Archive for October, 2008

Gale Crater HiRISE DEM Animation

October 19th, 2008
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Courtesy of the USGS DEM generating guru’s, a few more HiRISE derived DEM’s have started making it onto their page. (see my story on animating the Columbia Hills for more info)


As part of the MSL landing site selection process, several new DEM’s have been published. These are huge files ( 2gig+ usually) but several of the new ones are giving be a bit of download trouble. One of the ones that has downloaded happily, is this one. Fortunately, it’s my favourite candidate landing site. Gale Crater would be a ‘drive to’ landing site. The safe landing ellipse contains the terrain seen in this DEM, and is interesting itself (it is thought to be a delta of some sort). In the middle of Gale Crater is a large mound, the start of which can be seen beyond the dark dunes at one end of this DEM.

There are a few ‘holes’ in this DEM, caused, I think, by dropouts in downlink for one of the two HiRISE images used to make these DEM.

Thread at UMSF for discussion - here - Enjoy!


C1XS Animations

October 14th, 2008
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It’s all Peter Grindrod’s fault. Katie Joy from Birkbeck College is a Co-I for the C1XS spectrometer onboard Chandrayaan-1, the Indian lunar orbiter set to launch in just over a week. I saw her on The Sky at Night (welcome to the club Katie!) talking about the new instrument, and it seems we had exactly the same thought at about the same time…what a pity they didn’t have a nice animation of the mission and the instrument to drop into the edit of The Sky at Night. Pete mentioned my name, and I said yes, I’d love to do some animations for them, not get paid, but get to visit RAL and see some actual space hardware, and maybe see the resulting work on the news!

Chris Howe kindly went into work on a Saturday to suit me up in clean-room attire to see C1XS in the flesh - well, sort of. The flight instrument was actually in a chamber being calibrated. The door of the flight instrument, bolted to the spare instrument, were in the clean room. I now know what Steve Squyres meant when he described the JPL High Bay as being almost holy ground. Granted, the RAL clean room isn’t a huge venue for spacecraft assembly, but it is a place where a little piece of the magic happens!

Me with the C1XS spare, with the flight door

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