Monday, March 30, 2009

Google Mars

Google Earth (Mars) is science. Now you can roam around Mars just like you can Earth. Go to for the free program or to upgrade your current Google Earth. click on the planet icon in the toolbar at the top and choose Mars. The tools to zoom and move around are the same as for Earth.

You can zoom in and see many named features and other areas of interest. For instance, here is the site of the Viking 1 Lander from the U.S. You can zoom in closer.

From there you can click on the yellow featured site icon and see a high resolution image. This is the first image sent by Viking 1, taken July 21, 1976. Read about the mission and find links to other images here. 1976, can you believe it? Over 30 years ago we were viewing these images from Mars!


Images of nature are science. Submit your images.

This Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)photo was sent in by Ted. These guys are fairly common and their range extends from New York to Florida and west to the Mississippi River and beyond.

This one looks like it lost its tail. Oh well, just grow another.

Nancy sent this picture of a bee (appears to be a carpenter) flying among the wisteria.

Fact for the day: Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) vines twine clockwise around the host plant and Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) twines counter-clockwise.

Other ways to distinguish the varieties: Chinese Wisteria has leaves divided into 7-13 leaflets, Japanese into 15-19. Chinese bloom before the leaves expand, Japanese during leaf-out. Chinese flowers open mostly at once, Japanese flower clusters open gradually.

The wisteria in my yard appears to be Chinese Wisteria. The vines twine counter clockwise, the plants are blooming before the leaves appear (for the most part). There are less than 13 leaflets on the leaves that have appeared and the flowers have all opened pretty much at once along each cluster.

This photo from the back yard shows wisteria tangling with a Yellow Lady Banks Rose, which is just beginning to bloom.

In this photo see notice white wisteria blooms along with lavender ones way up in the trees. White wisteria is more likely to be Japanese. Is this confusing enough?

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