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Robotic Spacecraft (Astronomy, Planetary, Earth, Solar/Heliophysics) => Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and Mars 2020 Rover Section => Topic started by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/20/2017 08:26 am

Title: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/20/2017 08:26 am
We don't appear to have a current thread for updates or discussion of Opportunity's amazing on-going mission (just annual mission summary article threads).

So I thought the latest NASA update from yesterday would be a good place to start:

Quote
NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity Leaves 'Tribulation'
19 April 2017 (source: NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

NASA's senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is departing "Cape Tribulation," a crater-rim segment it has explored since late 2014, southbound for its next destination, "Perseverance Valley."

The rover team plans observations in the valley to determine what type of fluid activity carved it billions of years ago: water, wind, or flowing debris lubricated by water.

A color panorama of a ridge called "Rocheport" provides both a parting souvenir of Cape Tribulation and also possible help for understanding the valley ahead. The view was assembled from multiple images taken by Opportunity's panoramic camera.

"The degree of erosion at Rocheport is fascinating," said Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson, of Washington University in St. Louis. "Grooves run perpendicular to the crest line. They may have been carved by water or ice or wind. We want to see as many features like this on the way to Perseverance Valley as we can, for comparison with what we find there."

Perseverance Valley is about two football fields long. It cuts downward west to east across the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The crater is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter, with a segmented rim that exposes the oldest rocks ever investigated in place on Mars. Opportunity has less than four football fields' distance of driving to reach the top of the valley after departing Cape Tribulation, a raised segment about 3 miles (5 kilometers) long on the crater's western rim.

In 68 months since reaching Endeavour Crater, Opportunity has explored "Cape York," "Solander Point" and "Murray Ridge" before reaching Cape Tribulation about 30 months ago. "Cape Byron," the next raised segment to the south, contains Perseverance Valley and is separated from Tribulation by a gap of flatter ground.

Five drives totaling about 320 feet (98 meters) since the beginning of April have brought Opportunity to a boundary area where Cape Tribulation meets the plain surrounding the crater.

Cape Tribulation has been the site of significant events in the mission. There, in 2015, Opportunity surpassed a marathon-race distance of total driving since its 2004 landing on Mars. It climbed to the highest-elevation viewpoint it has reached on Endeavour's rim. In a region of Tribulation called "Marathon Valley," it investigated outcrops containing clay minerals that had been detected from orbit. There were some name-appropriate Tribulation experiences, as well. The rover team has coped with loss of reliability in Opportunity's non-volatile "flash" memory since 2015. With flash memory unavailable, each day's observations are lost if not radioed homeward the same day.

"From the Cape Tribulation departure point, we'll make a beeline to the head of Perseverance Valley, then turn left and drive down the full length of the valley, if we can," Arvidson said. "It's what you would do if you were an astronaut arriving at a feature like this: Start at the top, looking at the source material, then proceed down the valley, looking at deposits along the way and at the bottom."

Clues to how the valley was carved could come from the arrangement of different sizes of rocks and gravel in the deposits.

He said, "If it was a debris flow, initiated by a little water, with lots of rocks moving downhill, it should be a jumbled mess. If it was a river cutting a channel, we may see gravel bars, crossbedding, and what's call a 'fining upward' pattern of sediments, with coarsest rocks at the bottom." Another pattern that could be evidence of flowing water would be if elongated pieces of gravel in a deposited bed tend to be stacked leaning in the same direction, providing a record of the downstream flow direction.

Now more than 13 years into a mission originally scheduled to last three months on Mars, Opportunity remains unexpectedly capable of continued exploration. It has driven about four-tenths of a mile (two-thirds of a kilometer) since the start of 2017, bringing the total traverse so far to 27.6 miles (44.4 kilometers). The current season on Mars is past the period when global dust storms might arise and curtail Opportunity's solar power.

Opportunity and the next-generation Mars rover, Curiosity, as well as three active NASA Mars orbiters, and surface missions to launch in 2018 and 2020 are all part of a legacy of robotic exploration which is helping to lay the groundwork for sending humans there in the 2030s. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, built Opportunity and manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more information about Opportunity, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/rovers
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/2017/04/19/nasas-mars-rover-opportunity-leaves-tribulation (https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/2017/04/19/nasas-mars-rover-opportunity-leaves-tribulation)

Attached first image:
Quote
Martian desert on the horizon
A grooved ridge called "Rocheport" on the rim of Mars' Endeavour Crater spans this scene from the Pancam on NASA's Mars rover Opportunity. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

Attached second image:
Quote
This image shows segments of the western rim of Mars' Endeavour Crater. NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has explored parts of the rim since 2011. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/22/2017 11:36 pm
Mike Seibert is the Lead Spacecraft Systems Engineer for the Mars rovers:

Quote
Mike Seibert‏ @mikeseibert
Replying to @PlanetaryKeri @avatastic

Thanks to the skill of our power subsystem engineers and careful use, Opportunity's batteries have thousands more sols of lifetime remaining

https://twitter.com/mikeseibert/status/855925314060517377 (https://twitter.com/mikeseibert/status/855925314060517377)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/23/2017 12:43 pm
Quote
Approximate true-color panorama mosaic from @NASAJPL's Opportunity rover on April 21, 2017 (Sol 4707). Note the rover's tracks up the ridge.

https://twitter.com/jpmajor/status/855905494493515777 (https://twitter.com/jpmajor/status/855905494493515777)

Quote
Wow wow wow. This is one of those times in hindsight it seems amazing that we pulled off that descent

https://twitter.com/mikeseibert/status/856116618031755264 (https://twitter.com/mikeseibert/status/856116618031755264)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 05/04/2017 03:37 pm
First aerial color photo of Mars rover’s “hole-in-one” landing site

Quote
NASA has released the first high-resolution aerial color image of the Opportunity rover’s landing site on a sprawling Martian plain, where the airbag-cushioned robot fortuitously rolled into a Eagle Crater in January 2004, putting its scientific instruments face-to-face with a block of sedimentary rock that gave ground teams confirmation Mars was once a warmer, wetter, and habitable planet.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/05/03/first-aerial-color-photo-of-mars-rovers-hole-in-one-landing-site/
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Oersted on 05/07/2017 09:27 pm
You should think it would make sense to build quite a few more of those rovers, with just a few basic updates to solar cells, batteries and cameras, and plop them down on various locations on Mars. I cannot think it will ever be possible to make a more economical design (in view of the amazing longevity of Opportunity and to a slightly lesser extent Spirit).
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 05/16/2017 03:46 am
You should think it would make sense to build quite a few more of those rovers, with just a few basic updates to solar cells, batteries and cameras, and plop them down on various locations on Mars. I cannot think it will ever be possible to make a more economical design (in view of the amazing longevity of Opportunity and to a slightly lesser extent Spirit).

There are problems with that idea:

First of all, what would they all do? What's the science that they would do that scientists want doing?

Second, more rovers requires more DSN time and more relays.

Third, more rovers means more science teams. Where are you going to get all those people? And you have to fund them. It's not just the machine, it's all the people that go with the machine.

Fourth, many of the vendors that built equipment for those rovers no longer exist. You would have to do a lot differently.

Finally, the MER rovers were built rather fast and with limited documentation. There was no set of complete blueprints. That was one of the things that tripped people up in later years when they wanted to propose new rovers--they couldn't do it easily or inexpensively using the MER design.

If you are going to talk about landing multiple things on Mars, a good place to start is by asking what those things would do. In the past there have been proposals for a network of seismic sensors on Mars as well as a network of meteorological sensors on Mars. InSight is a single seismic sensor because a proposal for a 3-sensor network proved too expensive. A set of meteorological sensors could fit on smaller spacecraft (Beagle 2 size), but even multiple small reentry vehicles are expensive.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Dalhousie on 05/16/2017 04:30 am
Also many of the instruments could be done better, albeit often with 2020 hindsight.  The Mossbauer was not particularly useful and had a very limited working life for example.  The MiniTES was hampered by too wide a field of view, although its ability to collect mineralogy data was very valuable.  Having a separate Navcam may have been excessive redundancy.

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 05/16/2017 12:45 pm
I think you identify two issues: 1-the advance of technology, and 2-hindsight. Certainly our technology is better today. It has been almost 20 years since much of that design was locked down. But as you note, getting something into the field exposes its strengths and limitations. You can figure out how to do things better.

Take the discussion in a different direction: assuming a clean-sheet rover design designed to be cheaper, could you perform valuable science with it for the cost, especially in larger numbers of rovers? Certainly you could perform valuable science, because every new place you land and explore is new, and therefore useful. But the science community is interested in answering some bigger questions, not simply adding data points.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/17/2017 04:03 am
Mike Seibert is the Lead Spacecraft Systems Engineer for the Mars rovers:

Quote
Mike Seibert‏ @mikeseibert
Replying to @PlanetaryKeri @avatastic

Thanks to the skill of our power subsystem engineers and careful use, Opportunity's batteries have thousands more sols of lifetime remaining

https://twitter.com/mikeseibert/status/855925314060517377 (https://twitter.com/mikeseibert/status/855925314060517377)
Dang. Might be greeted by people!
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 05/17/2017 07:11 pm
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 05/23/2017 07:47 pm
Excerpt from the proposed NASA FY 2018 budget concerning Mars.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 05/24/2017 03:22 am
So I have not figured this all out yet, but supposedly planetary went up by ~$800 million. Half of that went to the Europa mission. Where did the rest go? What programs got the additional money?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Dalhousie on 05/26/2017 10:51 pm
I think you identify two issues: 1-the advance of technology, and 2-hindsight. Certainly our technology is better today. It has been almost 20 years since much of that design was locked down. But as you note, getting something into the field exposes its strengths and limitations. You can figure out how to do things better.

Take the discussion in a different direction: assuming a clean-sheet rover design designed to be cheaper, could you perform valuable science with it for the cost, especially in larger numbers of rovers? Certainly you could perform valuable science, because every new place you land and explore is new, and therefore useful. But the science community is interested in answering some bigger questions, not simply adding data points.

It's often the data from new places that enables you to answer the bigger questions.  Plus giving the contextural knowledge than enable to to know what are the bigger questions to ask.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 06/28/2017 07:38 pm
Mars rover Opportunity on walkabout near crater rim

Quote
“The walkabout is designed to look at what’s just above Perseverance Valley,” said Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis. “We see a pattern of striations running east-west outside the crest of the rim.”

A portion of the crest at the top of Perseverance Valley has a broad notch. Just west of that, elongated patches of rocks line the sides of a slightly depressed, east-west swath of ground, which might have been a drainage channel billions of years ago.

“We want to determine whether these are in-place rocks or transported rocks,” Arvidson said. “One possibility is that this site was the end of a catchment where a lake was perched against the outside of the crater rim. A flood might have brought in the rocks, breached the rim and overflowed into the crater, carving the valley down the inner side of the rim. Another possibility is that the area was fractured by the impact that created Endeavour Crater, then rock dikes filled the fractures, and we’re seeing effects of wind erosion on those filled fractures.”

In the hypothesis of a perched lake, the notch in the crest just above Perseverance Valley may have been a spillway. Weighing against that hypothesis is an observation that the ground west of the crest slopes away, not toward the crater. The science team is considering possible explanations for how the slope might have changed.

A variation of the impact-fracture hypothesis is that water rising from underground could have favored the fractures as paths to the surface and contributed to weathering of the fracture-filling rocks.

Close examination of the rock piles along the edges of the possible channel might help researchers evaluate these and other possible histories of the site. Meanwhile, the team is analyzing stereo images of Perseverance Valley, taken from the rim, to plot Opportunity’s route. The valley extends down from the crest into the crater at a slope of about 15 to 17 degrees for a distance of about two football fields.

https://astronomynow.com/2017/06/28/mars-rover-opportunity-on-walkabout-near-crater-rim/
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 06/30/2017 03:26 am
I think you identify two issues: 1-the advance of technology, and 2-hindsight. Certainly our technology is better today. It has been almost 20 years since much of that design was locked down. But as you note, getting something into the field exposes its strengths and limitations. You can figure out how to do things better.

Take the discussion in a different direction: assuming a clean-sheet rover design designed to be cheaper, could you perform valuable science with it for the cost, especially in larger numbers of rovers? Certainly you could perform valuable science, because every new place you land and explore is new, and therefore useful. But the science community is interested in answering some bigger questions, not simply adding data points.

It's often the data from new places that enables you to answer the bigger questions.  Plus giving the contextural knowledge than enable to to know what are the bigger questions to ask.

[I missed this back when it was posted]

The Mars community has spoken on this and they've been pretty clear. There is not much disagreement over their goals.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Dalhousie on 08/22/2017 01:59 am
I think you identify two issues: 1-the advance of technology, and 2-hindsight. Certainly our technology is better today. It has been almost 20 years since much of that design was locked down. But as you note, getting something into the field exposes its strengths and limitations. You can figure out how to do things better.

Take the discussion in a different direction: assuming a clean-sheet rover design designed to be cheaper, could you perform valuable science with it for the cost, especially in larger numbers of rovers? Certainly you could perform valuable science, because every new place you land and explore is new, and therefore useful. But the science community is interested in answering some bigger questions, not simply adding data points.

It's often the data from new places that enables you to answer the bigger questions.  Plus giving the contextural knowledge than enable to to know what are the bigger questions to ask.

[I missed this back when it was posted]

The Mars community has spoken on this and they've been pretty clear. There is not much disagreement over their goals.

Speaking generally mate,not specifically.  As a professional scientist of 40 years standing, nearly 20 of that in the  "Mars community" I will stand by that opinion.  Anyone who thinks that data from new places does not allow you to frame the bigger questions, or even knwo what those bigger questions might be in the first place, hasn't got a clue.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Jim on 08/22/2017 02:27 am
You should think it would make sense to build quite a few more of those rovers, with just a few basic updates to solar cells, batteries and cameras, and plop them down on various locations on Mars. I cannot think it will ever be possible to make a more economical design (in view of the amazing longevity of Opportunity and to a slightly lesser extent Spirit).

No

A.  the EDL design was specific to the 2003.  Entry speeds would be too high for other synods.  I believe the lower approach speeds occur every 10-14 years.
b.  The rover is power limited and hence there a limited number of instruments available to it.  And hence limited data generated.
c.  there are DSN limitations
d.  More rovers means more science/control teams ($)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Nomadd on 02/15/2018 07:40 pm
 Opportunity will begin the 5,000th Martian day of it's 90 day mission this afternoon.
 JPLs original estimate of MER lifetimes. They figured as high as 136 days in one location.

https://trs.jpl.nasa.gov/bitstream/handle/2014/11979/02-0732.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: speedevil on 02/17/2018 12:20 am
Opportunity will begin the 5,000th Martian day of it's 90 day mission this afternoon.
 JPLs original estimate of MER lifetimes. They figured as high as 136 days in one location.

https://trs.jpl.nasa.gov/bitstream/handle/2014/11979/02-0732.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

The power info on wikipedia is interesting.
On the 8th of this month, it got 628Wh, Which is a very similar figure to the results from about a month on Mars.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 02/17/2018 02:32 pm
Nasa's Opportunity rover captures 'surprising' Earth-like rock features on Mars

Quote
The features looked very similar to formations found on volcanic slopes in Hawaii, according to the space agency.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/nasas-opportunity-rover-captures-surprising-earth-like-rock-features-mars-1662127
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 02/18/2018 08:35 pm
Opportunity taking selfies now.

https://twitter.com/NASAJPL/status/964676503303671809
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/23/2018 07:26 pm
Quote
Feb. 15, 2018

Long-Lived Mars Rover Opportunity Keeps Finding Surprises

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity keeps providing surprises about the Red Planet, most recently with observations of possible "rock stripes."

