Author Topic: NASA - MSL Updates  (Read 69965 times)

Online Chris Bergin

NASA - MSL Updates
« on: 11/29/2011 10:45 PM »
Thread allowing for the coverage of MSL's cruise to Mars. Obviously we'll have a new one for the August event!

Resources:

Prep and Flow Update thread:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15026.0


L2 Atlas V/MSL Areas:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25428.0
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=27244.0


Flow Article - by Chris Gebhardt:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/curiosityatlas-v-teams-set-weekend-launch-mars/

Launch and Overview:
Launch Day and Overview Article - by William Graham:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/live-atlas-v-launch-nasas-msl-rover-mars/

Our friends at UMSF will be all over this one, so if you take any info from there, make sure you link it (and mainly link, don't go copying and pasting).


Offline clongton

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #2 on: 11/29/2011 11:39 PM »
Thanks Chris. This will be a heavily visited thread.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline Pheogh

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #3 on: 11/29/2011 11:47 PM »
Chris, For those of us who attended the launch what is the appropriate thread to upload photos, and reaction too?


Offline Celebrimbor

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #4 on: 11/30/2011 07:24 AM »
Here's another site where progress can be tracked

http://www.dmuller.net/spaceflight/realtime.php?mission=msl&mode=scet

Online Chris Bergin

Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #5 on: 11/30/2011 01:32 PM »
Chris, For those of us who attended the launch what is the appropriate thread to upload photos, and reaction too?



Launch photos in the launch day thread mate.

Offline Apollo-phill

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #6 on: 11/30/2011 07:03 PM »
Anyone have any data for MSL TCM-1 due 10 December 2011 yet ?

Offline ChrisC

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #7 on: 12/01/2011 01:35 AM »
Here's another site where progress can be tracked
http://www.dmuller.net/spaceflight/realtime.php?mission=msl&mode=scet

Oh great, it's working now!

I love dmuller's site.  Hopefully he'll be loading in the TCM dates and other cruise milestones as we learn of them.
NASA TV in HD:  history, FAQ and latest status

Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #8 on: 12/01/2011 03:03 AM »
I'm having trouble finding the planned flight patch and velocity. Any body know where I could find them?

Offline 8900

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #9 on: 12/01/2011 11:02 AM »
where can I find the picture showing real time position of MSL looking from above the solar system? Thanks!

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #10 on: 12/01/2011 11:45 AM »
A report from Space.Com states that a set of drill bits carried by the Curiosity rover, that planetary protection measures were not adhered to. All NASA spacecraft sent to other planets must undergo meticulous procedures to make sure they don't carry biological contamination from Earth to their destinations.

http://www.space.com/13783-nasa-msl-curiosity-mars-rover-planetary-protection.html
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Offline Nomadd

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #11 on: 12/01/2011 11:54 AM »
A report from Space.Com states that a set of drill bits carried by the Curiosity rover, that planetary protection measures were not adhered to. All NASA spacecraft sent to other planets must undergo meticulous procedures to make sure they don't carry biological contamination from Earth to their destinations.

http://www.space.com/13783-nasa-msl-curiosity-mars-rover-planetary-protection.html


 Sounds like the procedure was fine as far as insuring no contamination. They just didn't follow the protocol for having it approved.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #12 on: 12/01/2011 12:03 PM »
A report from Space.Com states that a set of drill bits carried by the Curiosity rover, that planetary protection measures were not adhered to. All NASA spacecraft sent to other planets must undergo meticulous procedures to make sure they don't carry biological contamination from Earth to their destinations.

http://www.space.com/13783-nasa-msl-curiosity-mars-rover-planetary-protection.html


 Sounds like the procedure was fine as far as insuring no contamination. They just didn't follow the protocol for having it approved.
Yea, I’m going to wait before I pull the fire alarm…
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline Celebrimbor

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #13 on: 12/01/2011 03:00 PM »
where can I find the picture showing real time position of MSL looking from above the solar system? Thanks!

The new Eyes thing is nice, but a bit of a processor hog...

Hopefully they'll add the mission to ye olde Solar System Simulator...

Offline hyper_snyper

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #14 on: 12/01/2011 11:46 PM »
Dec 1 update...

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2011-371

Quote
"This was among the most accurate interplanetary injections ever," said Louis D'Amario of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Way to go Atlas/Centaur!

Offline Apollo-phill

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #15 on: 12/02/2011 10:31 AM »
Dec 1 update...

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2011-371

Quote
"This was among the most accurate interplanetary injections ever," said Louis D'Amario of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Way to go Atlas/Centaur!

In this news release NASA state that by midday EST on 2 Dec 2011 MSL will have travelled 17.3 million kilometers . This is almost - not quite - 5 full days since seperation . Using this figure and doing a rough calculation (I'll do a more precise version later) gives a spacecraft velocity of about 40.04 km/sec.

But the press kit for MSL launch gave spacecraft seperation at  10.22 km per sec?

Why the huge difference - press kit wrong ?  Or was that seperation figure the additional velocity of spacecraft above Centaur cutoff velocity ?



A-P



Offline Jim

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #16 on: 12/02/2011 10:37 AM »
was the velocity sun relative or earth relative?

Offline GuessWho

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #17 on: 12/02/2011 11:32 AM »
Anyone have any data for MSL TCM-1 due 10 December 2011 yet ?

Rumor has it that MSL entered safemode due to a thruster issue and the first TCM has been pushed back.  Anyone here have insight into this?

Offline kenny008

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #18 on: 12/02/2011 02:13 PM »
UMSF reports that the TCM was canceled because of an accurate launch, and the TCM was not needed.  The safemode was caused by a star-tracker software issue.  They have recovered from safemode, with the exception of the start-tracker problem, which does not appear to be serious.

Offline pechisbeque

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #19 on: 12/02/2011 03:00 PM »
Anyone have any data for MSL TCM-1 due 10 December 2011 yet ?

Rumor has it that MSL entered safemode due to a thruster issue and the first TCM has been pushed back.  Anyone here have insight into this?

If you read the press release from the beginning till the end, both your questions will be answered.


UMSF reports that the TCM was canceled because of an accurate launch, and the TCM was not needed.  The safemode was caused by a star-tracker software issue.  They have recovered from safemode, with the exception of the start-tracker problem, which does not appear to be serious.

No need to quoted secondary sources. All that information is in the press release if, again, you read it till the end.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #20 on: 12/02/2011 04:31 PM »
When is the landing?  I heard on the NASA Tweetup that it is at 10:00pm or so PDT, but they didn't say a date (maybe August 6th)?  But the update says it's the 5th, but not the 5th where.  Anyone have the truth?

Offline Apollo-phill

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #21 on: 12/02/2011 04:37 PM »
Anyone have any data for MSL TCM-1 due 10 December 2011 yet ?

Rumor has it that MSL entered safemode due to a thruster issue and the first TCM has been pushed back.  Anyone here have insight into this?

If you read the press release from the beginning till the end, both your questions will be answered.


UMSF reports that the TCM was canceled because of an accurate launch, and the TCM was not needed.  The safemode was caused by a star-tracker software issue.  They have recovered from safemode, with the exception of the start-tracker problem, which does not appear to be serious.

No need to quoted secondary sources. All that information is in the press release if, again, you read it till the end.

pechisbeque

I only asked about TCM-1 BEFORE JPL/NASA issued news release and did not add the 'safe-mode' info that was posted by another poster. :D

A-P


Offline Apollo-phill

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #22 on: 12/02/2011 04:41 PM »
was the velocity sun relative or earth relative?

Jim

From press release this is what JPL/NASA said:-

"....As of 9 a.m. PST (noon EST) on Friday, Dec. 2, the spacecraft will have traveled 10.8 million miles (17.3 million kilometers) of its 352-million-mile (567-million-kilometer) flight to Mars, and will be moving at 7,500 mph (12,000 kilometers per hour) relative to Earth and at 73,800 mph (118,700 kilometers per hour) relative to the sun....."

Its the "travelled distance" I am 'confused' over .

Have written to JPL direct for answer but guy is out of office till Monday (he's the one who issued release - thought he'd have hung around answer any media calls !!).


A-P

Offline Apollo-phill

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #23 on: 12/02/2011 04:58 PM »
When MSL attempts to land on Mars using the Skycrane I understand that the distance from the ground to Skycrane - when MSL is released - will be 8.8 metres.

Could, however, the kick-up of martian regolith during firing of the 'Skycane thrusters' confuse' the altitude attitude sensors perhaps - therefore - releasing MSL too high from ground even if only a few centimtres? Could it withstand a 'free fall ' of just a few centimtres ? Any limit for a free fall ?


A-P


Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #24 on: 12/02/2011 05:03 PM »
They measure the arc of the transfer trajectory in the sun-relative frame so it makes sense to measure the travelled distance in the same frame.

Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #25 on: 12/02/2011 05:08 PM »
Could, however, the kick-up of martian regolith during firing of the 'Skycane thrusters' confuse' the altitude attitude sensors perhaps - therefore - releasing MSL too high from ground even if only a few centimtres?

The dust kicked up is not that thick to overwhelm the significantly higher radar ground reflection. The last few meters might even be IMU driven based on radar readings up until that point.

Why would several centimeters be of any issue, anyway?

Offline Apollo-phill

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #26 on: 12/02/2011 05:21 PM »
On a flat ground scenario a few centimetre fall may be OK but if the ground is on a slight slope (and this is a crater floor area emember so slopes may be more abundant ) a drop of a few centimetres may be more 'damaging' that could invoke rollover/tipover ?

I'm sure the guys/gals over at JPL have thought about this but would like see (PDF?) what their planning and final choice was on it ?

A-P

Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #27 on: 12/02/2011 05:25 PM »
What drop are you talking about? Look at the EDL sim video. It's basically going to be a constant velocity phase landing similar to what Phoenix executed. The vehicle suspension and wheels are there to provide shock absorption. As Rob Manning said, it should be the smoothest planetary landing to date.

Offline Nomadd

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #28 on: 12/02/2011 05:33 PM »
They measure the arc of the transfer trajectory in the sun-relative frame so it makes sense to measure the travelled distance in the same frame.
I wonder if I can get accounting to fall for that when I turn my mileage report in.

Offline Apollo-phill

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #29 on: 12/02/2011 05:37 PM »
What drop are you talking about? Look at the EDL sim video. It's basically going to be a constant velocity phase landing similar to what Phoenix executed. The vehicle suspension and wheels are there to provide shock absorption. As Rob Manning said, it should be the smoothest planetary landing to date.

I wondered whether the sensors detecting 'ground surface' could be 'confused' by any dust kickup and thereby releasing the skycrane deployment vehicle before it actually touched hard surface leaving a few centimetres fall .If on flattis ground probably not a problem with - as you say - it has suspension but if on a sloping ground might be more a problem.

Are any MSL EDL PDFs around in public domain describing the process in detail ?

A-P







Offline Apollo-phill

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #30 on: 12/02/2011 05:56 PM »
Since my last post re MSL skycrane landing, I have found a PDF called :-

The MSL SkyCrane Landing Architecture
A GN&C Perspective
by
Miguel San Martin
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
presented at the  International Planetary Probe Conference Barcelona, Spain June 14-18, 2010

Not yet read it but looks very interesting and I did quickly note that he stated:-

"...Ground thruster plume interaction  requires large vertical approach speeds to
deal with:
– Trenching effects
– Dust effects
– Ground pressure effects....."

