Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Work in Progress

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've had an ongoing project I decided to dedicate myself to and I've let several Dawn images slip by. Those will get processed in time, including the newly released Occator images.

Nonetheless, this project should interest a good number of you.

Previously, I worked on and released a synthetic animation of Wright Mons on Pluto, transitioning from the global color MVIC image to the MVIC panchromatic crescent. That image has a lot of views and has had a lot of interest. Well, that animation was really just a portion of a must larger, full animation between the global view and the entire crescent. I'm still working on it but I'm happy to share a reduced resolution image of the colorized crescent image.

This is based on the enhanced colorized global view I previously worked on. Further enhancements were made to account for the more oblique view and the higher albedo in many of the features as a result. Finally, the atmospheric glow is based on the color MVIC look-back previously released. It has been enlarged and composited onto the haze layers above the surface.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Weekly Reading List - Week of Mar 20

Week of March 20, 2016

This section is a curated list of articles, white papers, concepts, events, videos, and data releases. Some listed items may not be current but are nonetheless quite interesting.

Articles & Sites of Interest

Concepts & White Papers



Spacecraft Updates
  • Mar 8: LISA Pathfinder begins science operations phase
  • Mar 8: OSIRIS-REx enters thermal vacuum testing phase
  • Mar 9: InSight being repaired by JPL for launch in 2018
  • Mar 20: Juno - 803,398,000 km from Sol, 59,635,000 km from Jupiter @ 25,501-km/h - 106 days until JOI
  • Mar 20: New Horizons - 5,232,284,000 km from Sol, 312,928,000 km from Pluto, 1,266,620,000 km to KBO-JimGreene @ 51,966-km/h - 1016 days until flyby
  • Mar 20: Voyager 1 - 20,101,040,000 km from Sol @ 61,230-km/h
  • Mar 20: Voyager 2 - 16,557,785,000 km from Sol @ 55,416-km/h
  • Mar 21: Cassini start of Revolution 234
  • Mar 22: Cassini Rev234 - ISS / UVIS observation of Saturn's atmosphere
  • Mar 23: Cassini Rev234 - ISS observation of Titan in half phase, in search of cloud and haze layer changes from approximately 1.99 million kilometers
  • Mar 23: Cassini Rev234 - CIRS observation of Saturn's atmosphere 
  • Mar 24: Cassini Rev234 - ISS observation tracking clouds on Saturn 
  • Mar 25: Cassini Rev234 - ISS / UVIS observation of Saturn's atmosphere
  • Mar 26: Cassini Rev234 - ISS observation tracking clouds on Saturn 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


LAMO image 46 has been released to the JPL Photojournal.

LAMO 46 features an unnamed crater north of Jaja and Dantu craters and near the Cerean north pole. A small patch of bright material is present on the lower rim portion of the crater at left. Several slumped regions exist near the bottom of the imaged region. Several other peculiar linear features are also present, just above the crater at left and some very faint parallel marks to upper right of the same crater. Overall, the imaged region appears to be quite heavily cratered and does not exhibit a strong color signature beyond the average terrain for this latitude.

The imaged region is centered at approximately 65.6 degrees northern latitude, 134.9 degrees east longitude.

LAMO 46 - PIA20401
Imaging Map (2016-03-15)

Synthetic Animation of Occator crater in Survey Orbit

Occator crater in Survey Orbit 

This is is a synthetic animation morph between SO3 and SO11, captured during the Survey Orbit phase of the Dawn mission at Ceres. 

Featured in the morph is Occator crater, notable for its exceptional uniqueness on Ceres, for having material that is dramatically more reflective than the average albedo of Ceres. Fresh salts are likely the cause for the apparent brightness of these spots. No conclusion has been determined as to the type of salts or the origin of the salts at this time. 

More animations from Dawn


LAMO image 45 has been released to the JPL Photojournal.

LAMO 45 features the eastern edge of an unnamed crater, situated at the degraded, far southwestern, rim of major crater Yalode. The rim barely visible, as a faint line that runs from the top left of center, to nearly the lower right corner. The crater in the top left of the imaged region, appears very fresh, with a quite smooth ejecta blanket that has been blown out, across the surrounding terrain. Numerous large boulders are also scattered around the region, also a result of the recent impact. The imaged region appears to reflect strongly in the green spectrum in the available enhanced color reflectance map. This is likely due to the low resolution of the map mixing the very old terrain of Yalode crater, which reflects strongly as yellow, with the fresh ejected material from the imaged crater, likely reflecting in blue. Blue reflectance typically indicates a recent impact and freshly exposed volatiles.

The imaged region is centered at approximately -45.3 degrees southern latitude, 276.6 degrees east longitude.

LAMO 45 - PIA20400
Imaging Map (2016-03-14)


LAMO image 44 has been released to the JPL Photojournal.

