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May 24, 2008

Mars Photo Album - Candidate Landing Site

Posted: 07:15 PM ET

One of the most important roles an orbiting spacecraft can play is helping identify potential landing sites for the next lander.

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This is a false color image of an intriguing site for the next Mars rover – the Mars Science Laboratory – a huge nuclear-powered rover that will have much more capability and range than Spirit and Opportunity.

Scientists used a spectrometer on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to locate this site – which is dotted with clay deposits.

They then took a high resolution picture – and added some false color to make it easier to see the clay (reddish spots).

Martian clay would be a cool thing to find and analyze since it is, of course, formed in the presence of water.

By the way, the resolution on this image is about one foot (30 cm) per pixel – that's High-Def by Mars exploration standards – and a long way from those early faxes from Mariner!

– Correspondent Miles O’Brien, CNN Science & Technology

Join Miles this Sunday at 7pm Eastern for an hour-long special on the next Mars landing. The Phoenix Mars lander is scheduled to touch down on the Martian surface during the hour. Miles will be LIVE from mission control at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. His guest for the hour is Steve Squyres, lead scientist on the Mars Rovers.

Filed under: Mars • NASA • Space

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steve pagnozzi   May 24th, 2008 7:31 pm ET

Its within our technical boundaries to start seriously thinking about permanent colonies on the moon and mars. And, incidentaly, this would be a most appropriate time to get everyone in on it. All countries and peoples. This should be an Earth event not a US event(even though I'm proud to be an American). Most Importantly, it will bring mankind a bit closer(Imagine an Israeli and an Arab standing next to each other on Mars!). And another important factor is the price. If all countries donate to get in on this permanent endeavor it won't hurt our pocketbooks as much. But the bottom line is the importance of exploration! Thanks. Steve

phil   May 24th, 2008 8:14 pm ET

Miles – your converage of science and space is awesome – passionate... making it very real for us earth bound creatures! thank you!!!

CD   May 24th, 2008 8:17 pm ET

Go Phoenix!

Mike Davis   May 24th, 2008 8:38 pm ET

why not include a link to a hi-res version of the pic?

one thing i hate about these sort of articles is the lack of relevant links, i mean, it IS the internet for gosh sakes!

lee   May 24th, 2008 11:13 pm ET

you typed "the the" in the first paragraph.. just letting you know

pdykstra   May 24th, 2008 11:27 pm ET

From the Executive Producer:

Thanks Lee!! You get extra points for paying close attention. Problem fixed., The extra "the" has been expunged.

Understand that we send a small-but-hardy band of professionals out to produce taped stories, live TV shots, web pieces, blogs, and one-hour specials They work their brains out, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that their brains are large. They are working long hours, while I'm sitting here watching the Red Sox lose their second straight on a one-hitter, and occasionally monitoring the SciTechBlog......

The extra "the" has been removed.

Come back tomorrow, it's going to be awesome.

Peter Dykstra

Chris   May 25th, 2008 12:39 am ET

Anyone hear what Richard Hoagland has to say about any of this? 🙂

james   May 25th, 2008 2:25 am ET

Nuclear waste my contaminate planets
by land rovers and may have an effect to earth.

Pablo   May 25th, 2008 2:50 am ET

We'll watch this tomorrow, can't wait to see the final touchdown. I have watch the last touchdown tru cnn. GOOD LUCK.

scooby   May 25th, 2008 3:29 am ET

We already have a Mars Base and Moon Base. this is just naza'a way of letting us get closer to the truth that all this is just to cover up the fact that we really are 50 years ahead of this crap. pppleeeease

CB_Brooklyn   May 25th, 2008 5:40 am ET

There's another series of NASA photos, most are quite bizarre. See the PowerPoint Presentation here:

Mars Anomalies

The above should be linked in the main blog.