So,yes,as I  suspected they have thought about it :-)

A lot of good technical data on the landing seems to be in this PDF for those who like techie stuff

A-P

Offline Apollo-phill

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #31 on: 12/02/2011 06:13 PM »
Another skycrane landing PDF just found is called:-

"The Mars Science Laboatory"
"EDL Mode Commander"
by
Paul Brugarolas,Kim Gostelow,Miguel San Martin,Fred Sirrecchio and Gurkipal Singh
JPL

Again,not ye digested these techie PPT presentation frames.

A-P

Offline zeke01

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #32 on: 12/02/2011 06:28 PM »
What drop are you talking about? Look at the EDL sim video. It's basically going to be a constant velocity phase landing similar to what Phoenix executed. The vehicle suspension and wheels are there to provide shock absorption. As Rob Manning said, it should be the smoothest planetary landing to date.

I wondered whether the sensors detecting 'ground surface' could be 'confused' by any dust kickup and thereby releasing the skycrane deployment vehicle before it actually touched hard surface leaving a few centimetres fall .If on flattis ground probably not a problem with - as you say - it has suspension but if on a sloping ground might be more a problem.

Are any MSL EDL PDFs around in public domain describing the process in detail ?

A-P

Yes.  See attachment
« Last Edit: 12/02/2011 06:31 PM by zeke01 »

Offline joncz

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #33 on: 12/02/2011 06:47 PM »
They measure the arc of the transfer trajectory in the sun-relative frame so it makes sense to measure the travelled distance in the same frame.
I wonder if I can get accounting to fall for that when I turn my mileage report in.

Only if the Judge gets to use the sun-relative velocity when determining your speeding fine.  :o

Offline Apollo-phill

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #34 on: 12/02/2011 07:23 PM »
Here is a very ggod description of the last few seconds of when MSL Skycrane will be operating and you will read that it is the sensing f the "bridle going slack" that triggers - in effect - touchdown :-

"........As planned, MSL does not have a direct means of sensing Rover touchdown; a software logic is employed instead.  Consider what happens as the Descent Stage (DS) and Rover, separated by the triple-bridle continue to descend at a constant rate during the SC segment of the mission.  Actually it is the DS which is forced to follow this constant velocity vertical trajectory. 
It is forced to remain on this path until the touchdown has been confirmed.  As the system continues its descent, at some point in time the Rover will make contact with the surface, eventually causing the bridle to go slack as long as the DS can be made to continue on its downwards constant
rate motion.  A continuation of the DS motion requires less force.  It is this change in the force command which is monitored (with a persistence check) to declare touchdown.  Upon receiving this indication,  a bridle cut is performed to sever the DS – Rover connection.  The DS, in order to land at a far enough distance from the Rover, throttles up while executing a turn to place the velocity vector at an optimum angle with respect to the local horizontal.  All engines are shut down after a fixed time interval, and the DS coasts eventually crashing on the surface. ......."


from
"Guidance and Control Design for Powered Descent and Landing on Mars "
by Gurkirpal Singh, Alejandro M. SanMartin  , Edward C. Wong 
Jet Propulsion Laboratory"



Apollo-phill

Offline Apollo-phill

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #35 on: 12/02/2011 07:25 PM »
In the previous post SC is SkyCrane

So,dust kickup will probably not be a major concern unles of curse it affects the triple bridal to a very great effect (doubtful).

A-P

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #36 on: 12/02/2011 07:47 PM »
There is no physical object called sky crane. MSL uses a descent stage to lower the rover.   Skycrane is a methodology. 

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #37 on: 12/02/2011 07:49 PM »
What drop are you talking about? Look at the EDL sim video. It's basically going to be a constant velocity phase landing similar to what Phoenix executed. The vehicle suspension and wheels are there to provide shock absorption. As Rob Manning said, it should be the smoothest planetary landing to date.

I wondered whether the sensors detecting 'ground surface' could be 'confused' by any dust kickup and thereby releasing the skycrane deployment vehicle before it actually touched hard surface leaving a few centimetres fall .If on flattis ground probably not a problem with - as you say - it has suspension but if on a sloping ground might be more a problem.

Are any MSL EDL PDFs around in public domain describing the process in detail ?

A-P

No, the sensors detect the weight on the bridle which determines landing

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #38 on: 12/02/2011 08:00 PM »
"........As planned, MSL does not have a direct means of sensing Rover touchdown; a software logic is employed instead.

No, the sensors detect the weight on the bridle which determines landing

Can both of these be correct in some way I'm not seeing?

Offline Pheogh

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #39 on: 12/02/2011 08:32 PM »
Ok so if I understand this correctly what actually causes the bridle cut is that the DS senses a difference in thrust requirement based on the when the lander touches the surface it is no longer carrying that load, correct?

Makes me wonder though if there are any bumps in deployment of the bridle that could inadvertently cause a slack reading? Of course I am sure they have covered all anomalies, still would love to a ton more about the systems development.

Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #40 on: 12/02/2011 08:41 PM »
Makes me wonder though if there are any bumps in deployment of the bridle that could inadvertently cause a slack reading?

After Mars Polar Lander, I'm pretty sure that's one failure mode you won't be seeing in the near future.

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #41 on: 12/02/2011 09:20 PM »
Makes me wonder though if there are any bumps in deployment of the bridle that could inadvertently cause a slack reading?

After Mars Polar Lander, I'm pretty sure that's one failure mode you won't be seeing in the near future.

Early post mentions persistence check

Offline Nomadd

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #42 on: 12/02/2011 09:34 PM »
Makes me wonder though if there are any bumps in deployment of the bridle that could inadvertently cause a slack reading?

After Mars Polar Lander, I'm pretty sure that's one failure mode you won't be seeing in the near future.

 I'd imagine the reduced thrust would have to agree with the altimeter reading to cut loose, or go to an alternate law if the two didn't jive.
 I imagine some pretty strange stuff though.
« Last Edit: 12/04/2011 03:36 AM by Nomadd »

Offline Bogeyman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #43 on: 12/05/2011 06:01 PM »
I have heard that there were or have been computer problems with MSL. What's the story about that because I have not seen or read anything else than this English text so far in the German space forum?

Quote quoted from German Forum 'Raumcon':
"The spacecraft experienced a computer reset on Tuesday apparently related to star-identifying software in the attitude control system. The reset put the spacecraft briefly into a precautionary safe mode. Engineers restored it to normal operational status for functions other than attitude control while planning resumption of star-guided attitude control."

Regards, Chris

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #44 on: 12/05/2011 06:28 PM »
I have heard that there were or have been computer problems with MSL. What's the story about that because I have not seen or read anything else than this English text so far in the German space forum?

Quote quoted from German Forum 'Raumcon':
"The spacecraft experienced a computer reset on Tuesday apparently related to star-identifying software in the attitude control system. The reset put the spacecraft briefly into a precautionary safe mode. Engineers restored it to normal operational status for functions other than attitude control while planning resumption of star-guided attitude control."

Regards, Chris

it isn't a problem with the computers but a star tracker issue.

Offline Bogeyman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #45 on: 12/05/2011 06:56 PM »
it isn't a problem with the computers but a star tracker issue.

So what is the consequence of that? MSL can't navigate anymore? Can they fix it?

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #46 on: 12/05/2011 07:05 PM »
it isn't a problem with the computers but a star tracker issue.

So what is the consequence of that? MSL can't navigate anymore? Can they fix it?

No, they are looking at it.  It isn't a big deal.

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #47 on: 12/06/2011 05:39 PM »
"........As planned, MSL does not have a direct means of sensing Rover touchdown; a software logic is employed instead.

No, the sensors detect the weight on the bridle which determines landing

Can both of these be correct in some way I'm not seeing?

Yes. The load on the bridle is the key part of the software logic, and this is an indirect parameter. It doesn't have a touchdown switch on the bottom of the rover or anything like that.

Ok so if I understand this correctly what actually causes the bridle cut is that the DS senses a difference in thrust requirement based on the when the lander touches the surface it is no longer carrying that load, correct?

Makes me wonder though if there are any bumps in deployment of the bridle that could inadvertently cause a slack reading? Of course I am sure they have covered all anomalies, still would love to a ton more about the systems development.

It's been a while since I read the papers, but I'm almost certain the bridle tension is measured directly by a load cell, and the logic for cutting the bridle doesn't care what the DS thrust is.

A bump during deploy wouldn't be a problem - simply don't allow the bridle to be cut until the deployment sequence is complete.

A complete loss of thrust would cause a slack reading, but in that case, Curiosity is probably screwed anyways.

Offline TheFallen

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #48 on: 12/07/2011 04:56 AM »
You can now view MSL's current position in space on JPL's Solar System Simulator

http://space.jpl.nasa.gov/

Offline mrhuggy

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #49 on: 12/09/2011 02:48 PM »
A little interesting news on MSL, looks like they will try to image MSL hanging of the Skycrane using the HiRISE camera on MRO.

Mars Orbiters Will Attempt To Take Pictures Of Curiosity As It Lands

If the pull it off, it could be the best picture ever.
Chris Hugman
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #50 on: 12/09/2011 03:23 PM »
Will wonders never cease, wow!
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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #51 on: 12/09/2011 03:25 PM »
It won't top Phoenix under its parachute simply because of the resolution and contrast (big white/red parachute against the background vs a small hunk of metal).

Offline rcoppola

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #52 on: 12/09/2011 03:56 PM »
I wonder how much bigger they can scale up the decent -sky crane method of landing mass on the surface. Supply runs for a future mission perhaps...
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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #53 on: 12/09/2011 05:04 PM »
A little interesting news on MSL, looks like they will try to image MSL hanging of the Skycrane using the HiRISE camera on MRO.

Mars Orbiters Will Attempt To Take Pictures Of Curiosity As It Lands

If the pull it off, it could be the best picture ever.
Awesome!
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #54 on: 12/09/2011 05:15 PM »
It won't top Phoenix under its parachute simply because of the resolution and contrast (big white/red parachute against the background vs a small hunk of metal).
It might be possible to get both the parachute and MSL doing the skycrane maneuver. The parachute isn't going to disappear instantly, and the field of view is necessarily large.

Not only that, but the MSL parachute ought to be almost twice the diameter as the Phoenix parachute (>3 times the area). And the hunks of metal should also be bigger.

I wonder also if they would be able to slew the spacecraft quickly and take more than one picture. Did they take more than one for Phoenix?
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Offline hyper_snyper

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #55 on: 12/09/2011 07:09 PM »
Are hydrazine rocket plumes transparent?  I guess they would be too small to see them from orbit anyways.

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #56 on: 12/09/2011 07:16 PM »
It won't top Phoenix under its parachute simply because of the resolution and contrast (big white/red parachute against the background vs a small hunk of metal).
It might be possible to get both the parachute and MSL doing the skycrane maneuver. The parachute isn't going to disappear instantly, and the field of view is necessarily large.

Not only that, but the MSL parachute ought to be almost twice the diameter as the Phoenix parachute (>3 times the area). And the hunks of metal should also be bigger.

