Skip to comments.Probe's Powerful Camera Spots Vikings On Mars
Posted on 12/05/2006 10:18:35 AM PST by blam
Probe's powerful camera spots Vikings on Mars
12:29 05 December 2006
NewScientist.com news service
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spots Spirit's backshell and parachute (Image: NASA)
After three decades lost on the Red Planet, Viking 2's backshell is spotted from space (Image: NASA)
It is a feat millions of times more impressive than finding a needle in a haystack. The new Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has spotted about a dozen spacecraft on the Martian surface and, incredibly, taken pictures of such sharpness that scientists have been able to identify individual rocks that were first photographed by the Viking landers in 1976.
The new series of pictures released late on Monday show both of the Viking landers, never spotted from orbit before, as well as their nearby heat shields and backshells. These are the top and bottom covers of the capsules in which the rovers decended through the Martian atmosphere to land.
The MRO has also found the Mars rover Spirit , the pyramid-shaped structure in which it landed, its backshell and parachute. The satellite probe had already found the rover Opportunity and its landing structure, sending back images within its first week of operations in October 2006.
Picturing the Viking landers from orbit is quite a coup for MRO. Tim Parker, a planetary geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, told New Scientist that it was possible to clearly identify them by analysing the Martian landscape, even though the images show little detail.
Parker carefully matched rocks and other topographic features seen in the orbital views with those seen images the landers took on the ground. "I found a much better location match" than had been made from earlier orbital pictures, he says. It turns out Viking 1 is about 6 kilometres (3.8 miles) away..
(Excerpt) Read more at space.newscientist.com ...
Ok, I am impressed. Really.
I wonder if there would be any value, salvage, repair of sending the rovers over there.
Who put that big 'a' there?
Mars must be very different from Earth. You can't leave anything like that lying around in my neighborhood without somebody messing with it.
Amazing how them airplanes can get folks around nowadays!
It's a Mars version of a crop circle.
Fran Tarkenton is leading the league up there...
Whaddya know? There really IS a "Man in the Moon".
Cynthia McKinney wants to know if they took a picture of the flag planted by the apollo mission....heh heh
And all this time I thought that the lost probes were adorning the insides of the locals' caves.
So our space program is reduced to planting human debris on other planets and then trying to find it from Earth. Interesting that we can do it but it would be nice if it led to something more, though. For instance, the algorithms used to scan the surface used to set up precision communications trackers so we could set up bases on the moon or mars and maintain link in spite of orbits and the like so long as some line of sight exists. Or something hopefully more creative and clever than that.
Both 1975 launches of the 2 Vikings used USAF Titan rockets with the NASA Centaur upper stage. I was the Titan IIIE Program Manager. Great fun!!
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