sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Studying Mars



The efforts that scientists have put into trying to explain what they've seen in data has been exhaustive and nowhere is it more evident than in the work that has been done by the scientists at Ashima Research. Want to know about CO2 distribution issues and how best to track the migration of carbon dioxide in the Martian Atmosphere? Maybe it's best to review this (LINK) that explains the value of following the noble gas, Argon, to understand how CO2 moves.



Here (above), you can see a better depiction of the REMS.

Being able to explain the Martian atmosphere, to model the Martian weather and to draw understanding from that has helped to better understand the weather on Earth. (LINK) For a more complete list of publications by Ashima Research, look HERE.

Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory, has a sophisticated Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) located on the Remote Sensing Mast, designed by Ashima (Pasadena based company) and built by Centro del Astrobiologica (Spanish component of the European Space Agency.
REMS has been designed to record six atmospheric parameters: wind speed/direction, pressure, relative humidity, air temperature, ground temperature, and ultraviolet radiation. All sensors are located around three elements: two booms attached to the rover Remote Sensing Mast (RSM), the Ultraviolet Sensor (UVS) assembly located on the rover top deck, and the Instrument Control Unit (ICU) inside the rover body. (JPL)Read more here: http://msl-scicorner.jpl.nasa.gov/Instruments/REMS/
Ashima Research has been one of the leaders in extraterrestrial weather research and its application to Earth Science since the company was founded by scientists working at the California Institute of Technology.  It's sister company, Ashima Devices derives none of it's research money from the US Government, but in its own way, the devices that it designs and takes to market will change the way you look at the world around you.


It is apparent from the picture taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that there are three distinct zones of ground at the landing site. At top-right is an area that previous observations have revealed to have high thermal inertia - it stays warmer longer at night, for example - than the broad area off to the left that holds all of the landing components other than the heatshield. The third zone at bottom-right seems to display more impact cratering, which is usually indicative of being an older surface. Visiting the intersection of all three zones is now being considered as a possible destination once the rover starts some serious driving in September.

Check this out (play the video) (LINK)

Explaining what happens on Earth has continually been expanded by our exploration of space and of both planets and moons in our own solar system. Consider where we are today with science and where we were fifty years ago, and you'll get some sense of the exponential benefit of the money and effort that have been expended. 

However, our bankrupt nation will not soon repeat this sort of mission as politics (and political hand-outs designed to buy votes) takes precedence over discovery.

We spent $806,000,000,000 on the relatively worthless war in Iraq (with apologies to the service men and women who served, or were wounded, or died there). We've spent $554,342,000,000 so far in the war in Afghanistan with results that are somewhat underwhelming (with similar apologies). All this can be laid on the altar of political expediency.

Instead of the wars with their limited value, we could have sent 554 rovers to Mars, by comparison. I am not suggesting that we do that, but it draws a stark distinction between something of enduring value (this mission to Mars) and wars that leave a questionable legacy in my opinion. And yes, I am a combat veteran.




6 comments:

  1. I am very excited for this mission.

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  2. At least this time, they ALL used the same measurements (feet/inches)... And looking forward to the data sets that will come out of this. Thanks for the links too!

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  3. That is an obscene amount of money spent on war. That's not a number it's a noise! I'm shocked. I hope they can then tell me why it's always raining here.

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    1. Predicting rain in Great Britain has never been viewed as meteorological magic. However when I was there and it wasn't raining every day, people were thrown into panic because of the draught.

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  4. Indeed, a couple of well placed A bombs, dipped in pigs blood, would have ended this nonsense a long time ago.

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