Tuesday, October 27, 2015

L.A. Times Gale Crater Virtual Tour.....

Mars, almost in 3D, and you run the controls, if you like.....


It begins with a short guided tour of the main features, before allowing you to start controlling the movements of the image with your keyboard keys.



Here, I'm familiarizing myself with the controls, and looking more closely at a "river channel" coming down from the highlands below the bottom edge, and flowing out into the central part of the crater. When I get more comfortable with these controls, I will hide that dark panel, and we will see more picture.



I still haven't given up the control panel, but we're now looking at the peak of mountain in the center of the crater, and it's a lot more impressive than it has looked in a lot of NASA's images taken from cameras on Curiosity itself. This is a big mountain!



And here it is, without that control panel blocking the view. I don't think that Curiosity is ever going to be able to make it up this mountain to anywhere near the top, even if it takes a very gradual and roundabout route, because it is simply too steep. The rover's wheels will spin out in the sand and gravel before it can climb very far up. But it doesn't need to climb the whole mountain to tell us what it is made of. We already know quite a lot about that. 

I'd like someone to explain for me why there is that kind of "trail" of lesser peaks in an almost dual track configuration leading off into the distance from the main peak, in a direction toward the upper right and top of the frame here. Did whatever causing that main peak after impact then roll away in that direction? Was it one of Mars' present irregularly-shaped satellites, do you think? I really wish we had a movie of all this, don't you? Maybe one day, we can figure it out well enough to create a simulation. The history of Mars would make a fascinating movie, I'm sure. I can almost picture it already....flying parts and all. 

And before I leave this, here's what you're looking for........

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