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You are browsing the archive for Oddysey.

16 April 2011

Dreaming of Easy-to-Use Data

Some thoughts on how difficult it is to use multiple different types of data in planetary science, how easy it could be, and two free programs that are important first steps in making easy-to-use data a reality.

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15 April 2009

Watching out for Dust Storms

NASA just sent out this press release discussing the various ways that we watch out for dust storms that might be dangerous to the rovers. I have actually used data from the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) that they mention in the release, but I used it for the exact opposite task! I wrote programs that search through the images taken by that camera (there are a lot of them, it …

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17 November 2008

An Ancient Ocean on Mars?

Bad Astronomy has a post today about possible evidence for an ancient ocean on Mars, based on this press release. It’s an interesting post, but all the hype confused me. The results that supposedly suggest an ocean on Mars are old, it’s just the interpretation that is new, and that is not very convincing to me. The basis of the argument is that potassium, thorium and iron were transported to …

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20 August 2008

How to Look at Mars

There is so much Mars data out there that it hard to keep track of all of it! Thankfully there are some useful tools that let anyone look easily look at orbital data of anywhere on the planet. The first is a program called “jmars“. This java-based program distributed by Arizona State University lets you overlay all sorts of global datasets, from MOLA topography to THEMIS nighttime infrared maps to …

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25 March 2008

Rescinded

I don’t have time to write a long post, but I thought I should share the latest about the rover cuts. The NASA administrator Mike Griffin has stated unequivocally that shutting down a rover is not an option. The letter directing the budget cuts to MER and Odyssey has been rescinded, and we are essentially pretending that the last week didn’t happen. There’s still a budget problem with MSL, and …

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24 March 2008

Mars Budget Cuts

Exploring another planet is an expensive business. We all know this, but sometimes it hits home harder than others. Today was one of those times. This afternoon at an all-hands meeting of the Mars Exploration Rovers team, we heard about some particularly bad budget news. The situation is this: the Mars Science Laboratory mission is costing more than expected. It is common for this to happen with spacecraft missions because …

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