The People Have Spoken

And This is what They Wanted To See on Mars

If you ask people what they want to see on Mars and let ’em vote on their favorite places to image, you get some gorgeous places on one of the most fascinating worlds of the solar system.  The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRiSE camera snapped a collection of images and released the first eight today that were suggested by the public through a program called HiWish. What impresses me is how savvy folks can be about the Red Planet.  It’s tough to pick out MY favorite of the first eight, but this one of ice layers at the Martian North Pole is both intriguing AND easy on the eyes! You can see the other seven at the link above.

The Martian north polar layered deposits are an ice sheet much like the Greenland ice sheet on the Earth. Just as with the ice sheet in Greenland, this Martian ice sheet contains many layers that record variations in the Martian climate. Courtesy MRO/HiRiSE/Univ. Arizona/JPL-Caltech

The cool thing about the HiWISH program is that it’s an ongoing project, so if you haven’t suggested a place for the HiRiSE camera to point its viewfinder, skedaddle on over to the HiWish site and make your Martian wishes known!

P.S. Many thanks to the folks who sent good wishes the past week or two.  I returned from an astronomy lecture trip with a broken arm (who knew lecturing could be so dangerous?) and until a few days ago, typing was very difficult. I’m still a bit sore, but some physical therapy and exercise will bring it back in shape soon!

While I Was Out…

Teaching Astronomy on the High Seas

My latest episode of The Astronomer’s Universe went up at AstroCast.TV on March 1. It’s Part 2 of my coverage of the January 2010 American Astronomical Society winter meeting. There’s an interview focusing on the James Webb Space Telescope and another with Noreen Grice of You Can Do Astronomy, LLC, a unique company that provides astronomy materials for blind and low-vision people.  Check it out!

If you are an observatory or planetarium, why not consider embedding these and other episodes from Astrocast.TV on your institution’s website?  It’s free and easy to do.  Contact me at cc dot petersen @ astrocast dot TV for more details.