Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Mars Rover Curiosity Sealed Up For Launch

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the no-cats-were-harmed-in-the-making-of-this-rover dept.

Mars 87

astroengine writes "On Oct. 5, less than two months before it will be launched, Mars Science Laboratory 'Curiosity' was sealed between its heat shield and back shell at Kennedy Space Center's Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility. The next time the one-ton rover sees daylight will be on Aug. 6, 2012, as the heat shield separates after successful entry through the Martian atmosphere, shortly before Curiosity touches down inside Gale Crater."

cancel ×

87 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Has anyone seen ... (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 3 years ago | (#37642960)

... my car keys?

Re:Has anyone seen ... (1)

billakay (1607221) | about 3 years ago | (#37642992)

... my car keys?

You beat me by a few seconds... :-P

Re:Has anyone seen ... (1)

RDW (41497) | about 3 years ago | (#37643118)

Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get them back when it comes home!:

http://xkcd.com/695/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Has anyone seen ... (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 years ago | (#37644438)

Well, there's a pretty decent chance he can find them in the debris from the launch vehicle when it explodes during the launch...

Re:Has anyone seen ... (5, Funny)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | about 3 years ago | (#37643164)

Forget your keys... has anyone seen my cat?

Re:Has anyone seen ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647092)

Right here

Ceiling Cat [amazonaws.com]

Late-Breaking News from the Council: YOUR CAR KEYS (2, Informative)

Tackhead (54550) | about 3 years ago | (#37643444)

Has anyone seen ... my car keys?

K'Breel, Speaker for the Council, spoke thus:

Your car's keys are in your mating partner's personal storage accessory.

As we prepare for the defense of our world against a new invader bearing lasers and powered by Pew-238 terror, the logistical difficulties of one of the invader's individual organic symbiotes are generally of little concern to the Council, but the Council is not completely without mercy.

Organic symbiotes of the mechanized invaders, heed the words of the Council. As soon as your host organism leaves the gravity well of your pathetic blue world on a path which intersects with the gravity well of our fair red world, it becomes a valid target for our Air Defense Force. Our mercy is not without an accompanying warning: "Get your invader's ass to Mars? Symbiotes lose keys to their cars."

When a junior translator suggested that an examination of the storage compartments of its mating partner was a logical impossibility for an invader-symbiote participating in the communications nexus known as "Slashdot", K'Breel had the translator's gelsacs surgically removed, placed into a planetary protection environmental chamber, where they were alternately heated, warmed, cooled, and finally exposed to a broad spectrum of ionizing radiation, whereupon their leathery husks could safely be repurposed as portable storage accessories for the mating partners of worthy Council members.

Keys (0)

billakay (1607221) | about 3 years ago | (#37642972)

"Where's my keys?"

I love the name! (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | about 3 years ago | (#37642998)

Cute, whimsical and fitting for such a robot!

I believed it was one by a student (elementary?) who submitted it in a contest!

On the downside, it is a little to "NASA-Like". (Though I suppose that was a "plus" in NASA's book).

Awesome. (1)

cornface (900179) | about 3 years ago | (#37643006)

These rovers are the coolest thing NASA has done in a long time.

I feel weird posting without making a snide remark.

Re:Awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37643400)

They are also the most complex designs. Take a look at the video. There are so many moving parts in the landing part that a pessimist would think it simply must fail. While the project is cool it is also very risky and can lead into a big disappointment.

Re:Awesome. (1)

Rei (128717) | about 3 years ago | (#37643768)

Indeed, the Great Galactic Ghoul [google.com] could possibly get another meal here...

Backup backup backup. (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 3 years ago | (#37645622)

Rover, singular.

Which is annoying. One glitch on landing, a stuck wheel, bad comms, whatever, and the whole mission is a waste. This not only wastes the existing mission, but poisons the next mission.

Always make a backup.

Re:Backup backup backup. (1)

cornface (900179) | about 3 years ago | (#37646174)

I was including the other two rovers in my comment, but yeah.

Re:Backup backup backup. (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 3 years ago | (#37646222)

Ah. Fair enough.