The parachute would be prominent, there's no question about that. They might get both the parachute+backshell and descent stage in a single "frame", but my point was the descent stage alone would be much less obvious than the parachute (which Phoenix was under at the time of its image). Phoenix' dropped heatshield was barely detectable on the other hand.

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #57 on: 12/09/2011 09:09 PM »
It won't top Phoenix under its parachute simply because of the resolution and contrast (big white/red parachute against the background vs a small hunk of metal).

There's also the awesome coincidence of the huge background crater that made the Phoenix shot inspiring.

It was all the more awesome, because it's one of the first photographs we've actually seen of Mars taken at an angle across the landscape (62 degrees) to appreciate as a familiar perspective, instead of staring nearly straight down to maximize resolution.

At the same time, this means Phoenix was roughly twice as far away as the minimum (about 640km instead of 300 km straight down). Depending how things work out, they could be closer (more resolution, but looking straight down at the parachute) or further away (more interesting angle)


I wonder also if they would be able to slew the spacecraft quickly and take more than one picture. Did they take more than one for Phoenix?

I don't think they easily can. Remember, HiRise is a pushbroom camera. It scans a row of pixels continuously across the surface, matched to the motion of the spacecraft to build up a large image.

They might be able to make one sweep, end the image, and then make another sweep, but there's a tradeoff between the size of the area they cover (likelihood of actually spotting the spacecraft) and the number of sweeps they can make.

The field of ground view of HirRISE at a 60 degree angle is about 12 km. The landing ellipse is 20 km. That presents a good argument for simply scanning a single long frame instead of scanning multiple passes over a smaller area.

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #58 on: 12/09/2011 10:01 PM »
By the way, Emily Lakdawalla had a great article on the challenge of capturing Phoenix on HiRISE, along with some some detailed information about the camera system from one of the HiRISE optical engineers:

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00001547/

Offline ChrisC

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #59 on: 12/10/2011 01:50 AM »
By the way, Emily Lakdawalla had a great article on the challenge of capturing Phoenix on HiRISE, along with some some detailed information about the camera system from one of the HiRISE optical engineers:

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00001547/

I was going to post this same thing.  For anyone excited about the prospect of imaging MSL during the descent, Emily's excellent piece about how they made it work with Phoenix is frankly required reading.
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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #60 on: 12/10/2011 03:25 PM »
"........As planned, MSL does not have a direct means of sensing Rover touchdown; a software logic is employed instead. ... the DS...is forced to follow this constant velocity vertical trajectory.

(After the rover has landed...) A continuation of the DS motion requires less force.  It is this change in the force command which is monitored (with a persistence check) to declare touchdown.  Upon receiving this indication,  a bridle cut is performed to sever the DS – Rover connection. 

No, the sensors detect the weight on the bridle which determines landing

Can both of these be correct in some way I'm not seeing?

No. Jim says there's a sensor on the bridle. Apollo-Phill says there isn't, just monitoring of the drop in thrust from the feedback loop which maintains a constant rate of descent of the DS.

However, both seem clear that the DS will continue to descend after the rover has landed, and that the DS makes it's own determination of touchdown without any "I'm safely down" signal from the rover itself.

cheers, Martin

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Online Chris Bergin

Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #62 on: 12/13/2011 07:35 PM »
RELEASE: 11-414

NASA MARS-BOUND ROVER BEGINS RESEARCH IN SPACE

WASHINGTON -- NASA's car-sized Curiosity rover has begun monitoring
space radiation during its 8-month trip from Earth to Mars. The
research will aid in planning for future human missions to the Red
Planet.

Curiosity launched on Nov. 26 from Cape Canaveral, Fla., aboard the
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). The rover carries an instrument called
the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) that monitors high-energy
atomic and subatomic particles from the sun, distant supernovas and
other sources.

These particles constitute radiation that could be harmful to any
microbes or astronauts in space or on Mars. The rover also will
monitor radiation on the surface of Mars after its August 2012
landing.

"RAD is serving as a proxy for an astronaut inside a spacecraft on the
way to Mars," said Don Hassler, RAD's principal investigator from the
Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo."The instrument is deep
inside the spacecraft, the way an astronaut would be. Understanding
the effects of the spacecraft on the radiation field will be valuable
in designing craft for astronauts to travel to Mars."

Previous monitoring of energetic-particle radiation in space has used
instruments at or near the surface of various spacecraft. The RAD
instrument is on the rover inside the spacecraft and shielded by
other components of MSL, including the aeroshell that will protect
the rover during descent through the upper atmosphere of Mars.

Spacecraft structures, while providing shielding, also can contribute
to secondary particles generated when high-energy particles strike
the spacecraft. In some circumstances, secondary particles could be
more hazardous than primary ones.

These first measurements mark the start of the science return from a
mission that will use 10 instruments on Curiosity to assess whether
Mars' Gale Crater could be or has been favorable for microbial life.

"While Curiosity will not look for signs of life on Mars, what it
might find could be a game- changer about the origin and evolution of
life on Earth and elsewhere in the universe," said Doug McCuistion,
director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in
Washington. "One thing is certain: the rover's discoveries will
provide critical data that will impact human and robotic planning and
research for decades."

As of noon EST on Dec. 14, the spacecraft will have traveled 31.9
million miles (51.3 million kilometers) of its 352-million-mile
(567-million-kilometer) flight to Mars. The first trajectory
correction maneuver during the trip is being planned for mid-January.

Southwest Research Institute, together with Christian Albrechts
University in Kiel, Germany, built RAD with funding from the Human
Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters,
Washington, and Germany's national aerospace research center,
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt.

The mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for
the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The mission's
rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL.

Information about the mission is available at:

http://www.nasa.gov/msl

Offline mikegro

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #63 on: 12/13/2011 09:57 PM »
I'll be very interested to see the results of the RAD experiment over the coming months during the cruise to Mars...and then on the surface.

It's almost surprising to me that we haven't measured radiation levels inside of a spacecraft yet.   :-\
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #64 on: 12/14/2011 12:19 AM »
I should point out that Mars Odyssey had a radiation sensor on it (radiation levels in Mars orbit were about twice ISS... really not that bad... levels on the surface or with some minimal shielding will be less).
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Offline TheFallen

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #65 on: 12/14/2011 09:25 PM »
Where is Curiosity now? There's now a dedicated page on its mission website

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/mission/whereistherovernow/

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #66 on: 12/14/2011 09:40 PM »
When is the landing?  I heard on the NASA Tweetup that it is at 10:00pm or so PDT, but they didn't say a date (maybe August 6th)?  But the update says it's the 5th, but not the 5th where.  Anyone have the truth?

It appears to be around 10:00pm PDT on the 5th / 1:00am EDT on the 6th.  Don't know the minutes, but I'm sure we will as we get closer.

Offline Bogeyman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #67 on: 12/15/2011 08:46 PM »
What's the story about that star tracker issue? Still having problems with it or will it work?
The next course correction burn is in mid January, as I've learned, so I guess MSL will need that star tracker for proper alignment, right?

Greets, Bogey

Offline Nomadd

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #68 on: 12/16/2011 01:47 AM »
 From page 16 of http://www.planetaryprobe.eu/IPPW7/proceedings/IPPW7%20Proceedings/Presentations/Session5/pr478.pdf
 It looks like touchdown causes throttle to go from 60% to 20% and release is 1 second later. It seems to be determined by vertical velocity. I don't see any reference to bridle weight sensing.

Offline Bogeyman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #69 on: 12/18/2011 05:33 PM »
Still curious about it...  ??? (See two posts above)

Offline TheFallen

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #70 on: 12/18/2011 11:40 PM »
Still curious about it...  ??? (See two posts above)

Follow this Twitter account to see if there are any updates on the star tracker issue

https://twitter.com/#!/MarsCuriosity

Offline rdale

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #71 on: 12/19/2011 02:40 AM »
When is the landing?  I heard on the NASA Tweetup that it is at 10:00pm or so PDT, but they didn't say a date (maybe August 6th)?  But the update says it's the 5th, but not the 5th where.  Anyone have the truth?

It appears to be around 10:00pm PDT on the 5th / 1:00am EDT on the 6th.  Don't know the minutes, but I'm sure we will as we get closer.

The last tweet with a date on MSL's page says 5Z which is midnight EDT on the 6th / 9pm PDT on the 5th.

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #72 on: 01/06/2012 06:59 PM »
January 06, 2012

Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

PASADENA, Calif. -- An engine firing on Jan. 11 will be the biggest maneuver that NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft will perform on its flight between Earth and Mars.

The action will use a choreographed sequence of firings of eight thruster engines during a period of about 175 minutes beginning at 3 p.m. PST (6 p.m. EST or 2300 Universal Time). It will redirect the spacecraft more precisely toward Mars to land at Gale Crater. The trajectory resulting from the mission's Nov. 26, 2011, launch intentionally misses Mars to prevent the upper stage of the launch vehicle from hitting the planet. That upper stage was not cleaned the way the spacecraft itself was to protect Mars from Earth's microbes.

The maneuver is designed to impart a velocity change of about 12.3 miles per hour (5.5 meters per second).

"We are well into cruise operations, with a well-behaved spacecraft safely on its way to Mars," said Mars Science Laboratory Cruise Mission Manager Arthur Amador, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "After this trajectory correction maneuver, we expect to be very close to where we ultimately need to be for our entry point at the top of the Martian atmosphere." 

The mission's schedule before arrival at Mars on Aug. 5 in PDT (Aug. 6 in Universal Time and EDT) includes opportunities for five more flight path correction maneuvers, as needed, for fine tuning.

The Jan. 11 maneuver has been planned to use the spacecraft's inertial measurement unit to measure the spacecraft's orientation and acceleration during the maneuver. A calibration maneuver using the gyroscope-containing inertial measurement unit was completed successfully on Dec. 21. The inertial measurement unit is used as an alternative to the spacecraft's onboard celestial navigation system due to an earlier computer reset.

Diagnostic work continues in response to the reset triggered by use of star-identifying software on the spacecraft on Nov. 29.  In tests at JPL, that behavior has been reproduced a few times out of thousands of test runs on a duplicate of the spacecraft's computer, but no resets were triggered during similar testing on another duplicate. The spacecraft itself has redundant main computers. While the spacecraft is operating on the "A side" computer, engineers are beginning test runs of the star-identifying software on the redundant "B side" computer to check whether it is susceptible to the same reset behavior.

The Mars Science Laboratory mission will use its car-size rover, Curiosity, to investigate whether the selected region on Mars inside Gale Crater has offered environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and favorable for preserving clues about whether life existed.

On Jan. 15, the spacecraft operations team will begin a set of engineering checkouts. The testing will last about a week and include tests of several components of the system for landing the rover on Mars and for the rover's communication with Mars orbiters.

The spacecraft's cruise-stage solar array is producing 780 watts. The telecommunications rate is 2 kilobits per second for uplink and downlink. The spacecraft is spinning at 2.04 rotations per minute. The Radiation Assessment Detector, one of 10 science instruments on the rover, is collecting science data about the interplanetary radiation environment.

