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back to article Phoenix beams back Martian postcards

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has beamed back its first snaps of the Martian Arctic's Vastitas Borealis region, having successfully landed at around 23:40 GMT yesterday: Phoenix snap of the Martian surface. Pic: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona The spacecraft is apparently in "great shape" and lying at at 68° north, 234° …

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Happy

a bit "geometric" for random

did the mason's come from mars?

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Anonymous Coward

Great news!

But how come costs only 500 million to go to Mars, yet the cost of going to Iraq (which, I have been told, is a lot closer), is 500 billion (and counting)?

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I'm surprised

When I saw the animation of the touchdown a couple of days ago, my first thought was 'no way -- it's gonna crash'.

Apparently rocket science is even cleverer than I thought.

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Coat

Hmmmm....

I dunno. Looks a lot like my mate's driveway in Croydon. I reckon it's a fake and no-ones going to find out because no-ones going to Croydon.

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@Tanya

It took about 500 billion to put 12 geologists on the moon.

Try sending 200,000 people to Mars and supporting them for five years while fighting Martians and see how the cost goes up.

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Paris Hilton

Definitely fake

That picture looks like an old woman's belly button (as one would imagine, of course).

Paris, 'cos she wishes someone would land on her these days.

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Coat

Scale

Couldn't they have it drop something like a coke can or pack of Marlboro lights, I have no sense of the scale.

I have this image of the robot dumping all the trash from the trip before starting work.

Also, it's obviously fake the shadows are wrong, no stars, footprint in bottom right corner, prop numbers stenciled onto rocks, no dust for first picture after landing,....

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Alien

This is the view from

AmanFromMars' verandah!

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Black Helicopters

Fake ???

How could you suggest such a thing. Don't you trust and love our beloved leaders? We have special places for trouble makers you know.

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Coat

Some Martian is going to be pissed

Waking up to find some aliens have dumped a huge metal object and stared to dig a trench right bang in the middle of the Martina equivalent Japanese rock garden.How would you feel if next door decided to rip up your flower bed you sure as hell would want to kick his ass so lets to be to shocked when an invasion fleet decided to come and blow us up for dumping our crap on them.

Mine is the one with the Acme rocket in the pocket - If it was good enough for Marvin and the Coyote it might just save earth.

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234° east?

Aren't longitudes normally less than or equal to 180°? I would have written 234° east as 126° west instead.

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@Slaine

;)

Polygonal terrain is common in the tundra of Earth. It's caused by the freezing and thawing of water in the soil. As waterlogged soil frrezes, it expands and pushes coarse material upwards and outwards. Gradually, the middle of each polygon becomes dominated by fine grained icy soil while the borders of the polygon become piles of pebbles and grit. They look spookily like dry stone walling for lemmings, but we know they're natural and the process has been modelled by (here comes the IT angle) computers.

Seeing them around Phoenix isn't a complete surprise as polygons have been observed from Martian orbit before, here you go:

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/martianterrain/MOC2-315_release.html

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Re: Scale

There was a coke can in the picture, but they Photoshopped it out, because it gave the whole thing away.

-dZ.

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Thumb Down

Fake

no shark, bridge or helicopter.

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Black Helicopters

Seashell-like structure?

Hi..

Take a look, extreme left about 1/2 way down. Is it just me or does this look a bit like a seashell on its side?

I asked SWMBO and she agrees with me on this one.

-A

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Paris Hilton

7.7 feet?

7.7 feet? Come off it, you metrically impared individual. All NASA work is done in meters, and a 7.7ft robotic arm is actually a 2.502 meter appendage. Let's call it 2.5 meters. So there. Please update your article to use proper measurements. Oh, and avoid your luddite imperial system in future. kthxbai.

Paris, because only a dumb blonde would make such a silly mistake.

-n

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Coat

RE: 7.7 feet?

The country that retained feet, miles, etc. is the one that has had the most successful space program.

Mines the one 157 millimetres to the left.

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Paris Hilton

Dumb Blonde or just a Lost SMARTer Soul Adrift in a Dank and Dismal Pond?

"7.7 feet? Come off it, you metrically impared individual." .... By nick hilliard Posted Monday 26th May 2008 11:43 GMT

nick,

There is probably some Magic Significance in 7.7.... for as you rightly point out, it could quite easily have been something else.

"Paris, because only a dumb blonde would make such a silly mistake." Hmmm, does that make them easily lead?

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Re Seashell-like structure?

I for one, welcome our new acquatic Martian overlords.

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Alien

Re: 234° east?

@ Torben:

On planets other than Earth, all longitudes are normally given as longitudes east. It's simpler. Allegedly.

