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Phoenix Mars Lander To Touch Down In 2 Hours

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the entry-descent-and-landing dept.

Mars 119

AFP has a good summary of the pre-touchdown jitters the Phoenix Mars Lander crew is living through. The spacecraft has been under way for 10 months. If the landing goes according to plan — and only about half of the three dozen such attempts have — mission controllers at the University of Arizona will receive radio signals from the Martian surface at 23:53 GMT. Here's the Mars mission home. You can (in theory) track the lander here, but at the moment the JPL Solar System Simulator is "experiencing technical difficulties."

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Which will fail first? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538643)

Which will fail first, the lander or the web site?

Buddy's Idea (3, Funny)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538677)

A buddy of mine once said it would've been cool to put a little mini-web server on the Spirit rover.

Latency aside, can you imagine what would have happened if they had done so and someone posted the URL to /.?

Re:Buddy's Idea (4, Funny)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538693)

Alderaan comes to mind.

Re:Buddy's Idea (0, Redundant)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538833)

it's as if a million servers screamed out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Re:Buddy's Idea (4, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539017)

I was thinking a smoldering crateer, but clearly your imagination has a bigger special effects budget.

Re:Buddy's Idea (3, Informative)

strstrep (879828) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538855)

If I remember correctly, Mars is too far away for TCP --- you'll timeout before you can establish the connection. I don't think anybody bothered to implement HTTP over UDP, though there is a port reserved for it.

Re:Buddy's Idea (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539011)

A kernel patch can fix that. :)

Re:Buddy's Idea (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539163)

actually, you only need a web server on earth, and feed "live" status from the rover.

oh sure (2, Funny)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538645)

As if they don't have enough to worry about, now we /. them!

Re:oh sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538663)

As if they don't have enough to worry about, now we /. them!
Does anyone have a mirror? I reckon if I point it just right I could probably ./ the mars lander.

Re:oh sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538735)

You mean .\ ?

Re:oh sure (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538667)

The site was slashdotted well before the story was posted for subscribers... nice try JPL, but you'll have to do more to get through a Memorial Day Weekend slashdotting.

the answer is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538789)

p2p www

geeky video here (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538655)

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/videos/phoenix/phx20080327/

Re:geeky video here (1)

slig (1233832) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538731)

and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer no less!

let's hope they're not using DOD software (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538679)

Let's hope the guidance software is better than that used on the missiles they fire in Iraq - those that are always "misfiring" and ripping civilian women and children to pieces.
To date, 47,000 innocents murdered by these mysteriously "misfiring" rockets. Maybe it's an sprintf buffer overrun or something?

no photos, planet not available at this time (4, Funny)

spazdor (902907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538711)

Way to go guys, we slashdotted Mars!

Re:no photos, planet not available at this time (4, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538769)

I think the interplanetary cable got severed when it got run through the Sun.

Look! Up in the Sky! (0, Offtopic)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538715)

Hey Marvin - what the fuck is that?

It's looooks like a lander from Earth!

What? Oh, not another...

I know - let's speak Martian at it!

ACK! ACK ACK ACK!!!

RS

I wonder (5, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538727)

Is that Imperial hours or metric hours?

Re:I wonder (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538743)

Is that Imperial hours or metric hours?
NASA Employee 1: Hey, what's metric mean?
NASA Employee 2: Huh, why do you ask?
NASA Employee 1: Oh it just says here on Slashdot...
NASA Employee 2: *looks* Oh shit.
NASA Employee 1: What?
NASA Employee 2: I think we've made a few miscalculations...
Somewhere on Mars: *muffled crash*

Re:I wonder (1)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538811)

Please, wait until it's down before you joke... it's too painful...

Re:I wonder (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538877)

Please, wait until it's down before you joke... it's too painful...
It'll land, mate. They got it right before, they'll get it right again.

Re:I wonder (4, Funny)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539075)

Oh, I have no doubt it will land - Newton hasn't failed us yet. I'm just concerned about how many pieces it will be in afterwards...

(I say that - what do you think the odds are of them missing Mars entirely? That would be pretty impressive, especially at this late stage...)

Re:I wonder (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539179)

(I say that - what do you think the odds are of them missing Mars entirely? That would be pretty impressive, especially at this late stage...)
Well from what I've understood you don't want to hit a planet dead on, you actually aim for the edge so you have a long burn "sideways" in the athmosphere to slow you down. There's actually a fairly small approach angle, come in too steep and you'll hit the ground at too high speed, but come in too flat and you'll bounce off the athmosphere and continue out into space again. So it's not quite so unlikely as you might think, not that I have any odds to give you but with a thruster malfunction in early stages of decent it can happen.

Re:I wonder (2, Informative)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539275)

I'd assume even if it bounced off it probably wouldn't have the momentum to escape Mars' gravity completely, so it would still land... just later than planned.