(Although, at the risk of flogging a dead horse, I suspect it would have seemed less impressive had they only flown the first MER, Spirit. Jammed wheel, later bogged. It would have exceeded it's designed life, but having Opportunity elevates the mission from "Successful" to "Wildly exceeded our every expectation!" Likewise, imagine Voyager 1 without Voyager 2, no Uranus/Neptune encounters. Beagle lander burned in, no backup meant no mission. Phoenix lander, glitchy from the start, failed first winter, no backup. With MSL, if there was a second one, you'd be pretty much guaranteed that one of them will outlast expectations.)

Re:Backup backup backup. (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#37648596)

Spirit had run for 2208 sols when it's design life was only 90 sols. Even if Spirit were the only rover, it would still be in the "Wildly exceeded our every expectation!" class.

I am perplexed, though, as to why they are only sending one of these rovers. The bulk of the cost of a rover is in the design process. Building multiple rovers does not increase the cost much. And, as you point out, multiple landers increase the likelihood of success.

Oh the places you will go (not so) little rover... (1)

Cheeko (165493) | about 3 years ago | (#37643022)

And the things you will discover. I'm so psyched about the RTG on this thing. Certainly years, and hopefully decades of work to be done.

Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (-1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#37643048)

So do the half owners of the thing get to play half time with it too?

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (3, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 3 years ago | (#37643186)

You folks that spew the China owns half the US don't ever do research do you?

As of January 2011, foreigners owned $4.45 trillion of U.S. debt, or approximately 47% of the debt held by the public of $9.49 trillion and 32% of the total debt of $14.1 trillion. The largest holders were the central banks of China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Brazil.

As of May 2011 the largest single holder of U.S. government debt was China, with 36 percent of all foreign-held U.S. Treasury securities (16% of total US public debt).

http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/tic/Documents/mfhhis01.csv [treasury.gov]

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (-1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#37643318)

China is just a metaphor, but 40% of US government spending is borrowed money. [cnsnews.com] NASA is funded with government money, so 40% of its spending in 2011 is funded by those, who borrow it.

Do they get to play with the robot?

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37643352)

Does a bank get to live in your house just because you took out a mortgage??

Seriously, stop trolling.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37643418)

Does a bank get to live in your house just because you took out a mortgage??

When you take out a mortgage and then start borrowing on your credit cards to make the mortgage payments, pretty soon the bank will be taking your house away.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (1)

Binestar (28861) | about 3 years ago | (#37643450)

In this case the homeowner has bigger guns than the bank.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37643562)

In this case the homeowner has bigger guns than the bank.

Only so long as the bank continues to pay for them.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (1)

Rei (128717) | about 3 years ago | (#37643868)

Well, who would buy the bank's lead-filled trinkets if the bank foreclosed?

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 3 years ago | (#37643970)

with the additional deterrence of the home being put on Mars. Foreclosure is a bitch in that jurisdiction.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (1)

Binestar (28861) | about 3 years ago | (#37645442)

Not really. Does your house disappear if you miss a payment?

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37643806)

And with what will it buy the fuel and other resources to keep those guns running? And pay the people to use them?

Ask Russia how much your guns will be worth when they rust away.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37644916)

I do think that Russia has quite a big weapon industry. I believe they can be worth quite a bit.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (1)

edumacator (910819) | about 3 years ago | (#37645350)

Now that would be an episode of Repo Dudes I wouldn't mind watching.

NASA: Hey, you want your money back, just repo the damn thing.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 3 years ago | (#37643442)

I paid for a TV with a credit card, that doesn't mean the bank employees are coming over to watch.

Seriously, CNSNews, thats right up there with World Net Daily for news.

You get 2/10 for trolling, try harder next time.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#37643862)

Well, if you don't pay back, eventually the repo man comes.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 3 years ago | (#37643922)

Right, but in the case of the US, China, Brazil, whoever, the US has far more bombers, submarines, ICBMs and aircraft carriers than the "repo man".

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#37644350)

You are mistaken. It will not be done that way.

The way it WILL be done (and is likely done already) is by Americans going to pawn shops and leaving their stuff there likely for 1/3 to 1/2 of the value, and eventually this stuff will be bought up by the Chinese and others, who have money but don't have the goods. It's not glamorous, but it will be the biggest repossession of all times and it won't involve any aircraft carriers at all (as if USA will have money to keep those running, they may be repossessed just as well.)

