Image Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

Something caught my eye the other day – and jogged my memory back to a 1953 science fiction film.

Now on Mars, the so-curious Curiosity rover has been one busy robot. It’s a marvel of machinery.

Still, it falls short from being a head over shoulders double for the Martian of War of the Worlds fame – but is there a similarity?

For one, take a look at that movie Martian – a cyclopean eye divided into three sections, one red, one green and one blue. Contrast that to Curiosity’s Mast Camera — or Mastcam for short – a snazzy bit of gear that takes color images and color video footage of the Martian terrain.

 

Eye to eye contact with Martian via the H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, a 1953 Paramount Pictures Technicolor science fiction film.  Credit: Paramount Pictures

Eye to eye contact with Martian via the H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, a 1953 Paramount Pictures Technicolor science fiction film.
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Red planet patrol

Meanwhile, now on Red Planet patrol, NASA’s Curiosity has used its hammering drill to dig into a slab of Martian sandstone. That material is to be delivered to the rover’s internal instruments.

The fresh hole in the rock target “Windjana,” is visible in images from the rover – a hole that is 0.63 inch (1.6 centimeters) in diameter and about 2.6 inches (6.5 centimeters) deep.

21st century machinery - NASA's Curiosity rover. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

21st century machinery – NASA’s Curiosity rover.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Drill “tale”ings

“The drill tailings from this rock are darker-toned and less red than we saw at the two previous drill sites,” said Jim Bell of Arizona State University, Tempe, deputy principal investigator for Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam).

Those darker-colored tailings suggest that the detailed chemical and mineral analysis that will be coming from Curiosity’s other instruments could reveal different materials than have been previously seen before, Bell added in a Jet Propulsion Laboratory press statement.

 

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI).
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

While we wait, check out that classic War of the Worlds film, shot in glorious Technicolor.

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