"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Martian Red on a Day of Green

Today is of course St. Patrick's Day. For me it began just before dawn as I, half-asleep and sporting bed hair, stumbled out onto the snow-covered front lawn. After a few minutes of pacing to stay warm and wondering if I'd missed it, I noticed a bright point of light rise over my roof on a northeasterly trajectory: the International Space Station. The boy in me took over and gave the ISS an enthusiastic wave. Do you know how to
get a free heads-up when the ISS is going to pass over your neighborhood?

Now, I am not Irish. Nevertheless I sincerely thank them for this wonderfully inclusive day of celebration. I will be scoring my corned beef and cabbage a bit later. But right now it's time to share an image you should not miss. Check out Mount Sharp on the planet Mars. Do not settle for the below preview image. Visit NASA's landing page and open the full-size JPEG version (white-balanced and raw-color versions available). Then zoom in and start scrolling.

Mount Sharp aka Aeolis Mons on Mars, Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS 

Lest we forget, the Curiosity Rover and its cameras are not alone. Below is a wonderful view taken from space. Thanks to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, we have been able to observe changes occurring on the planet's surface. According to planetary scientist Colin Dundas, the new gully deposits in the below image are likely caused by none other
than frost!

Gullies in Mars's Gasa Crater, Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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