The ground texture seen in recent images from the rover resembles a smudged version of very distinctive stone stripes on some mountain slopes on Earth that result from repeated cycles of freezing and thawing of wet soil. But it might also be due to wind, downhill transport, other processes or a combination.

Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004. As it reaches the 5,000th Martian day, or sol, of what was planned as a 90-sol mission (see related story), it is investigating a channel called "Perseverance Valley," which descends the inboard slope of the western rim of Endeavour Crater.

"Perseverance Valley is a special place, like having a new mission again after all these years," said Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis. "We already knew it was unlike any place any Mars rover has seen before, even if we don't yet know how it formed, and now we're seeing surfaces that look like stone stripes. It's mysterious. It's exciting. I think the set of observations we'll get will enable us to understand it."

On some slopes within the valley, the soil and gravel particles appear to have become organized into narrow rows or corrugations, parallel to the slope, alternating between rows with more gravel and rows with less.

The origin of the whole valley is uncertain. Rover-team scientists are analyzing various clues that suggest actions of water, wind or ice. They are also considering a range of possible explanations for the stripes, and remain uncertain about whether this texture results from processes of relatively modern Mars or a much older Mars.

Other lines of evidence have convinced Mars experts that, on a scale of hundreds of thousands of years, Mars goes through cycles when the tilt or obliquity of its axis increases so much that some of the water now frozen at the poles vaporizes into the atmosphere and then becomes snow or frost accumulating nearer the equator.

"One possible explanation of these stripes is that they are relics from a time of greater obliquity when snow packs on the rim seasonally melted enough to moisten the soil, and then freeze-thaw cycles organized the small rocks into stripes," Arvidson said. "Gravitational downhill movement may be diffusing them so they don't look as crisp as when they were fresh."

Bernard Hallet of the University of Washington, Seattle, agrees the alignments seen in images of Perseverance Valley are not as distinctive as the stone stripes he has studied on Earth. Field measurements on Earth, near the summit of Hawaii's Mauna Kea where the soil freezes every night but is often dry, have documented how those form when temperature and ground conditions are right: Soils with a mix of silt, sand and gravel expand more where the finer-grain material is most prevalent and retains more water. Freezing expands the soil, pushing larger particles up. If they move to the side, as well as down the general slope, due to gravity or wind, they tend to move away from the finer-grain concentrations and stretch out downslope. Where larger particles become more concentrated, the ground expands less. The process repeats hundreds or thousands of times, and the pattern self-organizes into alternating stripes.

Perseverance Valley holds rocks carved by sand blowing uphill from the crater floor, and wind might also be the key in sorting larger particles into rows parallel to the slope.

"Debris from relatively fresh impact craters is scattered over the surface of the area, complicating assessment of effects of wind," said Opportunity science-team member Robert Sullivan of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. "I don't know what these stripes are, and I don't think anyone else knows for sure what they are, so we're entertaining multiple hypotheses and gathering more data to figure it out."

Every sol Opportunity keeps working may add information to help solve some puzzles and find new ones. For more information about Opportunity, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/rovers

https://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/long-lived-mars-rover-opportunity-keeps-finding-surprises

First image caption:

Quote
Textured rows on the ground in this portion of "Perseverance Valley" are under investigation by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, which used its Navigation Camera (Navcam) to take the component images of this downhill-looking scene.

The rover took this image on Jan. 4, 2018, during the 4,958th Martian day, or sol, of its work on Mars, looking downhill from a position about one-third of the way down the valley. Perseverance Valley descends the inboard slope of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. A view on the same sol with the rover's front Hazard Avoidance Camera includes ground even closer to the rover at this site. Opportunity was still working close by as it reached the mission's Sol 5,000 (Feb. 16, 2018).

In the portion of the valley seen here, soil and gravel have been shaped into a striped pattern in the foreground and partially bury outcrops visible in the midfield. The long dimensions of the stripes are approximately aligned with the downhill direction. The striped pattern resembles a type of feature on Earth (such as on Hawaii's Mauna Kea) that is caused by repeated cycles of freezing and thawing, though other possible origins are also under consideration for the pattern in Perseverance Valley.

The view is spans from north on the left to east-southeast on the right. For scale, the foreground rock clump in the lower right is about 11 inches (28 centimeters) in width.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Second image caption:

Quote
This late-afternoon view from the front Hazard Avoidance Camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows a pattern of rock stripes on the ground, a surprise to scientists on the rover team. Approaching the 5,000th Martian day or sol, of what was planned as a 90-sol mission, Opportunity is still providing new discoveries.

This image was taken inside "Perseverance Valley," on the inboard slope of the western rim of Endeavour Crater, on Sol 4958 (Jan. 4, 2018). Both this view and one taken the same sol by the rover's Navigation Camera look downhill toward the northeast from about one-third of the way down the valley, which extends about the length of two football fields from the crest of the rim toward the crater floor.

The lighting, with the Sun at a low angle, emphasizes the ground texture, shaped into stripes defined by rock fragments. The stripes are aligned with the downhill direction. The rock to the upper right of the rover's robotic arm is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide and about 3 feet (1 meter) from the centerline of the rover's two front wheels.

This striped pattern resembles features seen on Earth, including on Hawaii's Mauna Kea, that are formed by cycles of freezing and thawing of ground moistened by melting ice or snow. There, fine-grained fraction of the soil expands as it freezes, and this lifts the rock fragments up and to the sides. If such a process formed this pattern in Perseverance Valley, those conditions might have been present locally during a period within the past few million years when Mars' spin axis was at a greater tilt than it is now, and some of the water ice now at the poles was redistributed to lower latitudes. Other hypotheses for how these features formed are also under consideration, including high-velocity slope winds.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Third image caption:

Quote
This image shows stone stripes on the side of a volcanic cone on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The stripes are made of small rock fragments and they are aligned downhill as freeze-thaw cycles have lifted them up and out of the finer-grained regolith, and moved them to the sides, forming stone stripes.

This site is at about 13,450-foot (4,100-meter) altitude on the mountain. For scale, the rock cluster toward the bottom right of the image is approximately 1 foot (30 centimeters) wide. The image was taken in 1999 by R. E. Arvidson.

Such ground texture has been seen in recent images from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. For more details about "rock stripes" on Mars, see PIA22217 and PIA22218.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Dalhousie on 04/05/2018 07:52 am
This is a nice find, and we do see similar features in periglacial environments on Earth. I'll try and dig up some photos from northern Canada.  However one word of caution, these features are an order of magnitude smaller than the features called slope stripes on Earth. 
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: hop on 06/09/2018 08:19 pm
Opportunity is now in the midst of a very serious dust storm: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7155

Quote
Opportunity Hunkers Down During Dust Storm

NASA Mars Exploration Rover Status Report

Science operations for NASA's Opportunity rover have been temporarily suspended as it waits out a growing dust storm on Mars.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter first detected the storm on Friday, June 1. As soon as the orbiter team saw how close the storm was to Opportunity, they notified the rover's team to begin preparing contingency plans.

In a matter of days, the storm had ballooned. It now spans more than 7 million square miles (18 million square kilometers) -- an area greater than North America -- and includes Opportunity's current location at Perseverance Valley. More importantly, the swirling dust has raised the atmospheric opacity, or "tau," in the valley in the past few days. This is comparable to an extremely smoggy day that blots out sunlight. The rover uses solar panels to provide power and to recharge its batteries.

Opportunity's power levels had dropped significantly by Wednesday, June 6, requiring the rover to shift to minimal operations.

This isn't Opportunity's first time hunkering down in bad weather: in 2007, a much larger storm covered the planet. That led to two weeks of minimal operations, including several days with no contact from the rover to save power. The project's management prepared for the possibility that Opportunity couldn't balance low levels of power with its energy-intensive survival heaters, which protect its batteries from Mars' extreme cold. It's not unlike running a car in the winter so that the cold doesn't sap its battery charge.There is a risk to the rover if the storm persists for too long and Opportunity gets too cold while waiting for the skies to clear.

Ultimately, the storm subsided and Opportunity prevailed. The Martian cold is believed to have resulted in the loss of Spirit, Opportunity's twin in the Mars Exploration Rover mission, back in 2010. Despite this, both rovers have vastly exceeded expectations: they were only designed to last 90 days each. Opportunity is in its 15th year; the team has operated the rover for more than 50 times longer than originally planned.

Full dust storms like this one are not surprising, but are infrequent. They can crop up suddenly but last weeks, even months. During southern summer, sunlight warms dust particles, lifting them higher into the atmosphere and creating more wind. That wind kicks up yet more dust, creating a feedback loop that NASA scientists still seek to understand.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and two other NASA spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet --Odyssey and MAVEN -- routinely support rovers on the ground.

For more information about the Mars Exploration Rovers, visit:

https://mars.nasa.gov/mer/home/index.html
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 06/10/2018 02:01 pm
Oppy talking to DSN via Goldstone right now.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: hop on 06/11/2018 03:02 am
Updated https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/opportunity-hunkers-down-during-dust-storm

Quote
NASA Mars Exploration Rover Status Report

Updated at 4:30 p.m. PDT on June 10, 2018

NASA engineers received a transmission from Opportunity on Sunday morning — a positive sign despite the worsening dust storm. Data from the transmission let engineers know the rover still has enough battery charge to communicate with ground controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Science operations remain suspended.

Sunday's transmission was especially good news considering the dust storm has intensified in the past several days. A dark, perpetual night has settled over the rover's location in Mars' Perseverance Valley. The storm's atmospheric opacity — the veil of dust blowing around, which can blot out sunlight -- is now much worse than a 2007 storm that Opportunity weathered. The previous storm had an opacity level, or tau, somewhere above 5.5; this new storm had an estimated tau of 10.8 as of Sunday morning.

Opportunity's team has requested additional communications coverage from NASA's Deep Space Network, a global system of antennas that talks to all the agency's deep space probes.

This latest data transmission showed the rover's temperature to be about minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 29 degrees Celsius). One saving grace of dust storms is that they can actually limit the extreme temperature swings experienced on the Martian surface. The same swirling dust that blocks out sunlight also absorbs heat, raising the ambient temperature surrounding Opportunity.

Engineers will monitor the rover's power levels closely in the week to come. The rover needs to balance low levels of charge in its battery with sub-freezing temperatures. Its heaters are vitally important to keeping it alive, but also draw more power from the battery. Likewise, performing certain actions draws on battery power, but can actually expel energy and raise the rover's temperature.

The rover has proved hardier than expected by lasting nearly 15 years, despite being designed for a 90-day mission.
MER folks on twitter noting this breaks the Viking record for tau
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Nomadd on 06/11/2018 05:45 am
 I have a good excuse for not remembering what equipment could be permanently harmed by a complete loss of heat and power. It was 11 years ago that they talked about it.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Chris Bergin on 06/11/2018 09:02 pm
ARTICLE: Opportunity hunkers down as dust storm descends over the intrepid little rover -

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/06/opportunity-dust-storm-descends-intrepid-little-rover/

By Chris Gebhardt
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: speedevil on 06/11/2018 11:15 pm
Is there any reported Wh/Wh impact of - say - last time the weather was good, compared to today?

Clearly, heater demand may have gone down, but charging over the day is impacted more subtly than simply 'good day Wh/tau', as for example, diffuse light plays a bigger part and may extend the charging time a little.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: theinternetftw on 06/12/2018 12:22 am
A quite good summary video giving perspective on the storm. Recommend pausing to read the twitter conversations with the NASA folks, which contain such gems as:

Quote
Day is night, viewed from 1000 feet deep in a coal mine, while your head is in a bag, with your eyes closed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X__AKRqlK4s


Also, the video contains a little more extrapolated version of the light chart shown in the article. I've attached that below.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: djellison on 06/12/2018 01:21 am
Using some math, the published Tau value of 10.8, and the info here : https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/mission/status_opportunityAll.html#sols-5094

The pre-storm number was around 650 Whrs.   The direct illumination is basically gone (it's about 1/50,000th of what it was) and diffuse glow of the sky would allow no more than a couple of tens of Whrs.   

It's basically not possible for the power to go much lower.   

Both Tau, and power, are all time Mars exploration records ( high, and low, respectively)

The good points..... rover was very clean going into this, summer is coming, and the overnight minimum temperatures will be warmer because of the dust.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 06/12/2018 03:15 am
I wish people would avoid anthropomorphising machines.

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 06/12/2018 12:50 pm
Is there any reported Wh/Wh impact of - say - last time the weather was good, compared to today?

Clearly, heater demand may have gone down, but charging over the day is impacted more subtly than simply 'good day Wh/tau', as for example, diffuse light plays a bigger part and may extend the charging time a little.


I asked for specifics on this front and have not had my email or phone call returned the JPL contact.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Targeteer on 06/12/2018 09:37 pm
June 12, 2018
MEDIA ADVISORY M18-093
NASA to Hold Media Teleconference on Martian Dust Storm, Mars Opportunity Rover
Mars
Mars, as seen by Mars Global Surveyor in 2003.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Full image and caption

NASA will host a media teleconference at 1:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday, June 13, to discuss a massive Martian dust storm affecting operations of the agency’s Opportunity rover and what scientists can learn from the various missions studying this unprecedented event.

The storm is one of the most intense ever observed on the Red Planet. As of June 10, it covered more than 15.8 million square miles (41 million square kilometers) – about the area of North America and Russia combined. It has blocked out so much sunlight, it has effectively turned day into night for Opportunity, which is located near the center of the storm, inside Mars' Perseverance Valley.

Participants in the teleconference will include:

    John Callas, Opportunity project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
    Rich Zurek, Mars Program Office chief scientist at JPL
    Jim Watzin, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters
    Dave Lavery, program executive at NASA Headquarters for the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers

To participate, media must email their name and affiliation to Elena Mejia at [email protected] or call 818-393-5467 / 354-5011.

Visuals accompanying the teleconference will be posted at the start of the event at:

https://www.nasa.gov/marsduststormtelecon

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

The teleconference andvisuals will be carried live and archived on:

https://youtube.com/nasajpl/live
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Nomadd on 06/13/2018 12:17 am
 Practical power level from the array will be zero at much higher illumination than this. The theoretical bit they might get isn't usable because it wouldn't be high enough voltage to do anything.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: hop on 06/13/2018 03:00 am
Probable low power fault (edit: telecon is the same as mentioned above): https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7155

Quote
NASA Mars Exploration Rover Status Report

Updated at 6:30 p.m. PDT on June 12, 2018

NASA engineers attempted to contact the Opportunity rover today but did not hear back from the nearly 15-year old rover. The team is now operating under the assumption that the charge in Opportunity's batteries has dipped below 24 volts and the rover has entered low power fault mode, a condition where all subsystems, except a mission clock, are turned off. The rover's mission clock is programmed to wake the computer so it can check power levels.

If the rover's computer determines that its batteries don't have enough charge, it will again put itself back to sleep. Due to an extreme amount of dust over Perseverance Valley, mission engineers believe it is unlikely the rover has enough sunlight to charge back up for at least the next several days.

The Martian dust storm that has blotted out the sun above Opportunity has continued to intensify. The storm, which was first detected on May 30, now blankets 14-million square miles (35-million square kilometers) of Martian surface -- a quarter of the planet.

