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    Thread: Next Mars lander almost ready to go

    1. Member Egz's Avatar
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      07-03-2012 08:10 AM #36
      Quote Originally Posted by nismo4life View Post
      So the satallite they're using now, is that suppose to decrease the time lag between the operator and the rover? I remember the old ones had what like a full day or a bunch of hours or something delayed from the rover itself?
      Not sure how one does that, short of discovering subspace frequencies. That would be amazing if they can do it somehow. Using an average distance of 140 million miles, the fastest one way signal would be 12.5 minutes.

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      07-03-2012 03:24 PM #37
      NASA uses their deep space network which is essentially an array of antennas located on different areas of the world to communicate with satellites and other devices in space. As far as I can tell there aren't any relay type devices out in space that amplify or repeat the signal.

      http://deepspace.jpl.nasa.gov/dsn/

      Found another article from jpl:

      Not only will the rover send messages directly to the DSN stations, but it will also be able to uplink information to other spacecraft orbiting Mars, utilizing mainly the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey (if necessary) spacecraft as messengers that can pass along news to Earth for the rover. The respective spacecraft will mainly "talk" via their UHF antennas. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter carries an Electra UHF payload that could potentially be very valuable in navigating the Mars Science Laboratory safely toward Mars. The Ka-Band package aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will serve as another possible pipeline to "talk" to the Mars Science Laboratory (read more about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Engineering Instruments).

      The benefits of using the orbiting spacecraft are that the orbiters are closer to the rover than the DSN antennas on Earth and the orbiters have Earth in their field of view for much longer time periods than the rover on the ground.

      Because the orbiters will only be between 160 and 250 miles (257 and 400 kilometers) above the surface of Mars, the rover won't have to "yell" as loudly (or use as much energy to send a message) to the orbiters as it will to the antennas on Earth.
      http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/mission...communication/

      Looks like the talking to orbiting spacecraft is not to increase the speed of communications but to increase the ability of earth and the rover to talk to eachother over longer periods as the orbiting satellite will be in Earth's view for longer periods of time.

      Also, it looks like the orbiting satellite is only around 160-250 miles above the orbiting satellite so it doesn't have to use as much power to talk... the satellite can do that for it and power can be reserved probably for moving around or performing experiments instead of communication.

    3. Member dubfan's Avatar
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      07-26-2012 06:40 PM #38
      Little bump for L-10 days.

      Mars Odyssey, which was to provide the bent-pipe comm relay during landing, went into safe mode a few weeks ago and moved out of position for a while, and they didn't know if they'd get it back in place. Which meant getting word on whether landing worked or not was going to be delayed several hours instead of just the usual time of light delay of ~14 minutes.

      http://www.spaceflight101.com/msl-mi...updates-2.html

      Also on Tuesday, the Mars Odyssey Orbiter completed a six-second thruster burn to move back into position for MSL EDL. Early in June, Odyssey entered Safe Mode because its onboard computers detected a problem with one of the vehicle's reaction wheels that are used for attitude control. As a result, Odyssey's orbit changed slightly before teams were able to recover the vehicle from safe mode. On July 11, Odyssey transitioned to safe mode again after a thruster burn put a high demand on the reaction wheel for attitude stabilization during the maneuver. The orbiter was recovered once again and is now using its spare reaction wheel, but due to these periods spent is safe mode pointing at Earth, the spacecraft moved slightly out of position which would have caused Odyssey to pass over the MSL Landing Site two minutes after touchdown instead of its nominal Comm Pass during Entry, Descent and Landing. The maneuver performed on Tuesday changed Odyssey’s Orbit so that it can provide nominal EDL communication support.
      Odyssey will be able to provide bent-pipe communications during EDL, relaying the UHF Telemetry Stream to Earth in nearly real-time. Also available during EDL are Direct to Earth Communications via X-Band Tones, however, Earth will set at the landing site at at the point of Parachute Deployment meaning the MFSK Tones will only be available until that point in the EDL sequence. Without direct UHF relay, there would be no ‘real-time’ monitoring capability. The presence of UHF telemetry will allow controllers to monitor the vehicle and provide a real-time visualization of the activities occurring at Mars. With Odyssey back in place, confirmation of a successful landing should be available shortly after touchdown – pending unfavorable communication characteristics such as structural blockages due to terrain. On landing day, Odyssey will have another Comm Pass about 2 hours after landing, Mars Express will transmit the stored UHF telemetry at EDL+1 to 2 Hours and MRO will send its signal back to Earth about 4 hours after the landing.
      "Personally, I believe that 'fairness' consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes." -- Glenn Reynolds