John Livingston   May 25th, 2008 6:57 am ET

It's always disappointing to me when we have these great new, high-res pictures available and all that's on the CNN site are tiny versions we have to strain to see. Is there some reason why there can't be larger versions we can look at by merely clicking on these near-thumnail images? Thanks.

joeparadis   May 25th, 2008 7:27 am ET

I have often thought that there are so many stories that would capture America's interest if only promoted. Instead of hounding people and having freak shows like Larry King normally has, why not have CNN spend a concerted effort to engender interest in subjects like these. A serial killer or a bunch of groupies in Texas get hundreds of times the coverage as stories like this one. There are intriguing stories to be had about new energy sources, new inventions, etc., it just takes a little more homework and effort to produce–you guys at CNN got the money, do you have the will and skill?

Keenan   May 25th, 2008 7:39 am ET pixel represents 30cm in that photo....too kewl.

John Leary   May 25th, 2008 9:50 am ET

It is only a matter of time before one these probes finds the smoking gun. With all we know about Mars the question in my mind is not if life existed there, but when?

Josef J   May 25th, 2008 11:24 am ET

We are destroying and polluting earth and we are now going to do the same to the moon and mars , wherever a humanbeing living ,it brings only distruction.
to the one who said "Imagine an Israeli and an Arab standing next to each other on Mars"
No i can NOT image that , do we need another war on mars?
No thank you.

Don't you ever step on another planet , leave them alone in peace 🙂

Ron Bennett   May 25th, 2008 12:01 pm ET

Follow the water is a fairly new term used after the successful landing of Opportunity and Spirit rovers. Not too long ago before the twin rovers if you said follow the water in terms of exploring Mars most scientists would have looked at you sideways.

Here is a link to a read-only blog with images from message board that has some scientist still looking at us today sideways.

Simulations Show Liquid Water Could Exist on Mars

steve in k.c.   May 25th, 2008 12:21 pm ET

Josef J.,

You need to stay away from stressful subjects. Leave the complicated stuff to those of us with the capacity to function normally under challenging conditions. There's a reason you failed science class. Try knitting or solitaire.

Can't-Wait-Til-Tonight   May 25th, 2008 12:24 pm ET

Where will we able to find Miles tonight? Is this an online showing or on the CNN Channel on TV? I want to make sure I don't miss a second of this!!

Sylvia   May 25th, 2008 1:39 pm ET

I certainly believe that life exists elsewhere in the universe. But on Mars? It would have had to develop quickly within very narrow windows of opportunity and then adapt very quickly to rapidly changing, very extreme and hostile conditions. So I'm not so certain. It will be totally awesome, in both the modern and the traditional senses of that word, if we find it. But even if we don't, it is already totally awesome getting to understand the geology and weather and overall make-up and behaviour of another planet. Go NASA, go ESA! GO PHOENIX! YES!!!

rolf liebergesell   May 25th, 2008 1:39 pm ET

Your picture does not look like anything on Mars, but rather like a pile of junk

Capt. D   May 25th, 2008 4:24 pm ET

I hope CNN will divide their televised screen so that we can watch several different groups of scientists "watch" the 7 minute SOFT landing without ANY lame comments from/by the news folks; this will allow those of us that have taken part in prior missions to share the moment without bla bla bla.
There will be plenty of time afterward for all the comments and interviews.

Marty   May 25th, 2008 8:23 pm ET

Thanks, Miles, for your fine commentary on the Landing – Your enthusiasm and understanding of the process was impressive- BUT I'd recommend you watch (and listen) to a baseball game or two – perhaps one with commentary by Vin Scully or another master – you'd find that perhaps the most important rule to observe when covering a great moment, is knowing when BE SILENT and let the event speak for itself. It was disappointing that there were so few seconds when you were willing (perhaps because of a Network Mandate?) to let the NASA spokespeople give the final countdown, letting the drama play out, without constant commentary, on the event.

Still, thanks CNN & Miles for providing us with some Martian Prime Time.

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