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[Spaaaace!] Curiosity Lands on Mars, Orbital Mechanics, Neil Armstrong is dead.

Zilla360Zilla360 Spaaaace!In Space.Registered User regular
edited September 2012 in Debate and/or Discourse
Who is best at space? Curiosity Rover is best at space!

Landing times where you are (approx, for delay/relativistic effects).
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a robotic mission to Mars launched by NASA on November 26, 2011 that will attempt to land a Mars rover called Curiosity on the surface of Mars. Currently en route to the planet, it is scheduled to land in Gale Crater at about 05:31 UTC on August 6, 2012. The rover's objectives include determining Mars' habitability, studying the Martian climate and geology, and collecting data for a future manned mission to Mars.

Curiosity is about twice as long and five times as heavy as the Spirit and Opportunity Mars exploration rovers, and carries over ten times the mass of scientific instruments.[18] It will attempt a more accurate landing than previous rovers, within a landing ellipse of 7 by 20 km (4.3 by 12 mi),[19] in the Aeolis Palus region of Gale Crater. This location is near the mountain Aeolis Mons (formerly called "Mount Sharp"). It is designed to explore for at least 687 Earth days (1 Martian year) over a range of 5 by 20 km (3.1 by 12 mi).

The Mars Science Laboratory mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort for the robotic exploration of Mars, and the project is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of California Institute of Technology. When MSL launched, the program's director was Doug McCuistion of NASA's Planetary Science Division. The total cost of the MSL project is about US$2.5 billion.



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If this fails, it will be a huge setback, so I'm crossing all fingers and toes for Monday. How about you fine D&D'ers ?

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Posts

  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    A buddy of mine worked on this thing. I'm super pumped to see how this goes, but he's a nervous wreck.

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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    What are the odds that they didn't convert feet to meters, and it lands upside down, and the lens is fucked up?

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • redxredx East Bumblefuck, PARegistered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    What are the odds that they didn't convert feet to meters, and it lands upside down, and the lens is fucked up?

    Pretty low, I'd guess. NASA is rather good about not screwing up the same thing twice, IIRC.

    All I've got is a snuggle hammer.
  • Zilla360Zilla360 Spaaaace! In Space.Registered User regular
    You can never discount that. Mars is hard. There has already been at least one major mistake. Teflon coated drills. Doh! :rotate:

  • Zilla360Zilla360 Spaaaace! In Space.Registered User regular
    But yeah, I doubt they'd live another software bug like that down if it happened twice.

  • override367override367 Registered User regular
    I think the last 2 rovers outperformed expectations so far that even if nasa totally fucks this one up I'll forgive them

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  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    I think the last 2 rovers outperformed expectations so far that even if nasa totally fucks this one up I'll forgive them

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    Zilla360
  • ShinyRedKnightShinyRedKnight Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    I think the last 2 rovers outperformed expectations so far that even if nasa totally fucks this one up I'll forgive them

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    I actually got choked up by the end...

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  • KharnastusKharnastus Registered User regular
    That video was sooooooo freakin awesome. I am pumped. I assume that the rovers video of itself landing will be available at some point?

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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    I think the last 2 rovers outperformed expectations so far that even if nasa totally fucks this one up I'll forgive them

    spirit.png

    That is Wall-E levels of depressing.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • DanHibikiDanHibiki Registered User regular
    Kharnastus wrote: »
    That video was sooooooo freakin awesome. I am pumped. I assume that the rovers video of itself landing will be available at some point?

    how do you suppose that will be shot?

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  • Zilla360Zilla360 Spaaaace! In Space.Registered User regular
    You can watch it live from here, on the night/morning: http://www.ustream.tv/NASAJPL
    I usually just use one of NASA's many Youtube channels if I miss anything. :)

  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    This will be very exciting. I wish nothing but the best for the landing!

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  • CasualCasual flap flap flap wiggle wiggle wiggle Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    I think the last 2 rovers outperformed expectations so far that even if nasa totally fucks this one up I'll forgive them

    spirit.png

    That is Wall-E levels of depressing.

