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Space Science

Spirit Takes Snapshot of Earth 257

Posted by michael
from the all-the-way-back dept.
ControlFreal writes "On its 66th Sol on Mars, Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has obtained its first full view of crater Bonneville. In doing so, Spirit achieved its primary travel destination, as set out in its initial itinerary. Furthermore, Spirit has now travelled more than 300 meters, thereby fulfilling its minimum mission success criteria. With this, and Opportunity halfway through its primary mission, and having discovered very strong indications of a wet Martian past, NASA has truly many an astonishing interplanetary succes story! See the overview at the Mars Rover site for more details." Another reader writes "Among the 'money-shots' from the Mars rovers would have to rank the 'pale blue dot' image released today--a view looking back towards Earth. The larger image also includes the horizon and Sun, which because the Earth is seen as an inner planet closer in towards the Sun from a martian perspective, is difficult to photograph without saturation by solar glare."
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Spirit Takes Snapshot of Earth

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  • Congratulations! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tizzyD (577098) <tizzyd@@@gmail...com> on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:03AM (#8542574) Homepage
    From all of us out here that dreamed of stepping on the Martian surface at one time or another, thanks for taking me there--at least in spirit.

    Good job all!
  • YAY (Score:4, Funny)

    by Killjoy_NL (719667) <slashdot@@@remco...palli...nl> on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:04AM (#8542586)
    I CAN SEE MY HOUSE FROM HERE :D

    Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
    Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
  • hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bbowers (596225) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:04AM (#8542589) Journal
    Feels a little bit humbling... I feel so small and insignificant :-\
    • Re:hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by BillFarber (641417) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:29AM (#8542756)
      Based on your slashdot Friends list, I'd say that's about right. ;)
    • Very humbling indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GillBates0 (664202) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:38AM (#8542832) Homepage Journal
      The last image with the earth showing as a small star in the sky made me feel very small indeed.

      Consider that the human life span of about 80 years is but an instant compared to the lifecycle of the stars/galaxies/etc.

      And we spend a significant amount of that time destructively (fighting/quarreling/warring/killing/spiting). Feels kinda weird...even destruction is bad only from our point of view....who knows what's actually "good" or "bad". Our knowledge and lives are just insignificant specks in the vastness of the Universe.

    • Re:hmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dalamarian (741404)
      Voyager 1 took a very similiar image as it was leaving the solar system in 1990. Carl Sagan, one of the key contributors to the project, used it for inspiration to title his book Pale Blue Dot. I agree with the humbling factor, just like I did then. But I feel that I am more a part of something larger and more grand, makes me happy.
    • ObPython: (Score:4, Informative)

      by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday March 12, 2004 @12:00PM (#8543515) Homepage Journal
      (With thanks to Eric Idle)

      Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
      And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
      That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
      A sun that is the source of all our power.
      The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
      Are moving at a million miles a day
      In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
      Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.

      Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
      It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
      It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
      But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
      We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
      We go 'round every two hundred million years,
      And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
      In this amazing and expanding universe.

      The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
      In all of the directions it can whizz
      As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
      Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
      So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
      How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
      And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
      'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.
    • And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
      'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth
  • by Anonymous Coward
    we all know the earth is flat and the "moon landings" were faked.
  • by loserbert (697119) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:06AM (#8542603) Homepage
    If you turn down your screen resolution so everything is bigger, you can see yourself waving.
  • Heck, and I thought it involved fairy cake. Turns out you need to travel to mars first. Oh well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:09AM (#8542622)
    The news coverage of the exciting explots of these plucky extra-terrestrial rovers seems to have diminished. No pictures (well no original pictures) of aliens in the foreground of the Megabytes of images, no puddles, no golf-balls. Not very inspiring viewing.

    I think the realisation that the missions were not going to be highly inspirational came when it occurred to me that the first rover landed on a plain and the chosen mission was to drive over to a crater and look in while the second rover landed in a crater and its chosen mission is to take a picture of the plain just over the rim.

    Seems that getting there was the easy bit, achieving something meaningful has been a bit harder.
    • That really depends on what meaning you infer from what the rovers originally set out to accomplish. What I find inspirational is that they found bulletproof evidence that water once existed on Mars and may still exist in the form of brine.

    • by l0wland (463243) <l0wland.yahoo@com> on Friday March 12, 2004 @11:05AM (#8543055) Journal
      " The news coverage of the exciting explots of these plucky extra-terrestrial rovers seems to have diminished."

