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Mars Space Science

Mars Lander Instrument Waving In the Martian Wind 46

Posted by timothy
from the more-proof-of-fraud dept.
Matt_dk writes "This series of images show Phoenix's telltale instrument waving in the Martian wind. Documenting the telltale's movement helps mission scientists and engineers determine what the wind is like on Mars. On the day these images were taken, one of the images seemed to be 'out-of-phase' with other images, possibly indicating a dust devil occurrence."
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Mars Lander Instrument Waving In the Martian Wind

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  • by snowraver1 (1052510) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:04PM (#25403727)
    What they are witnessing is the Flying Spaghetti Monster manipulating the results.
  • ...for the Slashdot Straight-Line Hall of Fame.

    rj

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      ...for the Slashdot Straight-Line Hall of Fame.

      I was thinking the same thing ... cue "instrument waving in wind" jokes.

      LOL

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:07PM (#25403767)

    Insert joke here about my "telltale instrument" waiving in the wind.

  • Proof (Score:4, Funny)

    by HalAtWork (926717) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:08PM (#25403779)
    "On the day these images were taken, one of the images seemed to be "out-of-phase" with other images, possibly indicating a dust devil occurrence"

    OR... it's proof that these martian landings are staged and never really occurred in the first place!
  • Any audio from Mars? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pongo000 (97357) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:10PM (#25403801)

    Just curious...no need to mod this up, I have plenty of karma.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sveard (1076275) *

      Maybe I'm missing something, but why is parent modded Trol?

      Being able to hear the wind blow on another world would be SO cool, even though probably rather useless.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Because he is trolling for karma. Everyone knows the best way to be modded up is to say "I'm probably going to be modded down but..." or "I don't care if you mod me..."

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          He shouldn't get modded *down*, just not modded up... Its a genuine question that does not disrupt the comment session... Just my 2 cents anyway
      • by Kattspya (994189)
        Posting to undo moderation. I was aiming for +n troll but some bastard had to mod you interesting.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tuxgeek (872962)
      Maybe next time they send a probe to Mars, they will put a directional wind vane and an anemometer on board. A dangling wire just doesn't do it. Only shows a wind is present.

      Audio there would most likely sound the same as wind here, so nothing new.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pongo000 (97357)

        I would suggest a spectrum analysis of the audio received from wind noise would be quite valuable, unless NASA happened to also pack along a Doppler radar unit. Instead of guessing if that really *was* a dust devil that passed by, an audio analysis would probably provide definitive proof.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Phoenix lander on Mars [fotoausflug.de]

    The telltale is a small weight dangling from a vertical boom. More sophisticated instruments would have weighed more, so they opted for this minimal weather instrument.

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:15PM (#25403865)

    The most Illustrious Council of Elders has decried this latest humiliation inflicted upon its noble citizens by the latest mechanical invader from the blue planet. K'breel, speaker for the Council, stressed that this most recent insult would not be taken lightly:

    Gentle Citizens, today my gelsacs are engorged in anticipation of the impending demise of the mechanized monsters of the blue planet. One hundred and thirty six days have passed since their latest mechanical terror has landed, and this -- this futile mocking gesture, such a pale imitation of our species' noble and pendulous glory -- is all it has come up with. Citizens, the creatures from the blue planet are so weak that they can barely muster up the strength to mock us. Winter approaches, and with it, darkness. Rejoice, podmates, for our final final victory against their pathetic mocking contraptions shall come at last!

    When a small group of younglings questioned whether the telltale waving of the enemy's instrument was perhaps due to a gust of wind, K'Breel ordered their gelsacs pierced on the spot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:20PM (#25403927)

    This series of images show Phoenix's telltale instrument waving in the Martian wind. Documenting the telltale's movement helps mission scientists and engineers determine what the wind is like on Mars.

    On the day these images were taken, one of the images seemed to be "out-of-phase" with other images, possibly indicating a dust devil occurrence. Preliminary analysis of the images taken right before and after the passing of this possible dust devil indicates winds from the west at 7 meters per second. The image taken during the possible dust devil shows 11 meters per second wind from the south.

    These images were taken by the lander's Surface Stereo Imager (SSI) on the 136th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Oct. 12, 2008). Phoenix's telltale is part of the Canadian Space Agency's meteorological package on the lander.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

    Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University [nasa.gov]

    Feel free to discuss this article in the forum... or chat...

  • by zapakh (1256518) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:22PM (#25403957)
    How many landers must we see touch down
    Before you can send one that's manned?
    Yes, and how many times must you scoop the soil
    Before you get some in the pan?
    Yes, and how many sols must the dust storms fly
    Before there's ice on polar land?
    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.
  • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:37PM (#25404113)

    As a carryover from a previous topic regarding the smell of space, I wonder if NASA is trying to determine the smell of the martian atmosphere.

    While we have no humans in place to do the smelling, could samples be taken then sent back for "smell" analysis?

    Previous topic( http://idle.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/10/16/1533239 [slashdot.org] )already touched on the importance of the smell of space, but what about Mars?

    The fact that there is mass pushing that little flag around leads me to believe that there are also chemical components to provide smell "signatures".

    • by thepotoo (829391) <thepotoospam.yahoo@com> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @06:16PM (#25406175)
      Atmosphere on Mars is 95% CO2, 3% N, 1.6% Ar + trace. I'd guess you can't smell the Ar (you can't smell .9% Ar on earth), and you can't smell Nitrogen, so that pretty much leaves us with the strongly acidic smell of CO2.

      This is all based on conjecture, so things may changes in local areas, during various weather conditions, or if/when we get more accurate measurements from the surface.

  • Mars, atmosphere (Score:3, Informative)

    by Haoie (1277294) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:38PM (#25404129) Homepage

    Many seem to forget that Mars does possess an atmosphere. Therefore, has wind and other 'weather' phenomenon.

    Just not anything we can breathe, mostly carbon dioxide.

    • It probably had a thicker atmosphere when its iron core was moving to create a magnetic shield from the solar wind. (like the earth)

      Too bad we can't have a big tether like this (http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/Education/wtether.html) and connect one end to the now solid core (50KM below surface!). Then maybe a new a magnetic shield could be created.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Deadstick (535032)

      Mars does possess an atmosphere

      ...and bloody little of it, less than 1/100 as dense as our atmosphere at the surface. A wind sufficient to move part of that instrument would be pretty stormy weather by Martian standards.

      rj

  • This is quite refreshing for me. Usually NASA has something entirely different waving the wind.....

  • Oh, wait. Nevermind [wikipedia.org].

  • At least until it is explained to their top theologists that they should not declare war on the martian "Dust Devils" and that the lander did not, in fact send back a picture of the Virgin Mary.
  • I had no idea a tampon could be use to measure the wind. Great idea though, it's light, large so it'll react to the least variation in wind and hangs from a string.
    • by Tablizer (95088)

      I had no idea a tampon could be use to measure the wind.

      The professor is pretty innovative, although Ginger was bloody pissed.
             

If A = B and B = C, then A = C, except where void or prohibited by law. -- Roy Santoro

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