LAMO 44 features the far northern extent of Yalode crater, the rim being present in the lower left portion of the imaged region. Long cracks are present along this rim. A very bright patch of material is also present right of center near the bottom of the imaged region. The origin of this bright material is unclear. However, it may be related to a crater sitting just left of this material. This region likely has a quite diverse soil composition, reflecting colors across the spectrum.

The imaged region is centered at approximately -24.7 degrees south latitude, 296.3 degrees east longitude.

LAMO 44 - PIA20398
Imaging Map (2016-03-10)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday Morning Films - Mar 12

Saturday Morning Films features educational film reels of the past for you to wake up to, on your Saturday morning. Typically there is a combined running length of roughly one hour and usually focus on a single broad topic.

No theme today.

Technicolor for Industrial Films - 1949
Archive.org - Technicolor for Industrial Films: Film promoting use of Technicolor process to industrial film producers. - Technicolor Corporation

The Media center in action - 1972
Archive.org - The Media center in action: Shows how today's modern media center is working with schools, with a media specialist as coordinator to help teachers make the best use of media. - Coronet Instructional Films

Alaska: A Modern Frontier - 1948
Archive.org - Alaska: A Modern Frontier: Views of the Territory of Alaska. - Coronet Instructional Films 

Out of This World
Archive.org - Out of This World: A strange propaganda-like advertisement - Frigidaire / General Motors

The Big Bounce - 1960
Archive.org - The Big Bounce: The story of the Echo communications satellite project, and how scientists learned to bounce a radio signal off a big balloon. - Fairbanks Productions 

Thursday, March 10, 2016


LAMO image 43 has been released to the JPL Photojournal.

LAMO 43 features an unnamed region south of the degraded mountain, Liberalia Mons and northwest of prominent mountain, Ahuna Mons. The large impact crater in the center is approximately 15.6-kilometers across and appears to be the result of a quite recent impact, having a well established rim, smooth crater walls and a smooth ejecta blanket surrounding the crater. The crater also reflects strongly in the blue spectrum with a slight shift into green, suggesting a diversity in soil composition and the possible presence of volatile compounds.

The imaged region is centered at approximately 0.6 degrees north latitude, 311.3 degrees east longitude.

LAMO 43 - PIA20397
Imaging Map (2016-03-09)


LAMO image 42 has been released to the JPL Photojournal.

LAMO 42 features an unnamed region situated northeast of Fejokoo crater and southwest of Oxo crater in the northern Hemisphere. The crater at the right of the region, appears to be mid-range in age, with smooth and well defined rim and walls, but also with a fair amount of impacts covering the floor of the crater and the lack of a noticeable smooth ejecta blanket surrounding it. The color map shows light coloration in this area, having been degraded over time due to solar radiation.

The imaged region is centered at approximately 36.5 degrees north latitude, 333.3 degrees east longitude.

LAMO 42 - PIA20296
Imaging Map (2016-03-08)

Monday, March 7, 2016


LAMO image 41 has been released to the JPL Photojournal.

LAMO 41 features an unnamed region very near the Cerian North Pole. At the far upper right corner, the far western edge of Ghanan crater is present. Overall, the imaged region appears saturated with craters, suggesting the terrain is quite old. Several interesting large hills are present near the middle left region. These formations may be related to Ysolo Mons, which is slightly to the north of this region, roughly -45 degrees diagonally up from the left corner of the image.

The imaged region is centered at approximately 77.5 degrees north latitude, 2.1 degrees east longitude.

LAMO 41 - PIA20395
Imaging Map (2016-03-07)

Ahuna Mons in LAMO

Today, NASA and the Dawn team have released a first look at Ahuna Mons, the giant mountain of Ceres, as captured in the Low Altitude Mapping Orbit or LAMO. While slightly distorted for the mosaic, the images appear to be at the maximum, 35-meters per pixel resolution capability of the Dawn mission in this phase.

The terrain at the top of the mountain appears to be very rough, with a large number of scarp-like carvings throughout. In contrast, the slopes around the mountain appear exceptionally smooth, free of any craters. This may be an indication that most of the slopes are screes, and only gravitationally stable.

On one side, bright material is present and seems to stream down the slope. The origin of this material is not clear but may be related to the crater at the far right of the summit, just to the left of the bright material. The origin of this crater is also not clear. It may be impact related or possibly volcanic in origin - either could have resulted in the bright material on the connecting slope.

The nearby crater to the north of Ahuna Mons also remains slightly puzzling. In numerous other craters on Ceres, mass-wasting events have lead to the floor of the crater being obscured and the rim of the crater degraded and slumping inward. The crater north of Ahuna Mons seems to be atypical to this normality, having an obscured crater floor and interior slopes as exceptionally smooth as the surrounding slopes of Ahuna Mons. Such smooth slopes within a crater also typically correlate with a recent impact. However, much of the former smooth ejecta blanket surrounding this crater, is rather degraded with numerous impacts across the terrain, contradicting the possibility of a recent impact.

