Author Topic: Mars Exploration Rovers Update  (Read 118500 times)

Offline Zipi

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I'm trying to learn something at here. ;-)

Offline Downix

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #121 on: 01/29/2010 07:20 PM »
You just got an "aww" here.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline Zipi

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #122 on: 01/29/2010 07:29 PM »
You just got an "aww" here.

Well... Sometimes you succeed sometimes you not. I'm not speculating this any further. It works for somebody, but not for hardcore persons with too tight stocing cap.
I'm trying to learn something at here. ;-)

Offline robertross

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #123 on: 01/29/2010 10:45 PM »
You just got an "aww" here.

Well... Sometimes you succeed sometimes you not. I'm not speculating this any further. It works for somebody, but not for hardcore persons with too tight stocing cap.

No, it's good (at least to me). :)

Oh well. Still an awesome feat to make them as robust as that. Another lesson learned: pit stops required on Mars. :)
My thoughts and prayers for the families of loved ones on Malaysian flight MH17

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #124 on: 01/30/2010 08:18 AM »


Download in HD from JPL.

Awesome video! Very personal, as well as with some great animations and clips of the test rover. This is perfect for sharing with less nerdy friends and family.

Offline jacqmans

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #125 on: 03/23/2010 08:10 PM »
News release: 2010-094                                                                       March 23, 2010

NASA Mars Rover Getting Smarter as it Gets Older

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-094&cid=release_2010-094

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, now in its seventh year on Mars, has a new capability to make its own choices about whether to make additional observations of rocks that it spots on arrival at a new location.

Software uploaded this winter is the latest example of NASA taking advantage of the twin Mars rovers' unanticipated longevity for real Martian test drives of advances made in robotic autonomy for future missions.

Now, Opportunity's computer can examine images that the rover takes with its wide-angle navigation camera after a drive, and recognize rocks that meet specified criteria, such as rounded shape or light color. It can then center its narrower-angle panoramic camera on the chosen target and take multiple images through color filters.

"It's a way to get some bonus science," said Tara Estlin of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. She is a rover driver, a senior member of JPL's Artificial Intelligence Group and leader of development for this new software system.

The new system is called Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science, or AEGIS. Without it, follow-up observations depend on first transmitting the post-drive navigation camera images to Earth for ground operators to check for targets of interest to examine on a later day. Because of time and data-volume constraints, the rover team may opt to drive the rover again before potential targets are identified or before examining targets that aren't highest priority.

The first images taken by a Mars rover choosing its own target show a rock about the size of a football, tan in color and layered in texture. It appears to be one of the rocks tossed outward onto the surface when an impact dug a nearby crater. Opportunity pointed its panoramic camera at this unnamed rock after analyzing a wider-angle photo taken by the rover's navigation camera at the end of a drive on March 4. Opportunity decided that this particular rock, out of more than 50 in the navigation camera photo, best met the criteria that researchers had set for a target of interest: large and dark.

"It found exactly the target we would want it to find," Estlin said. "This checkout went just as we had planned, thanks to many people's work, but it's still amazing to see Opportunity performing a new autonomous activity after more than six years on Mars."

Opportunity can use the new software at stopping points along a single day's drive or at the end of the day's drive. This enables it to identify and examine targets of interest that might otherwise be missed.

"We spent years developing this capability on research rovers in the Mars Yard here at JPL," said Estlin. "Six years ago, we never expected that we would get a chance to use it on Opportunity."

The developers anticipate that the software will be useful for narrower field-of-view instruments on future rovers.

Other upgrades to software on Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, since the rovers' first year on Mars have improved other capabilities. These include choosing a route around obstacles and calculating how far to reach out a rover's arm to touch a rock. In 2007, both rovers gained the know-how to examine sets of sky images to determine which ones show clouds or dust devils, and then to transmit only the selected images. The newest software upload takes that a step further, enabling Opportunity to make decisions about acquiring new observations.

