Author Topic: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?  (Read 7060 times)

Offline redliox

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2526
  • Illinois USA
  • Liked: 677
  • Likes Given: 96
Although I asked similar before, but what's the best bet for an Insight sequel thus far?
« Last Edit: 01/04/2023 08:36 pm by zubenelgenubi »
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Offline Steve G

  • Regular
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 574
  • Ottawa, ON
    • Stephen H Garrity
  • Liked: 612
  • Likes Given: 56
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #1 on: 01/01/2023 09:58 pm »
It would have to come with a proper drill for the heat probe. The seismometer was great, and if they want a mission longer than two years, a mechanism for cleaning the solar panels. It wouldn't be a sequel. It would be a reimagined series. An entire new, heavier spacecraft, or, a network of three to four simplified spacecraft focusing on seismology. Right now, the focus is on sample return, and somehow getting the European lander on the surface, so I don't see a sequel any time soon.

Offline vjkane

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1256
  • Liked: 604
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #2 on: 01/02/2023 04:21 am »
An excellent video post from Mars Guy on dust devils and solar panel cleaning. Hint: you want to land in regions that look dark from orbit.


Offline Phil Stooke

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1350
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1419
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #3 on: 01/02/2023 06:24 am »
Those dark areas are swept clean of bright dust so that makes sense.  Unfortunately it also increases wind-generated noise, so it's not a simple solution.  Also I know from discussions with Matt Golombek on this point, the available areas for landing on this mission were extremely limited.  Low elevations were necessary for EDL and there was a narrow latitude band with suitable illumination (avoiding areas where larger seasonal temperature swings complicate the heat flow analysis, and retaining enough power for winter operations).  In fact in the original survey the latitude band was too narrow and no sites could be found, but when it was expanded a bit a low area became available.  There were literally no other areas suitable for this specific mission when all factors were taken into account (elevation, illumination and suitable geology and surface properties).  A future mission to a windier area cannot be a clone of InSight.

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15218
  • Liked: 7678
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #4 on: 01/02/2023 08:20 pm »
Although I asked similar before, but what's the best bet for an Insight sequel thus far?

InSight is a scaled-down version of a proposal called Cerberus. I think I posted about that somewhere on this site. That proposal was to land three seismic sensors, but it was too expensive. I think that any follow-on to InSight would involve more sensors, dispersed to more locations. Ideally, you want three of them, with at least one on the other side of the planet.

I'm not very familiar with this whole subject area, but the goal of having multiple sensors on either the Moon or Mars is that it enables you to get a kind of 3D image of the interior. It's a variation on sonar, with the sound/seismic waves being generated inside the planet. I think that InSight had very limited capability to do this and was primarily an instrument to determine how seismically active Mars is, so the interior composition questions are still unanswered and that's what somebody will want to go after.

Multiple landers is expensive.
« Last Edit: 01/03/2023 04:03 pm by Blackstar »

Offline deadman1204

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1749
  • USA
  • Liked: 1457
  • Likes Given: 2474
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #5 on: 01/03/2023 02:18 pm »
Although I asked similar before, but what's the best bet for an Insight sequel thus far?
Didn't NASA say something about how a mission like insight isn't gonna happen again? Since it was a discovery mission, but with foreign contributions, it cost WAY more than that, and the added complexity of putting the larger than budgeted mission together caused alot of headaches?

While they didn't mean another mission that does what insight does, would an upgraded version of insight not fall in the discovery class anymore?

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15218
  • Liked: 7678
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #6 on: 01/03/2023 04:05 pm »
Although I asked similar before, but what's the best bet for an Insight sequel thus far?
Didn't NASA say something about how a mission like insight isn't gonna happen again? Since it was a discovery mission, but with foreign contributions, it cost WAY more than that, and the added complexity of putting the larger than budgeted mission together caused alot of headaches?

While they didn't mean another mission that does what insight does, would an upgraded version of insight not fall in the discovery class anymore?

That's an implementation issue, not a science issue. The solution is "don't do that again."

The science still remains a priority. Seismologists in general would like this data from either Mars or the Moon (of course, they'd like both). I think (and I'm going deep into memory here) that the basic issue is that we have good info on the interior of the Earth, but no other body in the solar system. So they want another body for comparison. If a lunar seismology mission gets selected and done, it will take off pressure for doing another similar mission at Mars.
« Last Edit: 01/03/2023 04:09 pm by Blackstar »

Offline vjkane

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1256
  • Liked: 604
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #7 on: 01/03/2023 05:51 pm »
Although I asked similar before, but what's the best bet for an Insight sequel thus far?

