Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why A Documentary Is Better Than A Movie

Have you seen this? If you haven't been to an IMAX movie you haven't seen this. Obviously this documentary uses a lot of simulation footages but the realism is palpable. You do feel you could have been in the spaceship ... but to be cooped up for 7 months to travel to Mars is no joke, you probably need some sedation drugs to hibernate or else you will go crazy in an enclosed space for a prolonged period.

Still, we have figured how to get to Mars but how to get back? Its a huge lot further than the moon. But one can already see and feel the magnificent achievement from the joyous faces of the people at NASA. Its a wonderful feat by fellow planetarians to just get that far. Now, when can AirAsia get us to Mars for RM1.99???

Actually, travelling to Mars as a commuter is not that far away. Have you heard of the sharpest guy in town called Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, sold it and now is running Tesla the magnificent electric car, he has a company SpaceX which aims to transport people to Mars for fun. Already he has over $3b in pre flight bookings up to 2017. Not space dreams anymore.



Spirit, MER-A (Mars Exploration Rover -- A), is a robotic rover on Mars, active from 2004 to 2010. It was one of two rovers of NASA's ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission. It landed successfully on Mars at 04:35 Ground UTC on January 4, 2004, three weeks before its twin, Opportunity (MER-B), landed on the other side of the planet. Its name was chosen through a NASA-sponsored student essay competition. The rover became stuck in late 2009, and its last communication with Earth was sent on March 22, 2010.

The rover completed its planned 90-sol mission. Aided by cleaning events that resulted in higher power from its solar panels, Spirit went on to function effectively over twenty times longer than NASA planners expected following mission completion. Spirit also logged 7.73 km (4.8 mi) of driving instead of the planned 600 m (0.4 mi), allowing more extensive geological analysis of Martian rocks and planetary surface features. Initial scientific results from the first phase of the mission (the 90-sol prime mission) were published in a special issue of the journal Science.

On May 1, 2009 (5 years, 3 months, 27 Earth days after landing; 21.6 times the planned mission duration), Spirit became stuck in soft soil. This was not the first of the mission's "embedding events" and for the following eight months NASA carefully analyzed the situation, running Earth-based theoretical and practical simulations, and finally programming the rover to make extrication drives in an attempt to free itself. These efforts continued until January 26, 2010 when NASA officials announced that the rover was likely irrecoverably obstructed by its location in soft soil, though it continued to perform scientific research from its current location.

The rover continued in a stationary science platform role until communication with Spirit stopped on sol 2210 (March 22, 2010). JPL continued to attempt to regain contact until May 24, 2011, when NASA announced that efforts to communicate with the unresponsive rover had ended. A formal farewell was planned at NASA headquarters after the Memorial Day holiday and was televised on NASA TV.

The clip is taken from the IMAX movie "Roving Mars" from 2006 . This is an edited short version. Thanks for watching and please take your time to rate.

2 comments:

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nick said...

Yes, certainly Airasia will get you to Mars for RM1.99 but you have to book your ticket decades before the technology is ready and of course decades before you leave and points to remember is the fuel, oxygen, water, food and other amenities will have to be charged extra say couple of hundred millions and payment must be made in advance (that means now..today). And one other thing, if by some unlucky circumstances that you are unable to travel on the appointed date, the seat is nonrefundable and nontransferable. In other word, you're screwed! When that happen, you know that Airasia is going to Uranus and not Mars! Ahem, if you get my drift!

Nick.