    4. Member dubfan's Avatar
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      07-30-2012 08:30 PM #39
      L-6

      Entry, Descent and Landing Procedure Begins

      Mon Jul 30 2012 16:15:41 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

      Today, the Mars Science Laboratory flight team begins executing its procedure for entry, descent and landing (EDL), and the spacecraft begins its sequence of autonomous activities leading to the landing this coming weekend. These activities include enabling needed components and setting final parameters. In addition, the schedule over the next several days includes opportunities to update parameters for the autonomous software controlling events during EDL. If needed, these updates can fine-tune the spacecraft's autonomous controls for its descent through the atmosphere. Some parameters give the spacecraft's onboard computer knowledge about where the vehicle is relative to Mars. Others may be updated based on observations by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft of Mars' variable atmospheric conditions in this week before landing.
      Landing page:

      http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/
      "Personally, I believe that 'fairness' consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes." -- Glenn Reynolds

    5. Member Geekengineer's Avatar
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      07-31-2012 11:12 AM #40
      Quote Originally Posted by dubfan View Post

      I am stressed out thinking of the endless potential problems with getting such a large payload down safely on Mars. I'm trying to stay positive, but that skycrane release procedure has me a bit worried.

      Oh well, nothing I can do about it from my desk. Except sweat.



      P.S. I sure hope the heat shield simply drops away, as planned. If that thing gets hung up, it's game over.
      Last edited by Geekengineer; 07-31-2012 at 11:19 AM.
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    6. Member dubfan's Avatar
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      08-01-2012 01:16 AM #41
      Back in 2004 or whenever it was, I stayed up late to watch the MER rovers land. NASA Select TV carried it live from JPL. It was incredibly cool -- and now I can't wait for MSL. Just wish there was another one of those puppies scheduled to land a few weeks later... No margin for error this time If they pull this off, the control room at JPL is gonna go NUTS. Can't wait to watch it. It's like the Olympics, for nerds
      Last edited by dubfan; 08-01-2012 at 01:36 AM.
      "Personally, I believe that 'fairness' consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes." -- Glenn Reynolds

    7. Member dubfan's Avatar
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      08-02-2012 12:34 PM #42
      L-3:

      Further Preps for Entry, Descent and Landing

      Wed Aug 01 2012 17:27:55 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

      With Curiosity now flying under the control of the autonomous entry, descent and landing timeline, the Mars Science Laboratory team continues to monitor the spacecraft's health and trajectory. There are no real-time activities planned today. In the event that a fifth trajectory correction maneuver is needed to further fine-tune the spacecraft's course to reach its target landing ellipse, the flight team is making preparations for it. If needed, that maneuver would be executed on Friday, Aug. 3. Curiosity remains in good health, with no significant issues currently in work.
      "Personally, I believe that 'fairness' consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes." -- Glenn Reynolds

    8. Member dubfan's Avatar
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      08-04-2012 01:11 AM #43
      L-2:

      Aug. 3: MSL Right on Course -- TCM-5 Cancelled

      With less than three days to go before touchdown on the Red Planet, Curiosity remains in good health, with all systems operating as expected. Given the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft's consistent and stable course, today the project decided that the planned Trajectory Correction Maneuver 5 (TCM-5) and its corresponding update to parameters for the autonomous software controlling events during entry, descent and landing will not be necessary. As of 12:35 p.m. today PDT (3:35 p.m. EDT), the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft was approximately 468,000 miles (753,200 kilometers) from Mars, or a little less than twice the distance from Earth to the moon. It is traveling at about 8,000 mph (3,576 meters per second). It will gradually increase in speed to about 13,200 mph (5,900 meters per second) by the time it reaches the top of the Martian atmosphere.
      "Personally, I believe that 'fairness' consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes." -- Glenn Reynolds

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      08-04-2012 03:41 AM #44
      Thanks for the update. Seattle watching party at Wayward Coffee (Roosevelt and 65th) Sunday night at 10:30pm, I cannot go.
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      08-04-2012 10:07 PM #45
      Quote Originally Posted by l5gcw0b View Post
      Thanks for the update. Seattle watching party at Wayward Coffee (Roosevelt and 65th) Sunday night at 10:30pm, I cannot go.


      L-1:

      Aug. 4: Curiosity Closes in on its New 'Home'

      With Mars looming ever larger in front of it, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft and its Curiosity rover are in the final stages of preparing for entry, descent and landing on the Red Planet at 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT Aug. 6). Curiosity remains in good health with all systems operating as expected. Today, the flight team uplinked and confirmed commands to make minor corrections to the spacecraft's navigation reference point parameters. This afternoon, as part of the onboard sequence of autonomous activities leading to the landing, catalyst bed heaters are being turned on to prepare the eight Mars Lander Engines that are part of MSL's descent propulsion system. As of 2:25 p.m. PDT (5:25 p.m. EDT), MSL was approximately 261,000 miles (420,039 kilometers) from Mars, closing in at a little more than 8,000 mph (about 3,600 meters per second).
      "Personally, I believe that 'fairness' consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes." -- Glenn Reynolds

    11. Member DSG-TDI's Avatar
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      08-05-2012 07:07 PM #46
      Can't wait! Will tune in to NASA TV tonight.
      Go Gators!

    12. Senior Member J-Tim's Avatar
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      08-05-2012 07:35 PM #47
      The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out
      What you on about ?