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37645222)

That's easily the dumbest thing I've ready today, but it's still early here, I guess.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37644172)

Here is a clue:
Almost every person and company runs a 'debt'. It's a complex financial matter that I wish people would actually understand how it works before complaining.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (-1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#37644218)

Here is a clue:

people who run the debt for consumption and can't produce to pay it back, end up with a repo man taking their shit back. That's what all those new pawn shops are going to do - buy back American stuff and sell it to Chinese. Finally those containers won't be going back to China empty.

Re:Do the Chinese get half the time with it? (1)

mikael (484) | about 3 years ago | (#37645410)

And the Chinese will then resell the goods back to the American people but with exotic histories like "turn of the century new world settler cutlery and plate set".

Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37643056)

Interesting name.

Would love to have that on my business card...

Stay clear of your cat when this thing launches. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37643178)

as in Curiosity killed the cat.

Manned missions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37643210)

NASA needs to do a manned mission to Mars to gain credibility. I can think of a few people I'd volunteer to seal up in there with the rover.

Mars Science Laboratory (4, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 3 years ago | (#37643226)

Curiosity's official name is the Mars Science Laboratory. This thing is massive, like really massive. Instead of a dinky little probe like Sojourner or the slightly larger Spirit and Opportunity rovers, Curiosity is about the size of an SUV. This will be the largest rover ever sent to another planet by an order of magnitude. It will be able to do all sorts of interesting geological experiments. It doesn't have that much direct life searches, which is unfortunate because the original life searches on the Viking probes was so inconclusive (most of the tests were positive but no organic molecules were found. There's been some suggestion that certain chlorine compounds in the soil could have destroyed the organics when heating).

There's a very good animation of the plan for Curiosity landiing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4boyXQuUIw [youtube.com] . The whole process is complicated, involving aero breaking, then rocket breaking and while the rockets hover the whole probe over the ground, the rover is slowly lowered onto the surface. There are unfortunately a fair number of points of failure for this. If it does work though this will be a triumph of modern engineering and give us a lot more knowledge about Mars.

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 3 years ago | (#37643448)

It's actually a little smaller than a mini cooper. It still outmasses all the other rovers put together though and is the biggest single thing we've ever landed there.

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (1)

Nethead (1563) | about 3 years ago | (#37643738)

Not even NASA can resist adding sound effects in a vacuum.

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | about 3 years ago | (#37644114)

Have you ever watched a webcam porno on a generic porn-tube site that has no sound because the drunken college girls couldn't splurge for a microphone before going all online-slut for their temporary boyfriends? It totally takes away from the raw, uninhibited, and sloppy lesbian action that you want to experience and, in the worst cases, it can completely ruin the porn.

Making a badass computer animation of one of the most complex aerospace engineering systems to be designed in the last few decades and then not adding sound because there is, technically, never any sound in a vaccuum would cause the same experience loss. It would, effectively, be making some of the best science-porn out there and cheaping out on the microphone, robbing us space geeks of our much anticipated hot lesbian rover-Mars action.

Complaining about a PR clip not being pedantically correct in its techincal details is as retarded as the drunk college girls that won't just cough up $20.00 for a microphone.

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (1)

Nethead (1563) | about 3 years ago | (#37644226)

When the PR clip is from NASA, I expect it to be correct. Things going whoosh in space take the fun out of it for me. Of course I grew up reading Clarke, not watching Star Wars.

They still could have had very weak audio for the parts on Mars.

This is freaking science, not popcorn sci-fi.

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37644392)

Sour us. Its entertaining, everyone knows there isn't sound.

That what I would expect from some one who has to compartmentalized science fiction so he can stroke his boner and feel superior.

Me, I can enjoy both.

It's NASA. They do science, but they are also people who like to have fun.

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (1)

Nethead (1563) | about 3 years ago | (#37644530)

In the words of Wowbagger, the Infinitely Prolonged, "You're a jerk, a complete arsehole," Garrett.

