Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mars Global Surveyor: R.I.P.

Earlier this month NASA lost contact with The Mars Global Surveyor. They are close to declaring the probe lost and an end to the longest and most successful mission in the history of Mars exploration. Among the Surveyor's many accomplishments, it showed that the "face on Mars" was nothing more than a pile of rock:





















Face? What Face?

And among the many spectacular shots taken over the probe's ten year life-span, this one is probably my favorited. It shows the frozen Sea of Elysium, where dust covered plates of ice are all that remain of an ancient ocean.

2 comments:

Tom Harris said...

"The Mars Global Surveyor which has been taking pictures of Mars for
the last 10 years has discovered that the south polar cap has
been STEADILY SHRINKING since 1999.

The earth's polar caps are also shrinking. Could whatever is
causing the Martian global warming also be responsible in some part
for what we are seeing on earth? Is it possible for a neighboring
planet to have similar global warming for a completely different
reason? What reason would that be?

Click on the URL below to see the report and the animated GIF.

http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/mgs-092005-imagesc.html

... "One of the most profound discoveries that would not have been
possible if NASA's Mars Global Surveyor mission had not been extended beyond its primary mission of one Mars year (687 Earth days) is that of dramatic changes that take place in the south polar residual ice cap each Martian year. To make this discovery, the Mars Orbiter Camera on the spacecraft had to be employed during a second Mars year to repeat images of sites on the south polar cap that had been imaged during the primary mission.

The initial discovery was made in 2001, when the camera team repeated
images of portions of the south polar cap that had already been imaged in 1999. The goal of these images was to obtain stereo views, which would allow investigators to see the topography of the cap in three dimensions and to measure the thickness of the polar ice layers."

etc.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Global Surveyor disappearance is really just a lefty-lib pro-Kyoto conspiracy, eh Mr. Harris?

By the way, who funds you, etc. etc.