Author Topic: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread  (Read 438238 times)

Offline robertross

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #945 on: 03/25/2013 11:46 PM »
03.25.2013

Curiosity Resumes Science Investigations

PASADENA, Calif. - NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has resumed science investigations after recovery from a computer glitch that prompted the engineers to switch the rover to a redundant main computer on Feb. 28.
The rover has been monitoring the weather since March 21 and delivered a new portion of powdered-rock sample for laboratory analysis on March 23, among other activities.

"We are back to full science operations," said Curiosity Deputy Project Manager Jim Erickson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The powder delivered on Saturday came from the rover's first full drilling into a rock to collect a sample. The new portion went into the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument inside the rover, which began analyzing this material and had previously analyzed other portions from the same drilling. SAM can analyze samples in several different ways, so multiple portions from the same drilling are useful.

The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) is recording weather variables. The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) is checking the natural radiation environment at the rover's location inside Gale Crater.

Like many spacecraft, Curiosity carries a pair of main computers, redundant to each other, to have a backup available if one fails. Each of the computers, A-side and B-side, also has other redundant subsystems linked to just that computer. Curiosity is now operating on its B-side, as it did during part of the flight from Earth to Mars. The A-side was most recently used starting a few weeks before landing and continuing until Feb. 28, when engineers commanded a switch to the B-side in response to a memory glitch on the A-side. The A-side now is available as a backup if needed.

One aspect of ramping-up activities after switching to the B-side computer has been to check the six engineering cameras that are hard-linked to that computer. The rover's science instruments, including five science cameras, can each be operated by either the A-side or B-side computer, whichever is active. However, each of Curiosity's 12 engineering cameras is linked to just one of the computers. The engineering cameras are the Navigation Camera (Navcam), the Front Hazard-Avoidance Camera (Front Hazcam) and Rear Hazard-Avoidance Camera (Rear Hazcam). Each of those three named cameras has four cameras on it: two stereo pairs of cameras, with one pair linked to each computer. Only the pairs linked to the active computer can be used, and the A-side computer was active from before landing, in August, until Feb. 28.

"This was the first use of the B-side engineering cameras since April 2012, on the way to Mars," said JPL's Justin Maki, team lead for these cameras. "Now we've used them on Mars for the first time, and they've all checked out OK."

Engineers quickly diagnosed a software issue that prompted Curiosity to put itself into a precautionary standby "safe mode" on March 16, and they know how to prevent it from happening again. The rover stayed on its B-side while it was in safe mode and subsequently as science activities resumed.

Upcoming activities include preparations for a moratorium on transmitting commands to Curiosity from April 4 to May 1, while Mars will be passing nearly directly behind the sun from Earth's perspective. The moratorium is a precaution against possible interference by the sun corrupting a command sent to the rover.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory project is using Curiosity and the rover's 10 science instruments to investigate the environmental history within Gale Crater, a location where the project has found that conditions were long ago favorable for microbial life. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.



http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1456
« Last Edit: 03/25/2013 11:47 PM by robertross »
My thoughts and prayers to the families of our fallen soldiers Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, and Corporal Nathan Cirillo in the terror attacks against Canada. Rest in Peace.

Offline mlindner

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #946 on: 03/26/2013 02:18 AM »
Upcoming activities include preparations for a moratorium on transmitting commands to Curiosity from April 4 to May 1, while Mars will be passing nearly directly behind the sun from Earth's perspective. The moratorium is a precaution against possible interference by the sun corrupting a command sent to the rover.

I'm not sure of the reasoning for this. Their communication should be encrypted and checksummed. There should be no way a command should be able to be corrupted unless there was a hardware failure on the rover itself.

Offline hop

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #947 on: 03/26/2013 03:37 AM »
I'm not sure of the reasoning for this. Their communication should be encrypted and checksummed. There should be no way a command should be able to be corrupted unless there was a hardware failure on the rover itself.
I think it's a very big simplification for general audiences.

Checksum would prevent the rover from trying to execute corrupted commands, but there would still impacts. What ever was supposed to be uplinked doesn't get there, and the rover has to do something else instead. That "something else" has to be planned and tested, so at some error rate it's more efficient to just make the "something else" plan A and not bother trying to uplink at all. Downlink is limited in conjunction too, so science activities would have to be limited anyway.

That said, I recall reading elsewhere that the main reason they don't command is actually that they don't want to try to recover from anomalies when com is limited and unpredictable.  If the rover is sitting doing something very simple, it's unlikely to run into problems. If you start a drive under ratty com, hit a problem and go into safe mode, you may not be able to get telemetry to diagnose or uplink to recover. Many failures can result in falling back to low gain antennas, which would further complicate things.

Online MP99

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Upcoming activities include preparations for a moratorium on transmitting commands to Curiosity from April 4 to May 1, while Mars will be passing nearly directly behind the sun from Earth's perspective. The moratorium is a precaution against possible interference by the sun corrupting a command sent to the rover.