As of 9 a.m. PST (noon EST, or 1700 Universal Time) on Saturday, Jan. 7, the spacecraft will have traveled 72.9 million miles (117.3 million kilometers) of its 352-million-mile (567-million-kilometer) flight to Mars. It will be moving at about 9,500 mph (15,200 kilometers per hour) relative to Earth and at about 69,500 mph (111,800 kilometers per hour) relative to the sun.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

More information about Curiosity is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ . You can follow the mission on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity

Offline robertross

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #73 on: 01/11/2012 03:35 PM »
Time for a bump for today's planned maneuver  :)

Go Curiosity!
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Offline pechisbeque

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #74 on: 01/11/2012 09:06 PM »
The Jan. 11 maneuver has been planned to use the spacecraft's inertial measurement unit to measure the spacecraft's orientation and acceleration during the maneuver. A calibration maneuver using the gyroscope-containing inertial measurement unit was completed successfully on Dec. 21. The inertial measurement unit is used as an alternative to the spacecraft's onboard celestial navigation system due to an earlier computer reset.

Does anyone here know how they can calibrate the gyro without using the star trackers?
Or are they just excluded during the maneuver but not during cruise?

Offline TheFallen

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #75 on: 01/11/2012 10:26 PM »
"VROOM! I've begun firing thruster engines for my 1st & largest flight-path adjustment of the trip to Mars: http://bitly.com/yOLtEZ"

https://twitter.com/#!/MarsCuriosity/status/157240197828984832
« Last Edit: 01/11/2012 10:27 PM by TheFallen »

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #76 on: 01/12/2012 01:33 AM »
When is the landing?  I heard on the NASA Tweetup that it is at 10:00pm or so PDT, but they didn't say a date (maybe August 6th)?  But the update says it's the 5th, but not the 5th where.  Anyone have the truth?

It appears to be around 10:00pm PDT on the 5th / 1:00am EDT on the 6th.  Don't know the minutes, but I'm sure we will as we get closer.

The last tweet with a date on MSL's page says 5Z which is midnight EDT on the 6th / 9pm PDT on the 5th.

And today's firing advanced the time of landing by 14 hours, hurah!!!

Offline robertross

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #77 on: 01/12/2012 02:24 AM »
Spacecraft Completes Biggest Maneuver

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft successfully refined its flight path Wednesday with the biggest maneuver planned for the mission's journey between Earth and Mars.
 
"We've completed a big step toward our encounter with Mars," said Brian Portock of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., deputy mission manager for the cruise phase of the mission. "The telemetry from the spacecraft and the Doppler data show that the maneuver was completed as planned."
 
The Mars Science Laboratory mission will use its car-size rover, Curiosity, to investigate whether the selected region on Mars inside Gale Crater has offered environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and favorable for preserving clues about whether life existed.
 
Engineers had planned today’s three-hour series of thruster-engine firings to accomplish two aims: to put the spacecraft's trajectory about 25,000 miles (about 40,000 kilometers) closer to encountering Mars and to advance the time of the encounter by about 14 hours, compared with the trajectory following the mission's Nov. 26, 2011, launch.
 
"The timing of the encounter is important for arriving at Mars just when the planet's rotation puts Gale Crater in the right place," said JPL's Tomas Martin-Mur, chief navigator for the mission.
 
The mission's second trajectory correction maneuver, expected to be about one-sixth the magnitude of this first one, is scheduled for March 26. Up to four additional opportunities for fine-tuning, as needed, are scheduled before the arrival at Mars on Aug. 5, 2012, PDT (Aug. 6, EDT and Universal Time).
 
The spacecraft's initial trajectory resulting from the launch included an intentional offset to prevent the upper stage of the launch vehicle from hitting Mars. That upper stage was not cleaned the way the spacecraft itself was to protect Mars from Earth's microbes.
 
The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft rotates in flight at about two revolutions per minute. Today’s maneuver included two different components: one that changed velocity in the direction of the axis of the spacecraft's rotation, and one that changed velocity in a direction perpendicular to that.
 
The maneuver used the eight thruster engines on the cruise stage of the spacecraft, grouped into two sets of four. It began with a thrust lasting about 19 minutes, using just one thruster in each set and affecting velocity along the direction of the axis of rotation. Then, to affect velocity perpendicular to that line, each set of thrusters was fired for 5 seconds when the rotation put that set facing the proper direction. These 5-second bursts were repeated more than 200 times during a period of about two hours for a total of about 40 minutes.
 
The maneuver was calculated to produce a net change in velocity of about 12.3 miles per hour (5.5 meters per second), combining a slight increase in speed with a small change in direction of travel.
 
As of 9 a.m. PST (noon EST) on Thursday, Jan. 12, the spacecraft will have traveled 81.2 million miles (130.6 million kilometers) of its 352-million-mile (567-million-kilometer) flight to Mars. It will be moving at about 10,300 mph (16,600 kilometers per hour) relative to Earth, and at about 68,700 mph (110,500 kilometers per hour) relative to the sun.
 
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

More information about Curiosity is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ . You can follow the mission on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .

2012-011

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

« Last Edit: 01/12/2012 02:24 AM by robertross »
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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #78 on: 01/13/2012 12:29 PM »
Will MSL employee the "beep codes" during EDL as MER did?

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #79 on: 01/13/2012 05:57 PM »
Will MSL employee the "beep codes" during EDL as MER did?

Yes, and they are called semaphores

Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #80 on: 01/13/2012 06:20 PM »

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #81 on: 01/23/2012 08:25 PM »
Photo worth noting:

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/images/?ImageID=3794

Quote
Two spacecraft engineers join a grouping of vehicles providing a comparison of three generations of Mars rovers developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The setting is JPL's Mars Yard testing area.

Front and center is the flight spare for the first Mars rover, Sojourner, which landed on Mars in 1997 as part of the Mars Pathfinder Project. On the left is a Mars Exploration Rover Project test rover that is a working sibling to Spirit and Opportunity, which landed on Mars in 2004. On the right is a Mars Science Laboratory test rover the size of that project's Mars rover, Curiosity, which is on course for landing on Mars in August 2012.

Sojourner and its flight spare, named Marie Curie, are 2 feet (65 centimeters) long. The Mars Exploration Rover Project's rover, including the "Surface System Test Bed" rover in this photo, are 5.2 feet (1.6 meters) long. The Mars Science Laboratory Project's Curiosity rover and "Vehicle System Test Bed" rover, on the right, are 10 feet (3 meters) long.

The engineers are JPL's Matt Robinson, left, and Wesley Kuykendall. The California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, operates JPL for NASA.

The full resolution version hosted by NASA is 24 MP.

Offline stockman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #82 on: 01/27/2012 10:42 AM »
two months travel now behind us... current position of MSL as it inches closer to Mars...
One Percent for Space!!!

Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #83 on: 01/28/2012 12:15 PM »
Mars-Bound Instrument Detects Solar Burst's Effects

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-028

Offline stockman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #84 on: 02/07/2012 01:22 AM »
passing a bit of a milestone tomorrow.. MSL will be less than 100 Million km from Mars..(as the interplanetary space crow flies that is... :) )
One Percent for Space!!!

Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #85 on: 02/08/2012 12:44 PM »
Mars-Bound NASA Rover Carries Coin for Camera Checkup

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-033

Offline pechisbeque

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #86 on: 02/09/2012 09:49 PM »
Spacecraft Computer Issue Resolved
February 09, 2012
Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

Extract:
PASADENA, Calif. -- Engineers have found the root cause of a computer reset that occurred two months ago on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory and have determined how to correct it.

Full Status Report:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-038

Offline baldusi

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #87 on: 02/10/2012 02:18 PM »
Spacecraft Computer Issue Resolved
February 09, 2012
Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

Extract:
PASADENA, Calif. -- Engineers have found the root cause of a computer reset that occurred two months ago on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory and have determined how to correct it.

Full Status Report:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-038
From the press release it seems that the cache system don't have coherency circuitry. So they had to change the registry usage to prevent cache pollution. Is that possible?

Offline stockman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #88 on: 02/26/2012 12:50 AM »
Now 3 months since launch behind us... really picking up the pace of closure... now less than 80 million km from Mars as the crow flies..
One Percent for Space!!!

Offline MP99

Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #89 on: 02/26/2012 06:25 PM »
Spacecraft Computer Issue Resolved
February 09, 2012
Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

Extract:
PASADENA, Calif. -- Engineers have found the root cause of a computer reset that occurred two months ago on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory and have determined how to correct it.

Full Status Report:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-038
From the press release it seems that the cache system don't have coherency circuitry. So they had to change the registry usage to prevent cache pollution. Is that possible?

" previously unknown design idiosyncrasy"

Sounds more like a bug in the chip's cache design.

Cheers, Martin

Offline stockman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #90 on: 03/18/2012 12:37 AM »
Bit of a milestone today... As the crow flies MSL is pretty much equal distance from Earth and Mars... after today it will be closer to Mars than Earth... getting close 
« Last Edit: 03/18/2012 12:38 AM by stockman »
One Percent for Space!!!

Offline stockman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #91 on: 03/26/2012 11:10 PM »
Time for another update... 4 months since launch day... now less than 55 Million km as the crow flies
One Percent for Space!!!

Offline pechisbeque

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #92 on: 03/27/2012 02:17 PM »
Mars-Bound NASA Craft Adjusts Path, Tests Instruments
March 26, 2012
Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

Extract:
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, halfway to Mars, adjusted its flight path today for delivery of the one-ton rover Curiosity to the surface of Mars in August.

Full Status Report:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-088

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #93 on: 03/28/2012 07:53 PM »
'Mount Sharp' on Mars Links Geology's Past and Future

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-090

Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #94 on: 04/11/2012 10:45 AM »
Robotic Arm Target Practice


Offline stockman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #95 on: 04/27/2012 02:39 AM »
Now 5 months since launch...... 36 million km's to go

only 101 days to landing...
« Last Edit: 04/27/2012 02:40 AM by stockman »
One Percent for Space!!!

Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #96 on: 04/28/2012 10:37 AM »
100 Days and Counting to NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Landing

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-120

Offline Duck

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #97 on: 05/01/2012 01:47 AM »
What kind of cameras/footage can we expect to see back during the landing sequence?

-Iain

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #98 on: 05/01/2012 02:38 AM »
What kind of cameras/footage can we expect to see back during the landing sequence?

-Iain

Nothing.  There are no realtime cameras

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #99 on: 05/01/2012 02:59 AM »
What kind of cameras/footage can we expect to see back during the landing sequence?

-Iain

Nothing.  There are no realtime cameras

Will there be images taken during EDL that will be uplinked later (assuming a safe landing, of course), as there were with MER?

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #100 on: 05/01/2012 05:33 AM »
Four frames per second:
http://www.msss.com/all_projects/msl-mardi.php

As Jim says, though, none transmitted in real time.
-- sdsds --

Offline Duck

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #101 on: 05/01/2012 10:35 AM »
That's a real shame.  You'd think for how much effort they put into it, not only the enthusiasts but everyone who worked on the thing would have liked to have seen footage from a couple of cameras recording the whole procedure.

I mean, how hard is it to stick a couple of GoPro's on the thing?  :)

(Seriously though, that's way disappointing)

-Iain

Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #102 on: 05/01/2012 10:44 AM »
(Seriously though, that's way disappointing)

Two words: data bandwidth.

