Author Topic: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover  (Read 55220 times)

Offline redliox

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NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« on: 08/08/2015 03:20 AM »
Putting up a thread to dedicate toward the 2020 Rover plans.

First bit of fresh news on the rover: they've narrowed down the landing sites to the top 8 now, with some surprising choices: http://news.sciencemag.org/space/2015/08/mars-scientists-tap-ancient-river-deltas-and-hot-springs-promising-targets-2020-rover?rss=1
I also credit Van Kane for blogging this on his site too: http://futureplanets.blogspot.com/2015/08/list-of-2020-rover-landing-sites-narrow.html

Of the eight, three stand out to me: Jezsero Crater, Columbia Hills, Melas Chasm.  Any of those 3 would excite me.  The crater (which is actually one of 4 sites near Isidis Basin) seems to be a potential gold mine akin to Gale and Gusev Craters with river channels intermingling with an ancient crater lake.  Columbia Hills, i.e. Gusev Crater, has been reconsidered thanks to Spirit's discoveries relating to hydrothermal activity and that there are areas of interest that were just beyond Spirit's reach worth revisiting.  Melas Chasm, frankly, because it is part of Valles Marineris, and bound to be rich in both geologic and hydrological activity, not to mention being a prominent region of Mars not yet explored 'on foot.'

Use this thread to add news directly tied to the 2020 Rover.
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Offline NovaSilisko

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #1 on: 08/08/2015 04:43 AM »
I wonder what the real chances are of an extended mission jaunt to Spirit (or its landing hardware) if M2020 does land near Columbia Hills, or even a piece removed from it and put in a sample canister (assuming it could be removed easily). I can dream...
« Last Edit: 08/08/2015 04:45 AM by NovaSilisko »

Offline redliox

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #2 on: 08/08/2015 09:55 AM »
I wonder what the real chances are of an extended mission jaunt to Spirit (or its landing hardware) if M2020 does land near Columbia Hills, or even a piece removed from it and put in a sample canister (assuming it could be removed easily). I can dream...

I don't think they'd 'sample' Spirit (and by that I mean a piece like you suggest), although a future human crew would be better able to do that; most likely it'd be a visual inspection although they might prefer it from a distance since Spirit did end up stuck in sand.  I included a document from MEPAG that sums up both the PR and scientific reasons for revisiting Gusev.  Had Spirit been able to continue operating for perhaps a further year (had it been mobile) it could have reached a spot that's essentially a fossilized hydrothermal vent with volcanic terrain adjacent.  Even after several years Spirit apparently only scratched the potential science within Gusev.
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Offline Star One

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NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #3 on: 08/08/2015 10:28 AM »
Just a heads up that I did add a news story from AW in the existing thread this week about sample preservation strategies, unfortunately it requires registration to read in full.

Anyway that's just the explanation for posting this again.

http://m.aviationweek.com/space/mars-2020-mulls-sample-preservation-strategies
« Last Edit: 08/08/2015 10:30 AM by Star One »

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #4 on: 11/20/2015 05:24 PM »
Elachi Touts Helicopter Scout for Mars Sample-Caching Rover

Quote
WASHINGTON — The outgoing director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Nov. 19 floated the idea of sending a small scout helicopter to the red planet along with the Mars 2020 sample caching rover headed there in 2020.

“It’s not approved for that mission yet, but we are doing the technology which will enable us to actually have a drone which will fly around the rover, survey the area in front of it and enable the rover to basically drive more efficiently,” JPL Director Charles Elachi said after a luncheon speech on Capitol Hill hosted by the Space Transportation Association. “So you’ll have a drone taking the survey and sending the data to the rover and having the rover avoid hazards.”

JPL has been touting its Mars Helicopter since January but has not before linked it to any particular mission. The drone would be solar powered and capable of flying for two to three minutes a day, according to a video JPL uploaded to youtube earlier this year.