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MIssion to Mars

Tanya Cumpston wrote:

But how come costs only 500 million to go to Mars, yet the cost of going to Iraq (which, I have been told, is a lot closer), is 500 billion (and counting)?

We didn't have a moron running the mission to Mars like we have in "mission from God" in Iraq. Then again there aren't a bunch Muslim terrorists shooting at it or trying to blow up the Phoenix lander either. Also, NASA actually had a plan in place for what to do when they got to Mars.

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Joke

..lying..?

"...lying at at 68° north, 234° east on a flat valley ..."

I hope that it is in fact standing :)

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Alien

man in the picture?

Say what you want but I see two martians in the photo. There are about the size of cockrocaches. Right side. About half way down. In about a quarter.

Just had to go look again didn't you?

Mine is the one with the eight ball on the back.

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Re: a bit "geometric" for random

It's not completely random.

I wasn't able to find a good picture in a brief web search, but I've seen photos of remarkably regular "patterned ground" from permafrost regions.

Some of these may be useful to people unfamiliar with the phenomenon, if you find some good links to good photos, please post them.

http://sis.agr.gc.ca/cansis/taxa/landscape/ground/nwt.html

http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/msss/camera/images/polygons_5_02/index.html

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/08/MNG9995U0F1.DTL

http://www.oup.com/ca/he/companion/deblij/st_index/st_guide/unit48/

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Paris Hilton

Not scuppered

Expecting to find water so soon already? No wonder it's soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo exciting running away from Earth. I can barely contain myself.

Paris - not a scupper either.

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Re: 7.7 feet

But remember, one of the previous Mars probes was lost because of confusion between feet and metres so its entry sequences got triggered at completely the wrong altitude.

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Happy

@I'm surprised

Me too, and for just the same reason, that animation reminded me of the old "flying bedstead" design from the '50s, and I thought it would be just as unstable. I thought "when that flat thing smashing through the atmosphere at high speed starts to fire rockets, it's going to skip and jump like a bucking bronco and probably end up flipping upside-down".

Guess it goes to show we've learnt a lot about real-time computer control of dynamically instable flight systems since then. Maybe NASA kind-of exaggerated the bounciness factor in that animation a bit, to make it look more exciting and dangerous than it actually was?

Either way, I'm well impressed. We're on another planet! Go, Team Earthbound-Biped-Primates!

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Flame

Anyone watch Arrested Development?

Those are balls!

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@Nick Hillard

Scrap feet, scrap meters... El Reg Grapefruits is the way to go.

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Alien

Geologists

@Joe Cooper

"It took about 500 billion to put 12 geologists on the moon."

Err, only one of them was a geologist, and even then what they really needed was a Selenologist (but they hadn't been invented back then).

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Joke

@ Joe Cooper

"Try sending 200,000 people to Mars and supporting them for five years while fighting Martians and see how the cost goes up."

So, the troops would be armed with some sort of anti-bacterial spray?

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Fascinating picture here

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/mars/phoenix/images/mroparachute.jpg

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured it on the way down.

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Happy

@ Cherry

And the picture of the Phoenix Lander, landing is even cleverer, still.

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/230206main_9227-PHX_Lander.jpg

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Paris Hilton

2 metre arm

Since the robotic arm is Canada's contribution to the effort (as is the case with the Shuttle programme), you can be sure that it was engineered in proper units.

Paris, because she was not fooled by this length boast.

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Boffin

@ John Cherry

Not terribly surprising: it's pretty much how the Viking landers did it thirty years ago, the only real difference being that Phoenix has gone straight in for a landing rather than doing some orbital sightseeing first.

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Anonymous Coward

Question

Why is it that my $200 digital camera has higher resolution and better quality than any of these images?

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Boffin

Geometry

Naturally-formed polygons aren't that unusual. A foam of soap bubbles in your sink, for example. Many are polyhedra, with flat sides, straight edges, and sharp corners.

Re 234º east: on Earth, yes. But there's less risk of confusion or error if you always measure eastward from an (arbitrary) prime meridian.

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Happy

Seashell-like structure

Take a look, extreme left about 1/2 way down. Is it just me or does this look a bit like a seashell on its side?

I asked SWMBO and she agrees with me on this one.

Well, that settles it then.

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Jobs Horns

Idiots Art Bell and George SNoory ALREADY Fabricating Martian Road Story!

One of their Liars Club freaks with a new books to sell is already planned for the show to tell all the late night morons that the "geometric" shape in the picture is an ancient bit of Martian road or canal!

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Alien

Re: Seashell-like structure

Isn't the reason for the sea shell simply that the picture, taken by a camera with a red filter on its lens, is just of the "beach" at Weston-Super-Mare when the tide is out?