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #103 on: 05/01/2012 04:02 PM »
And there's no flash memory that they could record an MPEG and upload it sometime later?

Think of the extra interest they'd actually capture in the general public if they could show how awesome this landing is going to be on TV...

Instead of just saying "Oh, it worked."

-Iain

Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #104 on: 05/01/2012 04:05 PM »
And there's no flash memory that they could record an MPEG and upload it sometime later?

That's what they are doing. Megabits still cost time to download, time and bandwidth the project decided is better spent on engineering telemetry and science data. It will take days for even the 4 fps "video" to come down as it's obviously not high priority data.

Frankly, instead of wanting FMV HD video you should be lucky we're getting any video back.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2012 04:07 PM by ugordan »

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #105 on: 05/01/2012 04:08 PM »
Four frames per second:
http://www.msss.com/all_projects/msl-mardi.php

As Jim says, though, none transmitted in real time.

Thank you, and that's perfect!

IIRC, that's a big improvement over what we got from MER.  Wasn't that about 6 images total?

Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #106 on: 05/01/2012 04:10 PM »
IIRC, that's a big improvement over what we got from MER.  Wasn't that about 6 images total?

Yes, 3 DIMES images per rover. Phoenix was supposed to capture similar footage to MSL but a late-discovered incompatibility with other flight hardware caused it to be turned off instead.

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #107 on: 05/01/2012 04:19 PM »
And there's no flash memory that they could record an MPEG and upload it sometime later?

Think of the extra interest they'd actually capture in the general public if they could show how awesome this landing is going to be on TV...

 It wouldn't show any of the deployments.  All it would show is the surface approaching.   Nothing that would capture interest.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #108 on: 05/01/2012 04:47 PM »
IIRC, that's a big improvement over what we got from MER.  Wasn't that about 6 images total?

Yes, 3 DIMES images per rover. Phoenix was supposed to capture similar footage to MSL but a late-discovered incompatibility with other flight hardware caused it to be turned off instead.

Ah, yes, thanks.  It's all coming back to me!

http://www-robotics.jpl.nasa.gov/projects/projectImage.cfm?Project=1&Image=65

Frankly, 4fps of the ground approaching should be pretty awesome, at least to me, even if it's not for a few weeks after landing.

Deploying a dish large enough to transmit real-time video during entry seems like a near-impossible engineering challenge, so that's obviously a non-starter.  Heck, we even lost KU from the orbiters due to stowing them inside the payload bay!  If we can't do it there, no way we could do it with a Mars lander, at least in any reasonable way.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2012 07:31 PM by Lee Jay »

Offline Duck

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #109 on: 05/01/2012 09:06 PM »
It wouldn't show any of the deployments.  All it would show is the surface approaching.   Nothing that would capture interest.

So why not have another camera on it, then, specifically installed for shooting an ideal dramatic shot that would have looked awesome on the news?

Should they not have had any live footage from the moon during Apollo?  Since it's not scientific?

If they can fit an HD camera in the tiny little corner of an iPhone, I can't believe they couldn't mill out 10 grams of Al. from some panel somewhere in the chassis of the thing to make up the mass difference and send back HD footage of some of the more interesting components during landing.  I'm coming at this from the generation that is interested in space because it generates an emotion of excitement and hope for the future more than anything else.

As a mechanical designer, I was totally excited about the landing sequence, and now that I know there will be nothing to "watch" while it's happening I'm totally bummed.  I can't imagine that I'm the only person who would have been interested in seeing how it'll all work.

-Iain
« Last Edit: 05/01/2012 09:08 PM by Duck »

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #110 on: 05/01/2012 09:18 PM »
If they can fit an HD camera in the tiny little corner of an iPhone, I can't believe they couldn't mill out 10 grams of Al. from some panel somewhere in the chassis of the thing to make up the mass difference and send back HD footage of some of the more interesting components during landing.

Mars is VERY FAR AWAY, and it has an atmosphere.  Entry is going to be hot - nothing big enough to transmit anything like real-time video can be sticking out or it'll get burned off.  Once slowed down, where are you going to put a camera that can actually see something that also has a large already-deployed dish that could send back video real-time?

It's simply not doable.  The camera is 1% of the problem (maybe less).

Watch this and think about what you are saying:

« Last Edit: 05/01/2012 09:22 PM by Lee Jay »

Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #111 on: 05/01/2012 09:19 PM »
Should they not have had any live footage from the moon during Apollo?  Since it's not scientific?

Please point me to any *live* footage of the Apollo landing sequences.

While you're searching for that, here's something else to ponder. At the time MSL lands, Mars will be 646 times more distant than the average distance of the Moon from the Earth. That means any radio signal will be 418 thousand times weaker than it would be from the Moon.

Now think about what you're asking for here once again and be grateful we'll be getting any 4 fps HD resolution sequences at all.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2012 09:21 PM by ugordan »

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #112 on: 05/01/2012 09:24 PM »
I'm coming at this from the generation that is interested in space because it generates an emotion of excitement and hope for the future more than anything else.


Why is that no different than any other generation.

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #113 on: 05/01/2012 09:30 PM »

If they can fit an HD camera in the tiny little corner of an iPhone, I can't believe they couldn't mill out 10 grams of Al. from some panel somewhere in the chassis of the thing to make up the mass difference and send back HD footage of some of the more interesting components during landing. 

It isn't the mass of the camera.  It is the data management.  And it not just the mass of the camera, there is power and data cables and the hardware to mount them.  Can an camera from an Iphone handle radiation, vacuum, hot and cold for 1 year before being used?
« Last Edit: 05/01/2012 09:31 PM by Jim »

Offline rcoppola

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #114 on: 05/01/2012 10:28 PM »
No matter how many times I see that decent, landing animation, I am blown away by the sheer audacity of this mission. My complete respect and admiration for the engineers who designed and built this whole system. It's intellectually and creatively awe inspiring. I hope they know there are many people out here in awe of what they are hopefully about to accomplish.

Sail the oceans of space and set foot upon new lands!
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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #115 on: 05/02/2012 04:54 AM »
Four frames per second is going to be awesome. Since the surface isn't changing it should be possible to interpolate between frames and generate whatever playback frame rate you want.

Iain, the challenges inherent in this stuff frustrate just about everyone. You might want to read some about the Phoenix descent imaging camera, which was much like the one on MSL. IIRC in the end it was allowed to take only one frame for fear that transferring data from camera memory to system memory during descent would cause the system bus to lock up (or something). Those guys spent years of their lives on that hardware, and then through no fault of their own it was essentially unused.
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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #116 on: 05/04/2012 10:15 AM »
Wow !

Curiosity's Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Acquires Test Image En Route To Mars

http://www.msss.com/science-images/mahli-acquires-test-image-en-route-to-mars.php

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #117 on: 05/12/2012 09:00 AM »
Mojave Desert Tests Prepare for NASA Mars Roving

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-135

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #118 on: 05/27/2012 01:06 AM »
Now exactly 6 months to the day since launch... MSL now just 23 million km's from Mars...  Now 71 days to landing...
One Percent for Space!!!

Offline jacqmans

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #119 on: 06/07/2012 08:35 PM »
MEDIA ADVISORY: M12-108

NASA HOSTS TELECONFERENCE ABOUT ROVER EN ROUTE TO MARS LANDING

WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a media teleconference at noon EDT, June
11, to provide a status update on the Aug. 5, 2012, landing of the
most advanced rover ever to be sent to Mars.

NASA's Curiosity rover, carried by the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
spacecraft, will land near the Martian equator at approximately 10:31
p.m. PDT, Aug. 5, (1:31 a.m. EDT, Aug. 6).

Panelists include:
-- Dave Lavery, MSL program executive, NASA Headquarters, Washington
-- Michael Meyer, lead scientist, Mars Exploration Program, NASA
Headquarters
-- Pete Theisinger, MSL project manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif.
-- John Grotzinger, MSL project scientist, California Institute of
Technology, Pasadena, Calif.

For dial-in information, reporters must e-mail their name, media
affiliation and telephone number to Dwayne Brown at
dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov by 11:30 a.m. EDT, June 11.

Audio of the event will be streamed live online at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

The public can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at:

http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity

http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity

For more information about the mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/msl

       

Offline Alexsander

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #120 on: 06/08/2012 03:48 PM »
http://www.swri.org/9what/releases/2011/rad-mars.htm

Quote
"We are seeing a strong flux in space, even inside the spacecraft, about four times higher doses of radiation than the baseline we measured on the launch pad from the RTG, or radioisotope thermoelectric generator, used to power the rover. It's very exciting to begin the science mission."

How much radiation is that? Is it safe?

Offline robertross

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #121 on: 06/10/2012 05:00 PM »
http://www.swri.org/9what/releases/2011/rad-mars.htm

Quote
"We are seeing a strong flux in space, even inside the spacecraft, about four times higher doses of radiation than the baseline we measured on the launch pad from the RTG, or radioisotope thermoelectric generator, used to power the rover. It's very exciting to begin the science mission."

How much radiation is that? Is it safe?

Not sure how much that is, but my attitude is that all radiation has some effect, not matter how small. It's the cumulative effect that can be quite detrimental to living things.

Obviously great information for future crewed spaceflight missions.
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline jacqmans

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #122 on: 06/11/2012 06:31 PM »
RELEASE: 12-192

NASA MARS ROVER TEAM AIMS FOR LANDING CLOSER TO PRIME SCIENCE SITE

WASHINGTON -- NASA has narrowed the target for its most advanced Mars
rover, Curiosity, which will land on the Red Planet in August. The
car-sized rover will arrive closer to its ultimate destination for
science operations, but also closer to the foot of a mountain slope
that poses a landing hazard.

"We're trimming the distance we'll have to drive after landing by
almost half," said Pete Theisinger, Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in
Pasadena, Calif. "That could get us to the mountain months earlier."

It was possible to adjust landing plans because of increased
confidence in precision landing technology aboard the MSL spacecraft,
which is carrying the rover. That spacecraft can aim closer without
hitting Mount Sharp at the center of Gale crater. Rock layers located
in the mountain are the prime location for research with the rover.

Curiosity is scheduled to land at approximately 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5
(1:31 a.m. EDT, Aug. 6). Following checkout operations, Curiosity
will begin a 2-year study of whether the landing vicinity ever
offered an environment favorable for microbial life.

Theisinger and other mission leaders described the target adjustment
during a June 11 update to reporters Monday about preparations for
landing and for operating Curiosity on Mars.

The landing target ellipse had been an ellipse approximately 12 miles
wide and 16 miles long (20 kilometers by 25 kilometers). Continuing
analysis of the new landing system's capabilities has allowed mission
planners to shrink the area to approximately 4 miles wide and 12
miles long (7 kilometers by 20 kilometers), assuming winds and other
atmospheric conditions as predicted.

Even with the smaller ellipse, Curiosity will be able to touch down at
a safe distance from steep slopes at the edge of Mount Sharp.

"We have been preparing for years for a successful landing by
Curiosity, and all signs are good," said Dave Lavery, MSL program
executive. "However, landing on Mars always carries risks, so success
is not guaranteed. Once on the ground we'll proceed carefully. We
have plenty of time since Curiosity is not as life-limited as the
approximate 90-day missions like NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers and
the Phoenix lander."