InSight is a scaled-down version of a proposal called Cerberus. I think I posted about that somewhere on this site. That proposal was to land three seismic sensors, but it was too expensive. I think that any follow-on to InSight would involve more sensors.

I'm not very familiar with this whole subject area, but the goal of having multiple sensors on either the Moon or Mars is that it enables you to get a kind of 3D image of the interior. It's a variation on sonar, with the sound/seismic waves being generated inside the planet. I think that InSight had very limited capability to do this and was primarily an instrument to determine how seismically active Mars is, so the interior composition questions are still unanswered and that's what somebody will want to go after.

Multiple landers is expensive.
There have been many proposals going decades for networks of seismometers on Mars. InSight followed a proposal (I believe for the 2012 Decadal Survey, but memory may serve me wrong) for a New Frontiers-class two lander mission based on the Phoenix lander design. As Blackstar points out, multiple landers are expensive, and Mars geophysical missions were not prioritized for the New Frontiers lander. So, we got a single InSight lander (based on the Phoenix lander design) that was affordable in the Discovery program*. As I understand it, the seismometer that was flown was so sensitive that it was able with a single lander to fulfill many of the goals originally thought to require multiple landers. (*Because of an instrument problem, InSight's launch was delayed, and paying for that slip did bust the Discovery program budget.)

Offline edzieba

  • Virtual Realist
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5991
  • United Kingdom
  • Liked: 9163
  • Likes Given: 38
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #8 on: 01/03/2023 05:57 pm »
From what I can find of the Cerberus proposal, it involved seismometers thousands of km apart, hence the separate landers. That probably makes it infeasible for a single-lander mission using a rover to deposit them, the mass is well above even what the proposed Mars Science Hexacopter could transport, and the spread is beyond what could be achieved packing multiple sub-landers within a single aeroshell. Miniaturisation and a more streamlined lander (seismometer only, no other experimentation) could reduce the mass and allow multiple landers per launch rather than multiple launches, but that then adds the cost of developing a new compact EDL system rather than re-using an existing one.
Without budgeting a 'new generation' of even more compact Mars entry system (as Pathfinder's became for MER, Phoenix, and Insight) the other potential avenue is partnership with the ESA for duplicates of whatever Kazachok replacement they develop, but that seems even less likely given that the whole Kazachok situation occurred due to NASA being pulled out of MEJI and other Mars partnerships like MAX-C due to budget issues.

Offline ccdengr

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 650
  • Liked: 482
  • Likes Given: 72
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #9 on: 01/03/2023 06:07 pm »
Insight was sold on being able to do a wide range of science with one-station seismometry, and being able to sell doing another mission with current budget constraints is very unlikely.  At a minimum we need to wait for the team to write their final papers, AFAIK there hasn't been a summary of results since https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-020-0544-y and this was before seeing the big impact events that produce the best science.
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abq7157

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15218
  • Liked: 7678
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #10 on: 01/03/2023 06:36 pm »
There have been many proposals going decades for networks of seismometers on Mars. InSight followed a proposal (I believe for the 2012 Decadal Survey, but memory may serve me wrong) for a New Frontiers-class two lander mission based on the Phoenix lander design. As Blackstar points out, multiple landers are expensive, and Mars geophysical missions were not prioritized for the New Frontiers lander. So, we got a single InSight lander (based on the Phoenix lander design) that was affordable in the Discovery program*. As I understand it, the seismometer that was flown was so sensitive that it was able with a single lander to fulfill many of the goals originally thought to require multiple landers. (*Because of an instrument problem, InSight's launch was delayed, and paying for that slip did bust the Discovery program budget.)

So there's a lot of context that is necessary to understand this stuff, and vjkane has touched on some of it. But when it came to Mars, there were two subjects that Mars scientists said were "important" for 40 years but did not do much about--they were aeronymy and seismology. MAVEN has now done the former, and InSight has now done the latter.

Now the risk to those communities is that the rest of the Mars science community may say "There! You got your missions, now be quiet." However, the things those missions discovered could also result in increasing interest in and pressure for future missions (or instruments) that do those things.

