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___These little buggers amaze me! They have run so long, we now take them for granted. NASA main page for the Rovers:

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/

 

Two precent Rover photos I found interesting:

Feldspar crystasl? I so forget the geological chemistry I knew so poorly; this looks familiar though.

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/2/m/557/2M175811568EFFAD80P2977M2M1.JPG

Unusual holes in rock.

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/2/m/557/2M175814826EFFAD80P2977M2M1.JPG

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They really are quite amazing. It's one thing to design equipment to specification, but when you exceed the expected life by such great amounts, that really shows the genius of those that worked on it. I would really like to see them do an after study on them, to figure out why they lasted so long.

In space, it's all about durability and survivability in reference to cost. I think it's something like 10k/1kg or something along those lines. It's forecasted that prices will fall gradually though, given another 10-20 years but it will never be run-of-the-mill. Which is sad because I was really looking forward to going up myself :circle:

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I just love this one....

Opportunity Leaving Martian Sand Trap - June 07, 2005

This video shows the Mars rover Opportunity maneuvering out of a martian sand dune between May 11 and June 3. Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory worked for nearly five weeks to get Opportunity free. The long-distance roadside assistance was a painstaking operation to free the six wheels of the rover which were stuck up to their rims in the soft sand of the small sand dune. The rover exited the sand dune in the same direction it drove into it on April 26th.

Five Weeks!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

___They keep going, & going, & going...

___Update from BBC on rover progress:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4172674.stm

 

___From that article, an interesting geologic find at the latest rock Spirit has data mined; "...It has just finished a thorough investigation of a rock called Assemblee, which has an unusual composition and the highest levels of the metal chromium ever discovered in a rock on Mars. "

___Back in a flash with some image links.

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/2/n/582/2N178038024EFFAE00P0795L0M1.JPG

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/2/m/571/2M177053218EFFADAEP2977M2M1.JPG

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/spirit/20050819a.html

___The last link is a nice set of movies of a dust devil on Mars; the first 2 a nav cam still & a microscpic still. It looks like the images from the rock mentioned in the BBC article haven't arrived yet. :hihi:

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What have the mars rovers accomplished? Mars is boring. It started out as a shallow planetary sea of acidic magnesium sulfate, then dried and oxidized over a few billion years. That's all very nice as far as it goes. Now what?

 

Unknown discoveries await! Riiight. Mars, like downtown Detroit or Watts in Los Angeles, is exactly what you see. Get over it and move on.

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Well Al, I'll agree with you partly: there's even been a conscious attempt to avoid the interesting landing sites because the fragile little landers wouldn't survive or might get stuck in a boulder field. Well, tiny steps... In prep for the activity in the thread on Biosphere 3, maybe it would be interesting to send an automated M1 Abrams there. The space science folks are always complaining about "how much" gets spent on manned space flight, how about a solid gold elephant of their own? Why not?

 

At any rate I'd rather spend it on any of these projects than padding oil executives 19th hole martini funds. They just gotta start thinking bigger... I'd like to skip Mars and start working on those Jovian and Saturnian moons.... If you wanna mess with Mars though, how's about starting to drive lots of comets into its surface? It would give us practice in diverting them and saving ourselves from a dino-like exeunt, and in a few thousand years, there'd be more water and atmosphere there for us to start colonizing it...

 

Cheers,

Buffy

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If you wanna mess with Mars though, how's about starting to drive lots of comets into its surface? It would give us practice in diverting them and saving ourselves from a dino-like exeunt, and in a few thousand years, there'd be more water and atmosphere there for us to start colonizing it...

 

Sure...use Mars as target practice while we keep funking up the Earth.

 

It would mess it up, all right. But you wouldn't get a breathable atmosphere in less than a few million years I think.

 

But frankly the rovers are an astonishing success. They didn't cost that much money, really, and they are performing much better than expected.

 

Among the discoveries made with the rovers are for example traces left by liquid water in rocks, and also that there has been geological activity on Mars more recently than previously expected.

 

It's amazing, really - there are three mars probes in orbit (Mars Odyssey, Mars Global Surveyor and the European Mars Express), and two rovers on the ground, and Mars Reconnaissance orbiter will arrive next year - there is a lot of activity going on and the rovers really need to be seens as parts of a bigger picture. They are our eyes on the surface, and can see and touch things which is impossible to do from orbit.

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Sure...use Mars as target practice while we keep funking up the Earth.
Boy, not enough smilies in my post... :hihi:
Among the discoveries made with the rovers are for example traces left by liquid water in rocks, and also that there has been geological activity on Mars more recently than previously expected.
Heck even if its boring, this is great practice for those more interesting places that will be harder to get at like those outer planet moons and my fave Venus (there's one for a tank-like probe that can survive the pressure, heat and acid content of its atmosphere...). As I say, much better than the martini fund or Hummer subsidies... :D ;) ;)

 

Cheers,

Buffy

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What have the mars rovers accomplished? Mars is boring. It started out as a shallow planetary sea of acidic magnesium sulfate, then dried and oxidized over a few billion years. That's all very nice as far as it goes. Now what?

