Wheel check sol 513

On sol 513 Mars Curiosity used its MAHLI to take a set of 23 closeups of the undercarriage, i.e. the wheels. It seems to be a set of 24 with one missing. There are 6 views, 3 on each side, each repeated 4 times in different positions. Here is an animated gif made of 4 sets of 2 stitched images. I think it’s just good enough to give the effect of rolling. ( Click to enlarge ! )

Sol 508 panoramorama

Here’s a key to several of the panoramas contained in the sol 508 Mast camera images, based on a sol 508 Navcam panorama ( click to enlarge. )

The individual Mastcam panorama’s follow below. Note the swirly moire effect in the overlay I did. This may be taken as a stamp of authenticity due to a slight relative rotation of the images. I just used resizing ( zoom in paint.net ) and “translation”, as it’s called in graphical terms.

The Mastcam panoramas are 7×2, 3×2, and 5×3, comprising 35 images in all. There is another closeup panorama which I plan to cover in another post.

This 7×2 panorama lies along the forward path of Curiosity. There’s been a lot of concern about the beating that Curiosity’s wheels are taking, and I’m thinking that they are doing some extra scouting to try to avoid the worst rocks.

This view shows the close horizon that has been in view for a month now. Note the large rock which has been visible as a “nub” for some time. Curiosity will soon pass it by.

This layered basin is another version of “Shaler” I guess, although this seems to be beautifully sculpted by Aeolus in the shape of a bowl. I think these features change on a time scale of thousands of years or more, and Curiosity is something of a bull in a china shop up there, but how else would we see it?

Sleuthing the MAHLI

On Sol 506 Curiosity’s MAHLI acquired an image of a rock which had evidently attracted its, ah, curiosity.

But how so? The front Hazcam records this pair of images acquired at 2014-01-07 23:21:21 UTC and 2014-01-07 23:12:31 UTC, showing the deployment of the MAHLI above the imaged rock.

… but reminding ourselves that Curiosity’s brain resides at JPL, the action depicted must have been motivated by images previously acquired and transmitted, and we have to ask ourselves how this came about. In this case I think there’s a fair record.

We can discern that Curiosity arrived at this position on Sol 504, on which date we see a number of Navcam images of the area, including this double image “panorama” of the MAHLI image location

You can actually see the “MAHLI rock” to the left of the cylindrical joint projecting to the front, and the formation of darker rocks to the right of that are recognizable in the Front Hazcam images. These images were acquired around 2014-01-06 00:59, then around 2014-01-06 02:58, the Mastcam acquired the six images of this panoramic view

and there’s the rather nondescript “MAHLI rock” dead center.

This hardly explains what the particular attraction was, but it does give a record of the event if one is willing to “read between the images” … and I looked at a lot more of them!


Snow from space

Here’s an excerpt from the 250 meter pixel version of the Terra/MODIS image taken at 01/03/2014, 15:55 UTC. ( The link shows the default 2km pixel image, but you can select pixel size at the left. )

The excerpt shows the southern end of the snow cover, just south of Washington, D.C., all the way up through New Jersey, Pennsyvania, and New York to Quebec and the frozen Lac Saint Jean, at top right. Note Lake Erie and Lake Ontario at left center, as well.

At the time of the image, southern New England was still under cloud cover to the right of the excerpt.  A very impressive vista!