      When the press-conference of NASA was given about their revolutionairy findings, CNN was the only channel (at least here in The Netherlands) that paid attention to it. But as soon as it became clear that they had found indications for water, and NOT little green man, they immediately switched to other news. I think they only showed about 4 minutes of the press-conference. That shows how much (or lack of) interest the press and most of the public have in this mission. And I think it's sad, looking at the importance of it all.

    • by danila (69889) on Friday March 12, 2004 @12:07PM (#8543562) Homepage
      Seems that getting there was the easy bit, achieving something meaningful has been a bit harder.
      Like having Janet Jackson show a breast or what? The definition of "meaningful" that general public (and mass media) uses differs a lot from what intelligent people consider meaningful. Most people are idiots and sheeps, that's a fact of life. They want big explosions, deaths and sex. If NASA manages to crash their next spaceship into Paris, destroying the Eiffel Tower, I guarantee it will be a hot topic longer than anything related to the twin rovers. If a senior NASA officer (female) poses for Hustler, this will drive more traffic to nasa.gov than any photo they can shoot on Mars. That's a sad reality, but to stand on the position of the public and claim that rover missions were not really meaningful is totally wrong.
  • by zzztkf (574953) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:09AM (#8542626)
    As I has seen masr last summer, it looked so big and red. I wonder when looked back from Mars, what color is earth.

    I have seen pitcure from interplanetory orbit to take Earth and Moon in a single pitcture. Color contrast between them has impressed me a lot.
  • by Jase_000 (761604) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:12AM (#8542647) Homepage
    Here's the image in ASCII representation:

    . <-- You are here
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:12AM (#8542648)
    Dang. They could have told us when to say cheese.
  • by meringuoid (568297) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:13AM (#8542651)
    ... I don't think this will be very important. It's a dot in the sky like any other, with just an arrow pointing to it to say that it's Earth. There's no real visceral connection there.

    I doubt any image returned by space exploration in the next few thousand years will change our perspective on things as much as the Earthrise photographs from Apollo 8. Our first view of Earth from the Moon, and it showed so much. It was large and clear enough to connect with, it was plainly Earth with oceans and continents and clouds, and it was tiny - all of human history and culture, all our achievements, in that small spot. Now that's quite a culture shock.

    But 'pale blue dot' images? It's just a dot. It might just as well be Venus for all the emotional impact I get from it. Maybe if we could see _two_ dots from Mars - Earth and Moon - then we'd get the same sense of smallness we got from the Apollo views, because that would establish identity at the gut level.

    • by oneiron (716313) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:26AM (#8542731)
      I think that's the bigger impact... Earth as a small dot can help to show humans just exactly how insignificant our planet can be in the grand scale of the universe. Sounds like the small dot doesn't feed your ego in quite the same way as the pictures from Apollo 8 did. Well good... If you want a big emotional impact, take a look at the recent "deepest space picture ever" taken by hubble. Then count the galaxies you can see in a picture that shows an area about the size of what you would see if you looked at the sky through a drinking straw.
      • by meringuoid (568297) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:32AM (#8542779)
        Sounds like the small dot doesn't feed your ego in quite the same way as the pictures from Apollo 8 did.

        It's not quite that. With Apollo 8's images, you look at it and it's Earth, obviously and plainly Earth. With the images from Mars, it's a dot. I know intellectually that it's Earth, but that's just not the same. If the picture was detailed enough that I could _see_ that it was Earth - as I mentioned, maybe if we could see the Moon beside it - then I might feel something for it.

        If I only know that it's Earth because it's in the position in the Martian sky where Earth is calculated to be, then it's just another manifestation of mathematics.

        • then it's just another manifestation of mathematics.

          No, seriously, turn it your geek badge now. And take that patch off your jacket. If you can't see the significance and 'cultural impact' of taking a look at ourselves from another planet then I think you lean more to the side of our culture that watches Jerry Springer, certainly not the 'news for nerds' side.

          • what are you talking about? There is a huge overlap between the occult interstellar sci-fi wackos who include an interplanetary cultural viewpoint in everything they do and the Springer crowd. I think Springer has probably had more Raeliens on his show and in his audience than anyone else.
            Anyway, the previous poster was correct, a dot in some haze holds about as much impact as the ascii jokes posted here (not to say that either is completely devoid of impact, but since we all already know how far earth
            • There is a huge overlap between the occult interstellar sci-fi wackos who include an interplanetary cultural viewpoint in everything they do and the Springer crowd

              It was a generalization, get over it.

              a dot in some haze holds about as much impact as the ascii jokes posted here

              Your right about that, what I took issue with was the comment 'it's just another manifestation of mathematics.' What meringuoid seems to be saying is 'if you can only prove it with math it's not real to me' which is utterly ridic
        • by hey! (33014) on Friday March 12, 2004 @12:14PM (#8543623) Homepage Journal
          People just don't spend the amount of time they used to looking up at the sky's wonder and glory.

