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Open Thread for Night Owls
The rover Curiosity is already transmitting more data to Earth from Mars than all  NASA's earlier rovers combined.

The words of NASA Administrator Charles Bolden were radioed Monday to the rover and back to NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) on Earth, becoming the first human voice ever to be sent from another planet. You can hear him here.

A chapter of the layered geological history of Mars is laid bare in this postcard from NASA's Curiosity rover. The image shows the base of Mount Sharp, the rover's eventual science destination.   This image is a portion of a larger image taken by Curiosity's 100-millimeter Mast Camera on Aug. 23, 2012. See PIA16104. Scientists enhanced the color in one version to show the Martian scene under the lighting conditions we have on Earth, which helps in analyzing the terrain.   For scale, an annotated version of the figure highlights a dark rock that is approximately the same size as Curiosity. The pointy mound in the center of the image, looming above the rover-sized rock, is about 1,000 feet (300 meters) across and 300 feet (100 meters) high.
This image transmitted by NASA's rover Curiosity shows the base of Mount Sharp. That is the vehicle's eventual science destination. The image is a portion of a larger one taken by the rover's 100-millimeter telephoto Mast Camera. For scale, the white-bordered boxes enclose a dark rock that is approximately the same size as Curiosity. The pointy mound in the center of the image, looming above that rock, is about 1,000 feet  across and 300 feet high.

The terrain is a scene of eroded knobs and gulches on a mountainside. Geological layering is clearly exposed.

"This is an area on Mount Sharp where Curiosity will go," said Mastcam principal investigator Michael Malin, of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego. "Those layers are our ultimate objective. The dark dune field is between us and those layers. In front of the dark sand you see redder sand, with a different composition suggested by its different color. The rocks in the foreground show diversity — some rounded, some angular, with different histories. This is a very rich geological site to look at and eventually to drive through."

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2007:

The blogosphere has long speculated about the benefits to the Bush "administration" of keeping Alberto Gonzales on board as Attorney General. Was it that he was so completely, personally loyal to Bush? Was he a firewall against the direct taint of scandal? Did he simply "know too much?" (God, it's really hard to even say that.)

One political side effect of letting Gonzales go is that it takes away the biggest target in reference to whom Members of Congress, political columnists, candidatesand others were willing to discuss "the I-word" -- impeachment.

The politics of impeaching a president (or even a vice president, for some reason) are such that most people just don't want to touch it. But some of them had gotten comfortable with the idea of impeaching Gonzales, and though it was a long, long way from becoming a reality its discussion in the media and in Congress couldn't have been all that pleasant a prospect for the White House, which had to have known that Gonzales was really a stand-in for the top bananas. Not that Gonzales himself didn't deserve it in his own right (and still does, resignation or no), but there it is.

So far, Gonzales' departure does not appear to have lessened the fervor for getting to the bottom of the various scandals in which he was embroiled, and there are many.

Tweet of the Day:

All these Republicans are asking is for women who had sex against their will to stop calling that "rape."
@ericatwiley via web

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Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Aug 27, 2012 at 08:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Astro Kos.

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