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Disappointed with NASA

If they're going to program their landers to send back holiday snaps they could have at least got it to digitally stamp "Weather is great, wish you were here" or (better) "Scenery is here, wish you were beautiful" on the bottom of the pic.

They've really let the side down.

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Boffin

@amanfromMars

I guess you should know about this. Can't you ring up some relatives back home and get the skinny?

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Alien

RE: 7.7 feet?

"The country that retained feet, miles, etc. is the one that has had the most successful space program."

Because when NASA use imperial measurements thing go so well......

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msp98/news/mco991110.html

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Alien

Where's the Kaboom?

There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering Kaboom!

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Joke

Correct arm length

Actually in the correct measurement the robotic arm is 11.6 red squirrels.

Measured of course from the nose, to the end of the tail (equivalent to 10.8 of the slightly larger grey squirrel)

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Red Squirrels - ISO

The ISO (International Squirrel Organisation) specifies the Standard Dimensions of red and grey squirrels but there is some discussion about the gravity effect which, it is believed, may have resulted in a slightly larger or taller creature.

Nevertheless it has been confirmed that grey squirrels originated on the moon and the red squirrels on Mars – camouflage is effective hence the difficulty in spotting them. The alleged existence of little green squirrels has not been fully debated.

I wonder what sort of fiasco will result when they discover oil on Mars.

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Alien

Last Tango in Paris ...... dDeeper Space XXXXPloration Primer

""The country that retained feet, miles, etc. is the one that has had the most successful space program."

Because when NASA use imperial measurements thing go so well......

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msp98/news/mco991110.html" .... By Matt Martin Posted Tuesday 27th May 2008 01:39 GMT

Matt,

One trusts in Global Operating Devices, that for any possible Chance and all possible Chances of Sustainable Imperial Success in Alien Space Missions, that ITs Leadership Team members are Naturally Up for the Task and not Junked out on the Blue Pill of Distressed Chemical and MetaDataMining Dependency...... for if they have no Viable IP Growth Strategy for Future Source/Deep Select Space Flight Population for AIReal Simulations, the Phoenix will fade to Black and Default to Red Control. Indeed, and I would not want to be too alarmist about the matter, it may very well be so already Proxy Defaulted/Kernel Embedded and just awaits Third Party HyperRadioProActivity to Energise Limitless Imaginative Source Potential.

When one considers the earlier crash/failure report, one may see a disturbingly familiar picture to the one painted in this short extract from its findings ...."The failure board's first report identifies eight contributing factors that led directly or indirectly to the loss of the spacecraft. These contributing causes include inadequate consideration of the entire mission and its post-launch operation as a total system, inconsistent communications and training within the project, and lack of complete end-to-end verification of navigation software and related computer models. "

But if they have a handle on How to Steer Imagination in the Right Direction and towards the Light of Deeper Understandings, then they will have no Problems.

And having landed on Mars and finding IT Convivial ...... whatever Next to do? Create a New World Environment on Earth as AI ControlLED Virgin Space Simulator Program for Budding Colonists? Do that too well and you will Create Red Hot Zones/Martian Times on Earth and a Simple Virtual TelePortation Facility in Faculty. ...... although that may be more of a Fit for House of the Rising Sun Eastern Space Science Technologies/Methodologies to showcase their Microprocessor/SemiConductor XXXXPerTease.

Tread carefully on Foreign Soils, for Aliens have no Default Rights and are only Welcome Guests when bearing no Ills and Providing New Technology.

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Silver badge

$200 digital camera

The Register chose/scaled an image to match their site. The Surface Stereo Imager has a resolution of 1024x1024 and can detect 12 different wavelengths.

1024x1024 seems to be a popular resolution on interplanetary probes. I assume they have a CCD element that they know can survive being shaken up during launch, six month's radiation dose in space followed by re-entry into a corrosive abrasive atmosphere. If they want a higher resolution, they can make a mosaic - the rocks will not leap about that much between shots.

Try drop testing a $200 digital camera. Martian dust is particularly intrusive and abrasive. Bury your camera in a sandy beach, then try to take photographs at twelve different wavelengths.

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Alien

They're finding more than they expected

NASA finds Bible on Mars!!

http://www.weeklyworldinquisitor.com/bible_on_mars.html

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Camera & more

The camera is low resolution.. but it works from -50ºC to +75ºC.... try that with your (or my) camera...

As for comparison to the viking projects.. this is viking on asteroids.. same idea, better tech.

By the way, space machines are almost always made from outdated technology.. my boss has designed quite some space things things (and these went to space).. and they always used outdated technology that worked for sure and was totally tested. You can't send to space a system that may crash...

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