Since the spacecraft was launched in November 2011, engineers have
continued testing and improving its landing software. MSL will use an
upgraded version of flight software installed on its computers during
the past two weeks. Additional upgrades for Mars surface operations
will be sent to the rover about a week after landing.

Other preparations include upgrades to the rover's software and
understanding effects of debris coming from the drill the rover will
use to collect samples from rocks on Mars. Experiments at JPL
indicate that Teflon from the drill could mix with the powdered
samples. Testing will continue past landing with copies of the drill.
The rover will deliver the samples to onboard instruments that can
identify mineral and chemical ingredients.

"The material from the drill could complicate, but will not prevent
analysis of carbon content in rocks by one of the rover's 10
instruments. There are workarounds," said John Grotzinger, MSL
project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in
Pasadena. "Organic carbon compounds in an environment are one
prerequisite for life. We know meteorites deliver non-biological
organic carbon to Mars, but not whether it persists near the surface.
We will be checking for that and for other chemical and mineral clues
about habitability."

Curiosity will be in good company as it nears landing. Two NASA Mars
orbiters along with a European Space Agency orbiter will be in
position to listen to radio transmissions as MSL descends through
Mars' atmosphere.

The mission is managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate
in Washington. Curiosity was designed, developed and assembled at
JPL.

Follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at:

http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity

http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity

For more information on the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity mission,
visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/msl

Offline SpaceXSLS

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #123 on: 06/11/2012 10:17 PM »
Just read that the drill used to bore into rock will leave the samples contaminated by trace amounts of teflon, and this was known since before it was launched.

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/06/nasa-rover-will-contaminate-its.html

Offline robertross

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #124 on: 06/12/2012 02:07 AM »
Just read that the drill used to bore into rock will leave the samples contaminated by trace amounts of teflon, and this was known since before it was launched.

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/06/nasa-rover-will-contaminate-its.html

Does that mean that it won't have the same issues that Phoenix had with samples, and they will simply slide right on in?  :)

Oh well, too late now: deal with it. I'm sure they'll overcome this issue.
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Offline sfjcody_

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #125 on: 06/12/2012 08:46 AM »
Is this the issue with the drill that was mentioned back in November?

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2011/11/is-something-wr.html

Offline glanmor05

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #126 on: 06/12/2012 09:49 AM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18401248

BBC article mentions 3 more opportunities for course correction burns, one in the next 2 weeks.  Does anyone know the dates?
« Last Edit: 06/12/2012 09:49 AM by glanmor05 »
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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #127 on: 06/12/2012 12:21 PM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18401248

BBC article mentions 3 more opportunities for course correction burns, one in the next 2 weeks.  Does anyone know the dates?

The first one could occur on June 26, 2012.

Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #128 on: 06/18/2012 08:21 PM »
Saw this linked to on UMSF, incredibly meaty:

http://descanso.jpl.nasa.gov/DPSummary/Descanso14_MSL_Telecom.pdf

(MSL Telecommunications System Design)

Offline robertross

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #129 on: 06/19/2012 12:21 AM »
Saw this linked to on UMSF, incredibly meaty:

http://descanso.jpl.nasa.gov/DPSummary/Descanso14_MSL_Telecom.pdf

(MSL Telecommunications System Design)

WOW...

Thanks for posting the link to that great find!
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Offline cian

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #130 on: 06/22/2012 07:25 PM »
Landing is due to occur on the 5th August, does anyone know what time roughly it's going to happen. 

Offline WulfTheSaxon

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #131 on: 06/22/2012 08:53 PM »
Landing is due to occur on the 5th August, does anyone know what time roughly it's going to happen. 

Scroll up.  ;)

Offline cian

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #132 on: 06/22/2012 09:08 PM »
Landing is due to occur on the 5th August, does anyone know what time roughly it's going to happen. 

Scroll up.  ;)

Just saw it, thanks.

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #133 on: 06/22/2012 10:06 PM »
Just read that the drill used to bore into rock will leave the samples contaminated by trace amounts of teflon, and this was known since before it was launched.

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/06/nasa-rover-will-contaminate-its.html

This doesn't strike me as a particularly major issue. They should be able to characterize the amount of teflon getting into SAM with each cycle through ground testing, and treat that as part of the measurement error in their carbon and fluorine readings. It will basically be a DC offset in the data.

In fact, assuming they know how much fluorine to expect in their samples, they should be able to use that data to know how much carbon contamination they're getting from the teflon.

I'm tempted to look for any further info on NTRS, but their annoying security settings won't let me access that site from work, since our network operates as a proxy. Hopefully I can try from home.

Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #134 on: 06/25/2012 03:24 PM »
Neat video:

Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror


Offline Norm38

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #135 on: 06/26/2012 01:39 PM »
A co-worker sent me that video yesterday, saying "Look at this crazy, insane thing they're about to do!"  EETimes has an article on it in their current issue.  Now that we're about a month from landing, media interest should be picking up and the EDL profile will be getting notice.  I think my co-worker's reaction will be typical.

Well, that's how science fiction becomes science fact.  I love the closing of the video:  "Dare Mighty Things"

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #136 on: 06/26/2012 06:18 PM »
Neat video:

Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror


Very, very cool video! The EDL sequence is dramatic to begin with. Finally, a video professionally produced which shows just how spectacular this sequence is going to be.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline Lars_J

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #137 on: 06/26/2012 10:59 PM »
Yep, that is a great video. I showed it to my kids, they were impressed. We are all looking forward to Aug 5th.

Offline stockman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #138 on: 06/27/2012 12:51 AM »
7 months since launch.... 12.5 million km's to go  - 40 days to landing
One Percent for Space!!!

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #139 on: 06/27/2012 01:01 AM »
Neat video:

Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror



Nice video.

Still crossing my fingers this works  :-X
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Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #140 on: 06/27/2012 12:10 PM »
Curiosity Rover on Track for Early August Landing

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-188

Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #141 on: 06/27/2012 12:33 PM »
Another nice find from UMSF.com

Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing System Overview

http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/bitstream/2014/41708/1/08-0255.pdf

Offline Alexsander

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #142 on: 06/27/2012 12:58 PM »
Curiosity Rover on Track for Early August Landing

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-188

And what about the radiation levels measured on route by the RAD instruments? The numbers were released?

Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #143 on: 07/03/2012 09:54 AM »
Fireworks Over Mars: The Spirit of 76 Pyrotechnics

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-192

Offline catdlr

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #144 on: 07/04/2012 01:40 AM »
Martian Dune Buggy

Published on Jul 3, 2012 by JPLnews
NASA engineers take the Curiosity test rover to California's Mojave desert to learn how to drive on Martian sand dunes.

Tony De La Rosa

Offline jacqmans

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #145 on: 07/11/2012 08:20 PM »
MEDIA ADVISORY: M12-128

NASA NEWS CONFERENCE TO PREVIEW AUGUST MARS ROVER LANDING

WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. EDT Monday,
July 16, to discuss the upcoming August landing of the most advanced
robot ever sent to another world. A new public-engagement
collaboration based on the mission also will be debuted.

The event for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft will be
held in the James E. Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E St.
SW, Washington. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television
and streamed on the agency's website.

MSL will deliver Curiosity to Mars at approximately 1:31 a.m. EDT Aug.
6. The rover, carrying laboratory instruments to analyze samples of
rocks, soil and atmosphere, will investigate whether Mars has ever
offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

Participants will be:

-- Doug McCuistion, director, Mars Exploration Program, NASA
Headquarters
-- Michael Meyer, lead scientist, Mars Exploration Program, NASA
Headquarters
-- John Grotzinger, MSL project scientist, California Institute of
Technology, Pasadena, Calif.
-- Pete Theisinger, MSL project manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena
-- Jeff Norris, manager, planning and execution systems, Jet
Propulsion Laboratory

Media representatives may ask questions from participating NASA
centers or by telephone. To participate by phone, reporters must
contact Steve Cole at 202-358-0918 or stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov by 10
a.m. July 16.

For NASA TV streaming video, scheduling and downlink information,
visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

To view a Jet Propulsion Laboratory live stream with a moderated chat,
visit:

http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl

For more information about the mission and to view or submit events
surrounding the landing, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/mars

The public can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at:

http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity

and

http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity

Offline Jeff Lerner

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #146 on: 07/12/2012 02:25 PM »
FWIW, just read on UMSF that Mars Odyssey in safe mode again...2nd time this has happened over the last couple of weeks...MSL is intended to use Odyssey for communications to/from Earth...

http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=7318&view=findpost&p=185658

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #147 on: 07/12/2012 02:52 PM »
FWIW, just read on UMSF that Mars Odyssey in safe mode again...2nd time this has happened over the last couple of weeks...MSL is intended to use Odyssey for communications to/from Earth...

http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=7318&view=findpost&p=185658
MRO is prime for relaying MSL communications to Earth.  Odyssey is supposed to provide some additional capacity and of course redundancy.

Offline TheFallen

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #148 on: 07/12/2012 04:33 PM »
Neat video:

Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror


Very, very cool video! The EDL sequence is dramatic to begin with. Finally, a video professionally produced which shows just how spectacular this sequence is going to be.


This was actually taken from a 30-minute video shown at the JPL Open House last month. I like how the full video borrowed the music score for "Inception"  :P

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #149 on: 07/16/2012 06:52 PM »
The MSL Landing Press Kit is now available at:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/press_kits/MSLLanding.pdf



Offline collectSPACE

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #151 on: 07/16/2012 08:38 PM »
Here's a video clip from today's press conference showing Danielle Roosa, granddaughter of Apollo 14 command module pilot Stu Roosa, demonstrating the Xbox game:


Offline John44

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #152 on: 07/16/2012 08:47 PM »

Offline catdlr

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #153 on: 07/18/2012 08:07 PM »
NASA | The Mars Chamber

Published on Jul 18, 2012 by NASAexplorer
The Mars chamber is a box--about the size of a refrigerator--that re-creates the temperatures, pressures, and atmosphere of the Martian surface, essentially creating a Mars environment on Earth!

Scientists and engineers use this chamber to test experiments on the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite--a fully functioning chemistry lab about the Curiosity Mars rover.

By re-creating Mars on Earth and using an exact duplicate of SAM, scientists can "pre-run" experiments on SAM to make sure everything will work properly on the Mars rover. Learn more about the Mars chamber by watching this video!

Tony De La Rosa

Offline corrodedNut

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #154 on: 07/25/2012 04:37 AM »
Mars Odyssey is back in action, and just in time for MSL's landing:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/odyssey/odyssey20120724.html

"Mars Orbiter Repositioned to Phone Home Mars Landing

NASA reported during a July 16 news conference that Odyssey, which originally was planned to provide a near-real-time communication link with Curiosity, had entered safe mode July 11. This situation would have affected communication operations, but not the rover's landing. Without a repositioning maneuver, Odyssey would have arrived over the landing area about two minutes after Curiosity landed."


Offline bolun

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #155 on: 07/25/2012 05:02 PM »
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMJBLPXV4H_index_0.html

Quote
Mars Express to record and relay signals from NASA
 
On 6 August, Mars Express will turn and start listening at 05:10. Confirmation of touchdown is expected directly via Odyssey at 05:31, and Mars Express will record MSL signal data between 05:10 and 05:38 (all times GMT and subject to change).