    One day we will go get its remains and return them home to go on a plinth in a museum. :'(

    i write amazing erotic fiction

    its all about anthropomorphic dicks doing everyday things like buying shoes for their scrotum-feet
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Damn it, this thread got super depressing.

  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    If this works, it'll be amazing.

  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    I watched the video of how they expect that thing to land. God i hope im wrong but there just seems so many things that could go wrong with that 'eject this, fire thrusters to level out, land safely' process. I'm crossing my fingers tho.

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  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Casual wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    I think the last 2 rovers outperformed expectations so far that even if nasa totally fucks this one up I'll forgive them

    spirit.png

    That is Wall-E levels of depressing.

    One day we will go get its remains and return them home to go on a plinth in a museum. :'(

    Your damn right we will. Thanks little robot, we wont forget you.

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  • Linespider5Linespider5 It’s cool to have a code name. It’s not that weird.Registered User regular
    azith28 wrote: »
    I watched the video of how they expect that thing to land. God i hope im wrong but there just seems so many things that could go wrong with that 'eject this, fire thrusters to level out, land safely' process. I'm crossing my fingers tho.

    Well, I mean. It's not the easiest thing in the world to do, sure, but it's likely the best way we have right now. I'm sure it wouldn't have been greenlit if they didn't have a decent shot at it.

    2014png.png
  • xraydogxraydog Registered User regular
    DanHibiki wrote: »
    Kharnastus wrote: »
    That video was sooooooo freakin awesome. I am pumped. I assume that the rovers video of itself landing will be available at some point?

    how do you suppose that will be shot?

    According to this article there's a camera on the rover facing down that will record video during the descent.

    http://spaceflightnow.com/mars/msl/120731skycrane/
    "It does eight frames per second, high-definition-quality video from the backshell coming off (all the way) to the ground," Theisinger said. "So it's a lot of data, it'll take a long time to get it back. But it should be a tremendous movie when it does."

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Casual wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    I think the last 2 rovers outperformed expectations so far that even if nasa totally fucks this one up I'll forgive them

    spirit.png

    That is Wall-E levels of depressing.

    One day we will go get its remains and return them home to go on a plinth in a museum. :'(

    You really want to bring a robot home that has been brooding on a distant planet for years?

    That's just asking for robot overlords.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • RomanRoman Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    @Salvation122
    Reminds me of:


    Guys, does anyone remember spacebat?

    Roman on
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Hey, Opportunity is still driving around and having a merry 'ol time.


    ...How much different is Curiosity's deployment from Spirit or Opportunity's?

    It's bound to happen one of these times, but this had better not be the time that something goes wrong out of the blue and wrecks the rover during the landing sequence. NASA really can't afford any accidents until America has a much science-friendlier administration (which is, in mind mind, incredibly stupid. But whatever; I guess it keeps JPL honest).

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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Also: I'm sure we'll pick-up Spirit & Opportunity when we do our manned mission. Whenever that'll be. :|

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    Is there a good reason why we only send one rover at a time?

  • SarcasmoBlasterSarcasmoBlaster Registered User regular
    This will be so awesome if it works. It seems insanely complicated at first glance, but I keep reminding myself that people felt the same way about Lunar Orbit Rendezvous for a time, and that turned out to be very safe and efficient. So, we'll see.

  • HeirHeir Registered User regular
    jothki wrote: »
    Is there a good reason why we only send one rover at a time?

    About 2.5 billion reasons I'd imagine.

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  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    I am going to watch this landing for sure.
    The Ender wrote: »
    Also: I'm sure we'll pick-up Spirit & Opportunity when we do our manned mission. Whenever that'll be. :|
    No, we won't. There's very little reason for a manned mission to even land anywhere near either rover, and zero reason to bring either of them back to the Earth. It would be extraordinarily expensive for a historical trinket, especially when every kilogram of rover would be displacing a kilogram of soil/rock/atmosphere samples.

    If they are recovered, it will be well after the initial manned exploration of Mars has been completed, when travel to and from the planet is much more commonplace.

