Added 2 new A* pages:NASA's big Curiosity rover just landed safely on Mars--and I'll admit their big sort of anti-PR campaign about the landing being "7 minutes of terror," and making signs showing bad track record of human missions to Mars (although the Soviet Union kind of brought the average down :P) did manage to make me a bit worried that their $2.5 billion science project might end up spread across a Martian mountain range or something--so easily manipulated am I!--but nope, apparently a pretty much perfect landing, and now...a few weeks of testing to make sure everything is working right. HUM. Then it begins its two-year trek up the 3-mile-high mountain--"Mount Sharp"--looming over its landing position|
image by NASA/JPL-Caltech (source)
to look for the possibility of ancient Martians. NASA managed to get a glimpse of the parachute stage of the rover's descent to the surface from their Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which was overhead:
image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona (source)
(Later they also spotted a tiny dot that they think was the rover's ejected, falling heat shield in a distant, cropped part of this photo.)
The rover took a series of photos during its decent, some of which have been stitched together into a really grainy video of the landing. All of the rover's early images have been low-resolution things; supposedly some were compressed before sending due to the bandwidth limitation it has of getting info back to Earth, and higher-resolution versions will be trickling in later, especially once the rover breaks out its more powerful cameras--I read somewhere earlier today that it has...eh...I think it was something like a total of 22 cameras on it. Or was it 16? Oh wait, Wikipedia says it's 17. See if you can sort them all out from this NASA article/diagram!
One diagram I thought was kinda nifty was this:
image by NASA/JPL-Caltech (source)
I'm sure it's highly simplified from what the navigators are actually looking at, but it kinda shows how, since they've calculated the pull the planet's gravity will have on the craft very precisely, while getting there they just have to make sure it's aimed at the right "window" in space before the gravity hooks it and starts pulling it down. Or maybe I'm totally misinterpreting that. :P
And finally, this artist's concept of the rover using its laser for spectrometry (the laser is actually invisible, and just creates a tiny light flash on the target that's read by sensors, which can tell from the specific wavelengths of light released what elements were in the object struck)
image by NASA/JPL (source)
looked awfully familiar. Hmmmm.... Oh yeah, it's because we saw it in 1986!
:o (And oh man, of course even that movie is in the works for a remake/reboot, according to that Wikipedia page. ;P Maybe they can get Curiosity to star!)
Boy the tip of my big Haboku X brush is really aced--that probably wasn't helping the struggles I was having with the last two close-ups of Selenis' face. I guess it lasted about 15 pages before starting to get ragged, which isn't great as far as brush longevity goes--I was getting at least 20 out of my dinky sable brushes, although those were a good deal more expensive. Hopefully the local art supply store keeps up a good stock of these Habokus, and at the same discount price! I dunno if I can even go back to smaller style brushes anyway, because it turns out that the nice thick handle of the Haboku (especially the X size) is great in terms of grip ergonomics--the occasional wrist soreness I would get after a day of drawing quietly vanished once I started using it. :D And I would get that and/or forearm aches if I wasn't *exactly* positioned with my elbow and wrist flat on the drawing table with other brushes, which was a real chore both for my back and because it's harder for me to draw when I'm hunkered down over the paper like that--I can't really see the whole composition as a single unit when I'm forced that close to it. But the Haboku X has been perfectly comfy to use from any angle and position!