anonymous asked:

Another sad headcanon: The reason Phil is so happy all the time and says stuff like "eaten by a scorpion" instead of "was killed" is because as a young adult/teen he had really bad anger issues (to the point of suicidal thoughts) that mostly revolved around how fucked up the world is, and one of his coping mechanisms is to make up ridiculous backstories on the spot. That's why he can help Dan so much; he understand existentialism through and through

D o u awnat me to live any mro e this is so sad but very plausible i AM SO SAD 

send me headcanons!!


The Amazing Technicolor Landscape of Mars

High resolution digital terrain models, or DTMs, are topographic maps of Mars as imaged by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). They are created by grabbing two separate images of the same region of the Martian surface during different orbits. These “stereo pairs” (with different angles of inclination) are used to precisely measure the elevation of the landscape after a complex and time consuming series of steps including calibration by mission scientists and calculations by a powerful algorithm. The result is nothing short of beautiful. So get immersed in Mars’ technicolor landscape and see the scale of some of those awesome geological formations on the Red (blue, green and yellow) Planet. View the entire gallery…

Dry ice pits on Mars

Part of Mars is defrosting. Around the South Pole of Mars, toward the end of every Martian summer, the warm weather causes a section of the vast carbon-dioxide ice cap to evaporate. Pits begin to appear and expand where the carbon dioxide dry ice sublimates directly into gas. These ice sheet pits may appear to be lined with gold, but the precise composition of the dust that highlights the pitwalls actually remains unknown. The circular depressions toward the image center measure about 60 meters across. The HiRISE camera aboard the Mars-orbiting Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured the above image in late July. In the next few months, as Mars continues its journey around the Sun, colder seasons will prevail, and the thin air will turn chilly enough not only to stop the defrosting but once again freeze out more layers of solid carbon dioxide.

Image credit: HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona), NASA


Mars Orbiters ‘Duck and Cover’ for Comet Siding Spring Encounter

NASA is taking steps to protect its Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientific data, as Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring heads toward a close flyby of Mars on Oct. 19.

The comet’s nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 miles (132,000 kilometers), shedding material hurtling at about 35 miles (56 kilometers) per second, relative to Mars and Mars-orbiting spacecraft. At that velocity, even the smallest particle — estimated to be about one-fiftieth of an inch (half a millimeter) across — could cause significant damage to a spacecraft.

NASA currently operates two Mars orbiters, with a third on its way and expected to arrive in Martian orbit just a month before the comet flyby. Teams operating the orbiters plan to have all spacecraft positioned on the opposite side of the Red Planet when the comet is most likely to pass by.

The European Space Agency is taking

similar precautions

to protect its Mars Express (MEX) orbiter.

  • For more information about the Mars flyby of comet Siding Spring, click here.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Mind-Blowing Beauty of Mars’ Dunes: HiRISE Photos

Mars plays host to a huge number of dune fields — regions where fine wind-blown material gets deposited to form arguably some of the most beautiful dunes that can be found on any planetary body in the solar system. Using the powerful High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, planetary scientists have an orbital view on these features that aid our understanding of aeolian (wind-formed) processes and Martian geology. Here are some of our favorite Mars dunes as seen by HiRISE.

A hole in Mars

What created this unusual hole in Mars? The hole was discovered by chance in 2011 on images of the dusty slopes of Mars’ Pavonis Mons volcano taken by the HiRISE instrument aboard the robotic Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter currently circling Mars. The hole appears to be an opening to an underground cavern, partly illuminated on the image right. Analysis of this and follow-up images revealed the opening to be about 35 meters across, while the interior shadow angle indicates that the underlying cavern is roughly 20 meters deep. Why there is a circular crater surrounding this hole remains a topic of speculation, as is the full extent of the underlying cavern. Holes such as this are of particular interest because their interior caves are relatively protected from the harsh surface of Mars, making them relatively good candidates to contain Martian life. These pits are therefore prime targets for possible future spacecraft, robots, and even human interplanetary explorers.

Image credit: NASA, JPL, U. Arizona

Winter View of Dunes

Looking a bit like chocolate mountains with forests of chocolate pine trees, these are in fact dunes from the southern hemisphere on Mars during the winter-time. The brighter tones are thought to be carbon dioxide or water frost. This is an enhanced-color view generated from images acquired by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

Dark Sand Cascades on Mars

They might look like trees on Mars, but they’re not. Groups of dark brown streaks have been photographed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on melting pinkish sand dunes covered with light frost.

Image Credit: HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona), NASA

The above image was taken in 2008 April near the North Pole of Mars. At that time, dark sand on the interior of Martian sand dunes became more and more visible as the spring Sun melted the lighter carbon dioxide ice.

When occurring near the top of a dune, dark sand may cascade down the dune leaving dark surface streaks — streaks that might appear at first to be trees standing in front of the lighter regions, but cast no shadows.

