Want to know where to dig in Mars?

Here you go! USGS has released their latest, most beautiful geologic maps of Mars, thanks to 16 years of continous data collection! Though this planet doesn’t quite look habitable, it is the only other planet that falls within sun’s habitable zone. Humans have been studying the red planet for centuries. US missions to Mars starting from Mariner and Viking to the recent ones such as Mars Express have shed a lot of light on the geologic composition.

 

New Global Geologic Map of Mars

New Martian Global Geologic Map

You can download the original map here.

Map description:

“This global geologic map, which records the distribution of geologic units and landforms on the planet’s surface through time, is based on unprecedented variety, quality, and quantity of remotely sensed data acquired since the Viking Orbiters. These data have provided morphologic, topographic, spectral, thermophysical, radar sounding, and other observations for integration, analysis, and interpretation in support of geologic mapping. In particular, the precise topographic mapping now available has enabled consistent morphologic portrayal of the surface for global mapping (whereas previously used visual-range image bases were less effective, because they combined morphologic and albedo information and, locally, atmospheric haze). Also, thermal infrared image bases used for this map tended to be less affected by atmospheric haze and thus are reliable for analysis of surface morphology and texture at even higher resolution than the topographic products.”

Findings from the new map will enable scientists and researchers to identify future landing sites.


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Remember Rosetta?

Ten years and a 4 billion mile journey! That’s what it took for Rosetta to hang out with a comet. Rosetta is a probe sent by the European Space Agency to orbit Churyumov-Gerasimenko (I know, how that feels!) or simply called as Comet 67P , the lucky comet that got the good company of a human made object! 

Take a look at this!

See something strange about it’s orbit? It’s triangular with rounded edges! And that’s the secret recipe for the great success! The previous endeavor including ESA’s Giotto, and NASA’s Deep Impact weren’t able to stick around for longer. Click here if you would like to read more about the Economist’s explanation on what made Rosetta’s orbit so unique.

According to their official website, “The journey to the comet was not straightforward, however. Since its launch in 2004, Rosetta had to make three gravity-assist flybys of Earth and one of Mars to help it on course to its rendezvous with the comet. This complex course also allowed Rosetta to pass by asteroids Šteins and Lutetia, obtaining unprecedented views and scientific data on these two objects.”

Going at 55000 km/hr, the comet is somewhere half way between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, a mere 405 million kilometers from Earth! After arrival, Rosetta took the comet’s temperature (-70 degrees Celcius) using it’s visible, infrared and thermal spectrometer.

One of the very first spectacular images were released by the ESA!

rosetta

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new era in space exploration has just begun!


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