Last week, we facilitated two tours of the LROC Lab and the Mars Space Flight Facility. Our interested party were science geeks and folks interested in space from The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix.

Below left, is the view of the LROC Lab where the image download link resides. The students and faculty monitor the image download from these computer screens. We want to thank Steven and Veronica for their lively commentary at LROC. On the right is one of the screens tracking the image download parameters.

You can book your own tour of the LROC facility here.

LROC Lab Image Download Control

On the left is one of the incoming images of the Moon’s surface from the NAC (Narrow Angle Camera). Overlain are targets previously identified and cataloged for researchers. If you are interested in an object or location on the surface of the Moon, you can request to be notified when it is imaged. Below on the right are some of the folks on the tour.

Incoming Image Tourists

Over at the Mars Space Flight Facility, Meg Hubbard took us in tow and gave an hour over to discussion of the three operating instruments at Mars. Two instruments are the mini-TES (Thermal Imaging Spectroscopes) instruments on the Mars rovers Spirit (model below left) and Opportunity. This is the tool that “… collects high-resolution infrared spectra that will help identify the mineralogy of all geologic materials including silicates, carbonates, sulfates, phosphates, oxides and hydroxides. Mini-TES will also measure the lower atmospheric boundary layer and provide information on suspended dust, water ice, and water vapor opacity. ”

The other instrument is the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on the Mars Odyssey satellite. This instrument “… is a thermal emission imaging system. It contains two independent multi-spectal imaging sub-systems: a 10-band thermal infrared imager (IR), and a 5-band visible imager”.

Earlier, the Mars Global Surveyor carried the full sized Thermal Emission Spectrometer, Modeled below, right. “Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) launched from Cape Canaveral Air Station on 7 November 1996 and was successfully put into orbit around Mars on 12 September 1997. On 31 January 2001, MGS completed the mapping phase of the mission, which lasted one martian year (two Earth years). On 2 November 2006, mission controllers lost contact with the spacecraft, ending the mission”.

Thank you to all the people at ASU and these two great facilities for their time and effort. It was worth every minute.

Spirit Mars Global Surveyor

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