Re:I wonder (1)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539521)

I'm not so sure - if it didn't hit the atmosphere at all, it would continue straight past the planet, since you have to lose energy to be captured and go into orbit. That would suggest it's possible to skim the atmosphere a little but not enough to lose that much energy and continue on an escape trajectory - I think that's what we would call "bouncing off".

Re:I wonder (1)

WiFly (1261810) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539395)

Just landed, looks as though the metric worked!

Re:I wonder (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539549)

Just landed, looks as though the metric worked!
Can we laugh yet?

Re:I wonder (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538989)

Technically (yes, I know you're joking) there's no metric hour since the SI unit is a second and anything else should be described as kiloseconds etc. using prefixes, while the imperial system never made any rules like that. In fact, they tended to have a ton of oddly named units with various conversion factors so if you had to choose I'd say it's an imperial hour. That said, the hour is recognized in all metric countries as 3600 seconds just like we measure temperature in degrees celsius rather than kelvins, no country is purely SI-metric.

A better link for full JPL/Phoenix coverage (5, Informative)

Mc_Anthony (181237) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538761)

Hello from JPL...

Best place to go for coverage including links to NASA TV (live video starts at 3:30pm PDT is... http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/phoenix [nasa.gov] .

Wish us luck!

NASA TV link... (3, Informative)

Sensible Clod (771142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538901)

Re:NASA TV link... (1)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539457)

There wasn't as much to see as for shuttle launches or landings, with just shots of the control room and computer animations, but it was still exciting.

Hearing the PAO announce 1000 meters, then 500 meters only a couple seconds later made my heart jump. It seemed like it was coming down so fast, but it's on the ground now!

The solar arrays should be deploying right now. They've announced that the lander even aligned itself east-west as desired so the panels will have the maximum exposure to the sun during the mission.

Hopefully the first pictures from the polar surface will be showing up on NASA TV within an hour.

Direct Links to NASA TV (4, Informative)

Graftweed (742763) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538903)

I ran into problems getting the NASA TV streams to work under Firefox in Linux. Here are the direct links if you're in the same boat or don't want to go through javascript infested pages. I only tested the Windows Media one.

Windows Media [nasa.gov]

Real Media [nasa.gov]

Quicktime [nasa.gov]

Re:A better link for full JPL/Phoenix coverage (4, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538951)

The broadcast feels like a mix between a science lecture and coverage of a sporting event, which is pretty neat. As in sports, I'm cheering on the efforts of supremely talented people to score a goal. Rather than a football in an end zone, it's a lander on the northern plains of Mars. The difference here is that victory will actually mean something for mankind.

Go Earth! Get those Martians!

Re:A better link for full JPL/Phoenix coverage (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539291)

Does that mean if the lander crashes nerds everywhere will take to the streets and riot against that damn referee called physics.

Re:A better link for full JPL/Phoenix coverage (1)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539071)

Best of luck from Plymouth UK, go find us some water ice!

Re:A better link for full JPL/Phoenix coverage (2)

mutube (981006) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539125)

Best of luck from Birmingham, UK - staying up late here to watch this one in. Appreciate all the effort put into this and hope you get the good news you deserve!

Re:A better link for full JPL/Phoenix coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23539137)

Hello from JPL...

Best place to go for coverage including links to NASA TV (live video starts at 3:30pm PDT is... http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/phoenix [nasa.gov] .

Wish us luck!
Hey, lpoks like someone forgot to comment some possible outcomes: From the parent's link:

The propulsion system that feeds Phoenix's thrusters -- 12 for descent and four for orientation -- has been pressurized in preparation for firing. We will post updates during the landing event. Please refresh your browser frequently.

Re:A better link for full JPL/Phoenix coverage (1)

RealSurreal (620564) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539143)

Thanks for the link but shouldn't you be concentrating on landing the probe instead of surfing Slashdot?

Re:A better link for full JPL/Phoenix coverage (3, Insightful)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539155)

yea, and their streaming video pretty much sucks. In a world where braodband has been around for 10 years NASA TV on the Web is Marginal quality on Windows Media only, or crappy low bandwidth with everything else (they don't even use H.264 for quicktime which is a super small bandwidth link).

Hell, they COULD provide a high-def multicast feed to Internet2 since they peer with it and don't (you would think that researchers and universities would be interested).

How hard is it to multicast a feed to I2? I could to it with cheap equipment in under a half hour. Scaling? Use Source Specific Multicast.

Sorry for the rant, but if you have VLC and are connected to I2 watch what is being broadcast via SAP announcements. The Europeans have been multicasting hi-def content (boring legislature sessions) for YEARS yet NASA is clueless.

Re:A better link for full JPL/Phoenix coverage (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539221)

Question: Is there a HD feed on broadcast (over the air/OTA) or online?

