Cool spacey stuff: bouncing on Titan and Martian carwashes

First, The Huygens probe has landed on Saturn’s moon, Titan.

There is a description and animation of how it hit the surface and then bounced, slid and wobbled into its resting position.  HERE.  Huygens was ferried to Titan by the Cassini spacecraft.  This is, so far, the most remote place a probe has landed!

Second, the Mars rover Curiosity has reached out and touched something.  In this case it is a football-sized rock similar to igneous rock found in volcanic areas of Earth.  HERE.  The rock has been dubbed “Jake”.  From the NASA story we have this:

Examination of Jake included the first comparison on Mars between APXS results and results from checking the same rock with ChemCam, which shoots laser pulses from the top of the rover’s mast. [I have images of Marvin the Martian.]

The wealth of information from the two instruments checking chemical elements in the same rock is just a preview. Curiosity also carries analytical laboratories inside the rover to provide other composition information about powder samples from rocks and soil. The mission is progressing toward getting the first soil sample into those analytical instruments during a “sol,” or Martian day.

Yestersol, we used Curiosity’s first perfectly scooped sample for cleaning the interior surfaces of our 150-micron sample-processing chambers. It’s our version of a Martian carwash,” ….


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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One Comment

  1. SK Bill says:

    Wasn’t the Huygens landing about seven years ago? This reads as if it was today. Still, the conclusions the scientists can reach from the data are remarkable.

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