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Space Science

NASA Images Old Mars Landers 38

Posted by michael
from the squint dept.
Iron Sun writes "Scientists have used the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter to capture images of what they think are the Viking 1 and Mars Pathfinder craft sitting on the surface of Mars. I'll have to take their word they are the indistinct blobs in question. The probes were supposedly just below the resolution of Surveyor, but they used a new trick developed last year to squeeze more detail out of the camera. The next target will, of course, be the Spirit rover."
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NASA Images Old Mars Landers

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  • by nocomment (239368) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:42PM (#7922293) Homepage Journal
    And of course here's the images of Beagle [userfriendly.org] for those who missed it.
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:42PM (#7922302)
    They can show us this, but they still can't show us the fillagried balconies on all the ornate buildings of Cydonia [mufor.org], or even a more detailed image of the Face of Elvis! [hobrad.com]. Come on, where are you priorities, NASA?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:50PM (#7922386)
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  • Weird... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Henry V .009 (518000) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @07:50PM (#7922391) Journal
    If those blobs at the end of the arrows are our probes, whose probes are all the rest of the blobs?
  • To argue that those 2 pixels are the Mars Pathfinder, with all that random noise in the photograph.
    • well.... if you imaged the same spot twice on two different orbits and the pixels in question were still there, you could then argue that they are surface features.
    • There are actually several techniques to filter noise without losing significant spikes. One which I've worked with before is the minimum noise fraction transformation, which is a modified version of the principal components transformation that works based on maximizing signal rather than variance.

      "Basically," you create n-dimensional coordinate system where n is the number of colors per pixel in your image and each axis is numbered by the brightness of that color in each pixel. You plot each pixel as a
  • From the article:
    "It would be extremely difficult to find a lander for which the location is uncertain"

    So basically they are saying if they know exactly where the lander is, they can point to it on a picture of mars. The only real news is the picture has enough resolution you can see the dot that is the lander. Of course, if they are wrong, it might be that dot over there... or maybe that one... or...

    That said, this is pretty damn cool. Hopefully the next mission will have even better resolution camera
  • WMDs (Score:5, Funny)

    by mraymer (516227) <mraymer@@@centurytel...net> on Thursday January 08, 2004 @08:36PM (#7922798) Homepage Journal
    You can clearly see that the blob of pixels in question is, in fact, a Martian mobile weapons lab.

    I think we are a few artist renditions away from a Martian Liberation.

    • the Martian Operation to Restore Equality, Opportunity, and Institute Liberty?
    • Re:WMDs (Score:3, Funny)

      by iggymanz (596061)
      Marvin the Martian denied this saying "The rabbit lies. There is no Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, there never was an Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator".
  • by fygment (444210) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @09:21PM (#7923189)
    ... that's my wife. Just kidding.

    It's actually Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Clever bastard! Just kidding.

    I worked with imagery analysts in the pre-digital age. You wanted to see a field of camouflaged T-64 tanks in your picture? No problem. Change your mind and want instead to see the Soviet fleet exiting harbour at battle stations? Heck, it could be that too! They'd just change the captions. It was a standing joke. They worked hard and honestly I'm sure, but only they really knew the difference.

  • New trick? (Score:3, Funny)

    by bobbozzo (622815) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @09:25PM (#7923227)
    they used a new trick developed last year to squeeze more detail out of the camera

    Why don't they just use the equipment all the police & spook shows/movies use to enhance crappy video so well that you can zoom into a 4-pixel person until you see the pores on their face??
    :p

  • by johnjay (230559) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @09:45PM (#7923384)
    Does anyone know if there are any plans in the works at NASA, ESA, or elsewhere to send higher-resolution orbitting cameras to Mars? I know that the current pictures are by far the most detailed we've ever had, but someone must be thinking of doing better.

    They must have have a pretty good idea where the Beagle should be, a good enough camera might at least be able to verify that it's there. (Not that it would matter, but it'd be nice to know...)
  • by stendec (582696) on Thursday January 08, 2004 @11:43PM (#7924328)
    According to the United Press International, President Bush will propose changes [upi.com] to the U.S. space program that includes a manned return to the moon in 2013 with an ultimate aim of a landing on Mars. Further plans involve retiring the space shuttle fleet once the ISS is completed.

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