Objects about 25 centimeters across are resolved on this image spanning about one kilometer. Close ups of some parts of this image show billowing plumes indicating that the sand slides were occurring even when the image was being taken.

lakes: Surface of Mars, photographed by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, 24th August 2008.

Detail of Tikhonravov Crater interior at 13°N 35°E. Mikhail Tikhonravov (1900-1974) was a Soviet rocket and spacecraft designer.

It appears that this is an ancient lake bed, now filled with dust. A paper by Fasset and Head groups Tikhonravov with other lakes that survived until the end of the Noachian or early Hesperian era (about 3.5 billion years ago) and estimates that it had a greater volume than the largest freshwater lake on Earth.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/UoA.

Changing Seasons on Mars

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped this series of false-color pictures of sand dunes in the north polar region of Mars. The area covered in each of the five panels is about 0.8 mile (1.3 kilometers) wide.

The progression begins at left (Panel A) in early spring, when the ground is covered by a seasonal layer of carbon dioxide ice (dry ice) about 2 feet thick. As spring progresses the ice cracks (Panel B), releasing dark sand from the dune below. When pressurized gas trapped below the ice layer is released, it carries along sand and dust to the top of the ice layer, where it is dropped in fan-shaped deposits downhill and downwind (panels C and D). The final panel shows more and more of the dark dunes as the overlying layer of seasonal ice evaporates back into the atmosphere.

The location in this series of images is at 80 degrees north latitude, 122.5 degrees east longitude.

image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Weird Geological Features Spied on Mars

The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera carried by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has spotted a strange geological feature that, for now, defies an obvious explanation. Found at the southern edge of Acidalia Planitia, small pits with raised edges appear to hug a long ridge. So far, mission scientists have ruled out impact craters and wind as formation processes, but have pegged the most likely cause to be glacial in nature.

Dead Spacecraft on Mars Spotted in New Photos

A NASA probe orbiting Mars has captured new photos of two dead spacecraft frozen in place at their Red Planet graves.

The photos were taken by NASA’s powerful Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which has been circling the planet since 2006.

The spacecraft first spied NASA’s dead Phoenix Mars Lander in the Martian arctic on Jan. 26 in a color photo that reveals the lander and its frigid surroundings as they appeared following Phoenix’s second winter on the planet. The Phoenix spacecraft landed successfully on Mars in 2008.

In a separate photo, MRO also spotted the three-petal landing platform that delivered NASA’s Mars rover Spirit to the surface of the Red Planet in January 2004. The platform used parachutes and airbags to bounce to a stop on Gusev crater so the Spirit rover could begin its mission.

Seasonal changes on Mars

Researchers using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter see seasonal changes on far-northern Martian sand dunes caused by warming of a winter blanket of frozen carbon dioxide.

Earth has no naturally frozen carbon dioxide, though pieces of manufactured carbon-dioxide ice, called “dry ice,” sublime directly from solid to gas on Earth, just as the vast blankets of dry ice do on Mars. A driving factor in the springtime changes where seasonal coverings of dry ice form on Mars is that thawing occurs at the underside of the ice sheet, where it is in contact with dark ground being warmed by early-spring sunshine through translucent ice. The trapped gas builds up pressure and breaks out in various ways.

Transient grooves form on dunes when gas trapped under the ice blanket finds an escape point and whooshes out, carrying out sand with it. The expelled sand forms dark fans or streaks on top of the ice layer at first, but this evidence disappears with the seasonal ice, and summer winds erase most of the grooves in the dunes before the next winter.

The findings reinforce growing appreciation that Mars today, however different from its former self, is still a dynamic world, and however similar to Earth in some respects, displays some quite unearthly processes.

With three Martian years (six Earth years) of data in hand from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, the researchers report on the sequence and variety of seasonal changes. The spring changes include outbursts of gas carrying sand, polygonal cracking of the winter ice blanketing the dunes, sandfalls down the faces of the dunes, and dark fans of sand propelled out onto the ice.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

dghelaayce’e: Surface of Mars, photographed by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, 17th November 2008.

High latitude gullies”, inside the northeast rim of Porter Crater, 52°S 247°E.

Russell William Porter (1871-1949) was, at times, an arctic explorer, astronomer, telescope engineer, professor of architecture, painter and technical illustrator.

In 1906, Porter joined an expedition to Alaska led by Frederick Cook. While Porter explored and surveyed the surrounding region, Cook and one other explorer set off to climb Denali, North America’s tallest mountain (aka Mount McKinley; 6,000m or 20,000 feet). Cook eventually returned, claiming success, and Porter became the first of many skeptics: Cook’s ascent was soon shown to have been falsified; he had actually climbed and photographed a much smaller nearby mountain now evocatively named “Fake Peak”.

Porter is best remembered for designing and hand-crafting many telescopes and observatories, including the initial sketches for the Griffith Observatory in the Hollywood hills, and contributions to the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Mount Palomar.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/UoA.