Monday, September 10, 2012

The Curiosity Workout – arm exercises & breathing exercises

Well we know that Curiosity is leaving her tracks on Mars but did you also know NASA has spent time doing arm exercises and also a deep inhale and hold!

Because the gravity on Mars is 38% of Earth’s gravity the difference between working with the arm in our atmosphere and there is a rather large difference. In fact to compensate for the variances they have written a computer program taking how we would have to do it here and then factoring in the change so that Curiosity can do it on Mars. (Perhaps it isn’t the high tech gadgetry you expected, but sometimes the smart way is the simpler way.) The arm has a hand lens known as Mahli (Mars Hand Lens Imager) that can resolve Mars rock down to a talcum powder. She also has an x-ray spectrometer that is able to measure the abundance of chemicals in various rocks. Another thing is the CHimra (or Collection and Handling Interior Martian rock analysis) that pulls soil sample inside where they can be analyzed throughout the rover’s body.

The Curiosity is an independent science lab that at its longest distance is 160 million miles from Earth…When you think about it, NASA really has made the seemingly impossible turn out rather effortless in appearance.

The Curiosity sucked air into a bag for sample analysis and so far the results have been predictable. CO2. We have been aware of this since way back to the Viking Probes in the ‘70s. But now we are curious about the Methane gas that both a satellite and Earth have observed. Ultimately the hope is that SAM (sample Analysis at Mars) can shed some light on this. I am hoping that it won’t shed light on the mystery the way that NASA hope but that perhaps it will serve to prove one of my theories regarding perception of light via colors etc. and long distance observation. I fear that the longer the distance the less likely that what you see is what you get.

I have some cool drawings from NASA here regarding the Curiosities plans over the next two years and the other rovers and where they are/were. Here is something I find interesting; the picture off the cast off garbage (the parachute & capsule back shell) of Curiosity just strewn across Mars. It reminds me off the flags and the landing sites on the Moon where we left all sorts of materials. Seems we can’t go anywhere without leaving some junk. I recognize the problem; I mean do we spend a million sending the garbage back to earth? Still, there has to be a third option! I just can see some aliens on Alpha Centuri watching the expansion of the Earthlings in space and one saying to the other; “Well, there goes the neighborhood!”

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