Route to Balanced Rock


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Route to Balanced Rock on Mars

The image above is a panorama I have created from the raw images taken by Curiosity’s left navigation camera today, using this image for the left half and this image for the right half. They show the terrain in front of the rover, including the balanced rock on the horizon, indicated by the arrow.

I have no idea what route the science team plans, but looking at all of the images, as well as their desire to get a closer look at the rock, I suspect they will head up to the left on the smoother ground, aiming almost directly at the balanced rock. I also suspect that they will eventually veer right before getting to the rock, since the rover can’t go over the rough terrain in that area. Stay tuned to find out.

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4 comments

  • Wayne

    Mr Z– what software do you use for image manipulation?

  • DJN

    something running in Linux no doubt.

  • I use the Gimp, which is cross platform and will work on both Windows, Apple, and Linux machines. It is as capable as Photoshop, and free.

  • Localfluff

    Those vertically exposed layered rocks should reveal some geological history. That’s the stuff Curiosity was designed to investigate with its arm and its laser. Now we’re getting somewhere. The warranty has expired, the wheels are wearing down and we’ve just had a safety mode, I hope they manage to get close enough to those rock layers soon.

    Anyway, they can’t resist pushing that rock over with the arm. Imagine the destiny. Heard from passing aliens long ago but not far away:
    -Maybe Earth develops life and a civilization that sends a rover there to push it over 4 billion years from now?
    -Yeah, sure, weirdo!

    I don’t see much about this rock on other blogs and space news sites. It is surely destroying Emily Lakdawalla’s vacation unless she is completely disconnected. Astronomers are on summer vacation. They never really left student life, you know. Other branches of the natural sciences have close contact with industries in the real world and social sciences do too, and humaniora with mass media and publishing. But the astronomers are for themselves and now they are on their 10 week summer break.

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