Visit the USGS Home Page Go to the Astrogeology Research Program Home Page USGS Astrogeology Research Program

Hubble's Eye on Mars

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope snapshot of Mars
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope snapshot of Mars

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took this snapshot of Mars 11 hours before the planet made its closest approach to Earth. The two planets are 34,648,840 miles (55,760,220 km) apart. This image was made from a series of exposures taken between 6:20 p.m. and 7:12 p.m. EDT Aug. 26 with Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2.

Photo credit: NASA/J. Bell (Cornell U.) and M. Wolff (SSI)

330 x 330, 32 KB

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope made observations of the planet Mars on August 26 and 27, when Earth and Mars were closer together than they have been in the last 60,000 years. As Hubble's high-resolution images of the Red Planet are received at the Space Telescope Science Institute and are digitally processed by the Mars observing team, they will be released to the public and news media via the Internet. The Hubble images are the sharpest views of Mars ever taken from Earth. They reveal surface details as small as 17 miles (24 km) across. Though NASA's Mars-orbiting spacecraft can photograph the Red Planet in much finer detail, Hubble routinely serves as a "weather satellite" for tracking atmospheric changes on Mars and for probing its geology on a global scale.

More: NASA - Hubble Space Telescope's Viewing Plans For Earth's 'Close Encounter' With Mars

Link: Sky & Telescope - Mars at Its All-Time Finest

Columbia Accident Investigation Board Releases Final Report

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

The Columbia Accident Investigation Board presented its final report on the causes of the Feb. 1, 2003 Space Shuttle accident to the White House, Congress and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The CAIB report concludes that while NASA's present Space Shuttle is not inherently unsafe, a number of mechanical fixes are required to make the Shuttle safer in the short term. The report also concludes that NASA's management system is unsafe to manage the shuttle system beyond the short term and that the agency does not have a strong safety culture. The Board determined that physical and organizational causes played an equal role in the Columbia accident - that the NASA organizational culture had as much to do with the accident as the foam that struck the Orbiter on ascent. The report also notes other significant factors and observations that may help prevent the next accident.

More: NASA CAIB - Columbia Accident Investigation Board Releases Final Report (Release CAIB PA 40-03)

More: NASA CAIB - Columbia Accident Investigation Board home page - access news, reports, and findings related to the Feb. 1, 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident

Mars Close Approach

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Earth and Mars are rapidly converging. On August 27, 2003 -- the date of closest approach -- the two worlds will be 56 million km apart. That's a long way by Earth standards, but only a short distance on the scale of the solar system. NASA, the European Space Agency and Japan are all sending spacecraft to Mars this year. It's a good time to go.

More: Spaceweather - Mars 2003 - Night of the Red Planet

More: NASA - Approaching Mars - Earth and Mars are converging for a close encounter in August.