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Astronomy Picture of the Day 12-16-02
| Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell
Posted on 12/16/2002 3:40:31 AM PST by petuniasevan
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2002 December 16
Night and Day in Melas Chasma on Mars
Credit: Arizona State U., JPL, NASA
Explanation: What types of terrain are found on Mars? Part of the answer comes from thermal imaging by the robot spacecraft 2001 Mars Odyssey currently orbiting Mars. The above picture is a superposition of two infrared images, a black and white image taken during Martian daylight and a false-color image taken at night. For the daytime image, dark colors mean cool temperatures, dropping from about -5 degrees Celsius to low as -35 degrees Celsius. Shadowed regions appear particularly dark, while grooved structure on the floor of Melas Chasma indicates successively overlapping landslides. In the nighttime swath, blue areas have cooled relatively quickly, indicating a composition of fine-grained dust and sand.
TOPICS: Astronomy; Astronomy Picture of the Day; Science
KEYWORDS: astronomy; chasma; dust; exploration; image; imaging; infrared; landform; landslide; mars; martian; odyssey; orbiter; photography; planet; red; robot; sand; soil; spacecraft; structure; thermal
The exploration of Mars is just getting started. I have no doubt that terraforming will be a big part of any colonization attempts.
Outside of Earth it is the most promising piece of real estate in the Solar System. It has all these things we need:
- A 24.65 hour day (we need the circadian rhythm for health).
- Water (H2O) in relative abundance (absolute necessity).
- Decent gravity (1/3 Earth normal).
- Axial tilt for seasonal changes - would come in handy when terraforming is advanced.
- Some atmosphere (though thin and unbreathable) to start with.
- Building materials such as rock and forgeable metals.
- Geologic stability (no active volcanoes).
- Close enough to the Sun for terraforming to have a chance of success.
Of course, Mars has a lot of things that are a disadvantage to us:
- No magnetic field to trap charged solar particles.
- No ozone layer to reflect UV and gamma rays.
- Water though abundant as permafrost must be accessed.
- Average temps of -67 Fahrenheit are like winter in Antarctica.
- Mars' atmosphere is deficient in oxygen and nitrogen.
The jury's out on how long terraforming would take. It's dependent on so very many factors, such as how much effort we can put into the project, effectiveness of greenhouse gases, how well genetically tailored bacterial colonies survive, etc.
To: MozartLover; Joan912; NovemberCharlie; snowfox; Dawgsquat; viligantcitizen; theDentist; ...
Thanks for the ping!
Thanks for the ping. Always awe inspiring or thought provoking! Have a great day, all.....
posted on 12/16/2002 6:01:16 AM PST
Could be lava or dust, but some of that image resembles permafrost features. The picture looks like a DEM or DTM whichever you call it rather than a direct picture.
I'll have to think about going there and taking you up on the offer. I just recently got a job doing yard work, and I know I can go for a few days if I give the boss enough notice. If it snows I can't work anyway as he refuses to shovel snow.
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