Author Topic: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread  (Read 107653 times)

Offline Blackstar

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #440 on: 03/10/2016 12:50 PM »
Picking two at once wouldn't mean the simultanious development of two, would it? I thought it meant just deciding early on what the next two discovery missions would be, at the normal cadence.

Not necessarily, but that is still how they want to do it--it's still the preferred choice.

Look at it this way: you plan a project so that all your people will be able to start on January 1. They take their vacations, quit other jobs, clear their calendars. Then you tell them that they won't start until September 1. A lot of those people are going to take on other work and tell you to go pound sand. Then on September 1 you no longer have your prime work force. You may even be missing key people.


Online vjkane

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #441 on: 03/10/2016 01:11 PM »
Picking two at once wouldn't mean the simultanious development of two, would it? I thought it meant just deciding early on what the next two discovery missions would be, at the normal cadence.

Not necessarily, but that is still how they want to do it--it's still the preferred choice.

Look at it this way: you plan a project so that all your people will be able to start on January 1. They take their vacations, quit other jobs, clear their calendars. Then you tell them that they won't start until September 1. A lot of those people are going to take on other work and tell you to go pound sand. Then on September 1 you no longer have your prime work force. You may even be missing key people.
Jim Green has said that what he'd like to do is to hold a Discovery competition (which is very expensive both for NASA and the proposing teams) every four years and select two missions that would launch approximately two years apart.  This would achieve the Decadal goal of 5 missions per decade.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #442 on: 03/10/2016 03:00 PM »
Picking two at once wouldn't mean the simultanious development of two, would it? I thought it meant just deciding early on what the next two discovery missions would be, at the normal cadence.

Not necessarily, but that is still how they want to do it--it's still the preferred choice.

Look at it this way: you plan a project so that all your people will be able to start on January 1. They take their vacations, quit other jobs, clear their calendars. Then you tell them that they won't start until September 1. A lot of those people are going to take on other work and tell you to go pound sand. Then on September 1 you no longer have your prime work force. You may even be missing key people.
Jim Green has said that what he'd like to do is to hold a Discovery competition (which is very expensive both for NASA and the proposing teams) every four years and select two missions that would launch approximately two years apart.  This would achieve the Decadal goal of 5 missions per decade.

There's a difference between launch dates and start dates. The phasing is important. Look at the example of what happened with Juno--they got selected and then immediately put on hold because there was not enough money to fully fund the project. If memory serves, the delay was over a year (two?) and cost close to $100 million. You cannot announce a winner and then tell them the start date is delayed, because people and companies plan their schedules to the start date and will go do other work instead.

Offline baldusi

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #443 on: 03/10/2016 11:43 PM »
Did I understood correctly and the 150M includes a lot of money that would be spent anyways on the mission even if it was launched today, but NASA can't carry that money forward and will probably be lost these two years?
Can't they use some of that money to accelerate funding of the other two Discoveries and to make the differences "small" (like in under 50M)?

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #444 on: 03/11/2016 12:12 AM »
When last year the active planetary science missions came about $8 mil NASA gave away that money in grants to accelerate the next Discovery missions. On the other hand in other years NASA moved money from Planetary to Earth Science in order to cover shortfalls there. Federal spend it or lose it rules mean that NASA will most likely spend that money rather than give it back to Treasury. The question is where. For all we know they could end up on HEOMD if they have a cost overrun this year. Other posters here probably know more than me the outsider

Offline Blackstar

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #445 on: 03/11/2016 11:48 AM »
Did I understood correctly and the 150M includes a lot of money that would be spent anyways on the mission even if it was launched today, but NASA can't carry that money forward and will probably be lost these two years?
Can't they use some of that money to accelerate funding of the other two Discoveries and to make the differences "small" (like in under 50M)?

I think that one thing they are doing is applying the money they would spend operating InSight in the next two years to the delay. That reduces the amount of new money needed in the near-term. But of course once they launch the spacecraft they still need to spend operating money. So it is still going to cost more than if there was no delay.

Offline baldusi

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #446 on: 03/12/2016 04:32 PM »
Well, yes, I understand that developing a new vacuum enclosure, spacecraft storage and element re-qualification, the engineering standing army and all that will cost extra money. I'm just saying that it will not be the whole 150M. And thus the impact of the delay to the Discovery program should be a short fall of (wild guess) 50M to 100M. Which while important it would seem manageable.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #447 on: 03/12/2016 05:24 PM »
Well, yes, I understand that developing a new vacuum enclosure, spacecraft storage and element re-qualification, the engineering standing army and all that will cost extra money. I'm just saying that it will not be the whole 150M. And thus the impact of the delay to the Discovery program should be a short fall of (wild guess) 50M to 100M. Which while important it would seem manageable.

I believe that the $150 million is the actual "cost" of the delay--meaning the new money that will be required.

But we'll see what NASA says in a few weeks.

Online vjkane

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #448 on: 03/12/2016 07:38 PM »
Well, yes, I understand that developing a new vacuum enclosure, spacecraft storage and element re-qualification, the engineering standing army and all that will cost extra money. I'm just saying that it will not be the whole 150M. And thus the impact of the delay to the Discovery program should be a short fall of (wild guess) 50M to 100M. Which while important it would seem manageable.

I believe that the $150 million is the actual "cost" of the delay--meaning the new money that will be required.