The AEGIS software lets scientists change the criteria it used for choosing potential targets. In some environments, rocks that are dark and angular could be higher-priority targets than rocks that are light and rounded, for example.

This new software system has been developed with assistance from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project and with funding from the New Millennium Program, the Mars Technology Program, the JPL Interplanetary Network Development Program, and the Intelligent Systems Program. The New Millennium Program tests advanced technology in space flight. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

More information about the Mars rovers is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/rovers . More information about AEGIS is at: http://scienceandtechnology.jpl.nasa.gov/newsandevents/newsdetails/?NewsID=677 .

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Offline rdale

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #126 on: 04/01/2010 01:34 AM »
Mars rover Spirit misses communications session and may be in hibernation.

Offline lbiderman

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #127 on: 04/01/2010 11:23 PM »
Mars rover Spirit misses communications session and may be in hibernation.

Come on kid, you can do it...
« Last Edit: 04/01/2010 11:24 PM by lbiderman »
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Offline jacqmans

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #128 on: 05/20/2010 03:17 AM »
News release: 2010-168B                                                                      May 19, 2010

NASA's Mars Rovers Set Surface Longevity Record

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-168b&cid=release_2010-168b

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project will pass a historic Martian longevity record on Thursday, May 20. The Opportunity rover will surpass the duration record set by NASA's Viking 1 Lander of six years and 116 days operating on the surface of Mars. The effects of favorable weather on the red planet could also help the rovers generate more power.

Opportunity's twin rover, Spirit, began working on Mars three weeks before Opportunity. However, Spirit has been out of communication since March 22. If it awakens from hibernation and resumes communication, that rover will attain the Martian surface longevity record.

Spirit's hibernation was anticipated, based on energy forecasts, as the amount of sunshine hitting the robot's solar panels declined during autumn on Mars' southern hemisphere. Unfortunately, mobility problems prevented rover operators from positioning Spirit with a favorable tilt toward the north, as during the first three winters it experienced. The rovers' fourth winter solstice, the day of the Martian year with the least sunshine at their locations, was Wednesday, May 12 (May 13 Universal time).

"Opportunity, and likely Spirit, surpassing the Viking Lander 1 longevity record is truly remarkable, considering these rovers were designed for only a 90-day mission on the surface of Mars," Callas said. "Passing the solstice means we're over the hump for the cold, dark, winter season."

Unless dust interferes, which is unlikely in the coming months, the solar panels on both rovers should gradually generate more electricity. Operators hope that Spirit will recharge its batteries enough to awaken from hibernation, start communicating and resume science tasks.

Unlike recent operations, Opportunity will not have to rest to regain energy between driving days. The gradual increase in available sunshine will eventually improve the rate of Opportunity's progress across a vast plain toward its long-term destination, the Endeavour Crater.

This month, some of Opportunity's drives have been planned to end at an energy-favorable tilt on the northern face of small Martian plain surface ripples. The positioning sacrifices some distance to regain energy sooner for the next drive. Opportunity's cameras can see a portion of the rim of Endeavour on the horizon, approximately eight miles away, across the plain's ripples of windblown sand.

"The ripples look like waves on the ocean, like we're out in the middle of the ocean with land on the horizon, our destination," said Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Squyres is the principal investigator for Opportunity and Spirit. "Even though we know we might never get there, Endeavour is the goal that drives our exploration."

The team chose Endeavour as a destination in mid-2008, after Opportunity finished two years examining the smaller Victoria Crater. Since then, the goal became even more alluring when orbital observations found clay minerals exposed at Endeavour. Clay minerals have been found extensively on Mars from orbit, but have not been examined on the surface.

"Those minerals form under wet conditions more neutral than the wet, acidic environment that formed the sulfates we've found with Opportunity," said Squyres. "The clay minerals at Endeavour speak to a time when the chemistry was much friendlier to life than the environments that formed the minerals Opportunity has seen so far. We want to get there to learn their context. Was there flowing water? Were there steam vents? Hot springs? We want to find out."

