Author Topic: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?  (Read 13104 times)

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Offline djsb

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Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« on: August 01, 2012, 09:13:13 pm »
I'll be following the progress of Curiosity over the next few days. It's due to touch down (or crash into tiny pieces) on Mars next Monday at about 6am local time. I do hope NASA has got it right this time. I watched the BBC Horizon program earlier in the week. Anyone else watch it?

David.
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Offline Sionyn

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2012, 09:16:22 pm »
yep awsome ill link to it when it apears on youtube

very important too we need further exploration of  the cosmos our future depends on it
eecs guy
 

Offline RCMR

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2012, 09:49:20 pm »
Oh yeah!  This is cutting edge geek!

Despite the fact that I've been involved in electronics for over 50 years and I've built all manner of autonomous and remotely controlled devices -- I find it absolutely astonishing that we can dump a vehicle on Mars and do the kind of exploration that we've been doing in space.

Most people have no idea of the scale involved here and tend to draw their mental images from those solar system charts that are regularly published.  They're *nothing* like drawn to scale -- if they were, you would hardly be able to see the planets involved because of the massive distances involved.

Simply getting a bit of kit into Mars orbit is hard enough -- deorbiting, landing and then roving about is so complex that it beggars belief.

I'll be glued to the JPL stream this weekend and my fingers will be crossed that all goes to plan - although the odds are strongly stacked against the Curiosity Rover.
 

Offline KTP

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2012, 10:21:16 pm »
When/if it lands safely, I think the first words it utters should be "RigolRigolRigolRigol"
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2012, 10:45:38 pm »
It's insane, odds of success are not good surely, but somehow I'm quite confident!



Dave.
 

Offline KTP

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2012, 10:51:42 pm »
Supersonic parachute, retrorockets, bungee jumping...what could possibly go wrong?

Maybe they should have encased it in balsa...
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2012, 10:56:39 pm »
When/if it lands safely, I think the first words it utters should be "RigolRigolRigolRigol"

*snort*

Dave.
 

Offline GeoffS

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2012, 11:11:56 pm »
I hope it's at least as successful as were(are) Spirit and Opportunity.
Both of them were designed for a 6 month mission and one of them is still going after nearly 9 years.
 

Offline KTP

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2012, 11:16:20 pm »
I hope it's at least as successful as were(are) Spirit and Opportunity.
Both of them were designed for a 6 month mission and one of them is still going after nearly 9 years.

Spirit is still under warranty, but you have to pay for return shipping.


(Ok, I stop now)
 

Offline HardBoot

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2012, 11:21:37 pm »
When/if it lands safely, I think the first words it utters should be "RigolRigolRigolRigol"
*snort*
Dave.
It'd be really cool if you released a space themed video around the time, even if very loosely related.
Perhaps something on solar energy, or general robotics.
 

Offline bullet308

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2012, 02:25:42 am »
Lot of moving parts. Lots of things to go wrong. I wonder how many Sprit/Opportunity-class vehicles (with uprated experiment packages) we could land and operate for the same money and a lot less risk.

I tend to be fond of things that are proven and reliable. The Russian get a lot of mileage out of the proven and reliable. I admire their space program a good bit, actually.
>>>BULLET>>>
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2012, 04:27:50 am »
I tend to be fond of things that are proven and reliable. The Russian get a lot of mileage out of the proven and reliable. I admire their space program a good bit, actually.

Except for their at least half a dozen failed mars missions...  ;D

Dave.
 

Offline RCMR

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2012, 04:44:54 am »
I think the failure rate is getting near 70% for missions to Mars.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2012, 04:53:06 am »
Cheapest part is the rover itself. Delivery is a tad expensive. Most cost is the backup side, so that is why they went for a long life one. The staff for years are expensive.
 

HLA-27b

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2012, 06:19:50 am »
5th is my birthday. They better pull that off or I'll be very pissed!
 

Offline AntiProtonBoy

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2012, 06:30:49 am »
Imagine the surface area this thing can potentially explore! If this will be successful, we're going to see more exiting rock pictures coming our way. :P
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2012, 07:30:23 am »
It'd be really cool if you released a space themed video around the time, even if very loosely related.
Perhaps something on solar energy, or general robotics.

Done!
Final edit tweaks now and will upload tonight!

Dave.
 

Offline bullet308

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2012, 12:34:33 pm »
I tend to be fond of things that are proven and reliable. The Russian get a lot of mileage out of the proven and reliable. I admire their space program a good bit, actually.

Except for their at least half a dozen failed mars missions...  ;D

Dave.

Well, yeah, you do have to get it right once or twice before you can move on to the proven and reliable phase.  :-)

But really, would it have been considered sane either from  an engineering perspective or programmaticially to produce 15,000 unique sonobouys rather than perfecting a single design or handful of at least semi-standardized designs and then replicating them? The RAN thought the latter, it wold appear. At what point is NASA going to do more of this sort of thing itself? As it is, space exploration has a relatively high failure rate and is decidedly non-scalable, and their science exploration budget is set to shrink, not grow. Their fondness for "cool" engineering solutions ends up putting lots of eggs in very few baskets. God help us all if the James Webb Space Telescope decides to not do its magic-origami-in-space thing and leaves us with an $8 billion turd in a high, difficult to reach orbit.

