Archive for September, 2008
Shown on the picture are soil, taken from the “Snow White” trench, delivered to the wet chemistry laboratory. The wet chemistry lab is used to identify the components of the Martian soil by mixing it with an Aqueous solution from Earth. Scientists have so far determined that the Martian soil is composed of salt and other chemicals like sodium, perchlorate, chloride, magnesium and potassium.
In the coming sols, Phoenix will be delivering soil samples to another instrument called TEGA – Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer. This instrument is used to heat samples and study the substances that turned into gas. It determines whether the samples contain organic compounds and it also helps scientists determine the properties of the Martian soil.
The Martian summer will be ending soon so scientists want to be able to analyze as many samples before the Phoenix’s battery dies out.
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 NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University
Mariners 8 and 9 were designed to be the first Martian orbiter. We’ve been sending probes to Mars but the only thing that we were able to do was fly by the planet and take some surface pictures. The fly-by pictures did give us a glimpse of Mars and its surface but those weren’t enough for us to be able to study the geography, components, atmosphere, weather and other essential factors to determine whether there is life on Mars.
And so, the Mariners 8 and 9 came to the drawing board. They were to orbit the planet and take pictures so we can map out the red planet, understand its geography, as well study the Martian atmosphere with the use of the infrared and ultraviolet instruments aboard the Mariners.
Mariner 8′s scheduled lift off was May 8, 1971. Unfortunately, it failed during launch so the mission was an unfortunate failure that didn’t even…”fly”
Mariner 9 launched on May 30, 197. Since it was only days after Mariner 8′s launch failure, the launch day of Mariner 9 was very suspenseful and full intensity. Everybody was anxious, are we on the verge of throwing away millions of dollars again on this mission? or are we gonna see success? The launch was successful but everybody’s fingers remained crossed. Not until the Mariner 9 reaches Mars and achieved it orbit can we celebrate partial success.
On November 13, 1971, the Mariner 9 reached Mars and officially became the first artificial satellite to orbit
Mars. A joyous and glorious day for the human race.
When the Mariner 9 arrived in Mars, the planet was covered with dust due to a dust storm. It lasted for month and only then the Mariner 9 was able to take pictures and feed them back to Earth where anxious scientists and the public were waiting.
The Mariner 9 was able to map out the Martian surface 100% and took the first close up photos of Mars’ moons Phobos and Deimos. In total, the spacecraft took 7,329 photos of Mars and stayed in orbit for 349 days. Nearly a year after its arrival.
The mission cost a total of $137 million. A fraction of the cost of its successor Viking who nearly cost a billion dollars.
These pictures served as the corner stone of the Martian exploration. They are pieces of history that reminds us of our glorious success in reaching and studying another planet, and maybe conquering it in the future.
Top view from Viking lander 1
The Martian rocky and sandy surface
A sand Martian surface
The very first color image taken by the viking 1 lander
Viking lander 2 discovers ice deposits on its landing site
The very first trench created by the viking lander where the first soil sample was taken.
Surface of Mars – From the eyes of Viking lander 2
View from the orbiter
A closer look from the top
A picture that created a lot of stir during the late 70′s and 80′s. It’s called the face of Mars. it’s a rock that amazingly looks like a face. Its like intentionally carved to look like a face, but of course, we all know now that nobody could have carved it. It’s a natural formation that coincidentally looked like a face.
A top view from the viking lander
A spectacular view of Mars taken by the viking. Notice how obvious the craters are and the elevation of the Southern hemisphere. Mars is a riddled planet.
A picture of the Viking lander taken from a NASA simulation lab.
The Martian Atmosphere