...No Space Lego image?
Think you definately missed an opportunity to play with the little nobbly bricks on this one!
NASA has adjusted the flight path of its Phoenix Mars Lander, en route to a planned touch-down on the Red Planet on 25 May, on its mission to explore the body's Arctic plain. The agency has "conditionally approved" a roughly 62 mile by 12 mile (100km by 20km) "landing ellipse" in an area dubbed "Green Valley", which lies at …
> it's two principal "bold objectives" to "study the history of water in the Martian arctic" and "search for evidence of a habitable zone and assess the biological potential of the ice-soil boundary".
Where is the science, the inquiry, the formulation of hypotheses and their refutation open to scrutiny by every rational being? Or even the pre-scientific stumbling towards naiive inductions? Even with the dumbed down nu labour eduction system of 2008 one can find lots of 12 year olds have a better grip of scientific endeavour.
So thanks Lester for telling us what all that is really about - history and gardening. What you didn't mention is how much it's costing. And whether that Titmarsh fellow is going to do the TV commentary.
So... 100km * 20km landing ellipse. That's 1.5 billion square metres. 5 million rocks in that area... That's 300 per square metre. (So I think some NASA folks have been exaggerating!) The lander itself occupies approx 1.5 square metres. So that's 450 of these rocks within the area of the lander. If they were evenly distibuted, it's one "rock" per 36 square centimetres. Given that each of the lander's three feet undoubtedly occupy approximately the same area....
"The chances of this thing landing unscathed on Mars, are a million to one, he said. Aaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa."
So either some NASA-type boffins are really making it sound worse than it is, or those mission-threatening "rocks" could be more accurately described as "small stones".
You have it backwards. It's .003 rock/m^2, or one rock for every 300 square meters. I think they can find some flat ground in there.
Of course nowhere do they say what the average cross-sectional area of the rocks is, or whether it can be carried by a swallow. Given the thinness of the Martian air, I'm guessing no. Not a European or African swallow, anyway. Maybe a Martian swallow, though.
mine's the coat of armour, not all covered with s**t.
...about being correct. I also arrived at the same 0.003, but in my slightly pickled state interpreted this as one rock per 3mm^2. Which would be ridiculous. So I magically re-worked my calculation until I had something that was more reasonable.
Oh well... Mine's the one with "Maths n00b" written on the back.