15 November 2011
Earth at Night and Spirit Rover Time Lapse
Posted by Ryan Anderson
Over the last couple of days, I’ve seen two awesome time-lapse videos making the rounds on the internets. The first is this unbelievably cool video of the Earth at night, as seen from the ISS:
The second video is a compilation of all the front hazard avoidance camera images from the Spirit rover over the full mission from landing to when she got embedded in the salty soil at her final resting place. Look at that arm go!
The Rover video was fascinating. What exactly was the arm doing? I couldn’t tell if it was measuring obstacles, actually moving small ones, or something else.
The arm has a drill, a microscope and two spectrometers on it. So you can see when the rover stops at a particularly interesting target, the instruments get rotated and then placed on the target repeatedly so that each instrument gets a chance to do its job. The arm isn’t strong enough to push much of anything (although plenty of people asked about it when Spirit got stuck!).
Ah, that makes sense. Looks like I got stuck on the “hazard avoidance” part!