I'm not sure of the reasoning for this. Their communication should be encrypted and checksummed. There should be no way a command should be able to be corrupted unless there was a hardware failure on the rover itself.

Quote
"In theory, there should be no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is." (William T. Harbaugh)

If communication will be difficult, regardless whether some might get through and be checksum'd OK, it seems safer to wait it out.

DSN is a valuable resource, so I suspect it's more worthwhile to use it for something else during the "blackout".

cheers, Martin

Offline mlindner

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #949 on: 03/27/2013 01:54 AM »
Upcoming activities include preparations for a moratorium on transmitting commands to Curiosity from April 4 to May 1, while Mars will be passing nearly directly behind the sun from Earth's perspective. The moratorium is a precaution against possible interference by the sun corrupting a command sent to the rover.

I'm not sure of the reasoning for this. Their communication should be encrypted and checksummed. There should be no way a command should be able to be corrupted unless there was a hardware failure on the rover itself.

Quote
"In theory, there should be no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is." (William T. Harbaugh)

If communication will be difficult, regardless whether some might get through and be checksum'd OK, it seems safer to wait it out.

DSN is a valuable resource, so I suspect it's more worthwhile to use it for something else during the "blackout".

cheers, Martin

That quote applies more in the real world. Inside of a computer the system is designed to be idealistic, its the only way you can guarantee code runs. Once you get the bits in from the radio it's either it fails checksum or it succeeds (assuming it doesn't fail decryption). If it succeeds then you can be 100% certain (as long as you have computers voting to avoid radiation effects) that what you got is what was sent from Earth. (Disclaimer: I'm a (soon to be) embedded software engineer. I've written checksumming code for cubesat communications.)

But we're getting off topic. This is an update thread. So I'll stop talking about this any longer here.
« Last Edit: 03/27/2013 01:55 AM by mlindner »

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #950 on: 03/27/2013 12:02 PM »
DSN is a valuable resource, so I suspect it's more worthwhile to use it for something else during the "blackout".

Have they scheduled the bandwidth for another use?
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Online Targeteer

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #951 on: 03/31/2013 08:00 PM »
The Science Channel (SCI) has a show titled "NASA Mission to Mars" that discusses Curiousity's mission.  It originally aired 19 Mar and re-aired today when I caught it on the schedule.
« Last Edit: 03/31/2013 08:14 PM by Targeteer »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline fthurber

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #952 on: 04/01/2013 03:39 PM »
I saw this last week and I was a little dismayed at how beat up the wheels were just from short roving here on earth.  There were dents and even holes in the wheels; this does not bode well for long term roving on Mars...

Offline mlindner

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #953 on: 04/01/2013 04:05 PM »
I saw this last week and I was a little dismayed at how beat up the wheels were just from short roving here on earth.  There were dents and even holes in the wheels; this does not bode well for long term roving on Mars...

1/3rd the gravity, 1/3rd the force.

Offline douglas100

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #954 on: 04/02/2013 02:16 PM »
I saw this last week and I was a little dismayed at how beat up the wheels were just from short roving here on earth.  There were dents and even holes in the wheels; this does not bode well for long term roving on Mars...

Don't worry about it. Opportunity's been going over nine years and its wheels are still turning.
Douglas Clark

Offline hop

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #955 on: 04/02/2013 07:40 PM »
Don't worry about it. Opportunity's been going over nine years and its wheels are still turning.
MER wheels aren't really a useful comparison, they are a different design and not subject to the same loads. However, the team have repeatedly stated that dings, dents and even holes in the wheels are expected and not a sign of problems.

edit:
oops, writing "are" instead of "aren't" also isn't useful :(
« Last Edit: 04/03/2013 02:42 AM by hop »

Offline catdlr

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #956 on: 04/04/2013 12:57 AM »
News release: 2013-121                                                                    April. 3, 2013

Used Parachute on Mars Flaps in the Wind



The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-121&cid=release_2013-121

PASADENA, Calif. - Photos from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show how the parachute that helped NASA's Curiosity rover land on Mars last summer has subsequently changed its shape on the ground.

The images were obtained by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Seven images taken by HiRISE between Aug. 12, 2012, and Jan. 13, 2013, show the used parachute shifting its shape at least twice in response to wind.

The images in the sequence of photos are available online at http://uahirise.org/releases/msl-chute.php and at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA16813 .

Researchers have used HiRISE to study many types of changes on Mars. Its first image of Curiosity's parachute, not included in this series, caught the spacecraft suspended from the chute during descent through the Martian atmosphere.

HiRISE is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson. The instrument was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project and Curiosity are managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For more information about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been studying Mars from orbit since 2006, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mro .

