Author Topic: Curiosity marks completion of first Martian year of operations  (Read 4440 times)


Offline Joffan

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Great article. I'm a big fan of the Mars rovers, mourning the loss of Spirit and still following Opportunity and well as celebrating the great work done by Curiosity. I'm always aware that there is a team of dedicated people behind each of these.

The excitement generated by the landing of Curiosity was  phenomenal, for sure, and I'll always love those pictures of the wheel tracks starting from nowhere, with the subtle blast marks either side. Some of the imaging instruments on Curiosity are very impressive - ChemCam and its laser for distant sampling of rocks, for example, and the MAHLI on the arm has been pressed into service for a variety of tasks, including all those selfies but also wheel inspection, as the sharp rocks of Mars have been taking a bit of a toll on the wheel surfaces.
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Offline pagheca

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I'm literally in love too with Curiosity and his smaller ancestors. Spaceflight, creativity, engineering, reliability at their best.

For me (and many others, I know!) Curiosity's EDL came only second to Apollo 11 in terms of excitement. I also lost a pizza-bet with a friend when it worked 100% fine. And I will never pay for a pizza with so much enthusiasm.

Thanks for the excellent article and... have a nice martian birthday party you cute Curiosity!
« Last Edit: 06/24/2014 03:28 PM by pagheca »

Offline clongton

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Thanks Chris G for a good update on Curiosity. Folks tend to forget that it's there after the initial excitement of its novel EDL system. The landing was a nail-biter for me; I was sure it wouldn't work and overjoyed when it did. I've followed the rover ever sense. However:

...including all those selfies but also wheel inspection, as the sharp rocks of Mars have been taking a bit of a toll on the wheel surfaces.

I was not aware of excessive wear on the wheels, thinking it was nominal. Joffan, can you be more specific? Do you have any pictures of the wear?
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Offline Star One

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Thanks Chris G for a good update on Curiosity. Folks tend to forget that it's there after the initial excitement of its novel EDL system. The landing was a nail-biter for me; I was sure it wouldn't work and overjoyed when it did. I've followed the rover ever sense. However:

...including all those selfies but also wheel inspection, as the sharp rocks of Mars have been taking a bit of a toll on the wheel surfaces.

I was not aware of excessive wear on the wheels, thinking it was nominal. Joffan, can you be more specific? Do you have any pictures of the wear?

You can find this information in the main Curiosity update thread.

Offline Joffan

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Thanks Chris G for a good update on Curiosity. Folks tend to forget that it's there after the initial excitement of its novel EDL system. The landing was a nail-biter for me; I was sure it wouldn't work and overjoyed when it did. I've followed the rover ever sense. However:

...including all those selfies but also wheel inspection, as the sharp rocks of Mars have been taking a bit of a toll on the wheel surfaces.

I was not aware of excessive wear on the wheels, thinking it was nominal. Joffan, can you be more specific? Do you have any pictures of the wear?

Yeah, there's a thread for that, but attached is a wheel image with a big rip near the top.
When I say "Jump!", you say "To which orbital inclination?"

Offline Dalhousie

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Still some distance from the base of Mount Sharp, even though this was supposed to have been reached by now.  They probably won't be there in August after two terrestrial years.  I am predicting October at the earliest for the Murray Buttes area at current progress, which has more recently be designated the start, but that too is some distance from Mt Sharp proper.
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline Blackstar

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I was not aware of excessive wear on the wheels, thinking it was nominal. Joffan, can you be more specific? Do you have any pictures of the wear?

From the MEPAG meeting last month:

-it was more excessive than they expected based upon MER data.
-it appears to be caused by specific terrain features that a program scientist referred to as being like razor blades sticking out of rocks.
-when at all possible they will avoid that kind of terrain.
-when not possible to avoid, they think they have a way of driving over it to minimize damage.
-Mars 2020 will probably be modified to address this (I'm guessing thicker wheels).

Here's the selfie image that is making the rounds:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/06/24/the-curiosity-rover-has-been-on-mars-for-one-martian-year-it-celebrated-by-taking-a-selfie/

Offline Hog

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That must be a big mirrior that the rover has pulled up in front of.  Blackstars article nicely explains how the "selfie" shot was taken.

I wish Curiosity and her team a long a fruitful mission.
Paul

Offline Stardust9906

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Great article! It's just terrific that the public can explore Mars thanks to these Robots and having the Internet to distribute the photographs.  People tend to take this sort of thing for granted way too much but we are seeing things nobody has seen before.

Happy Birthday Curiosity.

Offline Dalhousie

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Still some distance from the base of Mount Sharp, even though this was supposed to have been reached by now.  They probably won't be there in August after two terrestrial years.  I am predicting October at the earliest for the Murray Buttes area at current progress, which has more recently be designated the start, but that too is some distance from Mt Sharp proper.

Conversation elsewhere with someone on the MSL team indicates that they had basically given up on this goal after spending seven months at Glenelg. 

Haven't been able to get any answer on whether climbing the lower slopes is still being contemplated, especially given the wheel damage issue.
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

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