Once complete, Mars Express will slew again to point toward Earth and transmit the recorded data to ESOC via the Agency’s 35 m-diameter deep-space antenna in New Norcia, Australia.

The data are expected around 06:40 GMT and will be immediately transmitted to NASA.

ESA's stations on standby
 
ESA’s station network will also directly support the landing, standing by as ‘hot back-up’ to NASA’s own deep-space network to receive data from 250 million km.
   
“NASA supported the arrival of Mars Express at Mars in 2003, and, in the past few years, we have relayed data from the rovers Spirit and Opportunity,” says ESA’s Manfred Warhaut, Head of Mission Operations.

“Mars Express also tracked the descent of NASA’s Phoenix lander in 2008 and we routinely share our deep space networks.

“Technical and scientific cooperation at Mars between ESA and NASA is a long-standing and mutually beneficial activity that helps us both to reduce risk and increase the return of scientific results.”
« Last Edit: 07/25/2012 07:19 PM by bolun »

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #156 on: 07/25/2012 07:50 PM »

Offline Bogeyman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #157 on: 07/28/2012 09:15 AM »
Are there any plans for Curiosity to investigate the SkyCrane crash site? Might be interesting to see what happened to it, plus the skly crane will dig up some soil from the impact, revealing material underneath the top soil. Might be of scientific interest?

Greets, Chris

Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #158 on: 07/28/2012 11:05 AM »
IIRC, they want to avoid the descent stage crash site due to contamination hazard to MSL instruments.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #159 on: 07/28/2012 11:15 AM »
I’m looking forward to this coming close on the heels of the Viking Lander’s 36th anniversary…
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #160 on: 07/28/2012 01:19 PM »
Are there any plans for Curiosity to investigate the SkyCrane crash site? Might be interesting to see what happened to it, plus the skly crane will dig up some soil from the impact, revealing material underneath the top soil. Might be of scientific interest?

Greets, Chris

You mean descent stage

Offline Bogeyman

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #161 on: 07/29/2012 06:58 AM »
Quote from: Jim link=topic=27414.msg934456#msg934456

You mean descent stage
[/quote

Well, the part that lets Curiosity down on the cables and then flies away as soon it has disconnected. "Descent stage" or "Skycrane"... same thing?

Offline Jim

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #162 on: 07/29/2012 11:45 AM »
Quote from: Jim link=topic=27414.msg934456#msg934456


You mean descent stage

Well, the part that lets Curiosity down on the cables and then flies away as soon it has disconnected. "Descent stage" or "Skycrane"... same thing?

Skycrane is a technique and descent stage is the hardware
« Last Edit: 07/30/2012 11:23 PM by Jim »

Offline Norm38

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #163 on: 07/30/2012 09:32 PM »
Per JPL, 7/29:
Quote
Course Maneuver Successful; MSL Begins Final Approach
Late Saturday night, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft successfully fine-tuned its course to better zero in on its target entry point into the Martian atmosphere on landing day. Two brief thruster firings totaling about six seconds altered the spacecraft's velocity slightly, by about one-fortieth of one mile per hour (one centimeter per second). This trajectory correction maneuver the fourth since MSL's launch adjusted the point at which Curiosity will enter the Martian atmosphere by about 13 miles (21 kilometers). On landing day, MSL can steer enough during its flight through the upper atmosphere to correct for a miss of the target entry point by a few miles and still land within its target ellipse. Mission engineers and managers rated the projected 13-mile miss big enough to warrant a correction maneuver. Telemetry and tracking data indicate the maneuver was successful. MSL will have two further opportunities for additional course corrections during the final 48 hours before landing, if needed.
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1271

Thank God I'm too busy at work this week to obsess over this.  Sunday night can't come fast enough.

Offline Alpha Control

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #164 on: 07/30/2012 10:35 PM »
IIRC, they want to avoid the descent stage crash site due to contamination hazard to MSL instruments.

Couldn't they just approach it up to a safe point*, and then zoom in with the Mastcam? Would be quite interesting to see it.

*Perhaps no closer than 500 meters? Just a guess, as I don't know what a safe viewing distance would actually be.

edit: disregard the zoom comment. I found info recalling that the zoom capability was deleted, and only fixed focal length cameras are part of the Mastcam.
« Last Edit: 07/30/2012 10:40 PM by Alpha Control »
Space launches attended:
Antares/Cygnus ORB-D1 Wallops Island, VA Sept 2013 | STS-123 KSC, FL March 2008 | SpaceShipOne Mojave, CA June 2004

Offline jacqmans

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #165 on: 07/31/2012 06:35 AM »
News release: 2012-221b                                                                     July 30, 2012


NASA Announces News Activities for Mars Landing

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-221&cid=release_2012-221


PASADENA, Calif. – The public is invited to tune in for a series of news briefings from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., for the upcoming landing of NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission will deliver the nearly 2,000-pound (1-ton), car-size robotic roving laboratory to the surface of Mars at 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT Aug. 6). Curiosity's landing will mark the start of a two-year prime mission to investigate whether one of the most intriguing places on Mars ever has offered an environment favorable for microbial life.

News Briefing and Televised Event Schedule

News briefings will be held at JPL beginning Thursday, Aug. 2, and carried live on NASA Television. Additional events, including a NASA Social Media event Aug. 1 and landing commentary Aug. 5, will be televised. A full schedule of live news briefings is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/ntvnews and http://www.nasa.gov/msl .

The schedule of events below is subject to change. All times are PDT.

Thursday, Aug. 2

-- 10 a.m. - Mission Science Overview News Briefing

-- 11 a.m. - Mission Engineering Overview News Briefing

Friday, Aug. 3

-- 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. - NASA Social

Saturday, Aug. 4

-- 9:30 a.m. - Prelanding Update and Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL)

Overview News Briefing

Sunday, Aug. 5

-- 9:30 a.m. - Final Prelanding Update News Briefing

-- 3 p.m. - NASA Science News Briefing

-- 8:30 p.m. to about 11 p.m. - Landing Commentary No. 1

-- No earlier than 11:15 p.m. - Post-landing News Briefing

Monday, Aug. 6

-- 12:30 to 1:30 a.m. - Landing Commentary No. 2

-- 9 a.m. - Landing Recap News Briefing

-- 4 p.m. - Possible New Images News Briefing

Tuesday, Aug. 7

-- 10 a.m. - News Briefing

Wednesday, Aug. 8

-- 10 a.m. - News Briefing

Thursday, Aug. 9

-- 10 a.m. - News Briefing

Friday, Aug. 10

-- 10 a.m. (tentative) - News Briefing

For information on how to watch NASA TV, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv . The televised events will also be streamed live online at: http://www.Ustream.tv/nasa .

NASA Television Commentary Feeds

Two live feeds during key landing activities from mission control at JPL will be carried on NASA TV and on the Web from 8:30 to 11 p.m. PDT Aug. 5, and from 12:30 to 1:30 a.m. PDT Aug. 6. The NASA TV Public Channel and http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl will carry a feed including commentary and interviews.

The NASA TV Media Channel and http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2 will carry an uninterrupted, clean feed with only mission audio.

Online Information

Extensive information on the Mars Science Laboratory mission, including an electronic copy of the press kit, news releases, fact sheets, status reports, briefing schedule and images, is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/msl .

For more information about NASA's Mars program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mars .

The public can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .

The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.


Offline TISM

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #166 on: 07/31/2012 08:01 AM »
Those times for Australians on the East coast  8):

Friday 3rd
3 am -- Mission Science Overview News Briefing
4 am -- Mission Engineering Overview News Briefing

Saturday 4th
2:30 am -- NASA Social

Sunday 5th
2:30 am -- Prelanding Update and Entry, Descent and Landing Overview

Monday 6th
2:30 am -- Final Prelanding Update News Briefing
8 am -- NASA Science News Briefing
1:30-4 pm -- Landing Commentary No. 1
~ 4:15 pm -- Post-landing News Briefing
5:30-6:30 pm -- Landing Commentary No. 2

Tuesday 7th
2 am -- Landing Recap News Briefing
9 am -- Possible New Images News Briefing

Wednesday 8th
3 am -- News Briefing

Thursday 9th
3 am -- News Briefing

Friday 10th
3 am -- News Briefing

Saturday 11th
3 am (tentative) -- News Briefing
« Last Edit: 07/31/2012 08:04 AM by TISM »

Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #167 on: 07/31/2012 10:08 AM »
« Last Edit: 07/31/2012 10:08 AM by racshot65 »

Offline Paul Adams

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #168 on: 07/31/2012 10:12 AM »
Excellent program!
It's all in the data.

Offline Nathan

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #169 on: 07/31/2012 10:26 AM »
Those times for Australians on the East coast  8):

Friday 3rd
3 am -- Mission Science Overview News Briefing
4 am -- Mission Engineering Overview News Briefing

Saturday 4th
2:30 am -- NASA Social

Sunday 5th
2:30 am -- Prelanding Update and Entry, Descent and Landing Overview

Monday 6th
2:30 am -- Final Prelanding Update News Briefing
8 am -- NASA Science News Briefing
1:30-4 pm -- Landing Commentary No. 1
~ 4:15 pm -- Post-landing News Briefing
5:30-6:30 pm -- Landing Commentary No. 2

Tuesday 7th
2 am -- Landing Recap News Briefing
9 am -- Possible New Images News Briefing

Wednesday 8th
3 am -- News Briefing

Thursday 9th
3 am -- News Briefing

Friday 10th
3 am -- News Briefing

Saturday 11th
3 am (tentative) -- News Briefing

Thankyou so much!
Given finite cash, if we want to go to Mars then we should go to Mars.

Offline Retired Downrange

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #170 on: 07/31/2012 04:14 PM »

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #171 on: 07/31/2012 04:31 PM »
Horizon Mission to Mars (UK Only) -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01llnb2/Horizon_20122013_Mission_to_Mars/

Was hoping for a programme actually on the landing day but I suppose the Olympics coverage precludes that.

Offline jcopella

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #172 on: 08/02/2012 04:46 PM »
Not to take anything away from our excellent coverage here at NSF, but is anyone else having trouble reaching unmannedspaceflight.com?  Been down for me since last night, via two different broadband nets.
"I don't think the country is really going to realize what a good deal that we had in the space shuttle until we don't have it anymore." -- Wayne Hale

Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #173 on: 08/02/2012 04:51 PM »
Not to take anything away from our excellent coverage here at NSF, but is anyone else having trouble reaching unmannedspaceflight.com?  Been down for me since last night, via two different broadband nets.

Down for me too, most likely related to some IP-address change mentioned over there and DNS updating issues.

Offline jacqmans

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #174 on: 08/02/2012 06:10 PM »
RELEASE: 12-264

NEWEST NASA MARS MISSION CONNECTS PAST AND FUTURE

WASHINGTON -- NASA's newest Mars mission, landing in three days, will
draw on support from missions sent to Mars years ago and will
contribute to missions envisioned for future decades.