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (2)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#37646186)

Not even NASA can resist adding sound effects in a vacuum.

Those are the fluctuating magnetic fields of the spacecraft interfering with the audio circuitry in the camera. Duh!

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (1)

tenco (773732) | about 3 years ago | (#37643986)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4boyXQuUIw

soundtrack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydOmN1894MY [youtube.com] (song has interestingly nice timings for this animation)

Size comparisons wrong Re:Mars Science Laboratory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37644122)

Not SUV sized, nor mini-cooper sized. It weighs less than a minicooper, but if you stand next to it, you'd say it's bigger: The comparison is more when it's all folded up in the backshell (within which a MiniCooper will fit). It's also sort of rectangular, and it has the 6 wheels sticking out. The top deck is about chest high on an adult, but then there's the pancam mast sticking up and antennas, and the radiators out the back, which are pretty big, too.

It is NOT an order of magnitude bigger (i.e. 10x) than previous rovers. In fact, most of the dimensions are almost exactly twice those of MER (wheel diameter, for instance). (I guess, this being /., order of magnitude could mean 2). Sojourner is 65 x 48 x 30 cm and weighs 10.5 kg. MER is about 2.3x1.6x1.5m fully deployed, and the main body is about half that. It masses 170kg MSL is about 3m long, 2.7 m wide and 2.2m high and masses 900kg (the actual EDL mass is substantially larger, OTO 1500kg, what with backshell, heatshield, skycrane, etc.)

the MiniCooper size comparison was a very early comparison, and really doesn't capture the size/shape. It's sort of like the Fox Terrier/Eohippus comparison.

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 3 years ago | (#37644188)

This will be the largest rover ever sent to another planet by an order of magnitude.

Yes MSL is big at 900kg, but the Russian Lunokhod2 lunar rover that landed on the moon in 1973 was 840kg, So order of magnitude bigger only applies to the American rovers.

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (2)

ckhorne (940312) | about 3 years ago | (#37645562)

Last I checked, the moon wasn't a planet...

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 3 years ago | (#37646966)

splitting hairs

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37647866)

It'll be one in a billion years.

Re:Mars Science Laboratory (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#37646146)

There's a very good animation of the plan for Curiosity landiing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4boyXQuUIw [youtube.com] . The whole process is complicated, involving aero breaking, then rocket breaking and while the rockets hover the whole probe over the ground, the rover is slowly lowered onto the surface. There are unfortunately a fair number of points of failure for this. If it does work though this will be a triumph of modern engineering and give us a lot more knowledge about Mars.

The Mars entry/descent/landing sequence for Curiosity is pretty much identical to that of Spirit and Opportunity [youtube.com] : Aerobraking, Parachute, Retro-rocket hover, and then tether deploy. The only difference is that Curiosity is going to be gently set on the ground instead of dropped like a rock with the hopes that the air bags will cushion it enough against a 40g impact.

Next time the one-ton rover sees daylight will... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37643260)

Next time the one-ton rover sees daylight will likely be on Aug. 6, 2012 ....

Imprecise ....

Foil coverings (2)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about 3 years ago | (#37643286)

I noticed the wheels are covered with foil and the retro-thrusters look like they have giant rubber stoppers in them. Does anyone know the purpose of these? I am assuming the stopper things would be launched out when they're fired but how does the foil come off the wheels once at Mars? (or is that just a protective covering for until the thing is fully loaded and ready to be launched into space?)

Re:Foil coverings (1)

Silm (1135973) | about 3 years ago | (#37643578)

Both the wheel covering as well as the thruster plugs have been removed before final packaging.

Re:Foil coverings (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37643586)

Protective. The "Amerstat" coverings are simply to protect the wheels. You can see in the picture with the heat shield that the bags have been removed, as well as the covers for the decent engines. There are many "remove before flight" items like that will be or have been removed before launch. If you recall video of the rover driving last year, the rover had an entirely different set of wheels (those were the ATLO, Assembly Test and Launch Operations wheels, these are the flight wheels).

Re:Foil coverings (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 years ago | (#37643604)

It keeps the government from reading its thoughts.