          It takes a bit of experience to be able see what is dramatic. People are usually underwhelmed by what they see in a small telescope, they much less likely to be able to take in the magnificence of an unmagified image of the sky. I look at Alberio [astronomyphotos.com] through my little 90mm refractor, and it's absolutely stunning to me. However for most people it's a yawn. The only sky object that uniformly gets a "wow" is the Moon.

          If you're accustomed to looking at the sky quite a bit, you'll find that planets are dramatically different from stars: they look like little holes punched out of the sky. Once you've learned to really see planets, the idea of seeing Earth the same way will have more resonance for you.

          Mars also has kind of a creamy color when viewed from Earth; it's a bit too faint to look as dramaticall red as it is close up. Earth is a larger planet and might be a bit brighter. I wonder if the picture were in color, whether Earth might be a pale blue. A tiny sapphire glowing in a reddish dawn might be a bit more dramatic. However, the delights of naked eye and low magnification sky viewing are subtle, sometimes in hints of color, or tiny but striking arrangements. It takes a certain number of hours to be able to even perceive them.
      • It was actually a 8 foot long drinking straw, if I remember the quote correctly.
    • by altairmaine (317424) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:27AM (#8542743)
      You make a very interesting point here, one that sent me running to look up some numbers and find a calculator. My fast crappy math seems to suggest that we could very plausibly see the moon from Mars with a decent camera.

      When the rovers were launched, Mars was about 78 million km from Earth. The average distance from Earth to the moon is roughly 400000 km. So assuming the angles are right, there would be a maximum angular separation of about s/r = 0.005 radians or 0.3 degrees - more than enough to distinguish with the naked eye. The moon is fairly large; its diameter is about 3/4 that of Mercury. Although it is not as brightly illuminated due to greater distance from the sun, my intuition is that it ought to be visible to the naked eye.

      I don't know if the Spirit or the Opportunity cameras are up to it, or if the orbital configurations are so convenient right now, but a photo of the Earth and moon like that you suggest seems entirely plausible.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:47AM (#8542904)
        Unfortunately if you look back at the Earth you're looking towards the sun.

        While the cameras are probably good enough, the Moon isn't well lit and there's a lot of glare. It doesn't surprise me that you can't make out the Moon (although it probably is in the photo).
        • Unfortunately if you look back at the Earth you're looking towards the sun. While the cameras are probably good enough, the Moon isn't well lit and there's a lot of glare.

          What's the maximum angular separation of Earth and Sun, as seen from Mars? Venus - as we see in the night sky right now - can get a long way from the sun and become very, very prominent in the evening sky. Spirit can't see the Moon now, but perhaps in a couple of months?...

          Our big problem will probably be that the Moon is a very dark

        • Unfortunately if you look back at the Earth you're looking towards the sun.

          Sheesh - all they have to do is wait till it's night and take the picture! I hear that's how they're gonna make the first solar landing - might work you know - everything cools down when the sun goes down... :)
    • I remember that broadcast. There was something visceral as they read Genesis with the picture on TV, as fuzzy as it was. Publication of the true photo only amplified it, and I still get the feeling thinking about it, decades later.

      IMHO what we need MOST at the ISS is a conference room. From what I've heard, EVERY astronaut or cosmonaut has come back to Earth with his/her world view adjusted by the experience. World leaders need to understand, that viscerally, that we all share this little island in space.
    • Well, you could - for example - look at the photo of Earth and moon together [esa.int] that was taken from the European Mars Express half way enroute to Mars. You can clearly see Earth & moon as small spots in the universe. Very interesting photo, I think!
    • But 'pale blue dot' images? It's just a dot. It might just as well be Venus for all the emotional impact I get from it.

      Somehow, that aspect of the images is what hit me emotionally. This is the first time I've actually realized what has been accomplished here: there is something (a robot, in this case) on that pale red dot I kept staring up at last autumn that is looking back at us and seeing us as a pale blue dot.

      Images from the Moon are pretty, I'll grant you that. But it's still our moon; to me, it
      • But from our nearest neighboring planet, we're just another dot in the sky.

        Make that second nearest neighboring planet. I knew something looked wrong with that statement. =)
  • In a coincidence, the Sun advert about Java being in the Spirit Rover was showing at the top of the front page (and on this page as I write this post).

    As the advert says, find out at Sun.com/mars [sun.com]

  • by Punk Walrus (582794) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:18AM (#8542676) Journal
    ... you can see the Great Wall of China! No, really! Just use the zooming software used in shows like CSI or movies like Blade Runner.

