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back to article Curiosity parks for a day, looks back in wonder

Wall•E wannabe Curiosity has driven another 21 metres, then given itself a day off to admire the view. The little rover that could trundled to the east last Thursday (US time). That effort exhausted the craft, which spent Friday resting. It did find time to snap the panorama below depicting its tracks on the Martian surface. …

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Bronze badge

"The little rover that could"

I thought the correct El Reg form was "nuclear-powered, laser-armed, interplanetary death tank".

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Anonymous Coward

Is that

A cigarette end that I can see?

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Anonymous Coward

Question?

They talk about trundling east or west, but does Mars have a magnetic field like we do here. Would a compass work? How do know east from west on Mars?

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Holmes

Re: Question?

Earth and Mars are (more or less) on the same plane, so it's easy to use the same “north” and “south” regardless of magnetic fields. “East” and “west” follow.

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Boffin

Re: Question?

"How do know east from west on Mars?"

It doesn't have a magnetic field any more, but it's believed it does have. However it's relatively easy to assume north is the same orientation for Earth (bear in mind, "North" isn't fixed for us either, the magnetic pole moves, and the entire field can reverse). As for telling east from west on Mars, the Sun still rises and sets... :wink:

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Angel

Re: "The little rover that could"

Some people just have no soul!

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Anonymous Coward

Annihilator

I know, right. It's strange to see someone ask that question. "How do I know which way is up!" ;)

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Silver badge

Re: Question?

I figured that it was the same way they figured it out in Stargate Universe.

"That's where the sun rises. We'll call that East."

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@Annihilator

"(bear in mind, "North" isn't fixed for us either, the magnetic pole moves, and the entire field can reverse)"

Actually, North is very much fixed for us and it's not dependent on where the magnetic North is (they are different even now). True geographic North is at the North pole.

For Mars its true North will be at the pole located in the same hemisphere above the Solar invariable plane as the Earth's North pole...

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Headmaster

Re: Question?

But of course there is an Universal Universe UP and DOWN!!!! Look at all the SciFi movies, especially Star Trek - you can easily see that all the space ships move on the same plane and have the same UP and DOWN as everyone else!!!

Obviously SciFi movies are a FACTUAL!!!!

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Silver badge

Re: Question?

Up and Down, Starboard - towards the system's star, Port - away from it. One of the most practical Sci-Fi ideas I have read about recently.

But that's good for ships, for planets you'd still want NESW cardinals...

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Science fiction has a word for it

> They talk about trundling east or west

NASA could always adopt the SF terms: spinward and antispinward that can be applied where there is no magnetic pole to drive a compass, nor any significantly bright star to rise or set in a particular direction. The terms have been popular for quite some time, though maybe aren't as "taxpayer friendly" as the more familiar east and west.

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Joke

Re: Question?

Better than NSFW Cardinals...

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@Theodore

Ah, I was just wondering when those will Pope out...

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Re: Question?

"Starboard - towards the system's star, Port - away from it. One of the most practical Sci-Fi ideas I have read about recently."

Until you end up in a star system with two (or more) stars..

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Go

Re: "The little rover that could"

Gingers have souls.....

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Re: Annihilator

Not really mate, when I was on admin sec duties for the national grid when CSC took over, we had a young lady work on the front line, who quite often aired her misconceptions of the world around her, but one of my favorites was her trying to fathom the ambiguity presented when someone mentioned traveling south, which involved a drive out of the valley up a hill, and she told us all that it was not possible, seen as North is uphill, not south...

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Re: "The little rover that could"

I though it was

Nuclear powered, laser gun toting planet botherer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Question?

OK, rimwards, hubwards, clockwise, and widdershins then.

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Joke

Little-known fact

"But of course there is an Universal Universe UP and DOWN!!!! Look at all the SciFi movies, especially Star Trek - you can easily see that all the space ships move on the same plane and have the same UP and DOWN as everyone else!!!"