Seeing daylight? (1)

wsxyz (543068) | about 3 years ago | (#37643330)

The next time the one-ton rover sees daylight will be on Aug. 6, 2012 as the heat shield separates after successful entry through the Martian atmosphere, shortly before Curiosity touches down inside Gale Crater."

Or it could be when the heat shield shatters upon high-velocity impact with the Martian surface.

Another Mars rover? (1)

niktemadur (793971) | about 3 years ago | (#37643336)

How pedestrian. Send one to Titan!

Re:Another Mars rover? (2)

Rei (128717) | about 3 years ago | (#37644074)

A Titan exploration craft wouldn't likely be a "rover" (although it could be). Anything more elaborate than the Huygens probe will, of course, be nuclear powered, but that's about all we can say for sure. Many different options have been explored, including, but not limited, to:

  * Hydrogen-filled balloon (hydrogen doesn't burn on Titan, and all lifting gasses would work exceedingly well in the low gravity/dense atmosphere)

  * Nuclear RTG hot air balloon (actually, the math suggests it'd work way better than you'd expect in the extreme cold of Titan; a fixed degree temperature differential is proportionally more lift, conductive losses fall off proportional to the temperature, and radiative losses (the main heat loss mechanism on Earth) proportional to the temperature to the fourth. Combine that with the much smaller surface area of the envelope (low gravity, dense atmosphere), and a mere RTG turns out to be sufficient)

  * Either of the above two, as an electric fan-propelled blimp.

  * Electric helicopter

  * Electric fixed-wing aircraft

  * Electric variable-pitch wing aircraft

Of the latter three, the helicopter has the advantage of easy landings but covers the least ground. The fixed wing aircraft covers the most ground but requires a large generator (and thus large, and thus expensive, vehicle) and cannot be trusted to safely land. The variable-pitch winged aircraft combines the advantages of both (landings, recharging between flights while studying the surface, and covering ground rapidly), but offers greater engineering complexity.

Either way, to be sure, a Titan probe would be like nothing we've ever launched before. :) And while Titan takes a lot of delta-V to get to, it's nice that you can aerocapture pretty easily. I find it a fascinating place because of all of the known organic photochemistry going on in its upper atmosphere, and the "tholins" [wikipedia.org] in the Saturnian system in general. We have a tectonically-active Mercury-sized organic chemistry lab operating in our solar system, but we spend our efforts exploring a red rock which has a highly oxidizing regolith that stops organic chemistry in its tracks. Not that Mars isn't worthy of any exploration, but come on, spread the love around. :)

Re:Another Mars rover? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 3 years ago | (#37645640)

Many different options have been explored, including, but not limited, to:

Don't forget the proposed boats. We've never done boats before.

Re:Another Mars rover? (1)

Convector (897502) | about 3 years ago | (#37646044)

Ask, and ye shall receive. The Titan Mare Explorer [wikipedia.org] is one of the finalists for the next Discovery mission.

Double check.. (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 3 years ago | (#37643380)

..that the lander is programmed with the same units as the calculations this time...

Don't worry. (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 3 years ago | (#37643622)

Dr. Who will still find a way to get in and plant a video about aliens. And Captain Kirk will transport anyone that meddles with it.

Re:Don't worry. (1)

atomicxblue (1077017) | about 3 years ago | (#37644264)

Either that or Sarah Jane will cut the feed before the roll up on the pyramids.. (*sniffle* Sarah Jane.. *sads*)

When do the anti-nuke demonstrators show up? (1)

laing (303349) | about 3 years ago | (#37643630)

Curiosity is powered by an RTG. Every time we launch something with a nuclear power source a horde of demonstrators show up in an effort to stop the launch.

Re:When do the anti-nuke demonstrators show up? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#37643742)

Curiosity is powered by an RTG. Every time we launch something with a nuclear power source a horde of demonstrators show up in an effort to stop the launch.

That's OK. This is the US, free speech and all. In fact, we should give them ringside seats.

Re:When do the anti-nuke demonstrators show up? (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 3 years ago | (#37644270)

Every time we launch something with a nuclear power source a horde of demonstrators show up in an effort to stop the launch.

Yes I welcome this. In fact if the rocket does blow these idiots will be the first to go.