NASA is holding a news teleconference on Wednesday, June 13, to discuss the storm and the observations of it by various spacecraft. Details at: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7158

Hang in there Oppy  :'(
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Don2 on 06/13/2018 06:37 am
Poor little rover, slowly freezing to death in the dark and the cold, smothered by the  dust. Now and again it hears a faint shout from Earth, but it no longer has the energy to reply. The cold seeps into its circuits, embrittles its materials and freezes its electrolytes. Sunshine is just a memory, and the memory is fading.  :'(
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: as58 on 06/13/2018 07:47 am
How exactly is the "tau value" defined? It's optical depth (at some, probably optical, wavelength), but towards what? Zenith? Maximum Solar elevation? Mean optical depth towards the Sun over a day?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: zhangmdev on 06/13/2018 01:20 pm
How exactly is the "tau value" defined? <snip>

"Several times a sol, the Mars Exploration Rovers take images of the Sun (using a very dark solar filter) to determine the opacity of the atmosphere (a property that is referred to as "tau"). Here, images of the sun taken since sol 1200 of Opportunity's mission have been calibrated to show how dim the Sun appeared through the dust storm. For sols 1236-1242 (July 16-22, 2007), the skies were so dark that Opportunity could not muster enough power to perform its usual tau measurements.Credit: NASA / JPL / Cornell / animation by Emily Lakdawalla "

http://planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-missions/mer-updates/2007/07-31-mer-update.html

The situation is much worse than it was 11 years ago.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: as58 on 06/13/2018 01:28 pm
"Several times a sol, the Mars Exploration Rovers take images of the Sun (using a very dark solar filter) to determine the opacity of the atmosphere (a property that is referred to as "tau"). Here, images of the sun taken since sol 1200 of Opportunity's mission have been calibrated to show how dim the Sun appeared through the dust storm. For sols 1236-1242 (July 16-22, 2007), the skies were so dark that Opportunity could not muster enough power to perform its usual tau measurements.Credit: NASA / JPL / Cornell / animation by Emily Lakdawalla "

Thanks, but that still doesn't say what exactly tau means.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ccdengr on 06/13/2018 02:16 pm


Thanks, but that still doesn't say what exactly tau means.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_depth under "atmospheric sciences"
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: zhangmdev on 06/13/2018 02:45 pm
My understanding is, to estimate how much light is attenuated after passing through the media, i.e. the Mars atmosphere, need to estimate the transmittance of the media based on the brightness of the Sun in those tau images, calibrated against its brightness in a clear sky, of the same solar elevation angle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer%E2%80%93Lambert_law
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: as58 on 06/13/2018 02:57 pm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_depth under "atmospheric sciences"

Thanks. So apparently in atmospheric (and I guess also planetary) science tau, without further qualification, means optical depth towards the zenith.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: redliox on 06/13/2018 03:21 pm
"For sols 1236-1242 (July 16-22, 2007), the skies were so dark that Opportunity could not muster enough power to perform its usual tau measurements.Credit: NASA / JPL / Cornell / animation by Emily Lakdawalla "

http://planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-missions/mer-updates/2007/07-31-mer-update.html

The situation is much worse than it was 11 years ago.

Fingers crossed for Opportunity, but something this large, if anything, sadly might be the final nail in the coffin.  We'll only know for sure after a few days.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Ilikeboosterrockets on 06/13/2018 04:08 pm
https://twitter.com/SGuzewich/status/1006701616278458375

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Nomadd on 06/13/2018 04:50 pm
 This would be one helluva last series of photos.
http://bgr.com/2018/06/13/opportunity-dust-storm-mars-nasa-photos/
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Orbiter on 06/13/2018 04:53 pm
This dust storm is so intense even amateurs can easily spot it in a small telescope. I've been watching it with my 8" dobsonian and Syrtis major, one of the more prominent features on Mars, is almost completely obscured. This is turning into a global event.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: 1 on 06/13/2018 05:33 pm
JPL news conference going live.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIKxdRFx2Wo
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Chris Bergin on 06/13/2018 05:48 pm
How the Mars dust storm caught Opportunity right in the middle of it.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Chris Bergin on 06/13/2018 05:57 pm
Sounds positive. Won't breach the coldest allowable temperatures. Won't be "buried alive" (reporter question). Can hunker down for a long time and recharge when the sky clears. The concern is how long they can continue in low power (and then to wake up/communicate correctly).
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Chris Bergin on 06/13/2018 06:12 pm
"We're very concerned. The team has a very tight bond with the Rover. It's like a loved one (and said an old grandma, due to the age) in the hospital with a coma."
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Ilikeboosterrockets on 06/13/2018 06:29 pm
Sounds positive. Won't breach the coldest allowable temperatures. Won't be "buried alive" (reporter question). Can hunker down for a long time and recharge when the sky clears. The concern is how long they can continue in low power (and then to wake up/communicate correctly).

"Won't breach the coldest allowable temperatures" as long as the heaters stay active, correct? Or can the rover survive without the heaters? And do we know if the rover has enough reserve power to keep the heaters active for weeks/months?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: 1 on 06/13/2018 06:32 pm
Sounds positive. Won't breach the coldest allowable temperatures. Won't be "buried alive" (reporter question). Can hunker down for a long time and recharge when the sky clears. The concern is how long they can continue in low power (and then to wake up/communicate correctly).

"Won't breach the coldest allowable temperatures" as long as the heaters stay active, correct? Or can the rover survive without the heaters? And do we know if the rover has enough reserve power to keep the heaters active for weeks/months?

Mentioned a few times, but since ambient temperatures aren't expected to drop below minimum, primary concern is providing sufficient power to the mission clock. All electronics, including heaters, can be deactivated. Further loss of power will cause a 'clock fault' that will cause the rover to lose track of what time it is and will cause erratic behavior in terms in communications. Team is prepared for that possibility and will hopefully be able to restore proper behavior if that happens.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Yellowstone10 on 06/13/2018 07:05 pm
"Won't breach the coldest allowable temperatures" as long as the heaters stay active, correct? Or can the rover survive without the heaters? And do we know if the rover has enough reserve power to keep the heaters active for weeks/months?

The electric heaters are off when the rover is in a low-power fault, but it also has 8 radioisotope heater units that put out about 1 watt each. In today's briefing, they said that between those heaters and the ambient temperature, the rover is expected to stabilize at -36 °C. It's designed to operate down to -40 °C, so it should be good.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 06/13/2018 07:20 pm
Great twitter thread capturing lots of key points from press conference:

https://twitter.com/elakdawalla/status/1006952540234059776

Thread is too long to capture all here.

Scary pic of the increasing atmospheric opacity attached.

2nd pic for:

Quote
Zurek: As dust expands, it absorbs sunlight, heating and producing a positive feedback cycle. Dust has now reached high altitudes. We're doing integrated observations with all Mars spacecraft to follow how the dust storm develops.

https://twitter.com/elakdawalla/status/1006955982969135104

Quote
Callas: Models suggests rover hits a steady state temperature, with heating from its 8 internal Radioisotope Heater Units which provide 1 watt heat each from plutonium decay. Minimum allowable temp is -40C. We expect to hit as low as -36C

https://twitter.com/elakdawalla/status/1006957012280700938
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 06/13/2018 07:58 pm
Quote
Briefing’s over. Key takeaway is that, despite some concerns, the Opportunity project team is optimistic that the rover will make it through the dust storm.

https://mobile.twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1006967973880451081

Quote
NASA doesn’t expect storm to affect Curiosity; only in worst-case scenario would there be any concerns about dust being deposited on optics.

https://mobile.twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1006962856426917889
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: theinternetftw on 06/13/2018 08:01 pm
Here are the last two slides that were in the presentation, one of Curiosity's observation of the planet-wide storm, and another of the storm spreading animation.

edit: clarifying what the first slide is.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Don2 on 06/13/2018 11:27 pm
The dust storm is good news for some: From Jan 2018 article:

Quote
Some Mars experts are eager and optimistic for a dust storm this year to grow so grand it darkens skies around the entire Red Planet.

This biggest type of phenomenon in the environment of modern Mars could be examined as never before possible, using the combination of spacecraft now at Mars.

A study published this week based on observations by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) during the most recent Martian global dust storm -- in 2007 -- suggests such storms play a role in the ongoing process of gas escaping from the top of Mars' atmosphere. That process long ago transformed wetter, warmer ancient Mars into today's arid, frozen planet.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/dust-storms-linked-to-gas-escape-from-mars-atmosphere (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/dust-storms-linked-to-gas-escape-from-mars-atmosphere)

On another topic, the best positioned camera to monitor this dust storm is probably the Indian one. Is there any chance we might see anything from them?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: DaveS on 08/16/2018 09:53 am
There's good news today! DSS-34 has detected a strong carrier signal from Opportunity! Active commanding is currently in progress.

Edit: Based on the frequency and data rate of the initial AOS, this was from the rover's steerable high gain antenna (6.00 Mb/s, 8.44 GHz).
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: DaveS on 08/16/2018 10:23 am
The Opportunity downlink signal disappeared for a while indicating most likely that the playback of stored data has been completed. This is an indication that the rover is following a preset schedule of commands of what do to when ever it recovers from a low-power fault.

The signal has now returned some 18 minutes after active commanding began which shows that the rover is alive and can be commanded from the ground.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Stardust9906 on 08/16/2018 11:49 am
There's good news today! DSS-34 has detected a strong carrier signal from Opportunity! Active commanding is currently in progress.

Edit: Based on the frequency and data rate of the initial AOS, this was from the rover's steerable high gain antenna (6.00 Mb/s, 8.44 GHz).

Excellent news thanks for the update.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 08/16/2018 01:41 pm
There's good news today! DSS-34 has detected a strong carrier signal from Opportunity! Active commanding is currently in progress.

Edit: Based on the frequency and data rate of the initial AOS, this was from the rover's steerable high gain antenna (6.00 Mb/s, 8.44 GHz).

It has been several hours and there has been no official confirmation of this.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: DaveS on 08/16/2018 01:45 pm
There's good news today! DSS-34 has detected a strong carrier signal from Opportunity! Active commanding is currently in progress.

Edit: Based on the frequency and data rate of the initial AOS, this was from the rover's steerable high gain antenna (6.00 Mb/s, 8.44 GHz).

It has been several hours and there has been no official confirmation of this.
Give it some time, It's still very early morning PDT so the JPL Public Affairs folks are probably not in yet.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: j_ch on 08/16/2018 03:48 pm
Amazing news, but I'm not surprised:

http://ichf.edu.pl/press/2017/01/IChF170125b_fot01.jpg

:)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 08/16/2018 03:51 pm
Thanks for answering, DaveS. I also wondered what's going on and why they haven't spread the good news yet. Looks like I forgot that time zones exist ;)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: djellison on 08/16/2018 03:57 pm
Sorry to burst some bubbles, but DaveS - I'm afraid you've read too much into what DSN Now has been reporting. 

A few background details....
Comm subsystems for both MER and MRO here : https://descanso.jpl.nasa.gov/DPSummary/summary.html
MER fault protection primer here  : https://trs.jpl.nasa.gov/bitstream/handle/2014/37750/05-0557.pdf

Opportunity is in a low power fault or loss of clock fault - neither of these attempt to use the high gain antenna. Expect data rates of 10bps or so in this scenario.   Even if it were somehow using the HGA - you would never ever see a data rate from it at more than 28,800 bps - never 6 megabits per second.

What does talk at 6 megabits per second is MRO with its 3m wide HGA.   

I'm afraid what you saw was an antenna briefly locking up on MRO as its orbital motion put it's nominal downlink frequency on top of the expected MER frequency due to Doppler shift. 

All the 8 Ghz X-Band frequencies for these spacecraft are pretty close together and so it's easy to see why a spacecraft in orbit that is sometimes coming 'towards' Earth in that orbit, and sometimes going 'away' from Earth in that orbit could very easily have it's carrier frequency pass through the expected MER frequency twice per orbit - and that's what you saw.  The antenna will briefly acquire 'lock' on that passing signal and follow it until the receiver is commanded to drop lock and start looking back at the proper frequency for a signal to acquire.

If you watch DSN Now enough - you'll have seen this has been happening a lot over the past 2 months.

Sadly what you saw was NOT a signal from Opportunity

Another detail - you later said " playback of stored data has been completed".   Opportunity has not had flash memory in use for several years ( https://mars.nasa.gov/news/1841/opportunity-rovers-7th-mars-winter-to-include-new-study-area/ )- there is no stored data to be played back.

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 08/16/2018 04:06 pm
That’s all very well but usually it identifies what it’s communicating with on that site. I can’t see how that would happen unless you’re saying that site would mislabel what it’s communicating with?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: djellison on 08/16/2018 04:09 pm
That’s all very well but usually it identifies what it’s communicating with on that site. I can’t see how that would happen unless you’re saying that site would mislabel what it’s communicating with?

If the antenna is looking for MER-B, then the session on DSN Now says 'MER1'. 

If MRO comes along and dumps it's enormous power downlink right where that antenna is looking - DSN Now will still report that it's looking for MER1 - but show there is a signal.    That's what DaveS saw.  It's been happening on an almost daily basis for two months.

The spacecraft names on DSN Now are essentially what's "booked" on that antenna at that time - it's not responsive to where a signal is coming from.  You'll notice - it will happily put a label over an antenna when neither uplink nor downlink are occuring - it's because the antenna is booked for that spacecraft and is either setting up for it, cleaning up after a pass, or looking for a signal.   At the time I'm posting this - that is true for OSIRIS-REX on DSS55, STEREO-A on DSS14, Voyager 2 on DSS43 and MRO on DSS46.

(Source.... I worked on DSN Now for several years - https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/credits.html )
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 08/16/2018 06:36 pm
Thanks for that explanation it’s much appreciated.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: redliox on 08/16/2018 06:46 pm
So for better or worse, Opportunity is still stuck in silence?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: speedevil on 08/16/2018 07:54 pm
Is there any recent research on optical density over time at the site? I have looked and found nothing.
Clearly, measuring from the top of the atmosphere is not going to be hugely accurate.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 08/17/2018 08:42 pm
We Might Be Able to Contact NASA's Opportunity Rover Soon

Quote
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been monitoring the dust storm since it began from MRO's vantage point in orbit, and for the first time the spacecraft has detected signs that the storm is slowing down. According to the data, more dust is falling out of the sky than is getting pulled up by winds. With luck, the storm will begin to dissipate within the next few weeks.

Once it does, the Opportunity team has a difficult task ahead: determining the health of the rover and whether its mission can continue. Opportunity has been out of communication with the Earth since mid-June, and with the storm blocking both communications and sunlight, it’s likely that Opportunity has been pretty much out of power for a while now.

Once the dust storm finally fades, the Opportunity team will start sending signals to the rover in an attempt to reestablish contact. Assuming Opportunity isn’t completely dead, the team should be able to receive some sort of signal back. Once they do, they’ll be able to determine just what kind of shape the rover is in.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/moon-mars/a22760677/we-might-be-able-to-contact-nasas-opportunity-rover-soon/
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 08/17/2018 11:27 pm
https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2018-192

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: redliox on 08/18/2018 01:24 am
What is the current tau level?  That should be the gauge to estimate Opportunity's chances for survival.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: speedevil on 08/18/2018 01:44 am
What is the current tau level?  That should be the gauge to estimate Opportunity's chances for survival.
Apparently, due to conditions, for the next few months at least, it's fine.

The rover has shut down due to low voltage on the batteries and possibly has not got enough power to run the clock.

However, the upcoming summer, the heat from the small amount of radioisotope heaters, as well as the insulation from the cloud all mean that the temperature doesn't get very close to the minimum 'storage' temperature of the rover.

It should - if the rover performs to spec - be in low power mode, probably without clock at times, and when it gets enough power, will start transmitting to earth based on rough daytime.

High opacity does not risk damage to the rover at this time.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Nomadd on 08/18/2018 02:16 am
What is the current tau level?  That should be the gauge to estimate Opportunity's chances for survival.
It's very close to the level where the rover should start waking up. It's been fluctuating in the low 2s, and it needs to get just below 2 for the arrays to do enough, depending on how much dust is on them.
 It's not really the big factor. The rover has been pretty much stone cold dead, and won't even know what time it so it can try to initiate contact, so it will be interesting.
 That article Blackstar linked explains it pretty well.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 08/18/2018 11:15 am
They did a press conference on this issue a couple of months ago and it was pretty interesting. Although the rover's clock will be out and it probably won't know what time it is (and therefore not know when it should communicate), it will know when the sun is up and down, and that gives it a rudimentary clock to start from.

