Thursday, 30 August 2012

Incidental Dharma

Incidental Dharma references from two recent events.

Last night saw the spectacular opening ceremony for the London Paralympic Games, the theme of which was Enlightenment.

NASA has recently announced another mission to Mars scheduled to blast off in 2016, the new project is entitled InSight.

It will be a lander, which means it will sit in one place. InSight builds off the successful Phoenix lander, which found ice water near the Martian north pole. In fact, this new craft will be very similar to the Phoenix, except for a few additional capabilities. InSight, which is short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will study not what is on the Martian surface, but what is below. So the lander will be equipped with a drill and a seismometer, built by Germany and France, respectively. The InSight lander will drill down 5 meters (about 16 feet) into the surface of the planet and record the internal temperature of Mars and measure seismic activity. We know virtually nothing about the internal workings of the Red Planet. Even though it’s rocky, it has no crustal plates and no global magnetic field, as Earth does. It is not even known if Marsquakes shake the surface of the planet.

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