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By GCN Staff

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Digital topographic map of mars

USGS team's digital topographic maps guide Mars Curiosity

Topographic maps, which show landscape features and elevations, were critical in the selection of the Mars Curiosity landing site and the rover’s subsequent treks across the Martian surface.

A team of scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Ariz., began making maps  in 2007 for this summer’s landing. Led by geophysicist Randy Kirk, the team used the cameras on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to take stereopairs, which USGS describes as “two photographs of the same area from slightly different angles -- whose combination produces a three-dimensional image from which elevation data for every pixel can be derived.” 

The resulting digital topographic maps have created huge datasets. The maps of the Gale crater landing site contained as much information as is contained in the entire global topographic map of Mars, USGS said. According to the agency, that amount of data is about a million times more than what the team produced by nondigital stereo mapping of the 1997 Mars Pathfinder landing site, the team’s first landing-site assessment.

Posted by GCN Staff on Oct 24, 2012 at 9:39 AM


Reader Comments

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 wavettore

New and old Science A new and Progressive Science shows how Wavevolution, or the transformation from waves to atoms, is the connecting link that closes the circle of science to open our eyes toward new horizons never seen before. The bureaucracy of traditional science prevents the recognition of any event unless certain criteria are first met. The problem of this science is buried deep in the compilation of these "laws" or criteria introduced by a few scientists in the name of all science and from their erroneous understanding of the relation between Space and Time. This antiquated system of rules also results in misleading theories. For example, Space is not “curved”. In Einstein's paradigm, a stone that falls on the ground from the window of a moving train also marks one parabola in Space. Although, this path is only apparent since the Earth is also moving and the Time spent by the stone to reach the ground has also changed to some degree that imaginary vertical line. At the Time of the initial Movement when the stone falls from the window, its potential trajectory is one perpendicular Space that is no longer the same as the stone continues to move until it hits the ground. If the scientist had known that the coordinates of Space in Time are unique and unrepeatable then all the rest would have also been "straight". That perpendicular is straight but accounted as “curve” because of the limits of science unable to recognize the issue of simultaneity. In reference to each body on each moment in Time there are always only two coordinates in Space for one perpendicular. And with two coordinates there is no curve. One perpendicular is unrepeatable and never the same because while the measure of it is repeatable and any measurement can be applied for different segments instead one perpendicular marked in Time is like an imprint on clay with one mold that is not repeatable. These are the limits of science in regard to simultaneity and repeatability that like a white flag surrender traditional science to Religion. The perpendicular changes in Time but Einstein believed that the concept of Space is independent from the concept of Time. Much confusion comes from these approximations. One new Awareness will be found in between the winding creativity of the human mind and the rigid logic of numbers. http://www.wikinfo.org/Multilingual/index.php/Wavevolution http://www.wavevolution.org/en/humanwaves.html

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