's false-colouring of images, but why is it that they never just send a visible spectrum camera up there?

Re:Colour Imaging? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544183)

Not everyone perceives the visible spectrum in the same way. It's more useful to use the various colored filters which are certainly "precalibrated". Don't retail digital cameras also use internal colored filters of some type as well?

Re:Colour Imaging? (1, Troll)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544689)

They did this on Titan as well. It irritates the heck out of me when the answer is usually "it isn't scientifically relevant". Really? The whole reason we send a probe to Titan is to see what is under the clouds and we don't put an adequate visual camera on board because it isn't 'scientifically relevant'. And space-types wonder why the general public is usually apathetic towards these probe missions.

Re:Colour Imaging? (2, Informative)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545345)

Situated atop an extended mast, SSI will provide images at a height two meters above the ground, roughly the height of a tall person. SSI simulates the human eye with its two optical lens system that will give three-dimensional views of the arctic plains. The instrument will also simulate the resolution of human eyesight using a charged-coupled device that produces high density 1024 x 1024 pixel images. But SSI exceeds the capabilities of the human eye by using optical and infrared filters, allowing multispectral imaging at 12 wavelengths of geological interest and atmospheric interest. [nasa.gov]

My Nikon D50 captures some of the UV and IR as well. That's the other reason everyone uses a UV filter on their lenses (the first being, it's a cheap way to protect the camera lens that might well be worth more than the camera). With a special filter, I can take IR pictures with my Nikon. [unspace.net] Even your eyes pick up a bit of the UV -- if you look at a blacklight bulb, it's hard to focus on -- the lenses in your eyes focus visible light and don't do as good a job on the UV.

Interesting Object? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544143)

Anyone know what the object in the back right field is? Sticks out..

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/phoenix/collection_16/SS000EFF896228773_10CA8R8M1_8877.jpg

Re:Interesting Object? (5, Funny)

Ixtl (1022043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544201)

Can't say for sure, but my guess is it's a rock.

Re:Interesting Object? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544333)

Can't say for sure, but my guess is it's a rock.
I agree, for what little my opinion is worth. Some of the closer rocks have what appears to be a light reflection and all appearing to be pointed in the same angular direction reflectionwise as the object "that sticks out". Whether the light is being reflected directly from sunlight, reflection of sunlight off the lander, or a light from the lander to aid in photography is a question for more thought or maybe answer is somewhere on the JPL or NASA websites.

Re:Interesting Object? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544211)

It's Slartibartfast.

Re:Interesting Object? (1)

DougF (1117261) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544253)

I don't know, but a couple of guesses: 1) A piece of the Phoenix' entry system, such as the parachute or the heat shield; 2) An artifact on the lens (but then wouldn't it show up in the same location on other pictures--is there only one camera taking pictures?); 3) Glare off of something shiny (water ice?); 4) Phoenix isn't alone....

Re:Interesting Object? (2, Informative)

ivan_w (1115485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544259)

It's probably either the heat shield or the chute --Ivan

Re:Interesting Object? (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544275)

What more interesting is the way the pixels look like to the right of the object right at the top of of the white pint. That don't look natural.

I was about to ask that... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544293)

But in the higher resolution frame you posted it looks like an artifact. The top few scan lines have noise before and after the one-pixel-wide white area.

it could also be the sunlit side of a larger rock.

Re:I was about to ask that... (1)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545369)

It might be the shield that got jettisoned. Darned if I remember where I read that...

Re:Interesting Object? (1)

heikkile (111814) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544303)

I noticed the same thing in http://fawkes4.lpl.arizona.edu/images/gallery/lg_440.jpg [arizona.edu] (same image, it seems), and posted to the first slashdot article about it: http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=563849&cid=23542289 [slashdot.org] So far only one funny comment, nothing much to go on. But it sure looks interesting. My bet is still a rock, but if it has moved when they take the next picture... -H

Re:Interesting Object? (0)

MouseR (3264) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544357)

Moo?

Re:Interesting Object? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544385)

Obviously space ghost is obvious.

Re:Interesting Object? (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544409)

*squints at picture* well, that's obviously a martian stripper pole.

Re:Interesting Object? (5, Informative)

JambisJubilee (784493) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544593)

When an object is too bright for a CCD camera, it causes excess charge to "bloom" into adjacent pixels. It's a common artifact.

Re:Interesting Object? (1)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544643)

Maybe a dust devil [nasa.gov] ?

Re:Interesting Object? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544657)

Looks like a martian middle finger coming up from the ground...

Re:Interesting Object? (1)

decosterthomas (839181) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544673)

I would guess some kind of reflection

Re:Interesting Object? (1)

sohp (22984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545121)

I saw that also. If it's not a trick of the light, then it would most likely be a part of the backshell, having drifted a little downrange while the lander was diving more or less straight down on the retros.

Re:Interesting Object? (1)

rpj1288 (698823) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545295)

Before the landing, they were talking about being worried about landing on a "hill" near the center of the possible landing area. The hill was only a couple meters tall, so this could be it.