    Before I get mail... [straightdope.com]

  • Brace yourselves for another wave of those not so funny mars pictures, featuring Marvin the Martian.
  • by ashitaka (27544) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:21AM (#8542698) Homepage
    Many of us have looked up at the night sky all our lives, some have bought or made telescopes to see even more. We've beheld some amazing and beautiful things as we gazed at the heavens. We've seen the bright stars in our sky that turned out to be separate worlds, but they still remained just little points of light as we rested comfortably on our unimaginably huge earth.

    But now we see another little dot hovering above a brightening horizon.

    That's our planet.

    Our home.

    Seen from the surface of another world.

    We are now just the little dot in the sky.
    • Enough with the waxing poetic! It's a blue dot! It could be any blue dot! We know we're on a planet. We know how tiny our planet is. This isn't news, and your post certainly isn't insightful :-P
      • Seriously though, why the hell do people need to see a damn spec to realize how small the planet is in comparison to tha vastness of space? Yeah, it's something new if you're a kid but it shouldn't take such a picture to "bring it home". It just shows me that people don't do much thinking, or if they did think, they don't grasp what they're thinking.
        • Do they look at the picture, go "duh!", slap their heads and suddenly realise that all the "earth is a planet" stuff was actually true?. I find it truly strange that people need a JPG to realsie that. I'm glad I'm not the only one :-P
        • > why the hell do people need to see a damn spec to realize how small the planet is in comparison to tha vastness of space?

          Because insanely large spans are easy to say, but very difficult to grasp, if you aren't already into astronomy. 1 million miles: wow, that's a lot. Travel one million miles and it just seemed to get a WHOLE LOT FURTHER.
  • Shiny! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FrostedWheat (172733) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:24AM (#8542717)
    I've noticed in some of the images of Spirit there is what seems to be a very shiny object at the opposite end of the crater:

    Here [nasa.gov] (top right), here [nasa.gov] (top left) and here [nasa.gov] (middle).

    Could it be a piece of Spirits entry/descent stage? In that last image it looks like an oddly shaped rock. If it is a rock, what could have made it so reflective?
  • Kairos (Score:2, Funny)

    by Hungus (585181)
    The place where the Thirteenth Tribe of Man lives "on a shining planet known as Earth."
  • Well.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by hookedup (630460) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:27AM (#8542738)
    You have to love the "You are here" caption on that image of earth from mars.

    Who says nasa scientists dont have a sense of humor.
  • by BigGerman (541312) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:27AM (#8542741)
    bunny [nasa.gov]
    Some reports said this thing was actually moving ;-)
  • Seriously... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Phidoux (705500) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:28AM (#8542753) Homepage
    Sorry about the silly offtopic 1st post but I just couldn't resist.

    More seriously, I have been following the twin rover missions with great interest and I think it's absolutely amazing what they (And the JPL team of course) have achieved. I looked with great interest at the pic of our "pale blue (Even though the pic is monochrome) dot"

    Even on the relatively tiny (In relation to astronomical standards) scale of a view from our nearest neighbour, it is truly humbling to realise just how insignificant our rock, in the greater scheme of things, really is.

    Some of you might be interested in visiting a site that I visit on a daily basis to get and update on the latest images from Mars - photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov [nasa.gov]

  • Why link to astrobio.net in the article instead of the jpl? The jpl has the bandwidth to handle the load from slashdot etc, it appears astrobio.net does not..
  • by IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:32AM (#8542783) Journal
    I am still astounded at the pictures that are sent back from Mars. I think the world is a little jaded at the monumentous task that was accomplished with this mission. This is historic stuff that should be in the press every day! If landing on the moon was big this should be justa as big if not bigger!!!
    • For one, humans made it to the moon, while that has not yet been accomplished with Mars. Second, we did have a rover back in 1997 so it doesn't have the "new" feeling. Third, this is an election year. Fourth, there were major attacks in Spain and there is this fight with terrirists.

      People think about issues that affect them and what they're "close" to. We're not in a cold war with national pride on the line. Most people have their attention elsewhere and while this is a major accomplishment, this may
  • Heatshield (Score:2, Interesting)

    by brownpau (639342)
    I don't know why JPL isn't playing up the coolness factor of this a bit more, but in this panoramic navcam montage of Bonneville [nasa.gov], you can clearly see the lander's heatshield to the left, glinting in the sun.

