Having Been Human
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Thu Aug 9 01:04:07 2012
Light on Mars

I've spent a fair amount of time recently imagining if I were on the surface of Mars near Curiosity. It makes it more interesting to see the photos that are coming back.

I was curious if it's much darker than our planet; are the cameras taking shots much like a person would, or do they brighten everything up before transmitting? NASA and other space agencies take a lot of false-colour photographs, processing things extensively before release. This is entirely forgivable; often the things we'd be seeing arn't actually visible in our spectra, or wouldn't be very informative. Still, it doesn't provide a lot of hints as to how accurate the mars photos are.

Looked it up; Mars does see significantly less light than Terra, but roughly by half. There are cities in Canada that they remarked have about as much light on average as the brightest bits of Mars. So that's the answer. It stands to reason; light hitting any given bit of planet should fade by the distance squared assuming equal atmospheres, and even though Mars has a light atmosphere, that's not enough to make up for the larger distance.

Of course, actually being on Mars would just be a rapid and unpleasant death without the right kind of equipment, so it's not like I could just bring a tent out there and camp. Still, fun fantasy.