Re:When do the anti-nuke demonstrators show up? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#37648676)

They may be the first to go, but it won't be from the RTG (unless it hits someone on the head). They are designed to survive a launch mishap.

I'm curious too... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 years ago | (#37643660)

What does Mars sound like? It has an atmosphere, so there should be some sound... of air blowing across the plains or something... has it ever been recorded?

Re:I'm curious too... (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37644210)

sound like:
sssshhhhhhsssshshhssssss.

seriously, mars sounds like this:
http://tinyurl.com/453kvj5 [tinyurl.com]

Re:I'm curious too... (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 3 years ago | (#37644312)

What does Mars sound like? It has an atmosphere, so there should be some sound... of air blowing across the plains or something... has it ever been recorded?

Yes, in the Phoenix mission. Sorry I don't have a handy link to add.

Re:I'm curious too... (2)

mikael (484) | about 3 years ago | (#37645470)

This page has audio of the Phoenix probe descending through the amosphere [esa.int]

There is an animation of objects moving in the wind [nasa.gov]

Theoretically, if you had a fast enough light sensor, you could use video capture to record the changing reflections of light on an object due to the Martian wind. Like the old cub-scout science badge experiment of gluing a small piece of mirror to a plastic membrane over a paper cup, then watching the changing reflections of light due to air vibrations.

Re:I'm curious too... (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 3 years ago | (#37645612)

The bigger question is whether or not there would be sound if the lander wasn't there.

Personally, I want them to put a loudspeaker on so I can yell at Mars.

What's the point of 'Sky Crane' step? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37643816)

The landing procedure looks awesome, but extremely complicated. I understand a parachute landing won't work with something this heavy in Mars' thin atmosphere, nor will the bouncing ball thing that Spirit and Opportunity did, so it has to be a powered landing. But why the sky crane lowering apparatus, rather than strapping the rockets to the rover itself? Is this to avoid ground effect? Or to keep the rover relativity level in the case of wind (how forceful is Mars wind?)?

Re:What's the point of 'Sky Crane' step? (1)

oberhaus (1004585) | about 3 years ago | (#37645144)

I can't say why it has to be done this way, but here's the link:

NASA - Final Minutes of Curiosity's Arrival at Mars [nasa.gov]

I bet the high res video of the descent will be interesting to watch...

Re:What's the point of 'Sky Crane' step? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37645492)

But why the sky crane lowering apparatus, rather than strapping the rockets to the rover itself?

1) Debris kicked up from the landing rockets could do Bad Things to the mechanical systems of the rover.
2) The rover, being a rover, doesn't have to land on perfectly level ground. Firing retro-rockets against a 30-degree incline could be ... interesting.
3) After landing, if the rockets were strapped to the rover, the rover would need a means of guaranteeing that the rockets (which would have to be secured very firmly to the rover at multiple points) could all be detached - or the poor rover would spend its mission lugging a bunch of heavy fuel tanks, rocket engines, and assorted plumbing for the duration of its journey. In the proposed landing scenario, only one line needs to be detached, and the rockets themselves will do the job of hauling the dead weight away from the rover.

Re:What's the point of 'Sky Crane' step? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#37648822)

The landings of Spirit and Opportunity were equally complicated. They both used an aerobraking heat shield. They both used parachutes. They both used tethers. They both had a rocket powered "sky crane". The only difference is that the sky crane will gently place Curiosity on the ground whereas Spirit and Opportunity were dropped from the hovering sky crane, and bounced around on the surface. Of the two systems, Spirit and Opportunity's landing seems the more complicated.

That's rather optimistic (1)

atomicxblue (1077017) | about 3 years ago | (#37644248)

"...after successful entry through the Martian atmosphere..."

This is NASA after all!!!

Re:That's rather optimistic (2)

skrimp (790524) | about 3 years ago | (#37645360)

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Anyone else suspicious... (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 3 years ago | (#37646120)

...of the coincidence between this story and Steve Job's death? I posit that Jobs is not dead (really, let me be the first) but in actuality is sealed up with MSL in stasis (an mPod I guess) in a bid to be the first human on Mars.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?