"Curiosity is a bold step forward in learning about our neighboring
planet, but this mission does not stand alone. It is part of a
sustained, coordinated program of Mars exploration," said Doug
McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA
Headquarters in Washington. "This mission transitions the program's
science emphasis from the planet's water history to its potential for
past or present life."

As the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft places the Curiosity rover
on the surface of Mars next week, NASA will be using the Mars Odyssey
orbiter, in service since 2001, as a relay for rapidly confirming the
landing to Curiosity's flight team and the rest of the world. Earth
will be below the Mars horizon from Curiosity's perspective, so the
new rover will not be in direct radio contact with Earth. Two newer
orbiters also will be recording Curiosity's transmissions, but that
data will not be available on Earth until hours later.

When Curiosity lands beside a mountain inside a crater at about 1:31
a.m. EDT, Aug. 6 (10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5), the 1-ton rover's two-year
prime mission on the surface of Mars will begin. However, one of the
rover's 10 science instruments, the Radiation Assessment Detector
(RAD), already has logged 221 days collecting data since the
spacecraft was launched on its trip to Mars on Nov. 26, 2011.

"Our observations already are being used in planning for human
missions," said Don Hassler of Southwest Research Institute in
Boulder, Colo., principal investigator for Curiosity's RAD.

The instrument recorded radiation spikes from five solar flare events
spewing energetic particles from the sun into interplanetary space.
Radiation from galactic cosmic rays, originating from supernova
explosions and other extremely distant events, accounted for more of
the total radiation experienced on the trip than the amount from
solar particle events. Inside the spacecraft, despite shielding
roughly equivalent to what surrounds astronauts on the International
Space Station, RAD recorded radiation amounting to a significant
contribution to a NASA astronaut's career-limit radiation dose.

Curiosity's main assignment is to investigate whether its study area
ever has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial
life. To do that, it packs a science payload weighing 15 times as
much as the science instruments on previous Mars rovers. The landing
target, an area about 12 miles by 4 miles (20 kilometers by 7
kilometers), sits in a safely flat area between less-safe slopes of
the rim of Gale Crater and the crater's central peak, informally
called Mount Sharp. The target was plotted to be within driving
distance of layers on Mount Sharp, where minerals that formed in
water have been seen from orbit.

"Some deposits right inside the landing area look as though they were
deposited by water, too," said John Grotzinger of the California
Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, project scientist for
Curiosity. "We have a great landing site that was a strong science
contender for earlier missions, but was not permitted for engineering
constraints because no earlier landing could be targeted precisely
enough to hit a safe area inside Gale Crater. The science team feels
very optimistic about exploration of Mount Sharp and the surrounding
region that includes the landing ellipse."

Mission engineers designed a sky crane maneuver, lowering Curiosity on
nylon cords from a rocket backpack because the rover is too heavy to
use the airbag system developed for earlier rovers. "We know it looks
crazy," said Adam Steltzner of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
in Pasadena, leader of the team that developed the system. "It really
is the result of careful choices." By designing the aeroshell
enclosing Curiosity to create lift and be steerable, engineers were
able to build a system that lands much more precisely instead of
dropping like a rock.

JPL, a division of Caltech, manages the Mars Science Laboratory for
NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

For more information about the mission is available at:

http://www.nasa.gov/mars

and

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/

You can follow the mission on Facebook and on Twitter at:

http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity

and

http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity

Offline John44

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #175 on: 08/02/2012 06:43 PM »
NASA Science News Conference – MSL Mission Science Overview
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7751

Offline John44

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #176 on: 08/02/2012 07:36 PM »
NASA Science News Conference - Mission Engineering Overview
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7752

Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #177 on: 08/03/2012 10:14 AM »
Relevant snippet from the MER update:

Quote
On Sol 3028 (July 31, 2012), Opportunity served as a trial horse for possible direct detection at Earth of Curiosity's Ultra High Frequency (UHF) signal during landing with the Parkes Radio Observatory in Australia. Opportunity transmitted a UHF signal configured as Curiosity's UHF will be at landing. The Parkes antenna was able to detect the Opportunity test signal and will be now be listening during Curiosity's landing.

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status_opportunityAll.html#sol360

Offline racshot65

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #178 on: 08/04/2012 10:55 AM »
What to Expect When Curiosity Starts Snapping Pictures

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-226

Offline John44

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #179 on: 08/04/2012 06:12 PM »
NASA Social for the Mars Science Laboratory-Curiosity Rover Landing
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7754


Offline John44

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #180 on: 08/04/2012 06:12 PM »
NASA Science News Conference - Mars Science Laboratory - Mission Status and Entry Descent and Landing Overview
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7755

Offline bolun

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #181 on: 08/04/2012 07:28 PM »
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMEV8TX55H_index_0.html

Quote
Timeline: ESA tracks MSL arrival at Mars
 
The highlight of ESA’s support for NASA’s Curiosity landing happens at 06:29 on Monday, 6 August, when the Mars Express Lander Communication (MELACOM) system is switched on.

Recording of the radio signals transmitted by the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is planned to begin at 07:09 and end at 07:37 (all times shown as ground event time in CEST).

ESA’s ground tracking station in New Norcia, Australia, will also listen and record signals from the NASA mission at the same time.

At 08:15, Mars Express will contact Earth via ESA’s 35 m deep space station at New Norcia, and begin transmitting the recorded information, which should take about 11 minutes to download; signals will take nearly 14 minutes to cover the 248 million km distance to Earth.

The transfer will be complete by about 08:26; the data will be transferred in real time to ESOC, and made immediately available to NASA’s MSL mission team at the Jet Propulsion Lab in California.

Notes:
CEST = UTC + 2 hours
Earth time = Mars time + 13min:48sec
MEX: Mars Express
MSL: Mars Science Laboratory
NNO: ESA New Norcia station
AOS: Acquisition of signal
S/C: Spacecraft
All times subject to change

Offline jacqmans

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #182 on: 08/05/2012 07:31 AM »
Aug. 4, 2012

Mars Tugging on Approaching NASA Rover Curiosity

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-227&cid=release_2012-227

PASADENA, Calif. - The gravitational tug of Mars is now pulling NASA's car-size geochemistry laboratory, Curiosity, in for a suspenseful landing in less than 40 hours.

"After flying more than eight months and 350 million miles since launch, the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is now right on target to fly through the eye of the needle that is our target at the top of the Mars atmosphere," said Mission Manager Arthur Amador of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The spacecraft is healthy and on course for delivering the mission's Curiosity rover close to a Martian mountain at 10:31 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5 PDT (1:31 a.m. Monday, Aug. 6 EDT). That's the time a signal confirming safe landing could reach Earth, give or take about a minute for the spacecraft's adjustments to sense changeable atmospheric conditions.

The only way a safe-landing confirmation can arrive during that first opportunity is via a relay by NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter. Curiosity will not be communicating directly with Earth as it lands, because Earth will set beneath the Martian horizon from Curiosity's perspective about two minutes before the landing.

"We are expecting Odyssey to relay good news," said Steve Sell of the JPL engineering team that developed and tested the mission's complicated "sky crane" landing system. "That moment has been more than eight years in the making."

A dust storm in southern Mars being monitored by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter appears to be dissipating. "Mars is cooperating by providing good weather for landing," said JPL's Ashwin Vasavada, deputy project scientist for Curiosity.

Curiosity was approaching Mars at about 8,000 mph (about 3,600 meters per second) Saturday morning. By the time the spacecraft hits the top of Mars' atmosphere, about seven minutes before touchdown, gravity will accelerate it to about 13,200 mph (5,900 meters per second).

NASA plans to use Curiosity to investigate whether the study area has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, including chemical ingredients for life.

"In the first few weeks after landing, we will be ramping up science activities gradually as we complete a series of checkouts and we gain practice at operating this complex robot in Martian conditions," said JPL's Richard Cook, deputy project manager for Curiosity.

The first Mars pictures expected from Curiosity are reduced-resolution fisheye black-and-white images received either in the first few minutes after touchdown or more than two hours later. Higher resolution and color images from other cameras could come later in the first week. Plans call for Curiosity to deploy a directional antenna on the first day after landing and raise the camera mast on the second day.

The big hurdle is landing. Under some possible scenarios, Curiosity could land safely, but temporary communication difficulties could delay for hours or even days any confirmation that the rover has survived landing.

The prime mission lasts a full Martian year, which is nearly two Earth years. During that period, researchers plan to drive Curiosity partway up a mountain informally called Mount Sharp. Observations from orbit have identified exposures there of clay and sulfate minerals that formed in wet environments.

The Mars Science Laboratory is a project of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The mission is managed by JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Its rover, Curiosity, was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. Information about the mission and about ways to participate in challenges of the landing, including a new video game, is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/mars and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ .

You can follow the mission on Facebook and on Twitter at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .


Online Chris Bergin

Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #183 on: 08/05/2012 11:34 AM »
We'll be starting the LIVE thread in the coming hours - well in advance of the NTV coverage, led by Chris G's article for the events.

Offline haywoodfloyd

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #184 on: 08/05/2012 12:23 PM »
Good to hear that NSF will be covering MSL live Chris.
I have been following Curiosity's flight to Mars for months and I am pumped!
I just hope I can still be awake at 1:30 am to hear the good news.

Offline John44

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #185 on: 08/05/2012 08:10 PM »
NASA Science News Conference Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover Pre-Landing News Conference - Rover Communication overview
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7756

Offline clongton

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #186 on: 08/05/2012 08:52 PM »
Good to hear that NSF will be covering MSL live Chris.
I have been following Curiosity's flight to Mars for months and I am pumped!
I just hope I can still be awake at 1:30 am to hear the good news.


I set the event on my Google Calendar and set the calendar to call my cell phone 60 minutes before the event.
So if I fall asleep my cell phone will wake me and I'll be live too :)
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline bolun

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #187 on: 08/06/2012 10:54 AM »
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMAKBVXF5H_index_0.html

Quote
ESA’s first step in continuing Curiosity support
 
In the coming weeks, Mars Express and the operations team at ESOC will perform several data relay overflights during the first phases of Curiosity’s mission on the surface of Mars.

Then, ESA will offer a standby capability to provide dedicated support at short notice, if requested by NASA, by relaying data from Curiosity to Earth.
 
This could become necessary if Odyssey or MRO were to experience any technical problems, for example.

ESA’s tracking station network can support NASA missions, due in part to long-standing technical and operational cooperation between the two agencies.

“Supporting Curiosity is an excellent example of inter-agency cooperation not only on Earth but also in deep space,” said Manfred Warhaut, ESA’s Head of Mission Operations.

“No one likes going to Mars on their own; it takes cooperation and partnership to reduce risk and boost scientific return on investment.”

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #188 on: 08/06/2012 11:17 AM »
Have the main cameras deployed yet? When I last checked, the only images received had been from the low-mounted navigation cameras.
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Offline Kaputnik

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #189 on: 08/06/2012 11:45 AM »
No, the mast doesn't go up today.
Waiting for joy and raptor

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #190 on: 08/06/2012 12:11 PM »
No, the mast doesn't go up today.

Have they published a detailed timeline anywhere?
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Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - MSL Updates
« Reply #191 on: 08/06/2012 01:26 PM »
No, the mast doesn't go up today.

Have they published a detailed timeline anywhere?

Guide for image release: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20120803.html

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