The Curiosity Rover started this year with some remarkable images of small tube-like structures on Mars. The images were aquired with the Mahli (Mars Hand Lens Imager) camera on Sol 1922 and 1923 (January 01 and 02 2018). The structures are only 1 to 5 mm long and was first spotted on December 15 2017. The rover later returned to the site to investigate further.
It didn’t take long before the possibility of trace fossils were put on the table. Wether the origin of these odd features are the result of geological or biological processes is something that may not be answered with the technology we have on Mars today. At the moment most experts lean towards a geological process, and beeing on Mars that is probably a safe bet.
I have been experimenting with making 3D models from the Curiosity images lately, and gave this one a shot. It didn’t come out too bad.
11 images aquired on Sol 1923 were used for the model. No pre-processing have been done. The 11 images were loaded into a professional photogrammetry software using structure from motion to generate the point cloud. All images were then used to generate the texture for the 3d model.
Image taken on Dec. 15, 2017 with the Curiosity Mastcam right camera with the area of interest in the red cirle. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Sweden, Lake Hornborga. Annual migration of Common Cranes. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)
Every year thousands of cranes arrive at Lake Hornborga (Swedish; Hornborgasjön) in Västergötland in Sweden as part of the spring migration. This has become an annual feast for bird watchers, who come from afar to experience this phenomenon.
Norway, Sirdal. The first snow of the season. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)
Winter is a mixed joy here on the west coast of Norway, with weather conditions that can vary from hour to hour. Down at sea level there is normally the rain that dominates. In order to find snow and go on skiing trips one will have to visit higher elevations.
US, New York City. View from the Empire State Building observation deck towards Central Park. Stitched panorama. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)
Not that there is any lack of vantage points in New York, but one of the best must undoubtedly be from the top of the Empire State Building. The queues here can be very long in the high season, so a good tip should be to come here when the number of tourists is at its lowest. If you come in the tourist season, try to be here early in the morning or in the afternoon. Out of season you can also risk encountering queues, but usually the wait is much shorter.
US, Florida, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Black Point Wildlife Drive. Roseate Spoonbill. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)
The Roseate Spoonbill belong to the same family as the Ibis, and can be found both in South and North America, mostly in shallow fresh or coastal waters. It’s closest relative is the Yellow Spoonbill. it is a rather large bird with 120–133 cm wingspan and a body mass of 1.2–1.8 kg.
John F. Kennedy Space Center. F-1 engines on a Saturn V at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, 2013. Stitched panorama using 6 images. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)
The first time I visited Kennedy Space Center in Florida was back in 1987. Since then the world has changed a lot, at least when it comes to politics and technology. The cold war space race is a thing of the past, and you should think we have moved further out in space as well. But to many people’s frustration we are still stuck in low earth orbit.
Petra is Jordan’s most visited tourist attraction. Al Khazneh, The Treasury, seen from the end of the gorge. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)
Petra became an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Also known as the “rose red city, half as old as time”, it is not difficult to understand why it has become Jordan’s largest tourist attraction. Some say this is partly because of Steven Spielberg’s movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” from 1986, but no doubt this site would could have become famous anyway sooner or later. It was also chosen as one of the controversial “New Seven Wonders of the World” in 2007.
The Common Ringed Plover is a small plover. At Revtangen on Jaeren, south west Norway. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)
Winter is coming. At Revtangen bird observatory south of Stavanger that means time for action, but fortunately of a peaceful nature. Autumn is high season for bird ringing when it comes to migratory species like waders.
United States, California. Muir Woods National Monument, a cathedral of trees. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)
It’s hard to visit a redwood forest without beeing in awe of the size and age of these prehistoric but fortunately still living giants, some can be as high as 115m and as old as 3.500 years. Their lineage can be followed back to the time of dinosaurs, when the redwood species of that time were the dominant trees in the forests of North America.