Curiosity site, “like Earth”, LOL

Update: Just in, real cool enhanced image of Curiosity parachute descent, shot by HiRISE (amazing feat to maneuver one satellite already in   orbit can to get this, but little atmosphere probably helps)

As pictures begin to come back from Curiosity what struck me as very funny was the oft-quoted comment of John Grotzinger that the landing site looked just like Earth, specifically the Mojave Desert. I laughed a bit in that: a) why would anyone, with all the places to go on Earth, chose to go the Mojave Desert, so we dropped our 2.5B$ tourist in an low-rent part of Mars,  b) Mojave Desert, yeah right, but on Mars the temperature would freeze us to death in no time flat, and, c) I’ve been to the Mojave and even such a desolate place has some life, some scrawny plants that can survive and if you look closely a few animals. Sorry, John, that photo may look like the Mojave to you but I think even the Antiplano looks more appealing than that site! Now if the site were a lush landscape with beautiful azure ocean that looked like some Caribbean island, wow, then I’d get excited with that postcard from Mars.

And, according to this article, Grotzinger also thinks the landing site is “awesome” and wants to hang around in it rather than just charging off for Mr. Sharp. All that excitement over a flood plain, well, I’ve got one right around here he could visit. I do get it, why an alluvial fan would be great thing to study, but these Mars geologist folks really do live on a different world in terms of what tickles their fancy.


About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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5 Responses to Curiosity site, “like Earth”, LOL

  1. douq says:

    I wonder if there is any chance they’ll drive Curiosity over to look at the crashed Sky crane? Apparently it’s only about 2100′ away, a short jaunt for this buggy. This link has the photo of all the landing debris. Although, this photo (, a closeup of the sky crane, makes it look like it’s really splatted.

  2. amrelitech says:

    People nerdgasm over different things. It may be a barren landscape to you, but it’s probably Disney World to them 😉

    • douq says:

      Grotzinger sure is happy but then for the geologists this probably is a fantastic place (what else but water would create an alluvial fan), esp with the landing rockets having already scrapped off the underlying rocks. Not long after Viking sent back its first good images I visited the Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Utah and in one depression where there was no obvious life I couldn’t get over how much it looked like the photos and it was really fun to visit. Of course it was sunny and warm and plenty of air in Utah.

  3. douq says:

    Cool, they finally confirmed that the first photo Curiosity took showed the impact of the sky crane. I didn’t believe it when it was first proposed but not apparently it has been confirmed.,0,5983256.story Facts have to take precedence over uninformed opinion. Go Curiosity, but if you have photos of little green men that’s going to be hard to believe. It’s funny to think that somewhere there could be some Martians watching Curiosity, wondering what it will do. But that’s only fantasy.

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