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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    Heir wrote: »
    jothki wrote: »
    Is there a good reason why we only send one rover at a time?

    About 2.5 billion reasons I'd imagine.

    A lot of that is eaten up in the development and launch costs, though, both of which would only need to be paid off once if you have multiple identical payloads.

    I'm having trouble finding a breakdown of how much was spent on the physical rover, which unfortunately might not be publicly available at all.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Is there a good reason why we only send one rover at a time?

    Cost, development time and the size of JPL / NASA. I'm sure that NASA would love to send 10 rovers to each planet in the inner solar system - but they have a shoestring budget and a pretty small staff of experts, so we get one rover every [X] number of years.
    This will be so awesome if it works. It seems insanely complicated at first glance, but I keep reminding myself that people felt the same way about Lunar Orbit Rendezvous for a time, and that turned out to be very safe and efficient. So, we'll see.

    The 'Sky Crane' manoeuvre is making me wince, because that's a bit of engineering wankery if I've ever seen it. The proposed problem it solves (kicking up a dust cloud) is much less significant than the potential complications & risk it presents. If the rover touches down with rockets and the dust disabled a piece of equipment, or even if the dust jams a wheel and the rover can't move, that's much much better than if the Sky Crane manoeuvre gets botched (one strong gust of wind will screw it up) and the entire rover is destroyed.

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    TOG Solid wrote:
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  • HeirHeir Registered User regular
    I am going to watch this landing for sure.
    The Ender wrote: »
    Also: I'm sure we'll pick-up Spirit & Opportunity when we do our manned mission. Whenever that'll be. :|
    No, we won't. There's very little reason for a manned mission to even land anywhere near either rover, and zero reason to bring either of them back to the Earth. It would be extraordinarily expensive for a historical trinket, especially when every kilogram of rover would be displacing a kilogram of soil/rock/atmosphere samples.

    If they are recovered, it will be well after the initial manned exploration of Mars has been completed, when travel to and from the planet is much more commonplace.

    I disagree. While it makes less scientific sense, it's a huge national pride boost, and from a political standpoint it would hopefully drive interest in even more funding and enthusiasm for scientific pursuits like this.

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  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    I'm all for scientific exploration and the like. But yeah, what makes this different from the other rovers we've sent?

    I guess it kinda says something that landing rovers on Mars is now a bit mundane.

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  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Heir wrote: »
    I am going to watch this landing for sure.
    The Ender wrote: »
    Also: I'm sure we'll pick-up Spirit & Opportunity when we do our manned mission. Whenever that'll be. :|
    No, we won't. There's very little reason for a manned mission to even land anywhere near either rover, and zero reason to bring either of them back to the Earth. It would be extraordinarily expensive for a historical trinket, especially when every kilogram of rover would be displacing a kilogram of soil/rock/atmosphere samples.

    If they are recovered, it will be well after the initial manned exploration of Mars has been completed, when travel to and from the planet is much more commonplace.

    I disagree. While it makes less scientific sense, it's a huge national pride boost, and from a political standpoint it would hopefully drive interest in even more funding and enthusiasm for scientific pursuits like this.
    Look, I don't mean to be insulting, but if you're approaching this from a "national pride" perspective you have to remember that these rovers will leave the national consciousness the minute a human boot thuds onto the surface of Mars. Can you name any of the rovers sent to the Moon prior to our manned landing there?

    Given that there's no scientific reason to bring them back in the near term, I don't see it happening.

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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    I'm all for scientific exploration and the like. But yeah, what makes this different from the other rovers we've sent?

    I guess it kinda says something that landing rovers on Mars is now a bit mundane.

    MSL is much, much different than Spirit or Opportunity in terms of it's mission, location & capabilities. We're going to be using it to build a (rough) model of Mars's geological history, and to determine whether or not life is likely to have ever arisen on the red planet.

    It's a huge landmark in exploration.
    Given that there's no scientific reason to bring them back in the near term, I don't see it happening.

    1) JPL gets pretty attached to it's probes. I think they'll want Spirit & Opportunity back.