See if you can locate the audio file with the explanation. It's worth listening to.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: hop on 08/18/2018 09:07 pm
It's very close to the level where the rover should start waking up. It's been fluctuating in the low 2s, and it needs to get just below 2 for the arrays to do enough, depending on how much dust is on them.
One caution: tau estimates from orbit are pretty uncertain, so it's probably best to take the "low 2s" as the middle of some large uncertainty rather than definitive statement of what is happening at the rovers specific location.

This is discussed some in A.J.S. Rayl's most recent MER update:  http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-missions/mer-updates/2018/08-mer-update-opportunity-sleeps.html
Quote
Estimating the Tau from orbit is tricky, but it is possible. By using a terrestrial model tuned for the Martian atmosphere by colleague and MARCI science team member, Michael Wolff at the Space Science Institute, a model that he has used during the last 20 years, Cantor crunched the numbers based on the MARCI data in late July and produced a calculated estimate of a Tau that put guarded smiles on the faces of MER team members: the dust opacity at Endeavour had dropped substantially, to approximately 3.6 with a margin of error of 1, meaning the haze could be as low as 2.6 or as high as 4.6, “a huge uncertainty,” he admitted.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 08/19/2018 11:59 am
JPL news conference going live.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIKxdRFx2Wo

Here is the JPL news conference from early June. Listen to this for an explanation of how the rover behaves when there is no sun, and how it would try to recover.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 08/27/2018 09:24 am
Looks like things are clearing up on Mars.

Quote
Damian Peach
@peachastro
#Mars
 on August 9th (link: http://www.damianpeach.com/mars2018/m2018_08_09Bdp.jpg) damianpeach.com/mars2018/m2018… Some moments of very good seeing. Dust can be seen inside Valles  Marineris. Some notable changes in the dark markings have occurred due to the re-distribution of dust by the large storm earlier this year.

https://mobile.twitter.com/peachastro/status/1033773988793778176
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Archibald on 08/27/2018 03:56 pm
That rover definitively has some Mark Watney DNA.  ;D  Watney spent three years on Mars, Oppie four times more.
Never, ever give up, even in the thick of a huge storm. Kudos to JPL and to the contractors that build it.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: jbenton on 08/30/2018 04:37 pm
This is more than a week old, but it's relevant to the discussion; that and they mentioned this forum. Therefore I decided I'd post this:

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/opportunity-false-alarm.html

The article accounts for MER-1 showing up on DSN, even though it wasn't actually communicating
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 08/31/2018 08:44 pm
Martian Skies Clearing over Opportunity Rover

A planet-encircling dust storm on Mars, which was first detected May 30 and halted operations for the Opportunity rover, continues to abate.

With clearing skies over Opportunity's resting spot in Mars' Perseverance Valley, engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, believe the nearly 15-year-old, solar-powered rover will soon receive enough sunlight to automatically initiate recovery procedures -- if the rover is able to do so. To prepare, the Opportunity mission team has developed a two-step plan to provide the highest probability of successfully communicating with the rover and bringing it back online.

"The Sun is breaking through the haze over Perseverance Valley, and soon there will be enough sunlight present that Opportunity should be able to recharge its batteries," said John Callas, Opportunity project manager at JPL. "When the tau level [a measure of the amount of particulate matter in the Martian sky] dips below 1.5, we will begin a period of actively attempting to communicate with the rover by sending it commands via the antennas of NASA's Deep Space Network. Assuming that we hear back from Opportunity, we will begin the process of discerning its status and bringing it back online."

The rover's last communication with Earth was received June 10, and Opportunity's current health is unknown. Opportunity engineers are relying on the expertise of Mars scientists analyzing data from the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to estimate the tau near the rover's position.

"The dust haze produced by the Martian global dust storm of 2018 is one of the most extensive on record, but all indications are it is finally coming to a close," said MRO Project Scientist Rich Zurek at JPL. "MARCI images of the Opportunity site have shown no active dust storms for some time within 3,000 kilometers [about 1,900 miles] of the rover site."

With skies clearing, mission managers are hopeful the rover will attempt to call home, but they are also prepared for an extended period of silence. "If we do not hear back after 45 days, the team will be forced to conclude that the Sun-blocking dust and the Martian cold have conspired to cause some type of fault from which the rover will more than likely not recover," said Callas. "At that point our active phase of reaching out to Opportunity will be at an end. However, in the unlikely chance that there is a large amount of dust sitting on the solar arrays that is blocking the Sun's energy, we will continue passive listening efforts for several months."

The additional several months for passive listening are an allowance for the possibility that a Red Planet dust devil could come along and literally dust off Opportunity's solar arrays. Such "cleaning events" were first discovered by Mars rover teams in 2004 when, on several occasions, battery power levels aboard both Spirit and Opportunity increased by several percent during a single Martian night, when the logical expectation was that they would continue to decrease. These cleaning dust devils have even been imaged by both rovers on the surface and spacecraft in orbit (see https://mars.nasa.gov/resources/5307/the-serpent-dust-devil-of-mars/).

https://youtu.be/k8lfJ0c7WQ8

The chances are small that dust accumulation would be the root cause of Opportunity's lack of communication. Nonetheless, each day during the passive phase, JPL's Radio Science group will scour the signal records taken by a very sensitive broadband receiver of radio frequencies emanating from Mars, looking for a sign that the rover is trying to reach out.

Even if the team hears back from Opportunity during either phase, there is no assurance the rover will be operational. The impact of this latest storm on Opportunity's systems is unknown but could have resulted in reduced energy production, diminished battery performance, or other unforeseen damage that could make it difficult for the rover to fully return online.

While the situation in Perseverance Valley is critical, the rover team is cautiously optimistic, knowing that Opportunity has overcome significant challenges during its 14-plus years on Mars. The rover lost use of its front steering -- its left-front in June of 2017, and right front in 2005. Its 256-megabyte flash memory is no longer functioning. The team also knows that everything about the rover is well beyond its warranty period -- both Opportunity and its twin rover, Spirit, were constructed for 90-day missions (Spirit lasted 20 times longer and Opportunity is going on 60 times). The rovers were designed to travel about 1,000 yards, and Opportunity has logged more than 28 miles. Through thick and thin, the team has seen their rover soldier on. Now, Opportunity engineers and scientists of Opportunity are planning, and hoping, that this latest dilemma is just another bump in their Martian road.

"In a situation like this you hope for the best but plan for all eventualities," said Callas. "We are pulling for our tenacious rover to pull her feet from the fire one more time. And if she does, we will be there to hear her."

Updates on the dust storm and tau can be foundhere.

JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, built Opportunity and manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

For more information about Opportunity, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/rovers

https://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: vjkane on 09/01/2018 06:06 pm
I've now read a couple of articles talking about how the 45 active recovery period was imposed on the Opportunity team.  Don't know if this is true, but here's a link to one story (and I can't remember where the other one was; it was a Twitter link):

https://www.space.com/41702-mars-rover-opportunity-recovery-deadline.html (https://www.space.com/41702-mars-rover-opportunity-recovery-deadline.html)


Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ccdengr on 09/01/2018 07:36 pm
I've now read a couple of articles talking about how the 45 active recovery period was imposed on the Opportunity team.
Given that there is plenty of contention for DSN resources, is this really as unreasonable as some are claiming?  They spent over a year trying to recover Spirit with no success.

I've also been unable to find a really solid answer for how likely it is that they could recover with active commanding but never see anything with passive listening, which they've committed to doing for some indefinite but longer period.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: redliox on 09/01/2018 07:54 pm
I've now read a couple of articles talking about how the 45 active recovery period was imposed on the Opportunity team.
Given that there is plenty of contention for DSN resources, is this really as unreasonable as some are claiming?  They spent over a year trying to recover Spirit with no success.

Could be a matter of efficiency.  In 45 days, which lands in mid-October, we enter the approach phase of InSight's own mission.  Although I understand the MARCO cubesats play a minor communication role, the same DNS resources might be required for the newest Martian robot.

If anything was going to make Opportunity kick the bucket this dust storm would have been it in glorious fashion.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: russianhalo117 on 09/01/2018 07:57 pm
This is more than a week old, but it's relevant to the discussion; that and they mentioned this forum. Therefore I decided I'd post this:

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/opportunity-false-alarm.html

The article accounts for MER-1 showing up on DSN, even though it wasn't actually communicating
Been discussed before. DSN graphics only show scheduled listening and transmit and not what is actually occurring.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: jbenton on 09/02/2018 03:56 am
I've now read a couple of articles talking about how the 45 active recovery period was imposed on the Opportunity team.
Given that there is plenty of contention for DSN resources, is this really as unreasonable as some are claiming?  They spent over a year trying to recover Spirit with no success.

I've also been unable to find a really solid answer for how likely it is that they could recover with active commanding but never see anything with passive listening, which they've committed to doing for some indefinite but longer period.

The answer to this is probably obvious, but I'll ask anyways: Why must DSN listen to the rover? Can't they direct MRO or Odyssey to listen for vital signs?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Phil Stooke on 09/02/2018 04:16 am
DSN can point to Mars and listen for an hour or more.  MRO (etc.) move fast, can only listen very briefly and have to be at the right place at the right time. 
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: TripleSeven on 09/02/2018 04:29 am
DSN can point to Mars and listen for an hour or more.  MRO (etc.) move fast, can only listen very briefly and have to be at the right place at the right time.

The good thing about the orbiting link is 1) the link analysis is far better and 2) there is no competition for resources...the bad thing is as you point out their window "overhead" is less.

I hope Opportunity wakes UP...it was a great target for the 12 meter dish
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: redliox on 09/02/2018 04:56 am
DSN can point to Mars and listen for an hour or more.  MRO (etc.) move fast, can only listen very briefly and have to be at the right place at the right time.

This would be an example why a proper comsat in higher orbit is needed.  MRO and the craft in low orbit can be useful but limited.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: TripleSeven on 09/02/2018 04:57 am
DSN can point to Mars and listen for an hour or more.  MRO (etc.) move fast, can only listen very briefly and have to be at the right place at the right time.

This would be an example why a proper comsat in higher orbit is needed.  MRO and the craft in low orbit can be useful but limited.

If NASA were serious about Mars exploration two such "Relay sats" would already be in operation.  But they are not.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: jbenton on 09/02/2018 07:00 am
DSN can point to Mars and listen for an hour or more.  MRO (etc.) move fast, can only listen very briefly and have to be at the right place at the right time.

This would be an example why a proper comsat in higher orbit is needed.  MRO and the craft in low orbit can be useful but limited.

NASA had plans to launch a comms-dedicated sat to Mars in 2009 but the mission was lost to Curiosity-cost overruns IIRC. According to one of the older threads here that I read recently, that one was supposed to be at around 8,000 5,000 km. Is that about what you were thinking as "higher orbit?"

EDIT: Post from this forum thread from 2016: NASA Selects Five Mars Orbiter Concept Studies (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40739.0;all), specifically Reply #29

Quote
Some other relevant NSF forum threads:
Mars Telecom Orbiter reduxe (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37236.0;all)

NASA Seeks Industry Ideas for an Advanced Mars Satellite (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40122.0)

Is NASA too broke to afford more Mars probes? (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41411.0;all)

The 5 Mega-meter altitude orbit came from the second of the three "other relevant NSF forum threads" - which is locked, for some reason...
Apparently an orbiter at 5,000 is in contact with Earth "almost always" - I take that to mean 'even when Mars is behind the Earth, relative to the Sun, for the most part at least'
I meant to put all that in my original post but it was late, and I was tired.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Lar on 09/02/2018 03:21 pm
I just deleted not one, not two, but THREE posts complaining about TripleSeven being off topic/whiney. Those are off topic too. Use the report to mod please. This thread is likely to have high outside readership. Don't make things worse. thank you.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 09/02/2018 03:59 pm
DSN can point to Mars and listen for an hour or more.  MRO (etc.) move fast, can only listen very briefly and have to be at the right place at the right time.

This would be an example why a proper comsat in higher orbit is needed.  MRO and the craft in low orbit can be useful but limited.

If NASA were serious about Mars exploration two such "Relay sats" would already be in operation.  But they are not.

"serious about Mars exploration"

Count the number of spacecraft operating in orbit or on the surface of Mars (and include Opportunity in that count). How many of them are NASA?

So I think that we can agree that NASA is serious about Mars exploration. Now as to the issue of sufficient in-orbit relay capability at Mars, you might look at the recent National Academies decadal midterm report, which has an entire chapter about Mars and was led by a person whom I'm told is tall and handsome and smells of blueberries.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: GClark on 09/02/2018 05:10 pm
...is tall and handsome and smells of blueberries.

And humble, too.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 09/02/2018 06:14 pm
...is tall and handsome and smells of blueberries.

And humble, too.



I'm reminded of Golda Meir's comment: "Don't be humble. You're not that great."

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: jbenton on 09/02/2018 07:12 pm

... Now as to the issue of sufficient in-orbit relay capability at Mars, you might look at the recent National Academies decadal midterm report, which has an entire chapter about Mars and was led by a person whom I'm told is tall and handsome and smells of blueberries.

You said daffodils the last time... ;D


Anyways, for anyone interested, this here's the link to download the pdf:

https://www.nap.edu/login.php?record_id=25186

You can either make an account or "download as a guest" from here.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: vjkane on 09/02/2018 08:22 pm
DSN can point to Mars and listen for an hour or more.  MRO (etc.) move fast, can only listen very briefly and have to be at the right place at the right time.

This would be an example why a proper comsat in higher orbit is needed.  MRO and the craft in low orbit can be useful but limited.

If NASA were serious about Mars exploration two such "Relay sats" would already be in operation.  But they are not.

"serious about Mars exploration"

Count the number of spacecraft operating in orbit or on the surface of Mars (and include Opportunity in that count). How many of them are NASA?

So I think that we can agree that NASA is serious about Mars exploration. Now as to the issue of sufficient in-orbit relay capability at Mars, you might look at the recent National Academies decadal midterm report, which has an entire chapter about Mars and was led by a person whom I'm told is tall and handsome and smells of blueberries.

There are always choices.  NASA has followed the Decadal Survey which said last time that what became the Curiosity rover was the highest Mars priority and this time sample return (Mars 2020 rover plus advanced planning for actually getting those sample tubes back to Earth)

The next Decadal could prioritize a new Mars orbiter.  If it follows the SAG recommendations, it would be a joint science and communications orbiter.  Some set of science likely would fit in a New Frontiers budget.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: speedevil on 09/02/2018 08:30 pm
The next Decadal could prioritize a new Mars orbiter.  If it follows the SAG recommendations, it would be a joint science and communications orbiter.  Some set of science likely would fit in a New Frontiers budget.
Wikipedia says the decadal 2013-2022 was published 2011 in preprint form.
So, it seems logical that another one would be perhaps solidifying in some form around next year.
I guess we'll see then how the 2020 rover sample earth return features in that, and indeed Mars comms.
It will also be very interesting in other aspects.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 09/02/2018 08:36 pm
So, it seems logical that another one would be perhaps solidifying in some form around next year.
I guess we'll see then how the 2020 rover sample earth return features in that, and indeed Mars comms.
It will also be very interesting in other aspects.

No, it won't really get underway until 2020. Astro is going on next year.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 09/02/2018 08:36 pm
You said daffodils the last time... ;D

Sometimes even strawberries.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 09/02/2018 08:43 pm
1-There are always choices.  NASA has followed the Decadal Survey which said last time that what became the Curiosity rover was the highest Mars priority and this time sample return (Mars 2020 rover plus advanced planning for actually getting those sample tubes back to Earth)

2-The next Decadal could prioritize a new Mars orbiter.  If it follows the SAG recommendations, it would be a joint science and communications orbiter.  Some set of science likely would fit in a New Frontiers budget.