A scouting drone could help the Mars 2020 rover avoid the sort of mission-ending misstep that got the smaller Spirit rover — the twin of the still-operational Opportunity rover — stuck in martian sand in 2009.

http://spacenews.com/elachi-touts-helicopter-scout-for-mars-sample-caching-rover/

Offline vjkane

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #5 on: 11/20/2015 05:47 PM »
Elachi Touts Helicopter Scout for Mars Sample-Caching Rover

http://spacenews.com/elachi-touts-helicopter-scout-for-mars-sample-caching-rover/

This would be cool, although I've read elsewhere that the helicopter would never come close to the rover for safety reasons, limiting the coolness of the shots (but not limiting the value to scout terrain up ahead).  I also seem to remember an estimated price tag of ~$20M, so not something you decide to do just because its cool.

I wonder if future rovers might carry cubesat-scale stations that could be left for long term stationary observations or if helicopters might be used as independent research vehicles (essentially flying cubesats).  It would be nice to fly a helicopter up the river bed that leads into Gale Crater, as an example, for high resolution ground truthing.  Miniaturization opens interesting possibilities. 

I remember that one Mars related SAG stated that all future orbiters should reserve mass to carry a few cubesats for release into orbit.

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #6 on: 11/20/2015 06:05 PM »

Elachi Touts Helicopter Scout for Mars Sample-Caching Rover

http://spacenews.com/elachi-touts-helicopter-scout-for-mars-sample-caching-rover/

This would be cool, although I've read elsewhere that the helicopter would never come close to the rover for safety reasons, limiting the coolness of the shots (but not limiting the value to scout terrain up ahead).  I also seem to remember an estimated price tag of ~$20M, so not something you decide to do just because its cool.

I wonder if future rovers might carry cubesat-scale stations that could be left for long term stationary observations or if helicopters might be used as independent research vehicles (essentially flying cubesats).  It would be nice to fly a helicopter up the river bed that leads into Gale Crater, as an example, for high resolution ground truthing.  Miniaturization opens interesting possibilities. 

I remember that one Mars related SAG stated that all future orbiters should reserve mass to carry a few cubesats for release into orbit.

For some reason I thought the helicopter would be able to attach itself to the rover which would then release it as when needed. But from what you said that obviously isn't the case.

Offline vjkane

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #7 on: 11/20/2015 06:12 PM »
For some reason I thought the helicopter would be able to attach itself to the rover which would then release it as when needed. But from what you said that obviously isn't the case.

My understanding is that the rover arm would place the 'copter on the ground.  After the rover has moved a safe distance away, the flights would start.  The two would always be kept well apart.

Offline redliox

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #8 on: 11/20/2015 06:20 PM »
For some reason I thought the helicopter would be able to attach itself to the rover which would then release it as when needed. But from what you said that obviously isn't the case.

I've heard about this concept several times now.  I likewise thought it'd return to the rover periodically as well.  If it's totally independent, I'd be concerned if the device could stay warm and alive through the Martian night, or able to keep up with the parent rover if it's dependent on it for communication like Sojourner was with Pathfinder.  If it can fly on Mars it'd be a good idea so long as it can operate for a week or better which is what I'm doubting specifically; perhaps it could be useful as an engineering test and scout during the rover's early days although I suspect it may be a short-lived addition.
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Offline vjkane

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #9 on: 11/20/2015 06:30 PM »
For some reason I thought the helicopter would be able to attach itself to the rover which would then release it as when needed. But from what you said that obviously isn't the case.

I've heard about this concept several times now.  I likewise thought it'd return to the rover periodically as well.  If it's totally independent, I'd be concerned if the device could stay warm and alive through the Martian night, or able to keep up with the parent rover if it's dependent on it for communication like Sojourner was with Pathfinder.  If it can fly on Mars it'd be a good idea so long as it can operate for a week or better which is what I'm doubting specifically; perhaps it could be useful as an engineering test and scout during the rover's early days although I suspect it may be a short-lived addition.
They may be planning to put one or more RHUs in the box to keep it warm.  Good use for all that degraded Pu-238 perhaps. 

My guess is that it would take a few days to recharge between flights.  It likely flies so much faster than the rover drives that this wouldn't be a problem.

Offline Star One

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NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #10 on: 11/20/2015 06:50 PM »
For some reason I thought the helicopter would be able to attach itself to the rover which would then release it as when needed. But from what you said that obviously isn't the case.