Re:A better link for full JPL/Phoenix coverage (1)

mutube (981006) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539337)

Congratulations, nicely done!

Thing to note (4, Informative)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538795)

Nasa has pointed out to news agencies that only 5 of the 13 previous landings have been successful. Odds are, as always, this is not going to work. As slow as this science goes, taking several years from start of the project to a result, that a whole lot of pressure. The two most dangerous parts of this trip are the take off and landing. It's "easy" to adjust the craft when it's moving over 10 months in space, here we have a 7 minute fall from 12,000 mph to 5 mph. A LOT can go wrong.

Here's to hoping we learn something about Mars again. If not, as always, we need to keep trying. If it weren't for these people, things we take for granted in daily life wouldn't exist.

Re:Thing to note (4, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538865)

Nasa has pointed out to news agencies that only 5 of the 13 previous landings have been successful. Odds are, as always, this is not going to work.

The vast majority of US *landing* attempts have been successful. In fact, only the Mars Polar Lander failed. That's one. And this craft has been heavily tested to avoid the same fate (because its using similar technology as the Polar Lander).
     

Re:Thing to note (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539077)

Nasa has pointed out to news agencies that only 5 of the 13 previous landings have been successful. Odds are, as always, this is not going to work.
It's not exactly volume enough to break out the confidence interval, but one would hope the odds get better over time. It doesn't take much improvement of past performance (5/13 to 6.5/13) where the first were probably the biggest crapshoots before the odds are that it is going to work.

Re:Thing to note (1)

Xogede (1064902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539191)

If it weren't for these people, things we take for granted in daily life wouldn't exist.
Just for my information, what exactly are these things?

Re:Thing to note (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539507)

Tang, Tempurpedic Pillows, Astronaut Ice Cream...

Re:Thing to note (1)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539399)

Now they're 6 and 14.

CONGRATULATIONS NASA!! Phoenix has landed :o) (1)

PetoskeyGuy (648788) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539501)

Picture perfect landing. Can anyone at NASA post some first person stories?

Watch (2, Informative)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538819)

live [nasa.gov]

Phoenix has landed! (1)

Attaturk (695988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539369)

Thanks for that! Watched live. Very smooth EDL and very smooth coverage too. Huge congrats to all involved. Thanks again for linking it up. :)

Broadcasted live on TV - Science HD Channel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538831)

4pm to 7pm California time.

Science HD channel is abbreviated SCIHD in my Comcast channel guide.

Does it have... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538845)

...cameras for Google Street View?

Coverage (1)

codygo (1042244) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538857)

The Science channel will be showing live coverage from JPL at 4pm PDT.

NasaTV on the PS3 ?? (1)

gibodean (224873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538859)

I want to watch the NasaTv coverage from the UK. I can do it from the NasaTv page on my pc, but it's a small screen, and I want to use my PC for other stuff.

Has anyone ever got http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/ [nasa.gov] to work on a PS3 ? The page comes up ok on my PS3, but the video window just shows a static picture, with no video or audio... I assume the PS3 can't do the flash video required ???

Or, is there any alternate coverage on broadcast TV in the UK ?

Re:NasaTV on the PS3 ?? (1)

Sensible Clod (771142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539009)

Re:NasaTV on the PS3 ?? (1)

gibodean (224873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539149)

What's that URL meant to do for me ? I made a tinyurl of it, and opened that tinyurl up with my PS3, but it just gives an error "The page cannot be displayed. Network error occurred".

(I tinyurl'd the displayed URL, not the dodgy URL which the link actually tries to take you to when you click it. Slashdot is munging the URL)

Thanks.

Re:NasaTV on the PS3 ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23539173)

Maybe try this? Its the link to the windows media stream. Not sure if its compatible with your ps3 though. http://www.nasa.gov/55644main_NASATV_Windows.asx [nasa.gov]

Re:NasaTV on the PS3 ?? (1)

gibodean (224873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539209)

Doesn't appear to be. I get a black screen "The data is corrupted"... I don't think it will like realplayer either unfortunately.

Re:NasaTV on the PS3 ?? (1)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539261)

Thanks, works great in MPlayer!

Countdown timer (1)

kermit1221 (75994) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538863)

So the time left on the Landing Countdown timer on the front page is about 13.5 minutes longer than the timer on the (broken) Tracking page.

Re:Countdown timer (1)

De Lemming (227104) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539225)

This seems to be corrected now, the timer on the tracking page is adjusted to show the same time as the one on the front page.

Live coverage on Science Channel (1)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538927)

On the Science Channel, 7-9 PM Eastern Time:

Mars Live: The Phoenix Lands [marsdaily.com]

And I see that my cable company now carries Science Channel HD. Woot!

Well its 6:59pm... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538985)

one hour and counting?

