Star Trek is all about exploring strange new worlds and the wonders of the 20-something-th century. But, you know what’s cool about living in 2015? We ARE exploring strange new worlds! Right now! All over our galactic neighborhood called the Solar System (and even a little bit beyond thanks to Voyager). The focus of humanity’s space exploration efforts currently centers on Mars. Join us this week for our thoughts on how the history of Mars exploration is depicted in Star Trek as we talk with special guest Andrew Britton, a scientist with Malin Space Science Systems who studies Mars for a living.
Tidbits from this week’s podcast:
There are a number of passing references to Mars throughout Star Trek, but one of the best is in TNG Season 1 where images of long extinct martian insects are seen in Okudagrams:
The Voyager episode “One Small Step” was one of Trek’s most Mars-centric story. Check out these clips from the episode with some behind-the-scenes commentary about the creation of the episode:
This week’s weather report on Mars
Our guest this week, Andrew Britton, is the Martian weatherman. Really! He uses satellites orbiting the Red Planet to observe the winds, storms, and other weather happening all around the Martian globe. He publishes a weekly Mars weather report for Malin Space Science Systems and NASA. Here’s this week’s weather report:
Click to see this week’s weather on Mars (requires Quicktime). Credit MSSS
Afternoon water-ice clouds associated with the aphelion cloud-belt were more abundant for the past week on Mars. Dust-lifting activity near the northern polar ice cap led to murky conditions over Acidalia and the plains westward to those of Arcadia. Looking to the southern highlands, a small dust storm was observed over Solis Planum at the end of the week. Relatively calm conditions allowed for mostly clear afternoon skies over Hellas Planitia and Valles Marineris. The robotic explorers, Curiosity in Gale Crater and Opportunity on Meridiani Planum encountered storm-free skies throughout the week.