I've heard about this concept several times now.  I likewise thought it'd return to the rover periodically as well.  If it's totally independent, I'd be concerned if the device could stay warm and alive through the Martian night, or able to keep up with the parent rover if it's dependent on it for communication like Sojourner was with Pathfinder.  If it can fly on Mars it'd be a good idea so long as it can operate for a week or better which is what I'm doubting specifically; perhaps it could be useful as an engineering test and scout during the rover's early days although I suspect it may be a short-lived addition.
They may be planning to put one or more RHUs in the box to keep it warm.  Good use for all that degraded Pu-238 perhaps. 

My guess is that it would take a few days to recharge between flights.  It likely flies so much faster than the rover drives that this wouldn't be a problem.

Wouldn't it make for a simpler vehicle if it was just able to plug itself into the rover when it needed to?

By the way what's the current thinking of if this is going to hit the 2020 launch window & what with all the fuss about its engine supply will it still be baselined for an Atlas V launch?
« Last Edit: 11/20/2015 06:53 PM by Star One »

Offline vjkane

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #11 on: 11/20/2015 06:55 PM »
Wouldn't it make for a simpler vehicle if it was just able to plug itself into the rover when it needed to?

By the way what's the current thinking of if this is going to hit the 2020 launch window & what with all the fuss about its engine supply will it still be baselined for an Atlas V launch?

Think of the fun of having a copter with rapidly spinning blades landing on the rover with a dust devil hits and those blades start slapping everything on the deck and masts.

Offline baldusi

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #12 on: 11/20/2015 07:05 PM »
Can they actually fly an helicopter with just 0.02Bar?

Offline vjkane

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #13 on: 11/20/2015 07:14 PM »
Can they actually fly an helicopter with just 0.02Bar?
Apparently.  Look at the size of those blades (which I believe would counter rotate).  Takes a lot of surface to bite on enough air for lift.

Online Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #14 on: 11/20/2015 07:58 PM »
Elachi Touts Helicopter Scout for Mars Sample-Caching Rover


There is no mission in existence that JPL cannot figure out how to make more expensive.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #15 on: 11/23/2015 07:18 AM »
I don't think they'd 'sample' Spirit (and by that I mean a piece like you suggest), although a future human crew would be better able to do that; most likely it'd be a visual inspection although they might prefer it from a distance since Spirit did end up stuck in sand.  I included a document from MEPAG that sums up both the PR and scientific reasons for revisiting Gusev.  Had Spirit been able to continue operating for perhaps a further year (had it been mobile) it could have reached a spot that's essentially a fossilized hydrothermal vent with volcanic terrain adjacent.  Even after several years Spirit apparently only scratched the potential science within Gusev.

Actually Spirit did reach and documented a hydrothermal system in the Home Plate area.  Feature include abundant opaline silica, possible organic matter, and suggested geyserite (microbial structures). 
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #16 on: 11/23/2015 08:40 AM »
Can they actually fly an helicopter with just 0.02Bar?

Yes.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/details.php?id=1355

(Yet there is plenty of natural propulsion omnipresent you can use with the right catalysts for 20-40 gram scaled nano aerovehicles - you don't need ISRU, and they're easier to 3-axis stabilize.)
Has 3minute flight time per day with small solar panel. Can survive the mars night on its own. 500m range.
 Needs to be total automous with hazard avoidance landing system. I'm guessing this benefits from lunar navigation technology NASA have been working.

No mention of comms but is not likely to very far from rover.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #17 on: 11/23/2015 08:45 AM »
A small lander with one of the drones could survey a large area. Especially if lander can do a few hops and place its self close area of interest.

Offline redliox

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #18 on: 11/23/2015 10:05 AM »
Has 3minute flight time per day with small solar panel. Can survive the mars night on its own. 500m range.
 Needs to be total automous with hazard avoidance landing system. I'm guessing this benefits from lunar navigation technology NASA have been working.

No mention of comms but is not likely to very far from rover.

So, if used, these helicopter will need help from the rover as a relay.  At least it is promising that they won't need recharging.  Furthermore, considering the rover's pace is painfully slow by human standards a 3 minute flight might be enough to keep pace and relay images to plan the rover's next set of weekly moves.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #19 on: 02/09/2016 01:54 PM »
Fully funded in the new budget, plus an extra $10 million for the next Mars mission, whatever that is.

Although the president's budget in his last year in office means little, I think it's fair to say that this will probably go through without much change.

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