ols 751 through 753 this week promise some exciting new imagery from Curiosity. Already published to the Google Earth archive is the latest telemetry from Sol 752 (taken yesterday) which will be used to create a further upload (I’m separating the presentations into two files for this event; one called 752a, the other, 752b). These will illustrate further a detailed look at the geography of the region now being called simply ‘the Amargosa Valley’.
According to Curiosity Rover scientist Lauren Edgar:
“A short ~30 m drive on Sol 753 should put Curiosity in a good position at the Pahrump Hills. Sol 754 will consist of 2 hours of untargeted remote sensing, including ChemCam calibration activities to prepare for the Pahrump investigation, and a Navcam movie to monitor the atmosphere.”
Edgar promises further science mission plans for the Pahrump Hills region and beyond will be known very soon.
esterday, we again saw numerous spending questions about the value behind #Curiosity and other endeavours by #NASA concerning space exploration. These were prevalent amongst the media’s questions during a Curiosity Update event sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (#JPL).
Earlier this month, similar frustration could be heard reverberating from the Mars Society’s Dr. Robert Zubrin, who (ensconced atop his pulpit at NASA’s Ames Research Centre) aggressively critiqued the high-profile US department for vacillating on its exploration objectives throughout the solar system. Zubrin and others see an inefficient, navel-gazing, visionless bureaucracy requiring a refocusing of goals and research to end years of wasted money and energy spent on justifying bad programs. Instead, what seems to be happening is the very same political institutions responsible for funding US space exploration are simply cutting an inefficient image-conscious government department without addressing the real problem behind invested dollars being well-spent.
In the meantime, corporate America (and commercial interests elsewhere) have begun to step into the sacred ground once reserved for NASA. Cancellation of the Constellation project happened in tandem with the government refocusing its spending on backing commercial exploration, no doubt because of NASA’s inability to get the job done soon enough to put America first in a second emerging space race. But NASA still has missions all over the solar system to manage and maintain — and its not clear where the money will come from if the larger issues affecting it aren’t addressed.
In the end, maybe a few heads have to roll. And there will be consequences; but the only alternative is continuing to stand idly by and watch an organization that once led humanity to the surface of the moon fade from relevance entirely.
ecently, I announced the release of a personal project on my blog – the delivery of ongoing Curiosity Rover data to Windows desktops using Google Earth (in Mars data mode, sometimes referred to as ‘Google Mars’). Now, it’s possible to deliver this same information to the Apple iPhone and Android smart phone audiences using the Google Earth app for those platoforms. Insturctions on how to setup the Google Earth app to do that, step-by-step follow below:
How to view Curiosity Rover (MSL) Mars geodata using the Google Earth app on a SmartPhone:
- Load the Google Earth app
- Select menu icon, top right-hand corner of Google Earth UI
- Select ‘Settings’ from pop-up
- Scroll down & select ‘Databases’ from Settings menu
- Databases menu appears, with “Default” radio button selected. Select menu icon, top-right-hand corner of UI.
- Select ‘Add’ from pop-up
- Enter Database URL dialogue box appears. Enter http://khmdb.google.com/?db=mars into the dialogue’s textbox and click ‘OK’.
- The database address now appears beneath “Default” in the databases menu with its radio button selected (make sure).
- Click the ‘back/return’ button from the phone’s UI (at the bottom, in the Android version).
- Google Mars should now be visible.
- Return to the smartphone’s browser & visit the Curiosity Rover data page: http://ross613.apprefactory.ca/mars-curiosity-rover-msl-in-google-earth/.
- Click the entry for the current Sol & select the Google Earth app if/when prompted to select a smart phone app to load the data with.
The Google Earth app should automatically centre Google Mars on the location of the latest data summary.
Step-by-step video: here.
SL, or (simply) the “Curiosity Rover” is being watched differently today than yesterday thanks to a new tool: Google Earth. The premiere GIS technology offering from Google is now helping NASA’s JPL answer questions about what the latest rover on the red planet is up to by displaying information about the path the rover has taken, its projected path, where it has stopped, when, for how long and it has been up to while otherwise seemingly halted. Thus the tool is serving not only as a tracking tool, but a news platform about curiosity.
There needs to be (for now) user-led updates to a file hosted on “The Ross Report”; the personal blog of The AppRefactory Inc. President, but there’s always room for improvement.
To find out more, visit the dedicated blog page for the project here and keep checking back for updates, every Martian Sol!
have to disagree with myself it looks like. (Maybe that doesn’t happen often enough!) But only recently has the “big picture” being pursued by the Obama administration started to become evident. And, I hate to admit it; it might not have gone so well if details of what must surely have been a deliberate strategy been announced at the beginning: let the private sector pave the way to space exploration.
- ABC News: Space Race Rekindled? Russia Shoots for Moon & Mars
- CBC News: Spurned by NASA, Russia Plans Own Moon Base
What this "spurning" by NASA entailed, we’ll probably never know. But it’s not hard to speculate that NASA might find another space race with its old cold-war adversary useful. What’s not useful is the inevitable adversarial attitude that occurs politically being exacerbated by a new space race. So – is a space race good or bad?
Overall, I think we should probably be spending appreciably on extraterrestrial research because, overall, there appears to be plenty of evidence that the technological advances which result invariably imrpove the condition of humanity, and our understanding of the universe. Too often, politicians come along and dogged by those who think the world’s problems will be solved organically by kind-hearted human beings spending on feeding the poor and healing the world’s sick with the…
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