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Giant Mars Rover To Land August 5

Curiosity MarsScienceLab Mars landing rover

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#1 Vapor Trails

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 12:01 AM

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WASHINGTON — NASA is just 20 days away from landing a car-size rover on Mars, but mission managers might have to wait a little longer than anticipated to learn whether the challenging touchdown succeeds or not.

NASA's 1-ton Curiosity rover, the centerpiece of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, is slated to land on the Martian surface on the night of Aug. 5 to investigate whether the planet is, or ever was, capable of harboring past or present microbial life. But first, the rover will have to survive a harrowing journey through the Red Planet's atmosphere — a process that has been nicknamed the "seven minutes of terror."

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Since Curiosity is too large for an airbag-assisted landing, NASA is using a complex and unprecedented sky crane system to safely lower the rover onto the surface of the Red Planet. This sequence of events — called entry, descent and landing (EDL) — will last approximately seven minutes.

"Those seven minutes are the most challenging part of this entire mission," said Pete Theisinger, MSL project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "For the landing to succeed, hundreds of events will need to go right, many with split-second timing and all controlled autonomously by the spacecraft."

As Curiosity streaks through the Martian atmosphere, the spacecraft must slow itself from roughly 13,200 mph (about 21,250 kilometers per hour) to zero in only seven minutes. The rocket-powered sky crane, which acts similar to a backpack with three nylon cords attached, will help to control the rover's descent.

Let's hope that everything works out!  :whatsthat:  :vulcan:
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#2 Mark

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 12:16 AM

Mark: A sky-crane, eh? I wonder what that looks like?

You know, I see an opportunity for an epic commercial coming out of this story.    Imagine this....

No sound, just the picture of some cables lowering something unseen into the Martian atmosphere. The camera is switched to a surface view, panning and detailing a dust-blown red surface with winds howling. The intro to Rush's, Spirit of Radio begins to blare. Then with a loud but sturdy crash (along with Neil Peart's symbols), a Hummer hits the dusty Martian plane, wheels spin, dust flies, and the title credits flash, "Hummer" onscreen, along with the "Voice of God" speaking..."...when you absolutely cannot fail to explore".

Well, anyway...something like that. :cool: I'd like the ad...even if nobody else did.

Edited by Mark, 17 July 2012 - 01:10 AM.

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#3 Orpheus

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 04:44 AM

Thanks for the article.

I'd seen NASA interviews speaking of the "14+ minute" delay, when I knew Mars would be just 11.5 light minutes away at the start of EDL. (Odyssey is fully functional again, BTW, so it *will* be a 11.5 min radio delay, not 14+. Also It'll Be Aug 6, not 5, in Eur/Asia and my half of the US).

Here's a nice video on Curiosity's hair-raising (some say hare-brained) 7 minute EDL sequence.
I'm sure you'll agree that it is ambitious enough to be a real nailbiter



Here's a project-leader's look (very different from the scientists-eye view) at the Curiosity hardware that I found informative. I have to admit I only listened to it in the background (twice) and I could never see the laser pointer when I happened to look at that screen.



#4 Vapor Trails

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 10:18 AM

Mark-that's not the Rush song I'd choose. I'd choose the one below (one of my all-times faves, BTW-this version is a bit short though).


Edited by Vapor Trails, 17 July 2012 - 10:19 AM.

Posted Image

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#5 Mark

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 10:33 AM

Mark: I like it!
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#6 Vapor Trails

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 09:08 AM

Oprh,

I downloaded the second video, burned a DVD of it, and I'm watching it now. Very cool. :cool:

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Politicians are like bananas; they hang together, they're all yellow, and there's not a straight one among them.

"We're relevant for $ and a vote once every two years. Beyond that, we're completely irrelevant, except of course to consume, and preach the gospel according to [insert political demigod here]."--Cait

#7 Woodmansee

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 04:29 PM

There is more information at our web site:

http://www.nasa.gov/...main/index.html

It says the entry vehicle is all lined up, but actually this Saturday there is one last small delta V maneuver of 11mm/sec to center the trajectory in the atmospheric entry target spot.

Paul

#8 Mark

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 06:55 PM

View PostWoodmansee, on 26 July 2012 - 04:29 PM, said:

There is more information at our web site:

http://www.nasa.gov/...main/index.html

It says the entry vehicle is all lined up, but actually this Saturday there is one last small delta V maneuver of 11mm/sec to center the trajectory in the atmospheric entry target spot.

Paul

Mark: Nice! Thanks for keeping us updated, Paul.
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#9 Orpheus

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 03:49 AM

a5.jpg

#10 Orpheus

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 08:33 PM

Ex Isle will be broadcasting NASA's "pregame show" tonight starting at 11pm EDT Sunday August 5 followed by the landing (1:35 AM EDT)  and the "postgame coverage" plus early video/data returns through the following morning.

As usual, it will be in a close-able video window on the index page, for those who don't want to watch.

[Edit: Due to a change in TV schedule, the ExIsle broadcast will begin at 11:30pm EDT]

Edited by Orpheus, 05 August 2012 - 10:10 PM.


#11 BklnScott

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 08:42 AM

A perfect landing, apparently.  !!!!

http://io9.com/59320...o-when-it-lands

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#12 Orpheus

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:24 PM

I was amused to learn that Curiosity's manifest included a 1909 VDB Lincoln penny as a calibration target for its on-board cameras -- a nod to the geologists' tradition of putting a coin of their nationality in mineral sample shots

#13 offworlder

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 09:37 AM

panorama snapped by the new Curiosity on Mars
http://news.sky.com/...norama-pictures
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#14 Orpheus

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 02:33 PM

This image of a Martian dust devil (wind vortex) was taken in March, so it has nothing specifically to do with Curiosity, but I thought you'd all appreciate it.

a1.jpg
[This is not an animation, just a single frame. NASA's embedded video player always give me grief]

I still have difficulty reconciling its stated base diameter (70m) and height (20 km). NASA did an animation, but I think that it really fails to convey the scale.

#15 Mark

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 02:57 PM

Mark: I've not read-up on Martian science. If Mars has little or no atmosphere, what are those massive air currents driven by?
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#16 Orpheus

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 05:34 PM

It has, in the words of several NASA presentations, "just enough atmosphere that you can't ignore it, but not enough to help" -- the worst of both worlds, according to the Curiosity EDL team.

#17 M.E.

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 06:10 PM



#18 Orpheus

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 12:40 AM

And that was the much simpler/smaller Spirit rover landing from 8 years ago! When you see it  that way, this year's heavier and more complex Curiosity rover landing seems all the more preposterous!



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Curiosity, MarsScienceLab, Mars, landing, rover

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