One possible explanation could be that the the area surrounding Ahuna Mons is very soft and loosely held together like gravel or lunar soil, unable to retain a deformed state. However, an unknown material with a much stronger composition would need to be present within Ahuna Mons for this to be possible.

The team also released a synthetic oblique view. This image was created by using multiple images from the Framing Camera to derive altimetry data products such as a topographic map and a digital elevation model (DEM). For the oblique view, it appears the latest HAMO DEM was loaded into 3D space and textured with the latest LAMO images of the region.

In this synthetic oblique view, we can see a slight depression in the left most portion of the summit. Centered within this depression appears to be a central peak of sorts. Whether this is an indication that a crater was once at the summit in this location, now heavily deformed, is unclear.

Below is an cropped, enhanced view, similar in processing to the contextual images I regularly post.

Blog Status: Moving Animations to Posts

I'll be doing some slight backend maintenance on this blog today. Originally I had placed many of the uploaded Dawn animations in what Blogger calls 'Pages' which aren't typically used as much as I have in this blog. You are restricted in several aspects, namely the URL, when using 'Pages' versus 'Posts'. So I will be moving each animation into a single 'Post' to better organize the vast material on already here and going forward for the vast material I've yet to post, and the material I've yet to create.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Weekly Read & Watch List - Week of Mar 6

Week of March 5, 2016

This feature is a curated list of articles, white papers, concepts, events, videos, and data releases. Some listed items may not be current but are nonetheless quite interesting.

Articles & Sites of Interest

Concepts & White Papers


Spacecraft Updates
  • Feb 29: JAXA / Hitomi (ASTRO-H) - completion of critical operations phase, instrument tests to follow
  • Mar 5: Juno - 801,082,000 km from Sol, 66,662,000 km from Jupiter @ 25,872-km/h - 120 days until JOI
  • Mar 5: New Horizons - 5,214,507,000 km from Sol, 294,987,000 km from Pluto, 1,272,700,000 km to KBO-JimGreene @ 51,990-km/h - 1030 days until flyby
  • Mar 5: Voyager 1 - 20,079,965,000 km from Sol @ 61,233-km/h
  • Mar 5: Voyager 2 - 16,539,098,000 km from Sol @ 55,418-km/h
  • Mar 6: Cassini - ISS movie sequence of the narrow F ring
  • Mar 8: Cassini - ISS observation during distant flyby of Titan at 425,863-kilometers
  • Mar 8-10: Cassini - ISS movie sequence of the A ring Encke Gap
  • Mar 9: Cassini - ISS / CIRS observation of Mimas at 201,880-kilometers
  • Mar 10: Cassini - ISS observation of F ring in high resolution
  • Mar 10-11: Cassini - ISS movie sequence of the D ring
  • Mar 11: Cassini - UVIS observation of Enceledus and plumes at 979,130-kilometers
  • Mar 12-19: ISS / CIRS / UVIS observations of the Saturn atmosphere

Blog Entries

Friday, March 4, 2016

Saturday Morning Films - Mar 5

Saturday Morning Films features educational film reels of the past for you to wake up to, on your Saturday morning. Typically there is a combined running length of roughly one hour and usually focus on a single broad topic.

This Saturday: Plastics

Synthetic Fibers - 1949
Archive.org - Synthetic Fibers: Reveals how modern science and technology have made possible the development of new artificial fibers for making textiles -- specifically rayon and nylon. Portrays some of the processes used in making these fibers, ways in which they are useful to man and characteristic of the textiles made from them. - Encyclopedia Britannica Films

Origin & Synthesis of Plastics Materials - 1945
Archive.org - Origin And Synthetis of Plastics Materials: Shows the organic origins of plastics and natural substances; synthesis of plastics from natural substances; differences between thermosetting and thermoplastic materials; compounding platics to provide desired properties in products forms in which plastics are produced and typical plastics products.- U.S. Office of Education

Kingdom of Plastics - 1945
Archive.org - The Kingdom of Plastics: This early Technicolor presentation, sponsored by General Electric, opens with a group of children playing blindman's bluff. Little Susie is stumped because the object she's trying to guess is not from the animal, vegetable or mineral kindoms, but her dad (an engineer) soon sets her straight. It's from the "fourth kingdom," he explains -- the kingdom of plastics. After reviewing the role of thermoplastic and thermosetting compounds in history and World War II, this film ends on a note of postwar positivism, as the narrator speculates about plastic fabrics, shoes-of-the-future, and other man-made wonders of the world of tomorrow. - General Electric / Handy (Jam) Organization

Plastics - 1944
Archive.org - Plastics: Surveys the growth of the plastic industry, stressing the new materials developed during World War II. Shows the manufacture and fabrication of articles from plastic materials. - Young America Films