Not many people know this, but in the Star Trek universe, all starships (whatever the race that creates them) are equipped with sensors allowing them to detect and orient themselves to the edges of your TV set.

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Re: @Annihilator

Yes, in the sense that North has nothing to do with the magnetic field.

No, in the sense that the axis of the Earth's rotation does in fact wobble around a small amount...

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2000/2000GL011450.shtml

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Headmaster

Antispinward??

The correct term is widdershins, as everybody should know!

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Coat

Re: Science fiction has a word for it

A better idea would be to use the terms "turnwise" and "widdershins".

Mine's the one with octarine light shining out of the pockets.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Annihilator

Vlad,

I suspect you know this, but don't you think "very much fixed for us" might be a bit of an overstatement, when we need an entire international agency to constantly keep track of where North is, amongst other things?

I am, of course, talking about the International Earth Rotation Service [IERS], which by the way must be the coolest name of any agency ever created.

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Happy

Bored?

Zapping morse code into the dust with the lazer. Practical use of mission resources? You'd never catch me doing it.

No wait, yes you would. I'd be zapping rude things into everything just for giggles, dammit.

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Go

Re: Bored?

"He hoped that from some vantage point in the Universe it might be seen to spell a very, very rude word."

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Silver badge

Re: Bored?

Billions of dollars spent of getting a robot with a laser to Mars.

What do they do with it? Draw penises on Martian rocks!

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Trollface

Glenelg?

Anyone who lives in South Australia will be laughing their heads off at that one!

(For those who don't, Glenelg is Adelaide's rather sorry attempt to imitate the Riviera...)

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I thought the morse code came from the track pattern in the wheels?

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I knew it!

That thing in the lower right of the last picture is definitely a cannon.

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Happy

HHGttG

"Hey Marvin! Wotcha doing on Mars?"

"Writing Morse code in the dust with my laser. It's very depressing."

"Hey cool metal man, that's one hoopy trip you got there!"

"I know. Here's me brain the size of a planet, and they just tell me to drive along shooting rocks and then taking pictures of them."

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Mushroom

Re: HHGttG

"Oooooooh this makes me very angry..."

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Joke

He could have been writing Vogon poetry in Morse code, but then maybe there is a treaty against that.

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"He could have been writing Vogon poetry... "

No wonder he was depressed !

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Go

So now we have declared war on the martians can we expect retaliation in the form of powered meteorite strikes on EarthERK!

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As any fule kno...

...they would use the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator

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Coat

Re: As any fule kno...

I thought we spelt that Illuidium over on the right side of the pond..

Mines the one with the Aluminium hat in the pocket.

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Boffin

Re: Question

NSEW is derived from the spin axis, not from the magnetic North.

See: IAU Commission IV, WG IV/9, Mars geodesy/cartography working group

recommendations on mars cartographic constants and coordinate systems.

http://www.isprs.org/proceedings/XXXIV/part4/pdfpapers/521.pdf

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Silver badge

Re: Question

thanks for that - but what has jschoonhoven done to you?

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Re: Question

Helpful, thanks.

But I could find no help with the North Pole of Uranus, which spins in the opposite direction to the other planets. So which end is North?

Surely it has to depend on the spin because in deep space there are only distant spots of light as reference. As was almost written above, every stationary object rises in the East, then use a compass card.

Lots of loose objects are found without spin, how are they mapped ?

And the north pole of a magnet is more correctly named 'North seeking'. I don't know how we would settle this linguistically if civilised humans live through a reversal of the earth's magnetism. Of course we may visit planets with reversed magnetism so the needle points the wrong way, no problem as NASA will produce special compasses at $125K each.

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Joke

Re: Question

Yeah the Uranus problem has become a bit of a shitty stick.

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Silver badge

So, the thing lands, mooches around a little then vandalises the place with graffiti. Sounds just like a teenager to me!

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Bronze badge

I think Id agree I can see Uranus being a problem depending on the celestial wind direction.As for Mars well North is of course in the direction of the first bite.

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