1-Well, it was a lot more complicated than that. The 2001 decadal prioritized Europa, and that didn't exactly work out. And what became Curiosity is different than what was in the decadal survey, which was a rather vaguely-formed recommendation for a mid-size rover that did some stuff. I think that Curiosity is a great mission and the right mission, but how it went from the decadal to actual implementation is convoluted.

2-A Mars orbiter is likely to be a strategically directed mission and could even be done without a decadal survey recommendation. The Mars Exploration Program (MEP) is distinct, and includes infrastructure requirements. NASA will be creating a new strategic plan for the MEP.

What the DS will likely recommend is that NASA place a high priority on achieving relay capability, rather than recommending a specific mission to do it. That would be separate from any list of prioritized large strategic (flagship) missions or any list of New Frontiers targets.

What MEPAG has been discussing, and is in the new midterm report, is that there will be other science to do on the Martian surface beyond sample return. Assume that sample return happens and brings its own dedicated comms. You are still going to have assets on the surface that you'll want to use to continue doing science, and that's going to require data relay. If Opportunity returns from the dead that will prove that it is immortal and will last forever, so that will need comms. And Curiosity has a lot of life in it. And Mars 2020 will continue roving even after the samples come back. So you don't want to just leave them there.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: jbenton on 09/02/2018 09:52 pm
I have another question about DSN, all this relay stuff, and rovers:

Spirit and Opportunity are/were solar powered, whereas Curiosity and Mars 2020 have RTGs. Oppy is having problems because the Sun's rays can't penetrate the dust cover. The radio waves themselves, to my knowledge are great at penetrating clouds, haze, and dust.

So my question is, does Curiosity have any problems have any problems communicating with the orbiters or DSN during these great global blackouts?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 09/02/2018 10:55 pm
I have another question about DSN, all this relay stuff, and rovers:

Spirit and Opportunity are/were solar powered, whereas Curiosity and Mars 2020 have RTGs. Oppy is having problems because the Sun's rays can't penetrate the dust cover. The radio waves themselves, to my knowledge are great at penetrating clouds, haze, and dust.

So my question is, does Curiosity have any problems have any problems communicating with the orbiters or DSN during these great global blackouts?

I dunno about "any" problems. But you can find Curiosity images sent during the dust storm. It works.

Here is a dust storm selfie:
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: TripleSeven on 09/02/2018 11:16 pm
I have another question about DSN, all this relay stuff, and rovers:

Spirit and Opportunity are/were solar powered, whereas Curiosity and Mars 2020 have RTGs. Oppy is having problems because the Sun's rays can't penetrate the dust cover. The radio waves themselves, to my knowledge are great at penetrating clouds, haze, and dust.

So my question is, does Curiosity have any problems have any problems communicating with the orbiters or DSN during these great global blackouts?

The only problem is power to run the transcievers...if the solar arrays dont make power than the transmitter in particular is one of the "greediest" users of power so they try and conserve power by not using it.  The RF system if powered would work fine in the dust.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: TripleSeven on 09/02/2018 11:22 pm
DSN can point to Mars and listen for an hour or more.  MRO (etc.) move fast, can only listen very briefly and have to be at the right place at the right time.

This would be an example why a proper comsat in higher orbit is needed.  MRO and the craft in low orbit can be useful but limited.

If NASA were serious about Mars exploration two such "Relay sats" would already be in operation.  But they are not.

"serious about Mars exploration"

Count the number of spacecraft operating in orbit or on the surface of Mars (and include Opportunity in that count). How many of them are NASA?

So I think that we can agree that NASA is serious about Mars exploration. Now as to the issue of sufficient in-orbit relay capability at Mars, you might look at the recent National Academies decadal midterm report, which has an entire chapter about Mars and was led by a person whom I'm told is tall and handsome and smells of blueberries.

Its not on the tip of my recent experiences but I have read it and other "reports"

As I recall, in brief summary the concern was that as the current relay fleet ages that there wont be sufficient relay capability for a sample return mission, but they are hopeful that since MAVEN and other vehicles are ending their primary mission that they can stretch the fleet...and while a dedicated mars relay would be very useful...the scientist have 1) other priorities and or 2) dont want to pay for it out of their science bucket of money or 3) hope that other vehicles can be used for that but of course the relay "parts" take science payload which they are unwilling or unhappy to part with

Thats what I recall anyway.  I hope the rover comes back, it makes a great RF target and calibration device :)   )  now that the Chinese have their tracking station operating in Brazil...well their lunar relay is a good target.

Glad the guy is tall and handsome...that is important. The smell well maybe as well :)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 09/02/2018 11:47 pm
As I recall, in brief summary the concern was that as the current relay fleet ages that there wont be sufficient relay capability for a sample return mission, but they are hopeful that since MAVEN and other vehicles are ending their primary

Sample return will carry its own relay capabilities, and they will come back with the sample return spacecraft.

The issue is relay beyond that mission, or if that mission does not happen.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 09/02/2018 11:57 pm
1-NASA Planetary Science is as "serious" about Mars as it can afford to be while also being serious about the rest of the Solar System. Some, pinning for a new Venus mission - for example, would say too much so.

2-The fact that there are 3 operating orbiters and 1 or 2 operating rovers shows this. What shows this even more is that we know more about Mars than we do about our own oceans!

I'm breaking this post into separate replies and numbering them. Because: reasons.

1-There's actually a real story here, and probably the best place to find it spelled out is in a paper done last year by Jason Callahan and Casey Dreier. But the short version is:

-between the mid-1990s and 2010, NASA spent a LOT of money on Mars exploration. In fact, they could have spent even more, but Dan Goldin actually turned down the money. (I was told this by a senior NASA official who was there. I need to contact him and get that account in writing.)

-when the Obama administration came in they faced several things. They didn't really want to give NASA much more money. They had to deal with the Curiosity and more importantly the JWST cost overruns. They wanted to prioritize Earth science. They didn't care that much about planetary science. And they felt that Mars had received a lot of attention and funding over the years and it was now somebody else's turn. The result was a substantial cut in the Planetary Science Division's budget, and in particular a cut in the Mars Exploration Program budget. As a result, the number of Mars missions has been on the decrease.

-there's some more to this story than that, but the above is sufficient for now.

2-We don't know more about Mars than our own oceans. Right now there are research submersibles exploring our oceans, there are dozens of military submarines under our oceans, taking some data, there are research vessels above and sensors below our oceans, and there are satellites orbiting overhead taking data on the oceans. We know a lot about our oceans. It's just that they are really complex things to study.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 09/03/2018 12:09 am
3-The problem is that all comms orbiters must have a science mission as well (so far). It's the most cost-effective, most affordable way to do all that the Mars Program wants to do.

4-If NASA were to set up dedicated comms sats, it would probably come from HEOMD - the human spaceflight directorate. For that to happen, then they'd need the funding to actually do human spaceflight, and then an extra couple hundred millions per year for the sats. Forces beyond NASA's control  determine that - the President, the OMB, and the Congress. That of course, is something to discus on a Space Politics thread, not here.

5-I agree with you that dedicated comms sats are needed, nevertheless, I believe that any further discussion about the need for two or more dedicated comms sats and what they would look like belongs here:
SpaceX Mars communication constellation (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45483)
It's a SpaceX thread, not a NASA thread, but my understanding is that the two are talking with each other about it. I'd be surprised if there wouldn't be collaboration. It would almost certainly be a public-private partnership, just
like the future of TDRS:


3-They don't have to have a science mission. That's just the way it has been prioritized. A different leader could make a different decision. And there's other ways of parsing this problem, like having NASA decide to build a comm relay satellite and then offer a few spots for foreign partners to stick instruments on it. Of course, the US scientific community would complain, but somebody always complains about something.

3A-There are possible alternatives looming on the horizon. For instance, the Psyche spacecraft is based on a commercial comsat bus. It will also have a laser communications system. Although it will not launch until 2022, if the spacecraft works at Mars distance, and if that laser comm works at Mars distance, that basic spacecraft would be a possible choice for a mid-2020s Mars relay satellite.

4-We're not doing humans to Mars. It's off the table for NASA now, and it just isn't going to happen, by anybody. So HEOMD is not going to step up to do it.

5-If NASA needs a comm relay at Mars, then NASA is going to pay for a comm relay at Mars. They aren't going to sit around and pray that somebody else does it for them. Memories on this forum are short (squirrel!) but it wasn't all that long ago that some company indicated that it was going to send some big honking landers to the surface of Mars, and lots of people got the vapors and swooned and said that now that this was happening, we didn't need all of those silly NASA missions, like sample return. Well, hope is not a strategy, it didn't happen, and so we're back to where we always were--if NASA decides it needs it, NASA is going to have to procure it.

Now the positive development is that other countries are getting into the game. India is building another Mars mission, and NASA is going to want to put a relay package on that one. China is building a Mars mission, and there is a possibility that maybe some cooperation could happen there. So there are other assets coming along that could help. And if some private company decides to use their own money to send stuff to Mars, I'm sure NASA would ask to put a relay package on that as well. Pigs could also grow wings. But that's enough for now.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ccdengr on 09/03/2018 01:17 am
None of this OT discussion about comm orbiters affects Opportunity at all.  People might try reading https://trs.jpl.nasa.gov/bitstream/handle/2014/37750/05-0557.pdf for some details about how MER communicates in fault states, especially Figure 2.

Once the rover loses its clock, it becomes much more unlikely that the scheduled UHF comm windows will happen to hit an actual overflight, making communication direct to Earth the only practical way of recovery.

Remember that the mission was only supposed to last for 90 days, and they only spent so much effort on fault protection (though they certainly seem to have covered the bases reasonably well, it's possible that a flaw in the fault protection scheme rather than an actual hardware failure was responsible for the loss of Spirit.)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: speedevil on 09/03/2018 10:14 am
Once the rover loses its clock, it becomes much more unlikely that the scheduled UHF comm windows will happen to hit an actual overflight, making communication direct to Earth the only practical way of recovery.
Resisting commenting on the comms  as there are other threads for that (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45483)

I guess in principle, a little math and a few observations could nail down the time quite well - though it would require more of the vehicle to be functional.
Find ecliptic plane during day (path of sun). Observe at early morning/evening to find three of venus/mercury. At night to find earth/jupiter/saturn.

Opportunity viewing comet Siding Spring (http://www.americaspace.com/2014/10/20/nasas-opportunity-rover-snaps-1st-ever-comet-image-from-mars-surface-during-comets-ultra-close-martian-flyby/)

It would be a moderate amount of extra code, and require basically every part of the rover to be working.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Archibald on 09/03/2018 03:21 pm
You said daffodils the last time... ;D

Sometimes even strawberries.

Still better than smelling elderberries (and being a hamster)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ccdengr on 09/03/2018 03:46 pm
I guess in principle, a little math and a few observations could nail down the time quite well...
In theory, maybe, but it's both overkill and beyond what the MER hardware could do IMHO.

All that's needed, since the orbiters are in sun-sync orbits, is a solid way to determine the local solar time.  MER can't even do that reliably since all the data it has in a fault state is solar power production (it doesn't try to point its cameras in this state to do sun finding).  You don't want your fault protection to rely on lots of stuff working or take multiple sols to switch states.

In practice, I suspect that the orbiter ephemerides change enough over time that even knowing the LST isn't sufficient to predict comm windows indefinitely.  Again, the mission was designed for a 90-day lifetime.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/12/2018 06:06 am
NASA begins the 45-day period to attempt actively commanding Opportunity:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7227
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: theinternetftw on 09/12/2018 08:55 am
Here's a very long form Planetary Society post on the whole thing. (http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-missions/mer-updates/2018/08-mer-update-nasa-focuses-on-recovering-opportunity.html)

It's a ton of information and a very confusing combination of intimations.  A lot of rah-rah-rah, everything is fine, everyone is on the right side and doing the best thing verbiage.  And then there's reporting like this, on the 1.5 Tau and 45-day numbers:

Quote
These are among the toughest times in planetary exploration. Callas was under pressure “to plug a financial drain,” according to a source with knowledge of the situation. “His numbers are technically defensible, if not technically optimum. And they are reasonable and acceptable to people whose concern is the money.”

As Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson, of Washington University St. Louis is wont to say: “It could be worse.”

Hopefully reality is filled with more of the "we will do the right thing" bits of the article such that they greatly outnumber instances of the above.

And for what looks to be some very good news, it looks like it's already in the mix that at least some active commanding will be done all the way to January.  From the Opportunity status update page: (https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/mission/status_opportunityAll.html)

Quote
No signal from Opportunity has been heard since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), though NASA has approved a strategy for listening for the rover through January of 2019.

It is expected that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault and perhaps, a mission clock fault and then an up-loss timer fault. The science team continues to listen for the rover either during the expected fault communication windows or listening over a broader range of times using the Deep Space Network Radio Science Receiver.

The science team is also sending a command three times a week to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake, and will soon be expanding the commanding to include "sweep and beeps" to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within the mission clock fault. These will continue through January of 2019.

The dust storm on Mars continues its decay with atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site continuing to decrease. Once the tau has fallen below an estimated measurement of 1.5 twice - with one week apart between measurements - a period of 45 days will begin representing the best time for us to hear from the rover.

This also represents the best time to attempt active commanding during a specific mission clock fault condition. Back during the attempted recovery of the Spirit rover, a technical issue required the team to actively command the rover to communicate. Opportunity has no such issue; if we hear from it, it will likely be from listening passively as we have been, and as we will continue to do through January.

We will also actively attempt to command the rover to communicate during the 45-day listening period to cover the clock fault condition. After that, we will report to NASA on our efforts.

The "report to NASA after 45 days to review future plans" bit is a change as well, intimating flexibility.  Which could be good or bad, depending on if such a review is designed to "do the right thing" or not.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/15/2018 06:05 am
They're currently performing a Sweep&Beep maneuver. Meanwhile DSN detected a carrier lock two hours ago. Trying to figure if it's another false alarm... or perhaps, maybe they got lucky...

https://twitter.com/dsn_status/status/1040813778147926016
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/15/2018 06:13 am
... and I have an answer from Michael Staab: Negative.  Signal strength is too high for Opportunity.

https://twitter.com/AstroStaab/status/1040845967233150976
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 09/18/2018 07:58 am
Looks like we just had another false detection, this time with the MAVEN orbiter briefly showing as Opportunity .
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 09/19/2018 07:48 am
Another uplink attempt currently in progress.    Does anyone know if Opportunity, assuming it is now operational of course, is supposed to respond immediately to one of these uplink attempts?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ccdengr on 09/21/2018 02:50 pm
Does anyone know if Opportunity... is supposed to respond immediately to one of these uplink attempts?
As far as I know, the beep is sent as soon as the commands are received and executed.

I'd advise people to not rely on DSN Now as there are many reasons for false alarms, and a successful communication may be hard to recognize or not even visible in DSN Now (they are recording the passes for later analysis and if the signal levels are low, they will only show up then.)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/24/2018 11:26 am
According to DSNnow, they just completed another uplink session to Opportunity. Looks like this one laster for more than a hour.

https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 09/25/2018 07:18 am
Was there any official start date to the 45 day communications window?  I had it as 1st September?   We must be around half way through now then.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/25/2018 08:02 am
Was there any official start date to the 45 day communications window?  I had it as 1st September?   We must be around half way through now then.

Nah, they started it around September 11th. This means 15 days have passed since then.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/25/2018 06:30 pm
NASA's MRO spacecraft imaged Opportunity on September 20th, when tau was measured to be 1.3. As a comparison, tau in May measured between 0.5 and 0.7. Still dusty around there.