Obligatory Hitchhikers quote... (1)

andyh3930 (605873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539041)

What's this thing coming suddenly coming towards me very fast, so big and flat and round it needs a big wide-sounding name like ... ow ... ound...round ... ground! That's it, ground! I wonder if it'll be friends with me?

Re:Obligatory Hitchhikers quote... Petunias (1)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539127)

Oh no.. not again

sorry but... (1)

nih (411096) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539079)

i got here late, is it still 2hrs to go to touchdown?

Re:sorry but... (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539201)

They're detaching the screens now. Get on NASA TV now, and see it live.

In 20mins it's all over.

Re:sorry but... (1)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539327)

Touchdown!

Landing successful (4, Informative)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539319)

It just touched down - and survived.

(Yeah, I know, 15min ago, gimme some lag ;-)

Re:Landing successful (1)

Starburnt (860851) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539371)

So the lithobraking manouver failed?

Re:Landing successful (1)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539529)

Lithobreaking was a contingency measure enacted in order to prevent the vgerization of the craft. With a successful landing and the risk of vgerization greatly diminished, the next challenge for the mission controllers is preventing an outbreak of quaids.

Martian time (1)

Hankapobe (1290722) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539535)

It just touched down - and survived. (Yeah, I know, 15min ago, gimme some lag ;-)

Was that Eastern, Central, or Martian time? And was it Martian Daylight savings or Standard?

w00t! (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539325)

w00t!

WOOHOO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23539333)

Look at the happy nerds! Phoenix has landed!

Re:WOOHOO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23539365)

count me in - that was one heck of a ride, great engineering job!

Congratulations! (1)

stox (131684) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539343)

To the fine folks at NASA, and JPL, for another job well done!

Congrats to everyone involved! (0, Troll)

Mortiss (812218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539349)

Always great to see that humans can do something other than destroy!

Re:Congrats to everyone involved! (0, Troll)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539383)

Always great to see that humans can do something other than destroy!

Seconded. Very well done, JPL! I'm proud of my geeky homeboys.

Just landed (1)

_Ludwig (86077) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539353)

16:55 PDT, the mission crew look pretty happy. These blue polo shirts and khaki Dockers look a hell of a lot worse than the skinny ties they used to wear, though.

Re:Just landed (2, Funny)

th1nk (575552) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539379)

Yeah, it looks like a feed from the TV department at Best Buy.

Re:Just landed (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539487)

you ever see the documentary (I think it was on PBS...could be mistaken) about NASA back in the 60's? They asked all these guys that worked there back then about pocket protectors. They almost all said "well, I didn't wear one", and right after they said it they showed a pic of them from back then with a pocket protector....it was really funny.

I thought they looked like they worked at Worst Buy, which did not instill any confidence.

Well done guys (1)

Ross D Anderson (1020653) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539355)

I think a hearty congratulations is in order!
CONGRATULATIONS!

Toast (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539623)

I hoist my beer in toast to all who made this landing successful!

Here's to all the pictures and valuable research data mankind will receive from this project!

YeeHaw!

Huzzah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23539359)

touchdown complete

Re:Huzzah (3, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539451)

I just heard the same on CNN. A "successful land" signal has been received. However, there's still a lot yet that needs to happen, like locks popping off and things unfurling. Cross your fingers.

Let's see if the prediction that there will be big polygonal "tiles" on the surface holds out (based on orbiter photos). It will look like a giant bathroom tile floor with dust and crap if so...

Aaaaannnd..... it's a success! (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539363)

Congratulations to all at JPL and all the other guys and gals that made this happen, in such a grand way!

Always the cynic. (1)

espiesp (1251084) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539391)

I'm not convinced until I see pictures of mars men.

Re:Always the cynic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23539447)

There ya go: Mars Men [sloddervossen.be] .

Re:Always the cynic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23539469)

Good God, look at that little green cameltoe.

The Phoenix has Landed! (1)

MadMorf (118601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539439)

Woo Hoo!

Way to go JPL and Lockheed Martin!

P.S. Kudos to the Science Channel for their live coverage...

Choice of University in the state of Arizona (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23539477)

The University of Arizona again proves itself a nerd school [wikipedia.org] while Arizona State maintains the mantle of party school [gone-hollywood.com]

Landed almost perfectly flat (3, Informative)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539493)

Phoenix' tilt sensor reports it to be sitting on the surface
with a tilt of a quarter of a degree!

This is as close to perfection as it could possibly get.

Pictures (1)

bioluminescence (970351) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539555)

Excellent landing! Too bad they fucked up the MARDI. First pictures will be recieved in about an hour, or so I heard. I wonder if they will be made available online just as soon?

Good that it can make a touchdown.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23539561)

But can it do the field goal afterwards for that one extra point that could win the game?

Re:Good that it can make a touchdown.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23539603)

TOUCHDOWN THURMAN THOMAS

Oh, wait, wrong site...

Fuck you, filter.
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