Click for full image.
The new colonial movement: The leader of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday released on his twitter feed the first photo of Mars that was beamed back from its Al-Amal (“hope” in English) orbiter, taken shortly after achieving orbit.
That photo is to the right, cropped and reduced to post here. From the article at the link:
[The photo] was captured by Hope’s EXI instrument from an altitude of 24,700 km (15,350 miles) above the Martian surface at 20:36 GMT on Wednesday – so, one day after arriving at the Red Planet.
The north pole of Mars is in the upper left of the image. At centre, just emerging into the early morning sunlight, is Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the Solar System. Look right on the boundary between night and day, the so-called terminator.
The three shield volcanoes in a line are Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons, and Arsia Mons. Look east, to the limb of the planet, and you can see the mighty canyon system, Valles Marineris. It’s part covered by cloud.
Right now the spacecraft’s orbit is very eccentric, ranging from 600 to 30,000 miles above the Martian surface. After several orbital trims, Al-Amal will end up in an orbit about 14,000 by about 27,000 miles, with an inclination of about 25 degrees. From that high orbit it will then focus on studying the Martian atmosphere.
Thus, future images will likely be similar to this, global and mostly aimed at tracking visible phenomenon in the atmosphere (dust storms and clouds).
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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