What worries me is that does look to have quite a lot of dust fallen on the solar panels. Does Opportunity even have the chance to phone home with all that dust?

Read press release here:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7245
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ccdengr on 09/25/2018 07:05 pm
What worries me is that does look to have quite a lot of dust fallen on the solar panels.
I don't think you can tell much if anything from this image.  From the UofA description: "The HiRISE image shows some reddening of the surrounding area, suggesting dust fallout, but it is not possible to determine how much dust is on the arrays themselves."
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: redliox on 09/26/2018 12:03 am
What worries me is that does look to have quite a lot of dust fallen on the solar panels.
I don't think you can tell much if anything from this image.  From the UofA description: "The HiRISE image shows some reddening of the surrounding area, suggesting dust fallout, but it is not possible to determine how much dust is on the arrays themselves."

Hopefully it is too soon to tell, but I have to say most HiRISE images of the rovers tended to show them looking like blue dots from their arrays.  This image of Opportunity is decidedly not a blue dot.  :(  Of course for now just got to keep hoping, NASA to keep trying, and for a breeze to cleanse our beloved rover.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: speedevil on 09/26/2018 08:22 am
What worries me is that does look to have quite a lot of dust fallen on the solar panels.
I don't think you can tell much if anything from this image.  From the UofA description: "The HiRISE image shows some reddening of the surrounding area, suggesting dust fallout, but it is not possible to determine how much dust is on the arrays themselves."
In principle it may be possible, but not on this image.
If everything lines up just right, HiRISE or other instruments/vehicles could see the direct reflection off the solar panels from the sun, and thence get a good idea of reflectivity, and hence the maximum incident light on the surface of the solar panel.

The orientation of the solar panel is likely not known well enough - to a quarter degree or so - that this could be a properly planned one-off observation, and it would need to put together many glints in order to work that out too.

Of course, this does nothing other than provide a slightly accurate measurement of the panel orientation and dust obscurance, and not help in any way to get the rover going again.

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Nomadd on 09/26/2018 08:34 am
 Weren't survival odds based on the now absent dust storm keeping electronics from getting terminally cold?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 09/26/2018 10:19 am
Yes, I believe so, the dust storm happened while Opportunity was heading into summer which gives warmer temps, also the dust storm raises temps slightly.  The rover also has small pellets of Plutonium in the "warm electronics box" 

https://mars.nasa.gov/mer/technology/is_severe_environments.html
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/26/2018 12:04 pm
Another sweep&beep sequence is currently executed (https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 09/26/2018 12:21 pm
The Rover ID - MER1 is listed over which ever antenna the communications attempt it to be made, and stays for upto 2 hours sometimes - but the actual uplink maybe 45 mins to an hour in the middle, when the uplink ends, is this the beginning of the tracking phase?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/26/2018 01:16 pm
I'd also like to know... to me it looks like the commanding sequences have different length each day. I got impression that today's session was much shorter than what it was yesterday. How long does it take to send a single command for a beep?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: speedevil on 09/26/2018 03:31 pm
I'd also like to know... to me it looks like the commanding sequences have different length each day. I got impression that today's session was much shorter than what it was yesterday. How long does it take to send a single command for a beep?
Seconds, presumably.
But, you don't know if the rover is awake, and what the condition of it is, or exactly when it might be listening, or on what precise frequency if there are some classes of failure, so you need to send it many times.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/27/2018 02:44 pm
Seconds, presumably.
But, you don't know if the rover is awake, and what the condition of it is, or exactly when it might be listening, or on what precise frequency if there are some classes of failure, so you need to send it many times.

After watching DSN activities these days, I have to say I'm utterly baffled about the recovery efforts.

Today I'm seeing one of the Canberra dishes tracking Opportunity during the whole day. I haven't seen that "MER1" sign next to the dish that long for quite some time. Most of the days it appears for about two hours (for the sweep&beep activity), then it's gone. On the other side, I haven't seen the dish uplinking data to Opportunity (sweep&beep mode) today at all.

(I know I shouldn't be digging that much into the DSN activity data, but I miss Oppy so much and I just can't resist).
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 09/27/2018 04:24 pm
It doesn't look like there was an up link attempt to day.   And yes, im just as obsessed with watching the DSN now page as you lol
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/28/2018 11:13 am
Here I go again, here I go again (I see they stopped providing us with songs - so this is the song I've chosen : Here I go again - Whitesnake).

https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html

Canberra dish in tracking mode. Phone home, Oppy!

EDIT at 11:15 GMT : Uplink detected!
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 09/28/2018 01:10 pm
Still uplinking, antenna 35 at Canberra currently very busy, receiving from MAVEN, MRO and Odyssey too.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/28/2018 01:54 pm
Signal type changed from DATA to Carrier - another first I've seen on the DSN site.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/28/2018 02:21 pm
... another data uplink to Opportunity! Looks like they really have increased the tries to contact the old buddy!
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 09/28/2018 02:26 pm
uplinking at 2.00kb/sec too isnt it normally 7.00b/sec ?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 09/28/2018 03:22 pm
I have no idea, but they do say that they're trying to address complex situations with the mission clock. Perhaps this is part of the strategy?

Meanwhile uplinking stopped.

EDIT at 15:40 GMT: Uplinking at 2 kb/sec again!
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 09/29/2018 07:07 am
hmmm, OK, just read on another forum that we should pretty much ignore anything Opportunity related on the DSN website as they are probably not very accurate representations of whats actually going on with the antennas.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 10/01/2018 05:23 am
Im wondering if they have now stopped showing up-link attempts to opportunity after that website showing so many false hits ??? ???

This was the latest false detection https://twitter.com/dsn_status/status/1046058741974609920  Although it looks a bit more like some of the genuine ones.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 10/02/2018 02:31 pm
https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html

Uplink to MER1 (Opportunity) underway.

And no, the last downlink wasn't a genuine one. Still a false detection. Many people explained that if DSN antennas catch the signal from LGA, it won't be visible on DSN now. 
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: falcon19 on 10/02/2018 04:45 pm
Are there attempts to contact Opportunity using the Mars orbiters, or just using the DSN?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Phil Stooke on 10/02/2018 04:53 pm
The orbiters are not much use here - they are only in potential contact for brief periods, whereas the DSN can transmit or listen for hours at a time if necessary. 
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 10/06/2018 04:21 pm
Dishes on DSN now currently show some uplinking to Oppy.

https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html

Again, a reminder that what we see on DSN now there isn't what necessary happens. The signal is possibly too weak to be registered on the web and almost certainly every carrier lock is a false positive.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 10/06/2018 04:31 pm
That was short today.   :o    Showed a data up link attempt at 125b/s

There was an interesting summary of current plans to contact Oppy at the planetary society website, some are thinking Oppy is now very dusty and that might be preventing the rover from waking up.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 10/06/2018 04:33 pm
Before that, the uplink was 2kb/sec. They explained on UMSF that dishes can get confused about this, too. Perhaps this is the uplink to MRO that got mistakenly confused as an uplink to Oppy.

Unfortunately, nothing is certain on DSN now - except for the fact that the team is at least listening to the rover, hoping to wake up. Fingers crossed!
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 10/06/2018 05:57 pm
Sweep and beep started 5 mins ago. Saw it on Michael Staab twitter:Another @MarsRovers "sweep, beep, and creep" commanding session beginning at 17:50 UTC on DSS-55 from @RobledoDSN .  Perhaps today is the day!  Catch it live from https://t.co/Y6poVYl1pu.  #WakeUpOppy
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 10/06/2018 07:08 pm
More from Michael: We have to decipher @MarsRovers' signal against a very noisy background at Mars; it's manageable but difficult.  The rover's panels are likely very dusty, so it's possible the rover has not woken up yet.  Cleaning season is fast approaching, so we'll have better luck soon.

https://twitter.com/AstroStaab/status/1048627697151143936
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 10/08/2018 08:24 pm
Sweep and beep started again seconds ago:

https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html

https://twitter.com/AstroStaab/status/1049372380768788483
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 10/08/2018 10:11 pm
.... I kind of feel Oppy didnt make it through the dust storm. :-\ :-\  :(
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: matthewkantar on 10/08/2018 10:29 pm
Patience Grasshopper.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: theinternetftw on 10/09/2018 12:58 am
It looks like it might be worth repeating that former and current Opportunity engineers have said that contact is most likely to be reestablished during Cleaning Season.  That's when the wind picks up, allowing Cleaning Events to remove significant amounts of dust from the rover's solar panels.

That season runs November through January, so we've yet to even enter it.  Patience indeed.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ccdengr on 10/09/2018 03:37 am
It looks like it might be worth repeating that former and current Opportunity engineers have said that contact is most likely to be reestablished during Cleaning Season.
They're saying that now.  IIRC, they were saying more optimistic things a couple of months ago.

I don't know how dusty the panels would have to be to keep the rover from communicating, and nobody knows how dusty they really are (IMHO the HiRISE image was more of a PR stunt than a useful observation, and people are reading more into it than is actually there).  Obviously the panels being very dusty is the simplest explanation for why there has been no comm, but the simplest explanation is not always the right one.

That said, I agree that it's far too early to give up.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 10/09/2018 07:59 pm
Im looking at Mars through my window while today's uplink is underway.... come on oppy!!!   
edit: and a very basic pic of Mars during the uplink
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: theinternetftw on 10/09/2018 10:59 pm
It looks like it might be worth repeating that former and current Opportunity engineers have said that contact is most likely to be reestablished during Cleaning Season.
They're saying that now.  IIRC, they were saying more optimistic things a couple of months ago.

If you're talking about anything that was put forward to defend the 45-day run and the 1.5 tau start-condition, I would recommend viewing those statements with a very critical eye.

I personally have not seen any deviation from the below analysis.

Either:
a) Oppy will wake up once the dust settles OR
b) Oppy will wake up during Cleaning Season OR
c) Oppy will never wake up

I think what you took as optimism was just an earlier node in the flow chart.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 10/11/2018 09:53 pm
it appears that The Big Dish (!!!) in Madrid has been put into action today.

Source: https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html

Come on, wake up, Oppy! it has been too long!
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 10/22/2018 02:27 pm
Well, the end of the 45 day uplink period is getting close, lets hope for some windy weather over Opportunity.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 10/23/2018 06:57 am
Today the team is executing a long sweep and beep campaign with the big Goldstone dish. Uplink started at about 4:30 UTC and still ongoing. More info about the latest efforts:

https://twitter.com/AstroStaab/status/1053364911290507264
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 10/23/2018 10:15 am
Interesting stuff.

Also looks like there was another false carrier lock this morning too

https://twitter.com/dsn_status/status/1054626442477219840
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Propylox on 10/24/2018 06:03 am
From Oct 23 SpaceNews article, cut to avoid link: ht tps://spac enews.com/na sa-to-soon-end-active-efforts-to-restore-contact-with-opportunity/
-snip- "..Lori Glaze, acting director of NASA’s planetary science division, during a presentation Oct. 22 ..said that a factor in ending the active listening campaign is to prepare for the landing of the InSight spacecraft on Mars Nov. 26. “We want to wind that down before InSight gets to Mars and make sure all our orbital assets are focused on a successful landing of InSight,” she said."
Are there attempts to contact Opportunity using the Mars orbiters, or just using the DSN?
The orbiters are not much use here - they are only in potential contact for brief periods, whereas the DSN can transmit or listen for hours at a time if necessary.
So are the orbiters not used, or have they been regularly used and thus need to be let free?
It looks like it might be worth repeating that former and current Opportunity engineers have said that contact is most likely to be reestablished during Cleaning Season.  ..That season runs November through January, so we've yet to even enter it.  Patience indeed.
If InSight takes precedence in a few weeks, would NASA even have time to operate Opportunity if it does awake after cleaning? Can you squeeze in a few "standby and recharge" commands until InSight has completed its primary mission goals?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: mlindner on 10/24/2018 05:37 pm
Why would you cut the link??? Here's the link: https://spacenews.com/nasa-to-soon-end-active-efforts-to-restore-contact-with-opportunity/
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ccdengr on 10/24/2018 07:07 pm
It takes a non-trivial amount of effort to set up the DSN for the sweep-and-beep passes.  They will continue passive listening, which will detect the rover if it wakes up on its own, which is the expected outcome.  AFAIK, active listening doesn't improve the chances of recovery, just restores contact sooner.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 10/25/2018 05:41 am
Here's what Michael Staab says about this article. The efforts to contact Oppy continue, unless NASA says otherwise:

https://twitter.com/AstroStaab/status/1055277787089559552
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ccdengr on 10/25/2018 05:52 am
I'd love for Staab to explain publicly why active attempts to recover the rover are worth the expenditure of DSN resources with so much else going on with other missions.  All public sources of information I've been able to find suggest that if the rover is going to come back, it can do so on its own.  They can passively listen for it with almost no impact to other uses of the DSN (as long as an antenna is pointed at Mars anyway.)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 10/25/2018 06:13 am
It takes a non-trivial amount of effort to set up the DSN for the sweep-and-beep passes.  They will continue passive listening, which will detect the rover if it wakes up on its own, which is the expected outcome.  AFAIK, active listening doesn't improve the chances of recovery, just restores contact sooner.

I would have thought restoring contact and operations sooner rather than later would be the preferred outcome?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: DaveS on 10/25/2018 07:30 am
Here's what Michael Staab says about this article. The efforts to contact Oppy continue, unless NASA says otherwise:

https://twitter.com/AstroStaab/status/1055277787089559552
There's is however an internal review scheduled for tomorrow on this very issue:

https://twitter.com/AstroStaab/status/1055334471388413952
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ccdengr on 10/25/2018 02:57 pm
I would have thought restoring contact and operations sooner rather than later would be the preferred outcome?
If the rover is still functional, the reason it hasn't transmitted on its own by now is presumably dust on the solar panels, which is going to have to be cleaned off by wind.  Even if they were in brief contact, that will limit when operations could sensibly start.  If there's a way that being in contact might clean the panels faster, I'm not seeing it (not likely they could move the rover with the panels so dirty, even if that would help much.)

In an unconstrained environment, sure, spend as much DSN time as you like.  As it is, there are four other US missions at Mars and another arriving next month, and there have to be tradeoffs.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 10/26/2018 05:54 am
Currently uploading from the 70m Antenna at Goldstone, lets hope this isn't the last uplink attempt

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 10/26/2018 09:47 am
There are some new pictures from Curiosity over at Gale Crater, it still look pretty hazy to me??

http://www.midnightplanets.com/web/MSL/image/02210/NRA_593684812EDR_F0722464NCAM00276M_.html

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 10/27/2018 05:34 am
Uplink attempt started much earlier than usual today, maybe trying to catch an earlier wakeup?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 10/29/2018 10:19 pm
NASA will continue attempts to communicate to Opportunity:

After a review of the progress of the listening campaign, NASA will continue its current strategy for attempting to make contact with the Opportunity rover for the foreseeable future. Winds could increase in the next few months at Opportunity's location on Mars, resulting in dust being blown off the rover's solar panels. The agency will reassess the situation in the January 2019 time frame.


https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7227
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: theinternetftw on 10/30/2018 01:01 am
The below image was retweeted by Michael Staab (https://twitter.com/AstroStaab), the engineer who gave the only Opportunity recovery presentation to that mid-term review board.

Edit, there's also this from him: "Guess that presentation last week was well received ... now the fun begins!"
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: DaveS on 10/30/2018 08:26 am
Today's Opportunity DSN track has begun. Uplinking began at 0925 UTC from DSS-34 at Canberra.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: theinternetftw on 10/30/2018 11:27 am
Michael Staab (https://twitter.com/AstroStaab), the engineer who gave the only Opportunity recovery presentation to that mid-term review board.