Launched in 1975, Project Viking consisted of two orbiters, each carrying a stationary lander. Viking Lander 1 was the first successful mission to the surface of Mars, touching down on July 20, 1976. It operated until Nov. 13, 1982, more than two years longer than its twin lander or either of the Viking orbiters.

The record for longest working lifetime by a spacecraft at Mars belongs to a later orbiter: NASA's Mars Global Surveyor operated for more than 9 years after arriving in 1997. NASA's Mars Odyssey, in orbit since in 2001, has been working at Mars longer than any other current mission and is on track to take the Mars longevity record late this year.

Science discoveries by the Mars Exploration Rover have included Opportunity finding the first mineralogical evidence that Mars had liquid water, and Spirit finding evidence for hot springs or steam vents and a past environment of explosive volcanism.

JPL manages the Mars rovers for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. For more information about the rovers, visit http://www.nasa.gov/rovers . The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.



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Offline jacqmans

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #129 on: 07/30/2010 06:25 PM »
RELEASE: 10-182

NASA'S HIBERNATING MARS ROVER MAY NOT CALL HOME

WASHINGTON -- NASA mission controllers have not heard from the Mars
Exploration Rover Spirit since March 22, and the rover is facing its
toughest challenge yet -- trying to survive the harsh Martian winter.


The rover team anticipated Spirit would go into a low-power
"hibernation" mode since the rover was not able to get to a favorable
slope for its fourth Martian winter, which runs from May through
November. The low angle of sunlight during these months limits the
power generated from the rover's solar panels. During hibernation,
the rover suspends communications and other activities so available
energy can be used to recharge and heat batteries, and to keep the
mission clock running.

On July 26, mission managers began using a paging technique called
"sweep and beep" in an effort to communicate with Spirit.

"Instead of just listening, we send commands to the rover to respond
back to us with a communications beep," said John Callas, project
manager for Spirit and Opportunity at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "If the rover is awake and hears us,
she will send us that beep."

Based on models of Mars' weather and its effect on available power,
mission managers believe that if Spirit responds, it most likely will
be in the next few months. However, there is a very distinct
possibility Spirit may never respond.

"It will be the miracle from Mars if our beloved rover phones home,"
said Doug McCuistion, director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program in
Washington. "It's never faced this type of severe condition before --
this is unknown territory."

Because most of the rover's heaters were not being powered this
winter, Spirit is likely experiencing its coldest internal
temperatures yet -- minus 67 degrees Fahrenheit. During three
previous Martian winters, Spirit communicated about once or twice a
week with Earth and used its heaters to stay warm while parked on a
sun-facing slope for the winter. As a result, the heaters were able
to keep internal temperatures above minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spirit is designed to wake up from its hibernation and communicate
with Earth when its battery charge is adequate. But if the batteries
have lost too much power, Spirit's clock may stop and lose track of
time. The rover could still reawaken, but it would not know the time
of day, a situation called a "mission-clock fault." Spirit would
start a new timer to wake up every four hours and listen for a signal
from Earth for 20 minutes of every hour while the sun is up.

The earliest date the rover could generate enough power to send a beep
to Earth was calculated to be around July 23. However, mission
managers don't anticipate the batteries will charge adequately until
late September to mid-October. It may be even later if the rover is
in a mission-clock fault mode. If Spirit does wake up, mission
managers will do a complete health check on the rover's instruments
and electronics.

Based on previous Martian winters, the rover team anticipates the
increasing haziness in the sky over Spirit will offset longer
daylight for the next two months. The amount of solar energy
available to Spirit then will increase until the southern Mars summer
solstice in March 2011. If we haven't heard from it by March, it is
unlikely that we will ever hear from it.

