[meteorite-list] Images From Curiosity Mars Rover Include Bright Spots

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2014 15:59:59 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201404082259.s38MxxGa028376_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Images From NASA Mars Rover Include Bright Spots
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
April 08, 2014

This image from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars
rover includes a bright spot near the upper left corner. Image credit:

Images taken by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on April 2 and April 3 include
bright spots, which might be due to the sun glinting off a rock or cosmic
rays striking the camera's detector.

The image from April 3, from Curiosity's Navigation Camera, is online
at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA18077

The rover took the image just after arriving at a waypoint called "the
Kimberley." The bright spot appears on a horizon, in the same west-northwest
direction from the rover as the afternoon sun.

"In the thousands of images we've received from Curiosity, we see ones
with bright spots nearly every week," said Justin Maki of NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., leader of the team that built and operates
the Navigation Camera. "These can be caused by cosmic-ray hits or sunlight
glinting from rock surfaces, as the most likely explanations."

If the bright spots in the April 2 and April 3 images are from a glinting
rock, the directions of the spots from the rover suggest the rock could
be on a ridge about 175 yards (160 meters) from the rover's April 3 location.

The bright spots appear in images from the right-eye camera of the stereo
Navcam, but not in images taken within one second of those by the left-eye
camera. Maki said, "Normally we can quickly identify the likely source
of a bright spot in an image based on whether or not it occurs in both
images of a stereo pair. In this case, it's not as straightforward because
of a blocked view from the second camera on the first day."

At the Kimberley and, later, at outcrops on the slope of Mount Sharp inside
Gale Crater, researchers plan to use Curiosity's science instruments to
learn more about habitable past conditions and environmental changes.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages
the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate,
Washington. The project designed and built the project's Curiosity rover
and operates it on Mars.

For more information about Curiosity, visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl
, http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/. You can follow
the mission on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on
Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity.

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster at jpl.nasa.gov

Received on Tue 08 Apr 2014 06:59:59 PM PDT

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