One more tweet from Staab:

"Thank you everyone for reaching out with the well-wishes. This process has been mentally and emotionally taxing, having now crossed more than 140 days since last contact. We got the extension we needed, and now the @MarsRovers team has the best chance of recovering the vehicle."
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/01/2018 08:32 am
Currently uplinking :)

https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/03/2018 12:29 pm
False dawn, or any hope?

https://twitter.com/agc_uranus/status/1058711492261019648
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/03/2018 12:56 pm
What does TDN stand for?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: DaveS on 11/03/2018 01:30 pm
False dawn, or any hope?

https://twitter.com/agc_uranus/status/1058711492261019648
False lock. Not Opportunity. The MER signal will initially be carrier only with a really low signal strength. Also, that data rate looks way too high to be from a MER UHF LGA. Only the directional HGA would transmit at those rates and that requires the rover to know where Earth is which it doesn't and won't do until the MER Ops team has had a chance to properly recover from all the various faults (low-power, clock and uplink lock).

Based on comparisons, I'd say that's from MRO, also assigned to DSS-36 and is currently downlinking data with similar signal characteristics.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: hopalong on 11/03/2018 01:39 pm
What does TDN stand for?

Tear Down Network - I think

 The process of disconnecting the link at the end of the session.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Nomadd on 11/03/2018 01:45 pm
What does TDN stand for?
Temporal dependancy network
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19940034869
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/04/2018 02:52 pm
Another possibly false detection:

https://twitter.com/dsn_status/status/1059089205022916613

I've learned to understand the false detection. The signal appears to be too strong.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Nomadd on 11/04/2018 03:36 pm
 Not sure if I'd call -151dbm too strong.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: DaveS on 11/05/2018 04:52 pm
A fairly detailed write-up on where things stand with Opportunity right now: http://planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-missions/mer-updates/2018/10-mer-update-opportunity-recovery-plan.html
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/14/2018 05:49 pm
Currently performing Sweep and Beep on DSN Now:

https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html

It's good to remind you that it's mid-November. We're right when the wind season is about to start and presumably clean the solar panels.

Meanwhile the dust storm is completely over. Tau is now 0.8 (source: https://mars.nasa.gov/mer/mission/status.html ). It's good to remind that according to some older status updates (https://spacenews.com/nasa-to-soon-start-45-day-campaign-to-revive-the-opportunity-mars-rover/), some engineers thought that the strongest chance for Oppy to phone home was when tau reached about 0.7, so we're around that point.

Fingers crossed!
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/14/2018 06:04 pm
From DSN Now bot:

https://twitter.com/dsn_status/status/1062782929322102785

Again, we ought to be careful with these carrier locks and it would be wise to ignore them for now. Almost certainly false positive. The signal coming from Oppy will be too weak, and only  the team can inform us whether Oppy has woken up.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/15/2018 06:11 pm
DSN antennas transmitting again to Oppy:

https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: ChrisGebhardt on 11/15/2018 08:18 pm
On the DNS right now....

Hoping this is real.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 11/15/2018 08:39 pm
https://twitter.com/dsn_status/status/1063175195492601857
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/15/2018 08:51 pm
I pray it's so, but I don't have high hopes about this specific detection. Posting a screenshot from DSN Bot : it appears to be another false detection, now thanks to MAVEN. But I'll be very, VERY glad if I'm wrong!
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 11/15/2018 08:53 pm
Damn, thought this was really it.  All other false alarms have been carrier only signals - this is the first time ive seen it say DATA.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/15/2018 08:55 pm
Damn, thought this was really it.  All other false alarms have been carrier only signals - this is the first time ive seen it say DATA.

Oh, I have seen it saying "data" a couple of other times. All false alarms.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 11/15/2018 08:58 pm
Can you link to any on the DSN Live twitter feed?  Ive searched before and only seen false carrier signals since June.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/15/2018 09:03 pm
Yes, this is the link: https://twitter.com/dsn_status

It has been said frequently that the signal will be very weak, as Oppy will be communicating only through the low-gain antenna. So weak that the DSN bot won't be able to detect it at all. Meanwhile, the bot gets confused because Mars is very noisy - with spacecraft transmitting all the time. So occasionally we see carrier lock AND data (I've seen this, too). But it's always another spacecraft - MRO or MAVEN.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/15/2018 09:09 pm
And here's the tweet from Michael Staab, member of the team:

https://twitter.com/AstroStaab/status/1063191729115824129

"When the team has something concrete, we will absolutely share it through an official press release.  Everything else is speculation until then".

Then we wait. Don't get your hopes up just yet. When the team is ready to announce something significant, they will do it.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 11/15/2018 09:16 pm
Maybe she should be excited that there are still people out there just as interested in this rover as the day it touched down.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joseph.a.navin on 11/15/2018 09:25 pm
I am new to this however, I have seen a few false lock-ons. However, I found it odd that the DSN locked on once and then another time. Is that usual? I know its a 50% chance but I guess we just have to hope. I also am aware that the DSN is not the most reliable, but this "lock-on" got more hype than others.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 11/15/2018 09:39 pm
I am new to this however, I have seen a few false lock-ons. However, I found it odd that the DSN locked on once and then another time. Is that usual? I know its a 50% chance but I guess we just have to hope. I also am aware that the DSN is not the most reliable, but this "lock-on" got more hype than others.

Most of the false locks have been CARRIER locks on other spacecraft at Mars, I did find one DATA lock, but that was at 142 kb/s and likely Mars Odyssey on October 16th.

Here is the Search history for Opportunity @dsn_status on twitter https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&vertical=default&q=opportunity%20from%3Adsn_status&src=typd&lang=en

As you can see there have been quite a few false alarms since June.  In fault mode Oppy transmits at 7b/s over the low gain antenna.  This was at 11b/s and as Svetoslav pointed out looks similar to the MAVEN spacecraft that downlinked about 20 minutes later also at 11b/s.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/15/2018 09:39 pm
While I disagree with many of the public statements and tweets of Emily, she does touch an important problem. This is how I personally see it:

Traditionally the teams of Mars surface missions publish their photos in real-time. That's great. People like me love to see these images from Mars being posted on the web as soon as they hit the ground. What's more - those of us, sincere enthusiasts, feel actually as being part of these missions. Not just passenger. Not just virtual tourists.

The problem with the current situation is simple: there are many entitled people who feel they ought to see all of the data - including telemetry in real time, status reports, etc. Again, there isn't anything wrong with that (we live in the age of instant gratification). But DSN Now, although quite useful in certain situations, is extremely unreliable to diagnose a faulty spacecraft. Many people lack the skills to properly interpret the data. They just see a lock-in and data transfer, and assume that it's coming from Oppy. We also have the problem with confirmation bias. People believe Oppy is communicating to Earth, because this is what they want to see.

Again, there's nothing inherently wrong with it. The problem starts when people who lack skills raise fuss. Then certain media pick on this stuff and the so called "fake news" headlines appear. Now, this is an issue.

I hope I was clear enough, as English is not my first language. When something like this happens, frustrated team members have to debunk fake news. After that there are a lot of angry and disappointed fans. It's not surprising that certain people think that DSN Now is counter-productive in such cases.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 11/15/2018 09:49 pm
A lot of us remember when she was hating on human space flight.


Oh bother...

She wasn't "hating" on it. There was a crazy overreaction to a few tongue-in-cheek comments by people who have a tendency to overreact to lots of things, often on purpose.

I don't see any problem with an occasional reminder that everybody needs to chill.




Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/15/2018 09:58 pm
Oh bother...

She wasn't "hating" on it. There was a crazy overreaction to a few tongue-in-cheek comments by people who have a tendency to overreact to lots of things, often on purpose.

I don't see any problem with an occasional reminder that everybody needs to chill.


I agree it's an overreaction. However, her positions are close to biocentrism - that we should avoid going to the surface of Mars if life forms exist there.

There are several competing ethical positions on the topic of human spaceflight. I hold antropocentric positions, just like Robert Zubrin.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 11/15/2018 09:59 pm
confirmed false alarm now

oh well  :(
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/15/2018 10:00 pm
And now, OFFICIALLY.

False positive.

https://twitter.com/NASAJPL/status/1063204394596937728

Discussion about the current situation is over. Opportunity still hasn't phoned home.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joseph.a.navin on 11/15/2018 10:05 pm
Well said, many people automatically think Oppy was transmitting while I think we all need to be hopeful and mindful to the fact that Oppy has had a good life and a remarkable carrier. At least we have Insight and Mars2020 to look forward to. Also, if she is found and communicates with us, (which I am loosing hope that will happen) could there be damage to her? I mean she was in a duststorm. What would make a lock-on promising (amount of data transmitted etc)?

I guess we can be thankful with the fact that the MCC at JPL are doing their best and Oppy did or is doing its best, even though today was a false lock-on. I wonder how the JPL people are feeling-probably the same as us.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 11/15/2018 10:32 pm
Oh bother...

She wasn't "hating" on it. There was a crazy overreaction to a few tongue-in-cheek comments by people who have a tendency to overreact to lots of things, often on purpose.

I don't see any problem with an occasional reminder that everybody needs to chill.


I agree it's an overreaction. However, her positions are close to biocentrism - that we should avoid going to the surface of Mars if life forms exist there.

There are several competing ethical positions on the topic of human spaceflight. I hold antropocentric positions, just like Robert Zubrin.

Which is a fine way of saying that’s ok for humans to wreck the solar system like we have our own planet. I am afraid I find your position ethically questionable because of that.

I am increasingly of the view we shouldn’t be allowed to colonise beyond the Moon until as a species we can prove we can act more responsibly.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 11/15/2018 11:02 pm
Well, that was an exciting couple of hours lol
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joek on 11/16/2018 12:58 am
Which is a fine way of saying that’s ok for humans to wreck the solar system like we have our own planet. I am afraid I find your position ethically questionable because of that.

Nah, just that most humans think their existence is worth more than a rock--especially rocks floating in a deep space vacuum. Me versus the rock-microbe-cockroach-whatever?  I'll pick me every time.  To do otherwise would be ethically traitorous to myself and to our species.

p.s. That was a half-joke... no need to continue the conversation and pollute the thread.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Lar on 11/16/2018 01:53 am
Yeah, lets not stray far from Oppy, ok?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/17/2018 07:31 pm
https://twitter.com/AstroStaab/status/1063892152994848768
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/17/2018 09:00 pm
Again... be careful with carrier locks. Just saw this one:

https://twitter.com/dsn_status/status/1063914568869654528

There are other spacecraft transmitting - and this time it could be Mars Odyssey confusing the DSN bot.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 11/17/2018 09:03 pm
With signal strength at 166dbm id say MAVEN again .    Naughty MAVEN lol
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/17/2018 09:07 pm
Yah, I have to say I'm angry a lot at MAVEN these days :) I mean, I did love the mission when it launched, and followed it passionately through Mars Orbit Insertion. But it's quite annoying these days when we all want to hear from Oppy :)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 11/17/2018 09:38 pm
This seems an extra long uplink attempt today
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/18/2018 08:30 pm
Sweep and beep activity starting in 15 minutes:

https://twitter.com/AstroStaab/status/1064264414851809281

As we can see, Dish 65. Shared also with MRO and MVN. Don't be surprised to see more false locks tonight.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 11/18/2018 09:10 pm
Also interesting to see the frequency switching between 7.18 GHz and 2.04 GHz
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joseph.a.navin on 11/18/2018 09:12 pm
They are uplinking rn
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joseph.a.navin on 11/18/2018 09:58 pm
anyone notice a quick downlink on DSN? could of been MAVEN or something else but it was brief. Probably was nothing.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joseph.a.navin on 11/18/2018 10:02 pm
here it was:
DSS 65 carrier lock on Opportunity
Frequency: 8.435GHz
Signal strength: -150dBm
IDLE OFF 1 MCD2
(Probably false)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 11/19/2018 09:32 am
Maybe she should be excited that there are still people out there just as interested in this rover as the day it touched down.

There's a big difference between 'being excited' and 'actively contributing to lowering the signal-to-noise ratio by overreacting every time DSN Now shows a blip', especially when there have been lots of those false positives already.

Or people posting something I am sure most reading this thread already know whilst complaining about the signal to noise ratio of the thread at the same time.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 11/19/2018 08:49 pm
Maybe she should be excited that there are still people out there just as interested in this rover as the day it touched down.

There's a big difference between 'being excited' and 'actively contributing to lowering the signal-to-noise ratio by overreacting every time DSN Now shows a blip', especially when there have been lots of those false positives already.

That's a lot of noise right there.    And "signal to noise ratio"?  Ugggh I know what forum you've come from.

There has been only one previous instance of the DSN site showing it receiving Data from Opportunity, at 142k/bs, which came from Mars Odyssey. One is not lots
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 11/22/2018 09:19 pm
InSight is hogging all the antennas tonight. !!!
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: DaveS on 11/22/2018 10:40 pm
InSight is hogging all the antennas tonight. !!!
Most likely the MER team has been given the day off. That doesn't mean that they won't still be passively listening for an signal from Opportunity. Everything is recorded and the DSN does have an offline signal analysis team ready to go to work if requested.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joseph.a.navin on 11/26/2018 01:06 am
right now:
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/27/2018 02:50 am
The Very Big dish on Goldstone is uplinking to Oppy. Come on, wake up, Oppy!

https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html

More on tonight's attempt:

https://twitter.com/AstroStaab/status/1067245208872603648
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 12/04/2018 06:51 am
There is a mission update on the Planetary Society Website, they still sound pretty optimistic Oppy will call home.

http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-missions/mer-updates/2018/11-mer-update-windy-season-begins.html
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 12/10/2018 08:01 pm
oh dear  :-[

https://twitter.com/AstroStaab/status/1072216372849954816
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: theinternetftw on 12/12/2018 03:18 am
oh dear  :-[

For a little more optimistic take, I'll reiterate some quotes from that Planetary Society article (http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-missions/mer-updates/2018/11-mer-update-windy-season-begins.html) two posts above:
Quote
Meanwhile, the sky over Endeavour cleared a bit more; the MER thermal team ran some new simulations that showed the Martian temperature at Opportunity’s site is not so cold that the rover is in imminent danger of having to turn on her heaters; and the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) took another image of Opportunity in Perseverance Valley that doesn’t appear to show any significant change at the site, which in turn would seem to indicate that the windy season has not really kicked up yet at Endeavour, or at least in Perseverance Valley where Opportunity is hunkered down.

As it turned out, November was essentially “a repeat of October,” according to JPL Spacecraft Systems Engineer/Flight Director Michael Staab.

[...]

“I do feel hopeful that we will hear from Opportunity soon,” Herman said. “Ls 290 is when historically we’ve seen dust cleaning due to wind. That just started November 17th, so in December and January there are lots of chances for wind gusts to clear off some of the accumulated dust on Opportunity’s solar arrays.”

Of course, she noted that the onset of the dust-cleaning season is not like flipping a switch. “Historically, Ls 290 is the earliest we’ve seen cleaning events, but it doesn’t mean that the winds automatically pick up on November 17th,” Herman said. “Sometimes they start later.”

The windy season generally lasts through Ls 330, which this Mars year falls on January 26, 2019.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joseph.a.navin on 12/30/2018 02:21 pm
Since "Oppy" or MER-1 is most likely dead on Mars, it had a very honorable life and inspired many including myself and we should remember it for that. I do have some questions for those who have more technical info on the MERs.
What do you think was some of the most significant events and or finds from Oppy and Spirit?
How did Oppy last so long (not including dust)?
How will Oppy structually last on mars? I have heard somewhere that the Mars Phoenix Lander's solar arrays may have collapsed could something similar occur to oppy?

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: kc0081 on 12/31/2018 02:56 am
Did Mars Opportunity just wake up!!