    2) There is a valid scientific reason to get both back & into a lab: we want to check over the instruments & make sure everything was functioning properly when they were conducting their experiments. Verification / falsification / replication.

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  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    The 'Sky Crane' manoeuvre is making me wince, because that's a bit of engineering wankery if I've ever seen it. The proposed problem it solves (kicking up a dust cloud) is much less significant than the potential complications & risk it presents. If the rover touches down with rockets and the dust disabled a piece of equipment, or even if the dust jams a wheel and the rover can't move, that's much much better than if the Sky Crane manoeuvre gets botched (one strong gust of wind will screw it up) and the entire rover is destroyed.
    Are you even an engineer? I am absolutely certain that I don't know enough to decide if this is the right solution to this particular technical problem, and I'm pretty certain you don't either.

    I was a little surprised to see the thrusters firing before the rover itself was lowered, though. My first thought would've been to take advantage of the dynamic stability you get by essentially operating in a "tractor" configuration vs. Mars' gravity while lowering the thing down. I guess they're confident enough in their flight control routines that they won't tip the thing over between the parachute and sky crane phases.

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  • HeirHeir Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Heir wrote: »
    I am going to watch this landing for sure.
    The Ender wrote: »
    Also: I'm sure we'll pick-up Spirit & Opportunity when we do our manned mission. Whenever that'll be. :|
    No, we won't. There's very little reason for a manned mission to even land anywhere near either rover, and zero reason to bring either of them back to the Earth. It would be extraordinarily expensive for a historical trinket, especially when every kilogram of rover would be displacing a kilogram of soil/rock/atmosphere samples.

    If they are recovered, it will be well after the initial manned exploration of Mars has been completed, when travel to and from the planet is much more commonplace.

    I disagree. While it makes less scientific sense, it's a huge national pride boost, and from a political standpoint it would hopefully drive interest in even more funding and enthusiasm for scientific pursuits like this.
    Look, I don't mean to be insulting, but if you're approaching this from a "national pride" perspective you have to remember that these rovers will leave the national consciousness the minute a human boot thuds onto the surface of Mars. Can you name any of the rovers sent to the Moon prior to our manned landing there?

    Given that there's no scientific reason to bring them back in the near term, I don't see it happening.

    I don't take it as an insult...national pride may have been the wrong wording to choose. It just seems like bringing them back would be an easy political move to help garner more interest (and funding) in scientific pursuits.

    Edit: Or at the very least it would spark interest in future generations to pursue scientific fields. I guess it just seems like an easy win, though I have no idea what the logistics would be to bring them back.

    Heir on
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  • KageraKagera Registered User regular
    I like the comic and all but Anthropormorphizing the Rogers then hoping for a mission to recover them seems...misguided

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  • CycloneRangerCycloneRanger Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Kagera wrote: »
    I like the comic and all but Anthropormorphizing the Rogers then hoping for a mission to recover them seems...misguided
    There have been serious, considered proposals for a first manned mission to Mars in which there is no plan to recover the human astronauts.

    Now, those proposals *are* mostly dead in the water for political reasons, but that should give you [edit: second-person plural "you"] some idea of how technically difficult a return mission will be. I don't see us working to bring back anything from Mars that isn't either a person or an immediately relevant object of scientific curiosity--at least not in the near term. In proposing such a mission you might get a bit of traction from sentimental parts of the population, but you'd have to fight through both the scientific community (who will think it's a dumb idea) and all the usual anti-spaceflight elements of the political establishment.

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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Now, those proposals *are* mostly dead in the water for political reasons, but that should give you some idea of how technically difficult a return mission will be.

    That's a fair point, but we won't be launching a mission to mars unless we can put together a plan for a return trip, and I don't think it'll be too technically difficult to fit a rover or two into the craft once we've drafted that plan. Time will tell, I guess.

    And I'm pretty sure nobody is interested in a one-way trip. There were volunteers for such a voyage, but I know JPL did not think it would be a good idea even if they had public support at the outset (mostly because the whole reason you'd want to do a manned mission in the first place is to prove that you can safely transport people from planet to planet).

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