"This has been a long winter for Spirit, and a long wait for us," said
Steve Squyres, the principal investigator for NASA's two rovers who
is based at Cornell University. "Even if we never heard from Spirit
again, I think her scientific legacy would be secure. But we're
hopeful we will hear from her, and we're eager to get back to doing
science with two rovers again."

Spirit and its twin, Opportunity, began exploring Mars in January 2004
on missions planned to last three months. Spirit has been nearly
stationary since April 2009, while Opportunity is driving toward a
large crater named Endeavour. Opportunity covered more distance in
2009 than in any prior year. Both rovers have made important
discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been
favorable for supporting microbial life.

NASA's JPL manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's
Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about the rovers, visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/rovers

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #130 on: 07/30/2010 07:47 PM »
Exactly how far away is Opportunity from Endeavor Crater?
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Offline eeergo

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #131 on: 07/30/2010 07:53 PM »
Exactly how far away is Opportunity from Endeavor Crater?

There are nice updated maps (up to a few days ago) in UMSF:

http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?showtopic=681&view=findpost&p=162233

It appears Opportunity is about halfway between Victoria and Endeavour.

More official, detailed maps at JPL's site: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/tm-opportunity-all.html
-DaviD-

Offline Space Pete

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #132 on: 09/12/2010 01:47 PM »
Opportunity Rover Reaches Halfway Point of Long Trek.

When NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity left Victoria Crater two years ago this month, the rover science team chose Endeavour Crater as the rover's next long-term destination. With a drive of 111 meters (364 feet) on Monday, Sept. 8, Opportunity reached the estimated halfway point of the approximately 19-kilometer (11.8-mile) journey from Victoria to the western rim of Endeavour.

Opportunity completed its three-month prime mission on Mars in April 2004. During its bonus extended operations since then, it spent two years exploring in and around Victoria Crater. Victoria is about 800 meters (half a mile) in diameter. At about 22 kilometers (14 miles) in diameter, Endeavour is about 28 times wider. After the rover science team selected Endeavour as a long-term destination, observations of Endeavour's rim by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter revealed the presence of clay minerals. This finding makes the site an even more compelling science destination. Clay minerals, which form exclusively under wet conditions, have been found extensively on Mars from orbit, but have not been examined on the surface.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more about the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity, see http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov.

Source.
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Offline Space Pete

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #133 on: 09/21/2010 09:12 PM »
Mars Rover Opportunity Approaching Possible Meteorite.

Images that NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity took at the end of an 81-meter (266-foot) drive on Sept. 16 reveal a dark rock about 31 meters (102 feet) away. The rover's science team has decided to go get a closer look at the toaster-sized rock and determine whether it is an iron meteorite.

"The dark color, rounded texture and the way it is perched on the surface all make it look like an iron meteorite," said science-team member Matt Golombek of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Opportunity has found four iron meteorites during the rover's exploration of the Meridiani Planum region of Mars since early 2004. Examination of these rocks has provided information about the Martian atmosphere, as well as the meteorites themselves.

The newfound rock has been given the informal name "OileŠn Ruaidh" (pronounced ay-lan ruah), which is the Gaelic name for an island off the coast of northwestern Ireland. The rock is about 45 centimeters (18 inches) wide from the angle at which it was first seen.

Opportunity has driven 23.3 kilometers (14.5 miles) on Mars. The drive to this rock will take the total combined distance driven by Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, to more than 31 kilometers (19.26 miles).

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004 for what was planned as a three-month mission. For more information about the mission, see http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov.

Source (with accompanying image).
Electronic Engineer by day, NASASpaceflight's ISS Editor by night | Read my NASASpaceflight articles here

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Re: Mars Exploration Rovers Update
« Reply #134 on: 09/21/2010 11:36 PM »
Seriously, it looks like Mars is littered with these iron meteorites!

I'd hazard a guess that over a ton of free iron/nickel (not just ore!) has been found since the two rovers have started, all well within the area an unpressurized manned rover could cover in half a day. Irregular ingots, practically ready for secondary industry.
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