    (Later on preview) Okay, now MSNBC is mentioning it [msn.com].
  • Where is the food court? And more importantly, the arcade?
  • Mars Wiggles (Score:4, Interesting)

    by brownpau (639342) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:37AM (#8542823) Homepage
    Inspired by danielroot's [danielroot.com] and kokogiak's [kokogiak.com] Martian stereo wiggles I've made a few Mars Wiggles of my own. [brownpau.com] No funny colored glasses required.
  • by l0wland (463243) <l0wland.yahoo@com> on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:39AM (#8542839) Journal
    Scroll down on todays Press Release Images-page [nasa.gov], and check this picture [nasa.gov] (400kb).

    I think that's even more interesting, and might draw people's interest as well.

  • by Koyaanisqatsi (581196) on Friday March 12, 2004 @10:39AM (#8542842)
    Reminds one of Carl Sagan's words:

    Pale Blue Dot [planetary.org] ... Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

    The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

    Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

    The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

    It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
    • In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

      God will save those who embrace Him. All one has to do is answer the call. So there is a hint. In fact, there is hope.

      It does make a person reevaluate everything. It makes you wonder what things will be like in another 10,000 years. By then, maybe we'll have colonies on hundreds of planets. Our descendants will find it hard to believe that we lived on a single planet for so long.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I mean, how on earth could NASA position such a large arrow, big letters and a magnifier in space?
  • having discovered very strong indications of a wet Martian past

    I thought the mission(s) were concieved because we already had very strong indications of a wet Martian past. Is this just marketspeak for not finding anything, ie. mission failure? Every press release from NASA that I read talks about indications and strong indications, there is nothing substantial so far.

    Or maybe this is just hedging for another mission, to finally determine if these indications are true?
  • Maybe because of porn thread yesterday, when I saw the term Money-Shots in the introduction, I immediately got a vision of appolectic Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson when they find out that not only is there life on Mars but their reproductive processes are similar to ours (with the same predillictions for watching them).

    Spam of the 21st century: "Grateful, teenaged Martian sluts eager to thank you for taking them away from their dry, cold, dark homes."

    Laugh - it's friday.

    myke
  • by Woogiemonger (628172) on Friday March 12, 2004 @11:27AM (#8543229)
    We are infinitesimal specks on an infinitesimal dot amongst the infinite expanse of our universe. How ever did Zaphod Beeblebrox cope with such a horrific concept?
  • I know I'm going to take a lot of flak for saying this, but it seems NASA is misguided. The way things work, first you build a prototype, then you develop the prototype. The shuttle program was the prototype, the proof that we could build a reusable space craft. The follow up should have been focusing on a way to make space flight cheap, based on what we'd learned.
    NASA shouldn't be planning a mission to Mars. It should be working on technology to make leaving the Earth's atmosphere cheap enough that it can
  • In 1969, an American stood on the surface of the moon. In 2004, a golf cart travels 300 yards, and another finds what MAY have been mud.

    Guess which one we're more excited about?
  • DNA (Score:2, Funny)

    by FrostedWheat (172733)
    If only they'd put 'Mostly Harmless' instead of 'You Are Here'.
  • Stars (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wideBlueSkies (618979) on Friday March 12, 2004 @12:09PM (#8543578) Journal
    Just out of curiosity, is Mars far away from us that the constelations look different?

    I know that it's a relatively small distance, from a galactic perspective, but is it still enough to make some difference?

    Anyone?

    wbs.
    • Re:Stars (Score:5, Informative)

      by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday March 12, 2004 @01:07PM (#8544325) Homepage
      Somehow, I doubt it. Just a little perspective. Based on the current position of Earth and Mars:

      Distance from Earth to the closest star in Orion (HD 30652): 26.176 lightyears

      Distance from Earth to Mars: 0.0000278306 lightyears.

      So, the distance from Earth or Mars is 0.00010632% the distance from Earth to 30652.

      Basically, we're so damned far from Orion that, no matter where you were in the *solar system*, it would probably look the same.

      Incidentally, if you want to check this out for yourself (ie, look at the constellations from orbit around Mars), and you have a hardware-accelerated 3D card, I would highly recommend trying out Celestia [shatters.net], a very impressive space simulator
    • Try Celestia (Score:3, Interesting)

      by core plexus (599119)
      Ever try Celestia? [shatters.net] This is one cool app. Download it for free, and park yourself wherever you want to see the view from 'there'.

      On a related note, I'd love to see some details such as this (i.e. view from Spirit, etc) integrated into it. I wonder how much space (no pun intended) to integrate GIS data into it? I'd be kinda neat to fly from Alaska to the Spirit rover, and since it is unlikely I'll get to do that for real, this is the next best thing.

      -cp-

      Alaska Bugs Sweat Gold Nuggets! [alaska-freegold.com]

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