Martian Flight-Seeing

   The ESA, European Space Agency, recently released a short 5 minute video of a fly over of the Hebes Chasma, a canyon lying along the Martian equator near the Mariner Valley. This canyon is around 8000 m deep and is thought to have had water flowing through it in the past.
dexter   The video offers a fascinating look at the Martian surface features however there is no narration nor music. So… I added a favorite Mars themed song by Jazz artist Dexter Wansel to the video. The song, “Life on Mars” is on one of the albums in my record collection. The song was part of the audience walk-in music I used to play years ago when I worked in a Planetarium in Peoria Illinois. The walk-in music preceded the showing of a Planetarium show about Mars that was narrated by Carl Sagan. While the show was a good one it had what I thought was the most annoying musical soundtrack I had ever had to listen to.
   Watch the ESA produced video below. Also watch one of the early Mars fly over videos produced by NASA. This one takes you around the Mariner Valley system. That video was produced in the late 1980s and the difference in video technology and imaging capabilities is very obvious. And the soundtrack is rather familiar!

Click here to go to the ESA web site.
Click here to view the original video at the ESA web site.
Click here to go to the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter web site.

   The banner graphic at the top of the page is from a colored topographic map of Mars. Click here to download the map.

Click here to read my review about ‘The Martian’, a fictional account of a survivor on Mars.

   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

Name a Mascot-Mail a Pringle

   Two contests for students are online and available for participation however both are somewhat restrictive based on geography – one’s location.
   esa mascotThe European Space Agency, ESA, is hosting a Name the Mascot contest to select a name for
their mascot, however the competition is only open for students ages 4-12 years who reside in one of ESA’s 20 Member States or Cooperating States. Note that although the United States (NASA) works cooperatively with the ESA the United States is not part of the ESA so this contest is not available for students in the United States.
   Click here to go to the ESA – Space for Kids web site to learn more about this contest.
   Click here to go to the ESA/Hubble web site for a treasure trove of resources from the Hubble Space Telescope.

A Pringle

A Pringle

   ;A contest available within the United States for students, the Pringles Challenge, is based on designing a small package that will carry a single Pringle potato chip through the U.S. Mail system in such a manner that the Pringle will arrive at its destination intact or undamaged.
   Click here to learn more about the Pringles Challenge contest.

    Please note that posting the above information is not to be taken as a personal endorsement of the Pringle’s Potato Chip.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

Solar System Exploration @50

Cassini Mission Timeline

   This past August 27th marked 50 years of exploring the solar system by NASA. It was on that date in 1962 when the Mariner 2 Spacecraft was launched on a flyby mission of the planet Venus. To celebrate and acknowledge their achievements NASA is hosting a 2-day symposium in Arlington, VA on October 25-26. The symposium is open to the public with pre-registration required. Click here for more information about the symposium.

   Also celebrating an anniversary is the Cassini mission to Saturn. Launched on October 15th 1997 the Cassini spacecraft arrived at the Saturn system of ~63 moons in 2004 and has now been on duty for 15 years, although nearly half of that time was simply getting from our planet to Saturn. The mission is currently in its third phase or mission extension having started with the 4-year Cassini mission, followed by the 2-year Cassini Equinox Mission, and now the current Cassini Solstice Mission – scheduled to end around 2017.
   Among the accomplishments made by the Cassini mission include landing the Huygens probe on the moon Titan. According to a recent press release mission scientists have determined that the manner in which the probe landed suggests that the surface where the probe landed is soft, like “soft damp sand”.
   Click here to read the NASA press release.

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.