As I noted up-stream, many of the planetary seismology community's interests may also be satisfied by a multi-site network of seismic instruments on the Moon. So the answer to "what next after InSight?" could be "seismology network on the Moon." It could equally be "don't do anything for the next three decades because other stuff is more interesting."


Online Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5432
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1793
  • Likes Given: 1292
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #11 on: 01/03/2023 08:09 pm »
From what I can find of the Cerberus proposal, it involved seismometers thousands of km apart, hence the separate landers. That probably makes it infeasible for a single-lander mission using a rover to deposit them, the mass is well above even what the proposed Mars Science Hexacopter could transport, and the spread is beyond what could be achieved packing multiple sub-landers within a single aeroshell. Miniaturisation and a more streamlined lander (seismometer only, no other experimentation) could reduce the mass and allow multiple landers per launch rather than multiple launches, but that then adds the cost of developing a new compact EDL system rather than re-using an existing one.
<snip>
Use a really big launcher to packed multiple Insight size landers in an interplanetary  transit bus. That option might be available in a few years.

Of course that requires enough budget to build multiple Insight size landers with just a seismograph each.

Might be possible to add a Mars orbital relay comsat to the transit bus to share the launch cost if NASA & International partners have a need for increase communication bandwidth for the future.

Offline vjkane

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1256
  • Liked: 604
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #12 on: 01/04/2023 12:53 am »
Use a really big launcher to packed multiple Insight size landers in an interplanetary  transit bus. That option might be available in a few years.
I expect that if the launcher were free, it wouldn't matter. Instruments, spacecraft, and operations are much more expensive.

Launchers have the advantage that they can be built on an assembly line. Despite many attempts, planetary spacecraft aren't numerous enough, and their specific requirements are unique enough, that they are craft built. Largely the same for the instruments.

The Psyche spacecraft was a modification of an Earth orbiting satellite design. One of the conclusions of the Psyche review board is that the mission plan didn't take into account how many modifications would be needed for a deep space mission.

Offline DanClemmensen

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5357
  • Earth (currently)
  • Liked: 4196
  • Likes Given: 1694
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #13 on: 01/04/2023 12:59 am »
Use a really big launcher to packed multiple Insight size landers in an interplanetary  transit bus. That option might be available in a few years.
I expect that if the launcher were free, it wouldn't matter. Instruments, spacecraft, and operations are much more expensive.

Launchers have the advantage that they can be built on an assembly line. Despite many attempts, planetary spacecraft aren't numerous enough, and their specific requirements are unique enough, that they are craft built. Largely the same for the instruments.

The Psyche spacecraft was a modification of an Earth orbiting satellite design. One of the conclusions of the Psyche review board is that the mission plan didn't take into account how many modifications would be needed for a deep space mission.
But this specific proposal is for a set of identical landers, so they will in fact be build on an assembly line.

The other advantage of cheaper launch is to allow heavier landers, which relieves a major design constraint and may possibly allow cheaper instruments with the same capabilities.

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15218
  • Liked: 7678
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #14 on: 01/04/2023 01:40 am »
Use a really big launcher to packed multiple Insight size landers in an interplanetary  transit bus. That option might be available in a few years.
I expect that if the launcher were free, it wouldn't matter. Instruments, spacecraft, and operations are much more expensive.

Launchers have the advantage that they can be built on an assembly line. Despite many attempts, planetary spacecraft aren't numerous enough, and their specific requirements are unique enough, that they are craft built. Largely the same for the instruments.

The Psyche spacecraft was a modification of an Earth orbiting satellite design. One of the conclusions of the Psyche review board is that the mission plan didn't take into account how many modifications would be needed for a deep space mission.
But this specific proposal is for a set of identical landers, so they will in fact be build on an assembly line.

The other advantage of cheaper launch is to allow heavier landers, which relieves a major design constraint and may possibly allow cheaper instruments with the same capabilities.



Isn't it fun to pour our big box of Legos onto the floor and start building our own spaceships?!

Things don't work the way you wrote. Two spacecraft is not "an assembly line," and there's this ridiculous assumption that if you back off the mass constraints, the spacecraft gets cheaper. The instruments are expensive because they are sophisticated. They are sophisticated not because they have to be low mass. They are sophisticated because they are sophisticated.


