posted on May, 29 2008 @ 12:10 AM
I agree that the image is almost certainly a part of the chute assembly and is draped over a slight rise in the topography, to create the illusion of
an upright object.
In the mission desdign parameters, NASA must have taken care to make sure that this chute assembly landed far away from the craft, because otherwise,
perhaps one of the interannual global dust storms, with windspeeds that can reach 400 MPH and a duration of months, could send the chute into the
craft and entagle it with disastorus results.
I don't know much about the frequency or location of these storms, or the more localized dustdevils that blow up occasionally, but it seems logical
to assume at least a part of these storms would reach into the polar regions due to similar temperature gradients that we have on our planet.
Does anyone here know more about that, and also what kind of windspeeds the sensitive parts of the craft - like solar panels and cameras - were
designed to encounter?
If the global storms do indeed reach into the polar regions in their full fury, it seems that, even with the much thinner atmosphere, they could turn
small rocks into shrapnel that could do a lot of damage.
Also, does anyone know the expected life of the craft, its proximity to the pole, and whether there will be long periods of night where it will be
powered down during the Mars 687 day year?