Hard to compete with this…

…when it comes to astronomy photos! (It won’t embed in WordPress, but check out the link).

Curiosity rover: Martian solar day 2 in New Mexico

Funnily enough, I don’t have to drive a million miles from here to see scenery pretty much exactly like this (only a lot hotter and with unmistakable signs of life), but this is like stepping back in time by three billion years on Earth. What a privilege it is, to look out on the surface of another planet like this. Google StreetMap eat your heart out!

(And what a strange country this is, whose engineers can achieve something so amazing while a big chunk of the population seems hell-bent on returning to the seventeenth century)

Thanks to Lisa for the link!

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About stevegrand
I'm an independent AI and artificial life researcher, interested in oodles and oodles of things but especially the brain. And chocolate. I like chocolate too.

13 Responses to Hard to compete with this…

  1. Gryphon says:

    Hahaha, there are a ton of fake Curiosity photos making the rounds of people’s blogs right now. Nice to see the real ones!

    Gosh, people who think that spending money on space exploration is inappropriate are so silly. “Three billion dollars for space exploration when the rest of us down here remain beset by ~*real problems*~?” Okay first off let’s be real, if we as a society were capable of fixing our Real Problems on Nasa’s budget we would have already reached a peak of enlightenment sufficient NOT TO HAVE ANY.

    Too bad evolution doesn’t really work like it does in old hack scifi novels–it’s already 2012, we ought to already be chairbound graceful academes with tiny wasted bodies and enormous brains by now.

    • stevegrand says:

      Haha! Some of us have already evolved the chairbound, tiny wasted bodies part! I have a reminder on my iPhone to make me get up once an hour if I don’t move, and yesterday I looked down to see nine uncancelled reminders. I figured it was probably time for lunch…

      Yeah, very good point. One thing people just don’t seem to get about the price of things like space exploration is that it hardly costs a cent. The actual amount of money that left the planet in terms of resources is tiny, and virtually all of that $3bn just recirculates within the US. It doesn’t go anywhere. All those people would need feeding one way or another, and it’s not like export sales are limited by a lack of employees. In fact science and cutting-edge engineering are massively responsible for US export potential in the first place, so axing NASA would decrease exports and hence reduce national growth. But then again, those people who can’t see the point in space exploration are often the very same people who hide their heads in the sand when it comes to what our Real Problems actually are!

      • Gryphon says:

        Oh my goodness, you know what, I’d never explicitly realized–of course that money goes straight to actual people, minus that which is sucked into self-perpetuating bureaucratic eddies. Wow. Duh. I…hadn’t bothered to zoom out and check the context of that understanding in a while.

  2. MrRatermat says:

    NASA are stupid, they spend more than too much putting some idiot on the moon, when they could have used that to feed the poor for 30 years.

    • stevegrand says:

      If NASA’s budget had been spent on the poor then we’d still have the same space technology as we did in 1982. And if the same argument had applied since NASA began, it would still be 1958. We wouldn’t be able to optimize crop yields, search for better water sources, track pest distribution, monitor rebel troop movements and all the other things that modern satellites enable us to do … for the poor.

      I don’t think it’s that simple. Should we stop doing research? Understanding Mars may actually save us from wiping ourselves out.

    • Aud says:

      Ratermat, are you the guy that described the Spirit and Opportunity missions as “the least exciting episode of ‘Robot Wars’ ever screened”? 🙂

  3. MrRatermat says:

    Please ignore the exaggeration. 😛

  4. Loki says:

    I’m inclined to believe that it’s totally legit, but…how do we know that this panorama is real (actually of Mars)? Why does it say that it’s in New Mexico? (Probably because that’s where Andrew Bodrov lives, I guess?)

    • stevegrand says:

      Heh! I don’t know why it also has a link to New Mexico, but if it’s any comfort I’ve spent time in Arizona, California, Nevada and New Mexico in places that are so remarkably like Gale Crater on Mars (basin and range areas with large playas and alluvial fans) that I’ve tried REALLY hard to take cunning photographs that look like martian landscapes. But it’s quite impossible to do it without plants or plant material showing up in the photo. Even in the most arid regions of desert there would be tens of thousands of plants in a photo like that. Much the same applies when you look at the very detailed photos coming down from Curiosity each day – the sands are very similar to desert valley sands, but the presence of life or past life in a handful of desert soil is invariably unmistakeable and I’ve not seen a single hint of a fossil or other life-produced phenomenon in the Curiosity photos yet, much to my disappointment! I live in a desert region and trust me, that one ain’t on Earth!

      BTW, that pic was iconic because it was the very first panorama from the landing site, but pics come down daily and you can see the raw images here, if you’re interested: http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/. Find a plant and either it truly is a scam or you’ll make history! 🙂

  5. devfingers says:

    Back in time? This view of Mars could be us looking at Earth a couple hundred thousand years from now…

  6. devfingers says:

    Maybe one of our creations pondering the meaning of life…

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