Check DSN right now!
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: kc0081 on 12/31/2018 03:04 am
DSN from Goldstone showed a download signal for about 15 minutes, now its gone. Is it real? I took screen shots and a video because I got so excited. 
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: kc0081 on 12/31/2018 03:40 am
A pic of the downlink.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: DaveS on 12/31/2018 03:43 am
Most likely one of the orbiters, either MAVEN or MRO. Not the first time one of them has been misidentified as  a MER on DSN Now.

Edit:
More likely though, based on downlink data rate, it's Mars Odyssey.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Phil Stooke on 12/31/2018 07:26 am
Remember that the website does not tell you which spacecraft is transmitting, it tells you what was being listened for.  They are 'listening' for a signal from Opportunity, but pick up a bit of unexpected transmission from an orbiter, as it transmits on a nearby frequency to another antenna. 
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Lar on 12/31/2018 02:24 pm
DSN from Goldstone showed a download signal for about 15 minutes, now its gone. Is it real? I took screen shots and a video because I got so excited. 
Welcome to the forum. Looks like it probably was another false alarm.

I suspect many of us are just glad that they are still listening and trying. We got a lot of good science but that rover had some miles left in her before this happened.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: kc0081 on 01/01/2019 08:37 am
Thank you for the replies and the welcome. I am learning that the DSN is a bit fickle to understand.
Glad to see that NASA is still giving Opportunity a “last minute chance” .  My fingers are still crossed!
 
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joseph.a.navin on 01/01/2019 11:29 pm
Everyday Astronaut included Oppy in the "spacecraft we lost during 2018" section. Hard to realize finally that Oppy is most likely gone :'( . But if Oppy is lost it had an honorable death.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Eosterwine on 01/02/2019 04:11 pm
So it's January now and Oppy is still silent  :'(  Have they stopped up-linking commands now and just switched to passive listening?  I think that was planned for this month?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joseph.a.navin on 01/02/2019 05:49 pm
Someone should make a thread for Oppy in the "historic spaceflight" section so that even with the end of MER-1 and therefore the MER program we can still post things about the historic and groundbreaking missions. I really wish JPL makes some sort of poster memoralizing the MER program since this was a historic one. They really should make one like Cassini and the recent Voyager-2 posters.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: catdlr on 01/26/2019 03:54 am
‘This Could Be the End’ for NASA’s Mars Opportunity Rover


NY Times Article (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/25/science/mars-opportunity-rover.html)
By Kenneth Chang
Jan. 25, 2019

Quote
“I haven’t given up yet,” said Steven W. Squyres, the principal investigator for the mission. But he added, “This could be the end. Under the assumption that this is the end, it feels good. I mean that.”


Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Nomadd on 01/26/2019 02:50 pm
 They haven't quit yet.

"The new transmission strategies address three possible scenarios: that the rover's primary X-band radio has failed; that both its primary and secondary X-band radios have failed; or that the rover's internal clock, which provides a timeframe for its computer brain, is offset."

 
https://t.co/9BWCgZzTWC (https://t.co/9BWCgZzTWC) pic.twitter.com/UsMk6PKkzQ (https://t.co/UsMk6PKkzQ) (@MarsRovers) January 25, 2019 (https://twitter.com/MarsRovers/status/1088888569031057413?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: robertross on 02/12/2019 09:22 pm
"CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA is trying one last time to contact its record-setting Mars rover Opportunity, before calling it quits.

"NASA said Tuesday it will issue a final series of recovery commands, on top of more than 1,000 already sent. If there's no response by Wednesday -- which NASA suspects will be the case -- Opportunity will be declared dead, 15 years after arriving at the red planet."

https://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/nasa-about-to-pull-plug-on-mars-rover-silent-for-8-months-1.4294213

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: DaveS on 02/12/2019 09:33 pm
News conference to air live on NASA TV about the Opportunity recovery efforts: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-to-share-results-of-effort-to-recover-mars-opportunity-rover
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Star One on 02/13/2019 06:41 am
NASA about to pull plug on Mars rover, silent for 8 months (https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/nasa-pull-plug-mars-rover-silent-months-61030303)

Quote
NASA said Tuesday it will issue a final series of recovery commands, on top of more than 1,000 already sent. If there's no response by Wednesday — which NASA suspects will be the case — Opportunity will be declared dead, 15 years after arriving at the red planet.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/13/2019 05:38 pm
Webcast in 20 mins:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21X5lGlDOfg
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/13/2019 05:57 pm
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/13/2019 06:04 pm
Marking the mission as "complete".
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/13/2019 06:09 pm
JPL director noting the legacy of "these two little intrepid rovers" - noting Curiosity, healthy on Mars - and the Mars 2020 rover to come.

Opportunity was "an overachiever".
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/13/2019 06:11 pm
Opportunity caught on camera from orbit during the mission.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/13/2019 06:15 pm
The travel map as an epitaph.

Mission plan was supposed to be 90 days and 1100 yards. It turned out to be 15 years and 28 miles.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/13/2019 06:16 pm
Sent a 1000 recovery commands since the dust storm arrived.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Swedish chef on 02/13/2019 06:25 pm
Simulated dust storm. To the far left, a normal Mars day. In the middle a normal Mars dust storm on the right the dust storm suffered by Oppurtunity.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Norm38 on 02/13/2019 08:18 pm
My wife sent this to me today.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: penguin44 on 02/13/2019 09:28 pm
Is it strange that I cried a little?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Rondaz on 02/13/2019 09:39 pm
A Lifetime of Opportunity

Thomas Zurbuchen Posted on February 13, 2019

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “opportunity” as a favorable juncture of circumstances, or a good chance for advancement or progress. To me, Opportunity’s legacy embodies the name she was given. This rover, along with its twin – Spirit – not only gave us a better understanding of the Martian landscape and its history of water, but significantly improved our knowledge about how to navigate on other planets – something that will help future robotic and human exploration of Mars.

Opportunity can arise when we least expect it, or it can be a product of hard work and preparation. In the case of the Mars Exploration Rovers, it’s both. NASA’s robot geologist duo, Spirit and Opportunity, landed on the Red Planet in 2004 with the goal of searching for clues of ancient water activity on Mars. While the missions were prepared down to the very last detail, the unexpected opportunity arose when both rovers exceeded their planned 90-day mission lifetimes by many years.

Spirit lasted 20 times longer than its original design and sent its final communication to Earth on March 22, 2010. Twenty times longer! That’s incredible. Even more impressive is that Opportunity continued to operate for more than 14 years after landing on the Red Planet. Eventually, all missions operations come to an end and their legacy is used as a foundation for future missions of exploration.

As we reflect on Opportunity’s legacy, I’m reminded of my fondest memory of its mission – its first encounter with Mars. I was a professor at the time and was so excited about the incredible feat humanity was about to attempt: bounce onto the Martian surface with the rover inside a landing craft protected by airbags. The week before landing, I showed my class an amazing animation of the intense landing that was ahead. I wanted them to realize how difficult this endeavor actually was.

The night of landing I was alone in my living room with a laptop watching the NASA livestream of the Space Flight Operations Facility. You could there was an eerie silence in the room – each person waiting, listening, hoping. You could almost feel their energy through the screen, and then…confirmation! The room busted at the seams with joy and tears of happiness and relief. Humanity just accomplished a nearly impossible feat and I am so thankful I was able to witness it in real time.

Last night, the team made their final attempt to contact the rover. I was in the room when the command was sent – this time felt much different than the last. There was a heavy feeling in the air, which was filled with many team members, some of which have spent a majority of their careers assisting this rover as it explored a planet more than 33 million miles away. The humans behind the robot. Secretly we were all wishing that Opportunity would suddenly wake up and ping us back. That did not happen, as we all expected.

Farewell, Oppy. Thank you for all the science.

https://blogs.nasa.gov/drthomasz/2019/02/13/a-lifetime-of-opportunity/

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Stardust9906 on 02/13/2019 09:44 pm
Is it strange that I cried a little?

No you weren't the only one.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: catdlr on 02/14/2019 05:21 am
NASA Stops Trying to Wake Mars Opportunity After It Remains Silent


Scott Manley
Published on Feb 13, 2019

NASA has officially declared Mars Opportunity dead after trying to wake it for the last few months. The Rover exceeded its design in every way and set records for the distance it covered on another planet.

https://youtu.be/w2oFtu_KAbI?t=001

https://youtu.be/w2oFtu_KAbI
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: catdlr on 02/14/2019 05:24 am
NASA Shares Results Of Mars Exploration Rover From Jet Propulsion Laboratory | LIVE | TIME


TIME
Streamed live

NASA shares the results of their Mars exploration rover from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

https://youtu.be/FbJTOHtRoh8?t=001

https://youtu.be/FbJTOHtRoh8
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: JAFO on 02/14/2019 06:01 am
(https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/opportunity_rover.png)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: libra on 02/14/2019 06:27 pm
Farewell, little Voyager of Mars. 15 years out of 90 days, talk about a ROI !! :o
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: CuddlyRocket on 02/14/2019 10:14 pm
It turned out to be 15 years and 28 miles.

One argument for human explorers on Mars in a nutshell.

That's not to take away from the achievement of those involved in the MER program. But even if you assume Opportunity managed to explore a very generous 400 square miles of Mars, it would have taken it nearly 4 million years to explore the whole planet.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Kansan52 on 02/14/2019 10:49 pm
In 2009, Principal Scientist of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Steve Squyres was quoted in a Space.com article that feet on the ground could do all the years of work that Spirit and Opportunity over the years in a week.

Both (people and robots) are needed and are effective in their own ways.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: AS_501 on 02/14/2019 11:02 pm
Daydream:  An exceptionally powerful dust devil sweeps over Opportunity, clearing off the solar arrays and starting trickle-charging of the river's almost-dead batteries.  Meanwhile back on Earth, someone operating the Greenbank radio telescope turns the scope towards Mars on a whim, picks up a faint signal.  A week later Opportunity is on the move again.   ;)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 02/14/2019 11:06 pm
In 2009, Principal Scientist of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Steve Squyres was quoted in a Space.com article that feet on the ground could do all the years of work that Spirit and Opportunity over the years in a week.

Both (people and robots) are needed and are effective in their own ways.

I worked with Steve on the decadal survey (he's a great manager) and discussed this with him. His comment has really been taken out of context, and it's often used simply as a weapon in the "send astronauts now" argument. It's one aspect of a much larger discussion. Furthermore, there have been a number of automation improvements since 2009. For instance, Mars 2020 can do a lot more autonomous driving than Curiosity, plus it will have (I think) some ability to recognize interesting features as it is driving and call them out. So the machines are getting smarter.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: whitelancer64 on 02/14/2019 11:16 pm
In 2009, Principal Scientist of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Steve Squyres was quoted in a Space.com article that feet on the ground could do all the years of work that Spirit and Opportunity over the years in a week.

Both (people and robots) are needed and are effective in their own ways.

I worked with Steve on the decadal survey (he's a great manager) and discussed this with him. His comment has really been taken out of context, and it's often used simply as a weapon in the "send astronauts now" argument. It's one aspect of a much larger discussion. Furthermore, there have been a number of automation improvements since 2009. For instance, Mars 2020 can do a lot more autonomous driving than Curiosity, plus it will have (I think) some ability to recognize interesting features as it is driving and call them out. So the machines are getting smarter.

One of the quiet, but significant, developments with Opportunity was the long, straight drives to Endeavour allowed NASA to test autonomous driving.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Blackstar on 02/15/2019 03:11 am
One of the quiet, but significant, developments with Opportunity was the long, straight drives to Endeavour allowed NASA to test autonomous driving.

I can believe that. During a JPL visit last year I saw a demonstration of the Mars 2020 update to the driving system. The rover will be able to navigate its way better than Curiosity. I don't remember all the details, but it's along the lines of Curiosity requires a bunch of commands to go to a location, and if it encounters a rock, it may simply stop and ask for instructions, which can cost a day or more. But Mars 2020 they point at a location and tell the rover to go there and it will navigate around obstacles much more freely on its own. This is also tied into the better vision system. But I'm vague on everything we were told. They did a number of tests in the Mars Yard to have the mockup avoid obstacles on its own.

Addendum: I'm not really telling it well. It's not that Curiosity is dumb when it comes to navigating, or that its software has not been improved over the years. It's just that Mars 2020 will have more capability, which should make it faster.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/15/2019 03:38 am
There have been some pretty good cartoons about Opportunity and Rovers in general.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Rondaz on 02/15/2019 02:21 pm
Science: A Deeply Emotional Affair

Thomas Zurbuchen Posted on February 15, 2019

https://blogs.nasa.gov/drthomasz/2019/02/15/science-a-deeply-emotional-affair/
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: leetdan on 02/15/2019 03:50 pm
There have been some pretty good cartoons about Opportunity and Rovers in general.

To clarify, the bottom comic was published  (https://xkcd.com/695)in 2010 for Spirit.  The Opportunity tribute (https://xkcd.com/2111) has already been posted.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Lar on 02/15/2019 04:07 pm
I'm not crying. You're crying.

I don't know if I want Oppy brought home or enshrined right where it is. ...
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: matthewkantar on 02/15/2019 04:36 pm
Opportunity is home already.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joncz on 02/15/2019 05:39 pm
I'm kind of partial to

from https://xkcd.com/1504/ (https://xkcd.com/1504/)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Rocket Science on 02/15/2019 10:12 pm
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/02/nasa-mars-rover-opportunity-dead-what-it-gave-humankind/
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: MATTBLAK on 02/15/2019 10:48 pm
There have been some pretty good cartoons about Opportunity and Rovers in general.

To clarify, the bottom comic was published  (https://xkcd.com/695)in 2010 for Spirit.  The Opportunity tribute (https://xkcd.com/2111) has already been posted.
Yeah, I know. Thank you, Sheldon...

EDIT: I did say Rovers (as in plural).
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: JAFO on 02/16/2019 06:03 pm
"My battery is low and it's getting dark."
Yeah, I know it was set in some kind of code and didn't really mean it in an emotional, lonely voice, but damn.... 

My wife was crying. I have allergies.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDkWVXP4m6g (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDkWVXP4m6g)

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: libra on 02/17/2019 07:17 am
Quote
"My battery is low and it's getting dark."

That long black cloud is comin' down
...
It's gettin' dark, too dark to see
I feel I'm knockin' on heaven's door

Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joseph.a.navin on 02/22/2019 02:19 am
I am writing an article for my school newspaper on Oppy and it's mission.
How dic the rover die in terms of the clocks scrambleing? Are there any guesses by the team?
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: joseph.a.navin on 02/22/2019 04:28 pm
here is my newly published article on Opportunity and the MER program for my HS newspaper, enjoy!
https://pfhstheroar.com/7103/news/other-news/after-eight-months-of-silence-nasa-says-a-final-goodbye-to-the-opportunity-rover/ (https://pfhstheroar.com/7103/news/other-news/after-eight-months-of-silence-nasa-says-a-final-goodbye-to-the-opportunity-rover/)
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: PM3 on 02/27/2019 12:28 am
Nice piece by Scott Manley on Opportunity's last days/weeks/months, though the title could have been less sensational: "The Truth Behind Opportunity's Last Message and It's Final Days On Mars"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TS7S8T8vExM
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/14/2019 06:12 am
 8)

https://twitter.com/jccwrt/status/1194827438653657088

Quote
Opportunity's traverse: an engineering story. Work still in progress, not sure if I managed to track down all the major events and instrument failures yet. Most of them should be there, though.
Title: Re: Opportunity rover updates and discussion
Post by: Rondaz on 10/29/2022 08:14 pm
Here's a video made from colorized images captured by @NASA's Opportunity rover while it was backing away from the rim of the 800m-wide Victoria Crater on Mars from August 26-28, 2008. The sound was actually captured by the Perseverance rover in Jezero Crater on March 7, 2021.

https://twitter.com/JPMajor/status/1580598487246602241