 

Unknown discoveries await! Riiight. Mars, like downtown Detroit or Watts in Los Angeles, is exactly what you see. Get over it and move on.

;) I love it when you play devil's advocate Al; I think of you as the "Velvet Hammer". ;) (one layer of velvet on a 500 Kilo hammer :D )

___Whether you push me or pull me, go I must (Yoda speak :hihi: ) Anyway, I see it as the human spirit of exploration prevailing in the light of finance, politics, & ignorance. We go, because we want to know. If Mars is boring, we explore it to find why as we sharpen our skills at technology & cooperation in order to explore the interesting places.

___Put me down for not enough smilies as well. ;) :D :D ;) ;) ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rovers are the future of space exploration. They are just so much cheaper than sending men. It would be interesting to compare them to the Apollo missions to the moon. At a guess they delivered as much science at a tiny fraction of the cost. They are a lot slower moving than people but they keep going for months, and now perhaps years. The moon missions could only stay for days.

 

Alexian is being a bit optimistic calling for earthworm probes. If you want to drill a hole you need a drilling rig. There is one planned for the next mobile for mars but I think it a mistake. Mars has already been drilled all over by meteorites.

 

Personally I would vote for a swarm of rovers with only evolutionary upgrades, rather than a completely new design. This is my wish list:

 

a) Unfolding solar panel "wings" to give more power. Air pressure is so low that we don't have to worry much about storm damage. They need to be motorised so that they can be aligned to the sun and be raised when travelling over difficult terrain.

 

:lol: An electron microscope.

 

c) Some sort of chromatography.

 

d) An attachment to the head for cleaning the solar cells.

 

e) A robot hand.

 

f) A linescan camera like the HRSC used on the mars express. Rotate slowly in a circle getting one vertical scan line per click of rotation and you get the perfect stereoscopic panoramic image with no pasting. The image would not be just in colour but spectroscopic.

Details here: http://solarsystem.dlr.de/Missions/express/kamera/kameraeng.shtml

 

g) Caterpillar treads.

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  • 4 months later...

Here is an explanation for why the mission has gone the way it has

 

NASA Mars rover design engineer Joe Melko, suppressing a mischevious smile, explains

 

"Well, we've been telling the media that the twin Mars rovers were designed to last a hundred days, and that every day after that is an added unexpected bonus, but now that we've gone beyond the 200th day mark with Spirit, I think it's time we offer a more accurate explanation."

 

Melko took a stack of Star Trek photos from his desk, picking one showing the original Star Trek character Mister Scott talking to a younger actor

 

"Remember this episode? Mister Scott is explaining to the young engineer how to come across as a miracle worker. He says something like: 'Tell the captain it will take you 3 hours to fix the problem, lad, when you know it will only take about 1. That way, when you leisurely fix it in 2, you'll still come across as a miracle worker!'"

 

Melko took out a pair of wax Spock ears and put them on, giving the 'live long and prosper' symbol with his right hand

 

"Err...well, we did the same thing. We knew the twin rovers might even last a year on Mars, so we pulled a Scotty, so we'd look like heroes. We got the idea at a Star Trek convention in Orlando a few years back."

 

If nothing else, America's brilliant NASA engineers have once again illustrated their almost superhumanlike genius, -along with more than a trifle of geekishness-, but genius nonetheless.

 

http://www.smthop.com/articles1details.asp?NewsNum=374

 

:confused: but i will give them credit they are still going longer than they planned! hehe geeks :Waldo:

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest chendoh

The Rovers will have company. Check your local NASATV for coverage

 

Ground controllers await the signal from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) that it has begun the crucial engine burn that will slow the spacecraft enough to take it into low Mars orbit between 160 miles (257 kilometers) and 200 miles (322 km) above the planet. They expect that signal March 10 at about 4:24 P.M. Eastern time.

http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx

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  • 15 years later...
On 8/1/2005 at 10:30 AM, Eliot Hariton said:

They really are quite amazing. It's one thing to design equipment to specification, but when you exceed the expected life by such great amounts, that really shows the genius of those that worked on it. I would really like to see them do an after study on them, to figure out why they lasted so long.

In space, it's all about durability and survivability in reference to cost. I think it's something like 10k/1kg or something along those lines. It's forecasted that prices will fall gradually though, given another 10-20 years but it will never be run-of-the-mill. Which is sad because I was really looking forward to going up myself :circle:

Acts 16:31, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 1 Peter 1:17-21, Revelation 22:18-19

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