But, there I will be, propped up in my office chair with a beer at 1AM EST, rooting for NASA like everybody else...

Fingers crossed.
>>>BULLET>>>
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2012, 01:07:30 pm »
But really, would it have been considered sane either from  an engineering perspective or programmaticially to produce 15,000 unique sonobouys rather than perfecting a single design or handful of at least semi-standardized designs and then replicating them? The RAN thought the latter, it wold appear. At what point is NASA going to do more of this sort of thing itself?

Depends entirely upon what aspect you are talking about.
But from a system design point of view, there is a ton of stuff that is proven. The processor systems, the rockets, the heat shield, the radar, the power system etc etc. So really, the only thing you can argue is a budget thing - whether you do one big $2BN project, or 10 smaller $200M robots. The added complexing in Curiosity is due to the sheer massive scale of the rover and it's equipment.
Big budget high profile high risk projects actually have a decent track record. e.g. both Voyager probes worked, both Viking landers worked, the Pioneer probes, Mariner (7 of 10), Casini, Magellen, and the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.
6 out of 7 attempts to land on Mars by NASA have been successful:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploration_of_Mars#Probing_difficulties

There is a big difference between very carefully engineering and testing one unit, and doing the same for a run of 15,000 where you don't care if a few fail, and indeed it's expected.

But as always, if it fails, heads will roll and people will cry it's a waste of money. But if it's work, NASA are heroes and it's money well spent.
And that sucks, because it shouldn't be about the money. NASA gets chump change.



Dave.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 01:26:59 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline firewalker

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2012, 01:52:22 pm »
Is there any count down/live feed for the event?

Alexander.
Become a realist, stay a dreamer.

 

Offline EEVblog

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Offline HardBoot

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2012, 02:41:36 pm »
It'd be really cool if you released a space themed video around the time, even if very loosely related.
Perhaps something on solar energy, or general robotics.
Done!
Final edit tweaks now and will upload tonight!
Dave.
Nice, well in time to pick up the wave of views from the news of the landing on the media.
 

Offline Zad

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2012, 05:46:04 pm »
Cheapest part is the rover itself. Delivery is a tad expensive. Most cost is the backup side, so that is why they went for a long life one. The staff for years are expensive.

This is another area where NASA have quietly made big inroads. The original mission was 90 days, and staff were all living on site, waking/sleeping Martian days (2.75% longer than Earth's). They stayed there for a couple of mission extensions, but many of the researchers had "proper" jobs to go back to around the US. Since the 1980s and 90s missions though, Internet technology had moved on a heck of a long way, and even people with modest setups can move multi-GB files to the other side of the world in a few hours. So now, the researchers are able to do pretty much the same job, but at home, work/uni etc. Vastly cutting the costs involved.

Spirit + Opportunity had the benefit of the same design ethos as the ARM core. No money, no time, no resources. It ended up with a small number of engineers running the design and development, using proven hardware and commercial software. And no managers. They knew it wouldn't be finished by the time of launch, so they used FPGAs and allowed for software upgrades as needed.

Every time I check the latest photos, I still get a kick that there is this little piece of human technology. Pieces of metal, silicon and plastic, trundling around a different planet, taking photographs of whatever we want it to.

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/opportunity.html

Offline SeanB

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2012, 06:01:57 pm »
Will keep an eye out, but will be at work.....
 

Online ejeffrey

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Re: Curiosity (Mars rover)-Any interest?
« Reply #24 on: August 02, 2012, 07:37:42 pm »
Lot of moving parts. Lots of things to go wrong. I wonder how many Sprit/Opportunity-class vehicles (with uprated experiment packages) we could land and operate for the same money and a lot less risk.

I don't know the details of the curiosity mission, but these things are often so absurdly custom that it isn't necessarily possible to upgrade the science payload without redesigning the vehicle.  Even if you could, the margin for error is small enough that technology 'proven' on two modules isn't necessarily going to work when you change the weight, or the weight distribution, or the landing latitude, or when your payload has different temperature, vibration, or shock limitations.  By the time you redesign and reevaluate the spirit/opportunity vehicle for a new mission I wouldn't be surprised if the apparent cost advantages

Like I said, I don't know the hardware details of the mission.  But the guys at NASA pretty smart engineers and they are risk averse like nobody else.  They certainly can and do make mistakes and everyone has their own technological prejudice blinders (I have more than my share!).  Still, I certainly wouldn't armchair quarterback their design decisions.  If they thought they could get more and better science results for less money out of a repeat of the previous mission, they probably would.

Now bring me evidence that they wanted to do that but political limitations forced them to design a new rover then I will be happy to armchair quarterback :)
 


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