    13. Member l5gcw0b's Avatar
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      08-05-2012 08:39 PM #48
      Quote Originally Posted by DSG-TDI View Post
      Can't wait! Will tune in to NASA TV tonight.
      NASA TV is not in HD here, so I will be watching CNN.
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      08-06-2012 12:16 AM #49
      Fingers are crossed. It certainly seems like a lot of added failure modes.
      Go NASA!
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      08-06-2012 01:39 AM #50
      AMAZING! Go NASA!
      Go Gators!

    16. Senior Member J-Tim's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 01:44 AM #51
      The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out
      What you on about ?

    17. Member philf1fan's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 01:54 AM #52
      Watching it on mars.jpl webcast, pretty amazing to watch it live.

      Can't wait for the high res pics to start relaying in.

    18. Member dubfan's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 02:15 AM #53
      -0.6739 m/s touchdown speed (limit was -0.75)

      horizontal velocity: 0.044365 m/s (limit was 0.1)

      140.6 kg fuel remaining

      offset 4.37 deg

      navigated lat: -4.591817 deg, lon: 137.440247 deg

      2.279 km from target.

      So, they missed by about 2300 meters. F'ing UNREAL.
      Last edited by dubfan; 08-06-2012 at 02:58 AM.
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      08-06-2012 02:27 AM #54
      The live telemetry from Odyssey was incredible.
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      08-06-2012 02:40 AM #55
      It worked! WOOOHOOO!!!!!
      If it's not foggy
      and you have your fog lights on
      you are a doofus.
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    21. Senior Member feels_road's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 03:20 AM #56


      First images, through the dusty lens cap:



      Last edited by feels_road; 08-06-2012 at 05:26 AM.
      Aung San Suu Kyi

    22. Member dubfan's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 03:42 AM #57
      A jet-fired hover crane just lowered a nuclear robot bigger than my car onto Mars. Then it emailed us pics, from the other side of the sun.
      https://twitter.com/travisbeacham/st...55547071016960
      "Personally, I believe that 'fairness' consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes." -- Glenn Reynolds

    23. Member dubfan's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 03:49 AM #58
      "Personally, I believe that 'fairness' consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes." -- Glenn Reynolds

    24. Member Rob Cote's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 06:54 AM #59
      This is amazing!

      Wicked pumped. I'm curious to see how many people are talking about it today.
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      08-06-2012 06:55 AM #60
      I was following the JPL feed. Congrats on a phenomenal engineering feat to them. It was crazy nerd fun to watch it happen live.
      It seems the government is currently saying, "While we're conducting this unspecified, unwarranted surveillance, we're totally thinking about how to not violate the 4th Amendment that we're currently violating. Because terrorism."

    26. Senior Member feels_road's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 06:59 AM #61
      Dust cover off - still some dust visible when looking right into the sun:

      Aung San Suu Kyi

    27. Member dubfan's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 09:16 AM #62
      Word is that the HiRISE imager on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter got a pic of MSL under chute. Supposed to be spectacular. Will be released at 12pm press conference.
      "Personally, I believe that 'fairness' consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes." -- Glenn Reynolds

    28. 08-06-2012 11:09 AM #63
      1st color pic of mars surface from the new rover.
      Last edited by dubraycer36; 08-06-2012 at 11:11 AM.
      This post was monitored and approved by the NSA

    29. Member dubfan's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 11:33 AM #64
      And for an encore, we're going to have one of the satellites orbiting Mars try to be overhead at exactly the right moment so we can slew its camera down to precisely where we think the lander will be so we can grab a pic of it descending on the parachute.

      "Personally, I believe that 'fairness' consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes." -- Glenn Reynolds

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      08-06-2012 05:09 PM #65
      NASA

      I watched till I fell asleep (work at 5am) then picked it up in the morning. Made my day.

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      08-06-2012 06:19 PM #66
      I was reading about the decent program. The "supersonic" parachute is what blew my mind. A 100lb parachute capable of withstanding up to 65,000 lbs of force traveling at 1000 mph. Almost 10 G's of force are exerted on the spacecraft when the chute is deployed.

      AMAZING.
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      08-07-2012 03:51 AM #67
      Curiosity Mars Descent Imager capturing the rover’s descent to the surface:

      http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/...tvideo-640.mov
      Aung San Suu Kyi

    33. Member dubfan's Avatar
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      08-08-2012 09:23 AM #68
      "Personally, I believe that 'fairness' consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes." -- Glenn Reynolds

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      08-08-2012 11:05 AM #69
      They received one full-res image from the descent imager. There are hundreds more awaiting uplink, covering the entire descent, enough to make a full-res animation. This shows the heatshield dropping away.

      "Personally, I believe that 'fairness' consists in the fruits of my labor not being taken by corrupt hacks to redistribute to their cronies in exchange for votes." -- Glenn Reynolds

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      08-08-2012 11:14 AM #70
      This stuff rocks. Keep it coming, you guys!
      Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Eddie View Post
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