A camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has taken nearly 13,000 observations of the red planet, but might only now begin to live up to its nickname of "the people's camera." The U.S. space agency has announced a new chance for you, dear reader, to suggest where that spacecraft should point its camera next.
Netizens can see both existing images and suggested targets on a new public suggestion website. They may then use a simple rectangle to designate their location of choice for MRO's HiRISE camera.
"The HiRISE team is pleased to give the public this opportunity to propose imaging targets and share the excitement of seeing your favorite spot on Mars at people-scale resolution," said Alfred McEwen, principal investigator for the camera and a researcher at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
But don't just go placing that rectangle willy-nilly. Anyone who wishes to nominate a target must give the observation a title and explain the possible scientific benefit of photographing said favorite site. Then choose an appropriate "science theme" from one of 18 choices, and presto.
NASA's past experiments in online public participation have ranged from public voting on a Mars rover name to crowd-sourcing all that tedious crater counting. And none of us will soon forget Stephen Colbert's run at getting his name voted onto space station hardware.
NASA scientists must prioritize science in the process, of course, and there's thousands of pending targets suggested by both scientists and the public. But people can take heart from the fact that plenty of Martian real estate has yet to receive a close-up -- less than 1 percent has been imaged. Make your suggestion count.
Hellas Impact Basin, Hellas Impact Basin, Hellas Impact Basin ...
The lowest elevation on Mars with a 14 millibar atmospheric pressure, Global dust storms originate there it was thought to be a huge deep lake at one time....
Not enough attention has been spent on unraveling the mysteries that lie at the bottom of this abyss....
"With a diameter of about 2,300 kilometres (1,400 mi), it is the largest unambiguous impact structure on the planet, The altitude difference between the rim and the bottom is ~9 km (30,000 ft). The depth of the crater (~7 km (23,000 ft) below the standard topographic datum of Mars) explains the atmospheric pressure at the bottom: 1,155 Pa (11.55 mbar or 0.17 psi). This is 89% higher than the pressure at the topographical datum (610 Pa, or 6.1 mbar or 0.09 psi) and above the triple point of water, suggesting that the liquid phase would be transient (would evaporate over time) if the temperature would rise above 0 °C (32 °F). "
"Some of the low elevation outflow channels extend into Hellas from the volcanic Hadriacus Mons complex to the northeast, two of which Mars Orbiter Camera images show contain gullies: Dao Vallis and Reull Vallis. These gullies are also low enough for liquid water to be transient around Martian noon, if the temperature would rise above 0 Celsius"
Note that the average Martian atmospheric pressure here according to NASA for the Martian datum is way off according to the Viking Lander the pressure varied from 6.8 to 10 millibars over the course of one year.
Note the Viking II Lander was 3 kilometers below the Martian datum, that's not low enough to make up the difference from 6.8 mbars to as much as 10 m bars. Something is very wrong about what they are trying to tell us...
My calculation using 6.1 millibars for the Martian datum and the commonly used equation for pressure, the inverse square law, then at the Hellas basin it would be more like 14 millibars not what NASA claims 11.7 millibars, if we use the higher amount as recorded at Viking then it would vary to as high as 22 millibars??????????
If they keep the conservation going about the pressure at the datum is 6.1 about what it is for the triple point of water which states no matter what the temperature water sublimates from a solid into a vapor bypassing the formation of water they wouldn't have to explain some of the stuff we are finding on the surface.