The King! (-1, Offtopic)

Crazyswedishguy (1020008) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544169)

Have they found Elvis yet?

Looks like a glacier (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544231)

Well, I'm a Canadian I know what glaciers look like and it certainly looks like the machine is sitting on top of one. Just my tuppence worth.

Coloration ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544249)

It would be nice to know if this is the actual color of the surface as a man would see it as Sunlight filtered though the Martian atmosphere? or is this image taken from some local illumination local to the spacecraft? , of course if from local illumination this might mean the coloration is false.?

Re:Coloration ? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544351)

The raw images often have quite a different color than the released images. NASA typically colors their images to match the calculated color of the martian surface, based on other sensor data than just the camera.

I wrote an article about this in 2004: http://scarydevil.com/~peter/io/vision.html [scarydevil.com]

I hope they don't find life (1)

Kieckerjan (38971) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544305)

I for one don't hope they find any signs of any kind of life whatsoever. Here's why:

https://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/20569/ [technologyreview.com]

An intricate argument but well worth the read. (Bugmenot has passwords if you're too lazy to sign in.)

You mean (3, Funny)

future assassin (639396) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544379)

well have to Register "Registration is now required to read magazine articles from Technology Review." before we talk to the aliens. Then those fuckers will space spam us with their Miagra.

Re:I hope they don't find life (2, Informative)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544493)

Re:I hope they don't find life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23545447)

What a crock of shit that is.

Cool, but (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544331)

Let me know when a picture comes down with clear images of the little green men. Then I will get more excited...

Why Mars all the time? (2, Interesting)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544387)

While I can understand that they're looking for water and getting as much information for a future human mission to Mars, there's other places which could be more interesting such as Europa.

The mission to Europa was canned which is a shame.

Re:Why Mars all the time? (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544679)

Don't you remember, the monolith [wikipedia.org] placed Europa off limits?

Re:Why Mars all the time? (4, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544773)

While Europa is certainly well worth studying, I think mars makes a lot of sense for a couple reasons. First, there's still plenty to learn about it. Second, when you're talking about planetary distances, mars is pretty close, so you get feedback on your missions much quicker. Not only scientific data, but also about how your spacecraft did/didn't perform, which should help improve the designs of future spacecraft. And third, there's a decent amount of satellites already orbiting mars, and the newer landers and such can utilize those satellites to facilitate their mission.

Basically, I think you get a lot of bang for your buck with mars. Europa would be great, no doubt, but it's likely that for the same cost, they'd only be able to send a smaller probe with less instruments on it, and would get significantly less data out of it. But hopefully we'll get there one day.

What's wrong with NASA?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544499)

So I can't help but notice that this little "exercise" probably cost millions and millions of dollars to perform, and hooray they landed it. But surely didn't those guys at NASA ever think to put a COLOR CAMERA on that damn ship?! What's the deal! :-P

Dear NASA: Hire an editor, please! (1, Insightful)

myvirtualid (851756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544623)

There is a repeated error on http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/phoenix/images.php [nasa.gov] : The caption used for many images should read Team Members Celebrate and not Team Members' Celebrate

(Unless they really meant to write Team Members' Celebration?)

Let's just hope there are no misplaced apostrophes in any of the wee beastie's code. Especially in the firmware update upload controller. That would be delightfully ironic....

Take life to Mars (1)

mcbutterbuns (1005301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544787)

I've always wondered why NASA doesn't take life to Mars and see what effects the planet has on it. Take bacteria, a small plant, I dont know, anything. Maybe if Mars never had life, we could bring life to it.

Re:Take life to Mars (3, Insightful)

DougF (1117261) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545193)

Because that could irrevocably contaminate Mars before there was any proof of life that may have arisen independently. Besides, we already know what the surface conditions are like from the various probes, landers, and rovers sent there. We can duplicate Mars' surface conditions in labs here on Earth and get a good idea of what would happen to various kinds Earth-based living things.

Looks familiar . (1)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544895)

Those rocks look familiar, looks like the place I ride my dirt bike. WTF.. BRB....

So why don't they support FireFox? (1)

PhilipPeake (711883) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544909)

The UofA website really doesn't work well with FireFox. Half the time you click on a thumbnail and don't get the the image to show, and the downloads just doesn't work at all.

I would have expected a university run show to do much better than this.

Color Camera == 3 B&W Cameras (5, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544913)

Just so peoples know... a color camera is not as good as a set of Black and White Cameras which only capture light from specific light spectrums... ie: think of it as 1 Red camera, 1 Blue, 2 Green and probably 1 pure Black/White camera, where camera == CCD.

Look up CCD [wikipedia.org] for more details on what it is/does and why using 3 separate CCDs for imaging will get you the highest quality image.

False color? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545059)

...pictures of the red planet ...

This issue was discussed in a series of posts on the last Mars mission, that left me more confused than I was before: is the red color in the photo on the main page the real color of the Mars surface (or at least an accurate reconstruction of what a human eye would see with ambient light there) or is it something NASA arbitrarily adds to impress viewers with notions about "the red planet"?

Will they find money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23545101)

Will they find money to support schools and hospitals?
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