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science 5

New translation, the Magna Carta
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science and technology 5

mars exploration rover mission—
launch may/july 2003; landing january 2004

(with neat picture of the exploration vehicle)

Two rovers will be sent, mainly to examine “geological evidence of past liquid water activity and past environmental conditions hospitable to life.” [Press release with images of landing sites.]

The first goes to the Gusev Crater, the second to the Meridian Planum. See image below for approxiate locations, both near the equator of Mars.

image credit: Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Science Investigation
Image credit: Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Science Investigation

This image is a Meractor projection of Mars from latitudes 75°N to 75°S. To see a larger (unmarked) version of this image, and images of Mars’ poles, visit the MOLA 0.25° Global Topographic Model page. The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Science Investigation is run by NASA, and its site has many fasinating images of Mars.

“The instrument [the MOLA] transmits infrared laser pulses towards Mars at a rate of 10 Hz and measures the time of flight to determine the range of the MGS spacecraft to the Martian surface. Range measurements have used to construct a precise topographic map of Mars that has many applications to studies in geophysics, geology and atmospheric circulation.”

Mars data:
Diameter 6790 km (mean)—approximately half that of Earth
Density 3.933 gm/cubic cm—Earth: 5.517 gm/cubic cm
  No magnetic field
Atmosphere ‘Thin’—carbon dioxide, with some nitrogen and argon, also traces of water vapour
Mean surface atmospheric temperature –23°C/–9.4°F
Ice caps Perennial—water ice; seasonal—frozen carbon dioxide

Elliptical, so varies between 206.6 and 249.2 million km from the sun; mean distance 228 million km (141 million miles).
Orbit approximately 1.52 times bigger than that of Earth.

oblique axis of rotation, therefore there are seasons—like Earth.

Day 24.6 Earth hours (called a sol)
Year 687 Earth days
Satellites Phobos and Deimos

related material
go see the snaps from my holiday on mars

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evolution of nervous systems

I have only read this abstract, not the full article.
However, it suggests trade offs between energy and information capacity, and thus indicates means for the evolution of ‘intelligence’ (nervous system).

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heating control in lizards

“A study of 11 bearded dragons, known to science as Pogona vitticeps and collected in New South Wales, Australia, showed that they use a substance to regulate their temperature that was previously unknown in reptiles.”

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go see the snaps from my holiday on mars

Image credit: Malin Space Science Systems

The Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) “consists of three cameras:

  • A narrow angle system that provides grayscale high resolution views of the planet's surface (typically, 1.5 to 12 meters/pixel),
  • and red and blue wide angle cameras
    that provide daily global weather monitoring, context images to determine where the narrow angle views were actually acquired, and regional coverage to monitor variable surface features such as polar frost and wind streaks.”

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net, increasingly, becoming major information source

“While TV remains the dominant way of getting war news, the numbers going online have leapt since the terrorist attacks on September 11.

“Back then only 3% of online Americans said the net was their primary source of information”

“Now 17% of Americans say they are turning to the web as their first source of news about developments in Iraq.”

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