links for 2009-06-10

links for 2008-06-20

[manually posted]

False-color “postcard” from the Phoenix Lander

I mean no slight for not linking earlier to Susan Kitchens’ own excellent coverage of the Phoenix Lander and, in fact, all things JPL and space-related.

This is via Emily’s post Phoenix: last press briefing of the day after the successful landing at the Planetary Society Blog:

False-color "postcard" from Phoenix

False-color “postcard” from Phoenix
This image, one of the first captured by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, shows the vast plains of the northern polar region of Mars. The flat landscape is strewn with tiny pebbles and shows polygonal cracking, a pattern seen widely in Martian high latitudes and also observed in permafrost terrains on Earth. The polygonal cracking is believed to have resulted from seasonal freezing and thawing of surface ice.

Phoenix touched down on the Red Planet at 4:53 p.m. Pacific Time (7:53 Eastern Time), May 25, 2008, in an arctic region called Vastitas Borealis, at 68 degrees north latitude, 234 degrees east longitude.

This is an approximate-color image taken shortly after landing by the spacecraft’s Surface Stereo Imager, inferred from two color filters, a violet, 450-nanometer filter and an infrared, 750-nanometer filter.

Credit: NASA / JPL / U. Arizona

Mars Phoenix Lander at 23:53:52 (UT) 4:53 p.m. (PDT)

Today is the day for the Mars Phoenix Lander to land on Mars. These details are from Phil’s Bad Astronomy Blog.

The Mars Phoenix Lander will be touching down on the surface of Mars on Sunday at 23:53:52 Universal Time (4:53 p.m. Pacific time). Of course, there will be lots of action leading up to that moment.

You can get live info from a few different sources.

For online video and such, your best bet is NASA TV. If you have it, The Science Channel is covering it live on TV. And if you want live blogging action, Emily’s your destination. She has a nice schedule on her blog of the whole thing. She’s also been doing some great blogging on the pre-landing press conferences, so she has all the info you want. And if you’re in the Tucson area, the Lunar and Planetary Institute Lab has a ton of stuff going on for the whole family.

[update:] Today’s APOD is all about Phoenix on Mars with lots of details, including NASA’s animation of the landing sequence.

Audrey’s Dissertation Proposal Defense is Today

At 1 p.m. (PST) Audrey will defend her dissertation proposal: The Role of Subsurface Carbon Dioxide in the Formation of Martian Rampart Craters and the Geology of Meridiani Planum, Mars. This is the partial culmination of a great deal of work and I am very proud of her. I’m sure she will be accepting good thoughts via the ethers…

Go get ’em, Tiger. 🙂

[evening update:] Things went extremely well! Her committee was very receptive and offered only a few suggestions, none of them mandatory. Excellent job! After Ian went to bed she said, “see you Wednesday,” and headed off to bed herself.

A Survival Imperative for Space Colonization

“To ensure our long-term survival, we need to get a colony up and running on Mars within 46 years.”

Ouch! We may resemble that remark… [h/t Garret]

A Survival Imperative for Space Colonization [NY Times Science]
“Maybe the reason civilizations don’t get around to colonizing other planets is that there’s a narrow window when they have the tools, population and will to do so, and the window usually closes on them.”