Tomorrow night the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will start taking images of the surface of Mars again, after a 5-week break while Mars was behind the sun from our perspective. That configuration between the Earth, Sun, and Earth is called “solar conjunction”. The data rate during solar conjunction is too low to send our huge high resolution images back to the Earth, so we just don’t take any pictures during that time.
Today I am going through the descriptions of upcoming observations to fix any spelling, grammar, or other problems. The description of one of the new images to be taken – “Gullies in a crater on floor of Newton Crater” – needs a minor correction: I need to take the “a” out because we don’t want articles in our descriptions. The descriptions are supposed to be headline-like. “Gullies in crater on floor of Newton Crater” is better.
Another thing I check is that “Newton” is spelled correctly. There is a Mars Nomenclature website (http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/Page/MARS/target) run by the USGS that I go to to make sure we are using the correct nomenclature and spelling for officially named Martian features. “Newton Crater” really is a crater on Mars and that is how it is spelled. And because this is a formal name, the “c” in “crater” has to be capitalized.
I have 68 more descriptions to check today. Should take me less than an hour. Here are some of our description “rules”:
- 75 characters or less
- no punctuation and special characters except for not-bare dashes (-) (i.e. dashes with white space around them are not allowed);
- Good: “2-kilometer diameter crater”
- Bad: “Dunes in Arcadia region – seasonal monitoring”
Descriptions should include:
- official Mars Nomenclature only (look up official names and spellings on the USGS Mars Nomenclature index);
- use full names of regions and features (e.g. “Meridiani” –> “Meridiani Planum”, “Victoria” –> “Victoria Crater”); if you don’t know what kind of feature or region it is, add “region” after the name
- “Giza”, “Inca City”, “Ithaca”, “Manhattan”, “Oswego”, and “Starfish” are not official Mars nomenclature but we will allow them. They are best used with the disclaimer “dubbed”, as in “Dunes with bright-dark-bright bands dubbed Buzzel”.
- Note the distinction between vallis (singular) and valles (plural)
- Note the distinction between planum (singular) and plana (plural)
- correct grammar;
- correct capitalization:
- capitalize first letter of first word
- capitalize proper names (e.g. “flow around Olympus Mons” –> “Flow around Olympus Mons”)
- “Henry crater” should be “Henry Crater”
- complete words and phrases (fix truncated words and phrases).