Re: SPACE/NEWS: Mars Polar Lander may be found (intact!)

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Wed Mar 21 2001 - 02:22:39 MST

On Tue, 20 Mar 2001, Spike Jones wrote:

> My bogosity meter is pegged. You know the size of the
> lander, approximately, and you know how to do diffraction
> limit calcs to determine the best possible resolution for
> a given size mirror. [snip]
> Ignore for the moment that Earth and Mars have not
> had a close approach recently. spike

No, no, no Spike. Read the article closely. They are
using the images from the Global Surveyor that is orbiting
around Mars. Now, I can't remember the resolution on
this, I think its like 10-20 m, but if you have multiple
images of the same location taken from different angles
given the different reflectivities of different parts of
the Lander (Gold, White, Dark, etc.) it isn't implausible.

You know the spooks are going to be great at figuring
out what something is using this type of information.

The two pieces of information we need to think about this
critically are:
  (a) What are the dimensions of the Lander?
  (b) What is the maximum ground resolution from the Surveyor?

[I can bet those folks at NASA are kicking themselves now for
not providing the Surveyor with a high magnification lens...]

In this case, NASA seems to have demonstrated some intelligence
in trying to get the best available experts to help them with
the job of figuring out what went wrong.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:59:42 MDT