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


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>>>Click on picture below to start the motion <<<
« Last Edit: 04/04/2013 12:58 AM by catdlr »
Tony De La Rosa

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #957 on: 04/05/2013 12:23 AM »
DSN is a valuable resource, so I suspect it's more worthwhile to use it for something else during the "blackout".

Have they scheduled the bandwidth for another use?

They seldom have trouble finding multiple tasks to keep the DSN antennas (3 sites, each with 4 or more antennas) quite busy. The real challenge is scheduling everything so everyone can get their data without interrupting each other.

Currently though, the big 70m dish at the Goldstone, California site, is offline have one of its main bearings serviced. I would not be surprised if the start of this major maintenance work was deliberately chosen to coincide with the Mars conjunction, since the spacecraft there account for a lot of the DSN bandwidth allocation.

http://deepspace.jpl.nasa.gov/dsn/features/70metermaintenance.html

Quote
As with any large, rotating structure that has operated almost 24 hours per day, seven days per week for over 40 years, we eventually have to replace major elements," said Wayne Sible, the network's deputy project manager at JPL.

Offline robertross

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #958 on: 04/05/2013 01:23 AM »
News release: 2013-121                                                                    April. 3, 2013

Used Parachute on Mars Flaps in the Wind

very cool to see!
My thoughts and prayers to the families of our fallen soldiers Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, and Corporal Nathan Cirillo in the terror attacks against Canada. Rest in Peace.

Offline catdlr

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #959 on: 04/08/2013 07:47 PM »
News release: 2013-127                                                                    April. 8, 2013

Remaining Martian Atmosphere Still Dynamic



The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-127&cid=release_2013-127

VIENNA -- Mars has lost much of its original atmosphere, but what's left remains quite active, recent findings from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity indicate. Rover team members reported diverse findings today at the European Geosciences Union 2013 General Assembly, in Vienna.

Evidence has strengthened this month that Mars lost much of its original atmosphere by a process of gas escaping from the top of the atmosphere.

Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument analyzed an atmosphere sample last week using a process that concentrates selected gases. The results provided the most precise measurements ever made of isotopes of argon in the Martian atmosphere. Isotopes are variants of the same element with different atomic weights. "We found arguably the clearest and most robust signature of atmospheric loss on Mars," said Sushil Atreya, a SAM co-investigator at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

SAM found that the Martian atmosphere has about four times as much of a lighter stable isotope (argon-36) compared to a heavier one (argon-38). This removes previous uncertainty about the ratio in the Martian atmosphere from 1976 measurements from NASA's Viking project and from small volumes of argon extracted from Martian meteorites. The ratio is much lower than the solar system's original ratio, as estimated from argon-isotope measurements of the sun and Jupiter. This points to a process at Mars that favored preferential loss of the lighter isotope over the heavier one.

Curiosity measures several variables in today's Martian atmosphere with the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS), provided by Spain. While daily air temperature has climbed steadily since the measurements began eight months ago and is not strongly tied to the rover's location, humidity has differed significantly at different places along the rover's route. These are the first systematic measurements of humidity on Mars.

Trails of dust devils have not been seen inside Gale Crater, but REMS sensors detected many whirlwind patterns during the first hundred Martian days of the mission, though not as many as detected in the same length of time by earlier missions. "A whirlwind is a very quick event that happens in a few seconds and should be verified by a combination of pressure, temperature and wind oscillations and, in some cases, a decrease is ultraviolet radiation," said REMS Principal Investigator Javier Gómez-Elvira of the Centro de Astrobiología, Madrid.

Dust distributed by the wind has been examined by Curiosity's laser-firing Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument. Initial laser pulses on each target hit dust. The laser's energy removes the dust to expose underlying material, but those initial pulses also provide information about the dust.

"We knew that Mars is red because of iron oxides in the dust," said ChemCam Deputy Principal Investigator Sylvestre Maurice of the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie in Toulouse, France. "ChemCam reveals a complex chemical composition of the dust that includes hydrogen, which could be in the form of hydroxyl groups or water molecules."

Possible interchange of water molecules between the atmosphere and the ground is studied by a combination of instruments on the rover, including the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN), provided by Russia under the leadership of DAN Principal Investigator Igor Mitrofanov.

For the rest of April, Curiosity will carry out daily activities for which commands were sent in March, using DAN, REMS and the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD). No new commands are being sent during a four-week period while Mars is passing nearly behind the sun, from Earth's perspective. This geometry occurs about every 26 months and is called Mars solar conjunction.

"After conjunction, Curiosity will be drilling into another rock where the rover is now, but that target has not yet been selected. The science team will discuss this over the conjunction period." said Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientist John Grotzinger, of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity to investigate the environmental history within Gale Crater, a location where the project has found that conditions were long ago favorable for microbial life. Curiosity, carrying 10 science instruments, landed in August 2012 to begin its two-year prime mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more about the mission, visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl , http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl . You can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .

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


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Tony De La Rosa

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