That's a photo of the surface of Mars. Curiosity took it. Curiosity is the land rover NASA sent to Mars. If you read Betty's blog, you know all about Curiosity. She called and said she's stuck with Jesse Jackson Junior's tawdry exploits and could I grab the latest on Curiosity? Sure can.
First off, she's considered a "she." And a lot of little kids see her as a person or beloved pet. So call her a land rover or a she or Curiosity but don't dehumanize her around kids. They love Curiosity and that's good because she can help us all learn so much and with kids that's a lifelong learning. I can pick up a few tidbits here and there but a kid learning about Mars for the first time via Curiosity's work? Where that little girl or boy ends their journey is unknown because it's really limitless.
Curiosity has already provided us with so much information.
If you're new to Curiosity, you can use these three links:
› All Curiosity Videos
› Photo Gallery
› Raw Images→
Today Mike Wall (Space.com) reports that Curiosity's done the first "radiation measurements" on the surface of Mars and it appears that astronauts could visit Mars and survive the radiation. So see there's another discovery we have about Mars thanks to Curiosity. (When I was a child, we called it "the red planet.") Jonathan Amos (BBC News) reports:
Although no cameras have yet caught sight of them, it seems whirlwinds of dust have been skirting around the six-wheeled vehicle.
From the data gathered by Curiosity's meteorological station, scientists think dust-devils may even have run over the robot.
It is not entirely unexpected. Vortices of dust whipped up by the wind have been pictured by previous Mars rovers.
"A dust-devil looks essentially like what you would expect from the movies - a tiny tornado that is lifting dust," explained Manuel de la Torre Juarez of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and a scientist on the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (Rems) instrument.
Ian O'Neill (Discovery) reports that this week, Curiosity was unable to transmit data for a brief period. Why was it off-line? Because it was conducting "a brain transplant" It switched from the A-side of a computer to the B-side due to the A-Side "showing signs of age and recent troubles with the A-side's gyroscope".
So there are three things about Curiosity. We've learned that humans could visit Mars and survive the radiation, that Mars has dust-devils and the Curiosity was able to switch to the other side of her brain.
And Betty would have made it all more interesting than I have. But hopefully the news itself was enough to make you interested in Curiosity if you have not been paying attention to her before.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"