But we'll see what NASA says in a few weeks.
NASA had ~$150M budgeted for InSight for the next two years.  Those costs will need to be shifted out two years.  There will also be new costs for the 2016-2017 period to fix the instrument and to keep the core team together.

Because the federal budget operates on a cash basis, any money not spent in the current fiscal year returns to the treasury.  So NASA can't simply bank the money it had planned to spend in 2016-2017 and spend it two years later.  It can, subject to many rules I don't pretend to understand in any detail, sign long term contracts (with the total amount counted as spent by the government even if the contractor spends their money later) and shift money among other projects (for example, pay for additional work in 2016-2018 on the Mars 2020 rover and then later use money planned for that rover for InSight).  How much this lessens the impact of the InSight delay isn't public yet, and it appears that NASA is still working this out with an announcement to come in August.

For all of us wondering if the InSight delay means the loss of a chance for NASA to pick a second Discovery mission, the options discussed above could help.  In addition, $150M is less than half of what NASA is projected to be spending on Discovery mission development by the end of the decade.  In theory, delaying the start of the next Discovery mission(s) by around six months might solve the cash flow problem and allow the selection of two Discovery missions.  Jim Green has said that mission phasing will be crucial, and all the Phase A teams have been asked to identify alternative launch dates.

Offline Blackstar

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Offline Blackstar

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #450 on: 03/29/2016 02:34 PM »
Current status of NASA Mars program.

Offline Don2

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #451 on: 04/01/2016 09:41 PM »
It seems to me that the best way to pay for the Insight delay would be to delay or cancel the Mars orbiter planned for the 2020s and use the funding for Discovery projects instead. Near term Discovery funds could then be shifted to Insight if necessary. The just launched European Trace Gas Orbiter has the basics needed for rover extended mission support. The camera is 5m resolution, and it carries an Electra relay payload.

If the science community plans to move ahead with sample return, then there will be no spare funds for future orbiters or landers after 2020. Everything that isn't directly related to sample return will have to be axed. NASA should try to get a few Discovery missions flown before the ramp-up in sample return funding kills off that program as well.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #452 on: 04/02/2016 01:35 AM »
It seems to me that the best way to pay for the Insight delay would be to delay or cancel the Mars orbiter planned for the 2020s and use the funding for Discovery projects instead. Near term Discovery funds could then be shifted to Insight if necessary. The just launched European Trace Gas Orbiter has the basics needed for rover extended mission support. The camera is 5m resolution, and it carries an Electra relay payload.

Except that the Mars orbiter money doesn't exist yet, so it cannot be used to pay for InSight now. Plus, SMD was hoping that it could partially pay for that orbiter with STMD and HEO (tech and human spaceflight, respectively) money, so it's not going to be taking other directorates' money to pay for SMD's problem.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2016 11:56 PM by Blackstar »

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #453 on: 04/02/2016 09:40 PM »
It seems to me that the best way to pay for the Insight delay would be to delay or cancel the Mars orbiter planned for the 2020s and use the funding for Discovery projects instead. Near term Discovery funds could then be shifted to Insight if necessary. The just launched European Trace Gas Orbiter has the basics needed for rover extended mission support. The camera is 5m resolution, and it carries an Electra relay payload.

If the science community plans to move ahead with sample return, then there will be no spare funds for future orbiters or landers after 2020. Everything that isn't directly related to sample return will have to be axed. NASA should try to get a few Discovery missions flown before the ramp-up in sample return funding kills off that program as well.

The 2022 orbit is not only unfunded, but also the design isn't finalised. 
"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

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Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline redliox

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #455 on: 10/09/2016 10:15 AM »
MEPAG just updated after their meeting, including decent details abotu InSight's status:
http://mepag.nasa.gov/meeting/2016-10/04Banerdt_InSight.pdf

I looks like the seismometer problem they hope to lick in December and then finally load it onto the lander sometime mid-2017.  I really hope they bring us some good news this Xmas for us all.
« Last Edit: 10/09/2016 10:23 AM by redliox »
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Offline redliox

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #456 on: 03/25/2017 03:28 PM »
Some fresh news on InSight at last:
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2017/pdf/1896.pdf
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2017/pdf/1515.pdf

Plenty of reiteration that the seismometer is fixed and InSight is safely in storage.  They even added a mirror to reflect future orbiting lasers apparently.

Also they showed the landing site, which we already knew was in Elysium but last we heard it was numerous sites there (granted they were all pretty much identically anyway).  Included is the landing ellipse and its rough coordinates.
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Offline redliox

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #457 on: 03/28/2017 06:39 PM »
It's official now  8)
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/846780473116426240
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Zurbuchen says that the seismometer instrument for the Insight Mars lander successfully passed testing last week.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #458 on: 07/20/2017 05:32 AM »
Quote
Great news: #MarsInsight SEIS seismometer arrived from @CNES at @LockheedMartin in US; now s/c integration in time for '18 launch #goteam 🚀

https://twitter.com/dr_thomasz/status/887893632556072961

Offline catdlr

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Re: The InSight Mission to Mars General Thread
« Reply #459 on: 08/29/2017 03:56 AM »
Unique Look at the Mars InSight Spacecraft | 360-Degree Video

LockheedMartinVideos
Published on Aug 28, 2017


Get a unique perspective of the InSight spacecraft coming out of its shipping container in our Littleton, Colo. clean room.  InSight is the first mission to focus on examining the deep interior of Mars. Information gathered will boost understanding of how all rocky planets formed, including Earth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6KCdKvXvcc?t=001

Tony De La Rosa