Image of the Day: Tracks of Human Technology on Mars –Curiosity Begins Its Journey!




"No cities. No seas. No forests and no battlegrounds. No prairies. No nations. No histories and no legends. No memories. Just features, features and names. Argyre and Hellas and Isidis. Olympus and Alba and Pavonis. Schiaparelli and Antoniadi, Kasei and Nirgal. Beautiful double-rimmed Lowell. Names from one world projected onto maps of another."

Mars is a microcosm -a spiritual jumping off place in our exploration of the Universe. The white spaces -the unmapped, unexplored, unknown white spaces of the map of Planet Earth are no more. Our 21st Century explorers look to our Solar System and beyond for the challenge of the unexplored, the unknown.

Mars, Oliver Morton tells us in "Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World,"  "is continuous, seamless and sealess. Its great mountains stand alone; there are no sweeping ranges, no Rockies or Alps or Andes. The rivers are long gone. There are no continents and there are no oceans, and thus there are no shores. Given patience,, provisions, and a pressure suit you could walk from any point on the planet to any other. No edges guide the eye or frame the scene. Nowhere says: Start Here."

Unitl now, tracks from the first drives of NASA's Curiosity rover are visible in the image aboive captured by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The rover is seen where the tracks end. The image's color has been enhanced to show the surface details better.

The two marks seen near the site where the rover landed formed when reddish surface dust was blown away by the rover's descent stage, revealing darker basaltic sands underneath. Similarly, the tracks appear darker where the rover's wheels disturbed the top layer of dust. *Observing the tracks over time will provide information on how the surface changes as dust is deposited and eroded.

The Daily Galaxy via  NASA/JPL/University of Arizona  and *Oliver Morton -Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World.


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