Hey, you feel like going to Mars today? Climb on top of a dune in Gale Crater’s “Dingo Gap” with Mars Curiosity, via Andrew Bornov’s latest interactive Mars panorama. Adam Mann has more info on what you’re looking at over at Wired.
If you’re on a non-mobile device, I’ve embedded it below. If you ARE on a mobile device, click here, and you’re in for a special augmented reality treat!
I couldn’t agree more, Hank.
I was lucky enough to join Hank and everyone else at the YouTube EDU summit this year, and getting to go to the Exploratorium, my favorite place on Earth?! Wow, that was just icing on the cake! I lived in San Francisco this summer and went 7 times … I have a problem. I even make it in the edge of this video around 1:27, so that’s cool.
I’ve been thinking about what the Exploratorium represents. I’ve heard it described it as a “playground for education”, an “amusement park for the mind” or, as I call it, “Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory after a hostile takeover by Mr. Wizard”. That imagery invokes youth, childhood, purity, innocence, wonder, fun. We speak of it with adult tongues wired to the minds of children.
It seems to me that places like this let us adults recapture some piece of the past that we have lost, or set aside. We walk alongside true children, miniature avatars of our former selves, tinkering, figuring out how things work, or sometimes remembering that we already knew how they worked, but since forgot. We inject discovery in our veins, we inhale euphoric clouds of curiosity and we gulp down intoxicating cupfuls of yes, wow, that’s how that works! … existing in a wonderful state of mind that says we are moving towards some better place, some higher plane, just by knowing more.
What if we didn’t have to re-discover it? I mean, where in our lives did we allow it to whither and fade? Was it our first job? The 457th time our alarm clock went off in the dark? 8 AM organic chemistry during our freshman year?
What if we never let that flame fade to an ember? What if we never hid it away, devoid of tinder? What cold night’s fire for a future winter are we saving it for? What if we just fed it and let it burn? We could build a camp around it, we could find comfort in its glow, we could invite our friends to sit with us and come out of the cold. Maybe if we were curious forever.
Oh think, how happy we’d be. That’s what these places are for. These places: the Exploratorium, science on YouTube, science online. Maybe that’s why we do what we do. We’re the pyromaniacs of curiosity. I think it’s getting warmer.
New episode of It’s Okay To Be Smart! Let’s all do the “new video” dance:
My latest creation is an ode to space exploration, from its rather war-themed beginnings, to the pure adventure of Apollo, to the golden age of the shuttle era, to the curiosity of Curiosity.
Where do we go from here? Special thanks to the National Air and Space Museum for letting me hang out with a real-life space shuttle for a few hours.
Solar Eclipse on Mars
This sort of eclipse, where the nearer body doesn’t quite cover the sun, is called an annular eclipse, after the Latin word for “ring-shaped”.
These sort of annular astronomical coincidences happen on Earth, too, since our distance from the moon changes throughout each body’s elliptical orbit. Beautiful stuff:
Curiosity is becoming quite the skywatcher. Last month it aimed its camera up and captured Mars’ two moons in one shot!
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the rover’s landing, Adam Mann dug through Curiosity’s raw image gallery to find some of the unseen gems. He assembled a great gallery at Wired that you should check out.
This was a colossal undertaking. Curiosity has beamed back more than 71,000 images in the past year, and Adam had to sift through them all. Trust me, I sit next to him.
If that’s not enough Mars rover awesome for you, he also figured out what Curiosity’s Kelly Blue Book value would be if we wanted to trade in the used ATV. Not that we would consider such a thing. Shhh … there, there little rover. We’re not getting rid of you.
Happy birthday to the Mars Curiosity rover. Let’s celebrate by joining in as Curiosity sings “Happy Birthday” to itself, thanks to a special resonator on one of its instruments (the good stuff starts about 1:15 into the video above).
Combine that with a playlist of great songs about Mars.
The most important thing is that man — not the automatic machine — is the primary system in space flight.
Apollo astronaut Edward White
Folks, read Megan Garber’s amazing piece for The Atlantic about the humanization of Curiosity (the rover and the feeling). It’s just freakin’ brilliant.
We put ourselves on another planet, in more ways than one. Ugggghhhhhhh that is just too amazing. (It’s also why I wrote this)