Offline edzieba

  • Virtual Realist
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5991
  • United Kingdom
  • Liked: 9163
  • Likes Given: 38
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #15 on: 01/04/2023 11:25 am »
What constraints would prevent seismometers being piggybacked onto other landers, and are any of them dealbreakers? Off the top of my head:

- Mechanical isolation required from the host vehicle. That means hosts either need an arm already, need to have budget and mass for an arm be folded into the seismometer package, or the seismometer be 'self deploying' (e.g. minimal roving capability to move itself off the host lander and play out its own tether).

- Host power and data requirements. The seismometer was kept running for quite a long portion of InSight's extreme low power operations, so power does not seem an issue. Bandwidth requirements also seem fairly low (IIRC ~5MByte/day for SEIS).

- Geological suitability of landing sites. This seems the kicker: if the host lander is going somewhere where the seismometer isn't going to work well (e.g. somewhere very sandy) it's not worth even sending the seismometer. If there is no overlap between sites other missions want to visit and sites required for good seismology, the piggyback concept is no good.

- Geodetic suitability of landing sites. More of a data quality issue, but if everyone wants to send their future missions to the same region of Mars, that does not provide the same sort of capability to probe the interior as seismometers spread out around the planet.

- Lack of a stationary host lander. MSL and M2020 both would be unsuitable to leave anything other than a fully self-contained (power plus comms) seismometer due to not having a stationary landing component, and that drives up the cost and mass of any piggyback. The more specialised accommodation a piggyback payload needs to each mission, the more expensive those piggybacks become vs. the compromises of not being a dedicated mission.

Offline deadman1204

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1749
  • USA
  • Liked: 1457
  • Likes Given: 2474
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #16 on: 01/04/2023 02:30 pm »
From what I can find of the Cerberus proposal, it involved seismometers thousands of km apart, hence the separate landers. That probably makes it infeasible for a single-lander mission using a rover to deposit them, the mass is well above even what the proposed Mars Science Hexacopter could transport, and the spread is beyond what could be achieved packing multiple sub-landers within a single aeroshell. Miniaturisation and a more streamlined lander (seismometer only, no other experimentation) could reduce the mass and allow multiple landers per launch rather than multiple launches, but that then adds the cost of developing a new compact EDL system rather than re-using an existing one.
<snip>
Use a really big launcher to packed multiple Insight size landers in an interplanetary  transit bus. That option might be available in a few years.

Of course that requires enough budget to build multiple Insight size landers with just a seismograph each.

Might be possible to add a Mars orbital relay comsat to the transit bus to share the launch cost if NASA & International partners have a need for increase communication bandwidth for the future.
The launch cost of insight was small compared to the overall mission price.
Free launch wouldn't change much. They would still need to make 2-3 more insight lander, land them, and operate them (this is not free either).
Then there are the budget issues. Existing missions are getting delayed by years due to budget issues, and I'm sure that MSR is just warming up when it comes to devouring the budget. They are already talking about how the Uranus mission will get pushed back.
« Last Edit: 01/04/2023 02:32 pm by deadman1204 »

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15218
  • Liked: 7678
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #17 on: 01/04/2023 05:26 pm »
NASA has invested in a technology development program for smaller reentry vehicles for Mars. I don't know the status of that program. I also doubt that it would be useful for future seismology missions because seismic sensors need careful setup. And a small spacecraft is limited in power. My guess is that the primary application would be meteorology sensors, probably with short lifetimes. But there is some hope for possible future distributed spacecraft missions.

Somebody else can look up the details.

Offline vjkane

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1256
  • Liked: 604
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #18 on: 01/04/2023 05:51 pm »
NASA has invested in a technology development program for smaller reentry vehicles for Mars. I don't know the status of that program. I also doubt that it would be useful for future seismology missions because seismic sensors need careful setup. And a small spacecraft is limited in power. My guess is that the primary application would be meteorology sensors, probably with short lifetimes. But there is some hope for possible future distributed spacecraft missions.

Somebody else can look up the details.
Might be possible to host a geophone or similar.  Probably the biggest problem is getting sufficient data back to have meaningful measurements.

Online Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5432
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1793
  • Likes Given: 1292
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #19 on: 01/04/2023 06:51 pm »
Use a really big launcher to packed multiple Insight size landers in an interplanetary  transit bus. That option might be available in a few years.
I expect that if the launcher were free, it wouldn't matter. Instruments, spacecraft, and operations are much more expensive.

Launchers have the advantage that they can be built on an assembly line. Despite many attempts, planetary spacecraft aren't numerous enough, and their specific requirements are unique enough, that they are craft built. Largely the same for the instruments.

