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Author Topic: Mars Exploration Thread -Evidence for Water Found  (Read 1048 times)
Frodo
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« on: August 04, 2012, 01:35:22 pm »
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Here is the main NASA webpage on the mobile Mars science laboratory -is anyone else keeping track of this mission?

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Curiosity's main assignment is to investigate whether its study area ever has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. To do that, it packs a science payload weighing 15 times as much as the science instruments on previous Mars rovers. The landing target, an area about 12 miles by 4 miles (20 kilometers by 7 kilometers), sits in a safely flat area between less-safe slopes of the rim of Gale Crater and the crater's central peak, informally called Mount Sharp. The target was plotted to be within driving distance of layers on Mount Sharp, where minerals that formed in water have been seen from orbit.

"Some deposits right inside the landing area look as though they were deposited by water, too," said John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, project scientist for Curiosity. "We have a great landing site that was a strong science contender for earlier missions, but was not permitted for engineering constraints because no earlier landing could be targeted precisely enough to hit a safe area inside Gale Crater. The science team feels very optimistic about exploration of Mount Sharp and the surrounding region that includes the landing ellipse."

Mission engineers designed a sky crane maneuver, lowering Curiosity on nylon cords from a rocket backpack because the rover is too heavy to use the airbag system developed for earlier rovers. "We know it looks crazy," said Adam Steltzner of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, leader of the team that developed the system. "It really is the result of careful choices." By designing the aeroshell enclosing Curiosity to create lift and be steerable, engineers were able to build a system that lands much more precisely instead of dropping like a rock.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 04:32:39 pm by Frodo »Logged

Frodo
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2012, 01:46:21 pm »
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Also, the Science Channel has a same-day special timed to the landing of the Curiosity.  And here is a sneak-peak. 
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2012, 09:06:08 pm »
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Question: color photographs?
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2012, 09:18:11 pm »
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I'm definitely watching this closely.  I can feel this will be a big mission for the scientific community.
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Frodo
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2012, 10:37:55 pm »
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Question: color photographs?

You'll get a mother lode once this thing lands, but here are some pictures of the Curiosity itself:





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Tender Branson
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2012, 11:24:42 pm »
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Let's see:

I'll try a few predictions:

The Mars rover called Curiosity will NOT land on Mars.
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2012, 11:33:48 pm »
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Let's see:

I'll try a few predictions:

The Mars rover called Curiosity will NOT land on Mars.

Depends on if you consider crashing into the planet a landing.
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2012, 11:37:38 pm »
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Let's see:

I'll try a few predictions:

The Mars rover called Curiosity will NOT land on Mars.

Depends on if you consider crashing into the planet a landing.

Haha ... Tongue

It has to land safely, not in debris.
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Frodo
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2012, 10:12:05 pm »
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So far all is well -the spacecraft is set to land at around 1:30 am (presumably EST, this being a Washington Post article).
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R2D2
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2012, 10:23:57 pm »
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So far all is well -the spacecraft is set to land at around 1:30 am (presumably EST, this being a Washington Post article).

Yep, it's 1:30 EST. I'll probably stay up and watch.
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Nagas
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2012, 10:28:24 pm »
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A family member of mine works at JPL. I visited once and got to control one of the prototypes for the rover on a mock Mars set up. It's huge and even the little test prototype was awesome.
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Redalgo
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2012, 11:17:45 pm »
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I was very much looking forward to watching, but I cannot seem to find any channels covering the event as it unfolds. Even SCI itself, the channel Frodo referred to in his earlier post, seems to instead have two hours of some show called "Oddities" slated for the time the landing would happen. I guess I'll just look for some video clips online tomorrow. :\
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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2012, 11:23:50 pm »
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Redalgo,

Live stream at:

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/nasatv/

12:31 am CDT Monday, August 6, 2012 - (1 hour from now)
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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2012, 11:26:28 pm »
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Where it is expected to land:



In a crater, below a mounain. It is then expected to drive up that mountain (see blueish line).
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« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2012, 11:30:04 pm »
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So far all is well -the spacecraft is set to land at around 1:30 am (presumably EST, this being a Washington Post article).

Yep, it's 1:30 EST. I'll probably stay up and watch.

1:31 am to be precise.
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« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2012, 11:51:36 pm »
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So far all is well -the spacecraft is set to land at around 1:30 am (presumably EST, this being a Washington Post article).

Yep, it's 1:30 EST. I'll probably stay up and watch.

1:31 am to be precise.

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Frodo
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« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2012, 11:53:16 pm »
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I was very much looking forward to watching, but I cannot seem to find any channels covering the event as it unfolds. Even SCI itself, the channel Frodo referred to in his earlier post, seems to instead have two hours of some show called "Oddities" slated for the time the landing would happen. I guess I'll just look for some video clips online tomorrow. :\

Apparently the article I linked to had a misleading title -the program featuring the landing will be shown 10pm Monday night.  Tongue

It's still worth seeing for those of us who have to go to work (or school) tomorrow, even if it is not exactly 'real time'.  

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Tender Branson
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« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2012, 12:14:17 am »
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Looking good so far. Separation process is now underway.
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2012, 12:18:36 am »
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Separation process was without problems it seems.

Now it takes a few minutes to enter the Mars athmosphere, during which there are hardly any signals because the antennas have to re-calibrated during the process. Once the orbiters catch the signal from the descending rover again, the Nasa people should know if it landed safely or not.
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2012, 12:24:44 am »
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The probe has now reached the athmosphere entry point. Still looking fine.
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2012, 12:27:52 am »
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Looks like they have got the signal and data from the orbiter.
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2012, 12:29:23 am »
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The probe is now at an altitude of about 17.000 km, with about Mach 2 (ca. 2500km/h).
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2012, 12:29:55 am »
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Wow, this is fast, probe is now already descending ...
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2012, 12:30:58 am »
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Altitude now about 4 km ...
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Tender Branson
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« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2012, 12:32:44 am »
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Successful TOUCHDOWN !
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