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Exploration of Valles Marineris Canyon

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posted on Jan, 2 2006 @ 01:00 AM
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Valles Marineris is the largest canyon on the surface of Mars. Wouldn't this be a prime spot for the study of Mars geological history. It would seem there should be sediment layers there in the cliff face of the canyon showing the changes the planet has gone through.

Are there any plans to explore this area?




posted on Jan, 2 2006 @ 01:06 AM
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Originally posted by neversubmit
Valles Marineris is the largest canyon on the surface of Mars. Wouldn't this be a prime spot for the study of Mars geological history. It would seem there should be sediment layers there in the cliff face of the canyon showing the changes the planet has gone through.

Are there any plans to explore this area?


Yeah, it would be a great place to explore. The only problem is getting a probe that could scale walls and be able to operate in such rough territory. Even harder than that would be landing a probe in that area.

So no, I doubt there are any plans to study that area.



posted on Jan, 2 2006 @ 01:19 AM
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I'm not sure it would be that hard to land a probe in there, It's a pretty big canyon
. Although you got me on the scaling the cliff face thing.



posted on Jan, 2 2006 @ 10:33 AM
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While its a big ole canyon, which we'd be able to hit, its actually landing something in the bottom of the canyon without it being smashed to bits as it bounces across the canyon floor thats the problem.

You only need look at what happened to Beagle2 (note this is my recounting of the latest theory I heard on BBC News, after MGS got some pictures of the landing area):

Slowed down by the parachutes (although maybe not slowed enough, they were always having problems with the chutes during development), the airbags inflated (and they were having problems with those as well!), and down it came - it hit the edge of a crater, which then knackered the airbags and then Beagle2 itself.

So landing something in the bottom of a rocky crater is not yet possible.



posted on Jan, 2 2006 @ 11:32 AM
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It's quite frustrating. Everytime I think of a good reason to chance this endeavor I also think of a good reason not to. Such as, On the one hand it's an un-manned probe so no human life would be at risk, but then there is the cost factor of failure to think about.

Maybe by the time we have a manned mission to Mars we can explore this facinating area.



posted on Jan, 2 2006 @ 11:42 AM
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All the more reason to not send a probe, but to send humans. I always get extremely pissed at the people who think the space program is a waste of money and resources because this topic is a good example of how the space program could be invaluable.

The scientific discoveries and data that we could gain by personally studying the geology of other planets could be the most valuable our society has ever developed. The insights into our own planet's history would be astounding, and the knowledge gained toward the larger question of "life in the universe" could be incalculable.

We send humans, they land a safe distance from Marineris, and then undertake an expedition to the canyon to do science, and of course, plant tv cameras to share the spectacular view with the world.



posted on Jan, 2 2006 @ 12:22 PM
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Alpha, forget about landing outside the canyon. You should see some of the places I've squeezed a VTOL into. VM would be a piece of cake with three-axis controls- you and me right on the edge of that cool green lake, no sweat.

I'm bringing my fishin' pole...




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