The Psyche spacecraft was a modification of an Earth orbiting satellite design. One of the conclusions of the Psyche review board is that the mission plan didn't take into account how many modifications would be needed for a deep space mission.
But this specific proposal is for a set of identical landers, so they will in fact be build on an assembly line.

The other advantage of cheaper launch is to allow heavier landers, which relieves a major design constraint and may possibly allow cheaper instruments with the same capabilities.



Isn't it fun to pour our big box of Legos onto the floor and start building our own spaceships?!

Things don't work the way you wrote. Two spacecraft is not "an assembly line," and there's this ridiculous assumption that if you back off the mass constraints, the spacecraft gets cheaper. The instruments are expensive because they are sophisticated. They are sophisticated not because they have to be low mass. They are sophisticated because they are sophisticated.

Question about instruments. What takes up most of the budget for a specific instrument. Is it the development of it or something else?

Serial production of a instrument in identical units should reduce the cost of the follow on units after the initial unit. One would think.


Online Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5432
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1793
  • Likes Given: 1292
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #20 on: 01/04/2023 07:31 pm »
From what I can find of the Cerberus proposal, it involved seismometers thousands of km apart, hence the separate landers. That probably makes it infeasible for a single-lander mission using a rover to deposit them, the mass is well above even what the proposed Mars Science Hexacopter could transport, and the spread is beyond what could be achieved packing multiple sub-landers within a single aeroshell. Miniaturisation and a more streamlined lander (seismometer only, no other experimentation) could reduce the mass and allow multiple landers per launch rather than multiple launches, but that then adds the cost of developing a new compact EDL system rather than re-using an existing one.
<snip>
Use a really big launcher to packed multiple Insight size landers in an interplanetary  transit bus. That option might be available in a few years.

Of course that requires enough budget to build multiple Insight size landers with just a seismograph each.

Might be possible to add a Mars orbital relay comsat to the transit bus to share the launch cost if NASA & International partners have a need for increase communication bandwidth for the future.
The launch cost of insight was small compared to the overall mission price.
Free launch wouldn't change much. They would still need to make 2-3 more insight lander, land them, and operate them (this is not free either).
<snip>
Did you miss the the bold portion of my previous post. Especially the part "enough budget to build multiple Insight size landers with just a seismograph each".

Think it might be possible to use the same operating team with some augmentation to sequentially landed each lander and deploy instruments over a period of several days.

Also post landing and instrument deployment, a downsize single operating team could oversee the operation of lander/seismic monitoring network.

Excluding the hardware acquisition cost. It should be slightly more expensive to deployed and operated multiple instruments. But it shouldn't be multiple times more. As long as the standing army for ground support is only increase fractionally.


Offline whitelancer64

Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #21 on: 01/04/2023 07:45 pm »
To Mods: This whole sub-thread really needs its own dedicated thread, as it's not related to InSight Mission Updates at all.


It might be helpful to consider examples of when this idea of several landers with seismometers has been worked on before.

In the early 90s there was a concept developed by NASA Ames, called MESUR (Mars Environmental SURvey). It would have been 8-16 small, disk-shaped landers that would have included instruments for meteorology and seismic study. MESUR wound up being a very expensive project that would have had to launch over 3 synods. It eventually morphed into one demonstration lander, which was renamed MESUR Pathfinder... which yes, became that Pathfinder... but the seismometer was removed for cost and weight considerations.

Back in 1999-ish, there was a mission concept called "NetLander" that would have landed a network (see what they did there) of four identical stationary landers on Mars, using an airbag landing system like that proven by Pathfinder. They would each have carried a seismometer, several different types of atmospheric sensors, a magnetometer, etc., and provided a more global picture of the surface weather on Mars as well as earthquake monitoring. It was intended to have launched in 2007 or 2009, but the concept was never funded for development.

There's also what's now called the Mars MetNet concept, which would be 16 much simpler and smaller weather / seismometer stations on Mars. There was supposed to be a technology demonstration lander on the ill-fated Phobos Grunt mission, but it was cancelled due to weight concerns.

