October 20, 2010 #091 - Visiting Martian & Lunar Lava Tubes

I went somewhere last night that I thought I would never be able to go in my wildest day-dreams. Having sat glued at my telescope eyepiece for hours, watching the moon passing below as the earth turned, it gave me the illusion of gliding in close orbit, but that was as if the eye was still miles above the surface.

In no way would I ever to be able to stroll freely where my feet would take me. Even the men who have actually been to the moon remained within relative close proximity to their lunar module, and who knows if we will ever walk on mars!

Thanks to NASA we now have two of the most remarkable data bases that could be imagined. LROC, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, and HIRISE, High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment. With their data your computer allows you to take a vantage point close enough to the surface for the eye to resolve the surface features a few feet across and in some cases inches.

I was "virtually" close enough to follow the trails of rocks rolling down hills on other worlds, cross lunar and martian bridges, see the tracks of Lunakhods, peer down where the roof collapsed into lava tubes, admitting the suns illumination where once glowing lava flowed. In my younger days I was able to walk through actual lava tubes in Idaho, so it took very little imagination for my minds eye to visualize where I could not yet travel, below the surface of another world. BUT, I stood on the edge of a pit on Mars last night and yearned to explore the unknown world below.

Below is what I saw standing on Mars & Luna.
(Click to enlarge)

Top image from HIRISE data and Bottom from LROC data.

Clear Sky - Rich

No comments: