Monday, May 26, 2008

Ice Station Phoenix

The Mars lander Phoenix has touched down successfully at Mars’s north pole; first images are being posted at its official site. My first reaction to the panoramic photograph and close-ups, for what it's worth: ice-wedge polygons at every scale, water-ice right under that dusty surface.

And in another part of the Solar System, Cassini has imaged evidence of tectonic activity on Titan. A few years ago we didn’t know if Titan was covered in methane oceans or, if there were landforms, what they looked like. Now it is becoming a place with its own dynamic geography: chaotic hilly terrain, rivers and lakes, fault scarps, seas of dunes, volcanos ...

Meanwhile, I’m off to Norway, land of the squiggly bits. The usual spotty service will resume early in June.


Blogger Susanne said...

So, how was Norway? I guess the festival at Lillehammer was a slightly alienating experience? I liked your talk, though.

June 09, 2008 4:07 pm  
Blogger Paul McAuley said...

Hu Susanne,

I still have to get the hang of the blogging lark I guess - I should have posted something about the Norwegian trip, but, well... Anyway, Norway was hot and sunny, Lillehammer very picturesque, almost all the events while I was there in Norwegian, alas, so I didn't get to listen to several items of interest, and I also managed to miss the Guest of Honour's presentation (in French, which I can just about follow) because the organisers had lured me out on a boat trip. Oslo was even sunnier and hotter, tremendously expensive as advertised (top tip: tax on alcohol is so high it's worth splashing out on cocktails in the bar on the top floor of the Raddison Hotel, as they don't cost much more than a beer in a cafe, and you get stunning views of the city thrown in for free), but pretty darn picturesque too. I'm a big fan of cities that have ferries as part of their transport infrastructure, and was interested by the casual way Norwegians broke of bits of flowering lilacs and carried them off. It was also interesting, for a Brit, to see that the palace grounds in Oslo were open to the public...

June 11, 2008 6:43 pm  

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