Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

MSL sites, comet outbursts, and other stuff

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

25-10-2007 11:01 CDT

Topics: comets, mission status, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)

I'm back at the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) landing site selection meeting in Pasadena, having missed yesterday's discussions of various landing sites. I am going to be getting some notes from a friend, but in the meantime, I'd like to direct you to a couple of excellent blog entries by Ryan Anderson, who is a second-year graduate student of Jim Bell's at Cornell. He's posted already about the first day and the second day of the meeting. Here's a little sample from his second-day commentary:

It was interesting to see the different degrees of candor in people's presentations. Some tended to gloss over the ambiguities in their proposed site, hoping to convince everyone that a water-related origin is the only explanation. Other presentations were brutally honest about their viability as a site, and in fact served more as public service announcements, reminding us of things to keep in mind when evaluating other sites. Of the sites discussed, some were clearly better than others, but I wouldn't say that there are any that I can say are sure to be among the finalists.

Also, you can download almost all of the presentations being made at this three-day MSL landing site selection workshop here.

On an unrelated topic, I've gotten a couple of emails about a major comet outburst going on; 17P/Holmes has suddenly brightened from magnitude 17 to magnitude 3 overnight, making it a naked-eye comet. I'll defer to a better astronomer than me to explain how to look for it; check out the Bad Astronomer's posts on it here and here.

And while I'm linking to stuff, let me point you to this week's Mars Trivia contest; Monday's Planetary Radio interview with Mark Showalter on the rings of Uranus and Saturn; and a news story and press release from yesterday on the successful launch of Chang'e 1.

See other posts from October 2007


Or read more blog entries about: comets, mission status, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.


Featured Images

LightSail 2 and Prox-1
Bill Nye at LightSail 2 pre-ship review
LightSail 2 pre-ship review team photo
Swirling maelstrom
More Images

Featured Video

Class 9: Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!