All of these concepts could be considered precursors to InSight, and some instrument development work done for NetLander directly contributed to the seismometer on InSight.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Online zubenelgenubi

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11025
  • Arc to Arcturus, then Spike to Spica
  • Sometimes it feels like Trantor in the time of Hari Seldon
  • Liked: 7304
  • Likes Given: 70585
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #22 on: 01/04/2023 08:45 pm »
Moderator:
Splinter discussion thread created!
Support your local planetarium! (COVID-panic and forward: Now more than ever.) My current avatar is saying "i wants to go uppies!" Yes, there are God-given rights. Do you wish to gainsay the Declaration of Independence?

Offline JayWee

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 988
  • Liked: 981
  • Likes Given: 1803
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #23 on: 01/04/2023 09:03 pm »
NASA has invested in a technology development program for smaller reentry vehicles for Mars. I don't know the status of that program. I also doubt that it would be useful for future seismology missions because seismic sensors need careful setup. And a small spacecraft is limited in power. My guess is that the primary application would be meteorology sensors, probably with short lifetimes. But there is some hope for possible future distributed spacecraft missions.

Somebody else can look up the details.
Deep Space 2 ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Space_2

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #24 on: 01/04/2023 09:06 pm »
Emphasis mine, text copied from: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=27717.msg2382949#msg2382949

With Insight in it's waning days, has there been any thoughts on a successor, specific to Mars?
The low cost Mars mission workshop last January had a number of drone and helicopter concepts for science missions.

https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lowcostmars2022/pdf/lowcostmars2022_program.htm

In particular, there is a concept for a network of penetrators to investigate the seismic activity around Cerberus Fossae, which appears to be the most seismically active region of Mars. They propose sending 6 penetrators in order to establish a network of at least 4 stations.

The authors speculate that Cerberus Fossae may have erupted in the past 10 million years and that that eruption produced flowing water on the surface.

The authors complain about the lack of power options, stating that this has been a problem for small penetrators. They propose to use rugged solar panels. In my opinion, NASA has overlooked the potential value of developing small RTGs, which could enable many small missions.

"A CERBERUS FOSSAE SEISMIC NETWORK"
https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lowcostmars2022/pdf/5024.pdf
« Last Edit: 01/04/2023 09:12 pm by whitelancer64 »
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline ccdengr

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 650
  • Liked: 482
  • Likes Given: 72
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #25 on: 01/04/2023 09:06 pm »
https://www.seis-insight.eu/en/ has a ton of good info about the history of seismometer development for Mars and how SEIS works in particular.  It was a very difficult instrument to build and the inability to get a good vacuum seal is what ended up delaying the mission.  Thinking that such instruments could be cheaply produced and deployed in quantity is simply not realistic IMHO.

You could perhaps deploy a simple MEMS system like the SP of SEIS https://www.seis-insight.eu/en/public-2/seis-instrument/sp-seismometer but that would really compromise the science return even if you had a lot of them.

Offline redliox

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2526
  • Illinois USA
  • Liked: 677
  • Likes Given: 96
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #26 on: 01/04/2023 11:25 pm »
How much development has been put into penetrator probes?  I wouldn't object to seeing them utilized but apart from DS2 there hasn't been actual hardware sent into space yet.  I understand Japan, the UK, and USA had some efforts made before.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Offline vjkane

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1256
  • Liked: 604
  • Likes Given: 5
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #27 on: 01/05/2023 02:54 am »
How much development has been put into penetrator probes?  I wouldn't object to seeing them utilized but apart from DS2 there hasn't been actual hardware sent into space yet.  I understand Japan, the UK, and USA had some efforts made before.
Lots and lots of development. Ensuring they would penetrate and survive across all kinds of surfaces I believe has always been the key sticking point.

At one time, Japan planned a 3 (if I remember correctly) penetrator mission for the moon that they put a lot of development into. They ultimately cancelled it. Ensuring that the penetrators hit vertically, as I recall, was a major problem.

Ralph Lorenz of JH APL has done a lot of work on penetrators. You might want to look for articles from him; he may have written a book on the topic, too.

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15218
  • Liked: 7678
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #28 on: 01/05/2023 12:01 pm »

Lots and lots of development. Ensuring they would penetrate and survive across all kinds of surfaces I believe has always been the key sticking point.


You are right--lots and lots, and the end result has been disappointing. Penetrators just are not a good option.

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15218
  • Liked: 7678
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #29 on: 01/05/2023 12:06 pm »
Serial production of a instrument in identical units should reduce the cost of the follow on units after the initial unit. One would think.

It just really doesn't work like that for science instruments. They tend to require such high precision and calibration that there is no way to automate that. It's all careful, hands-on work. And while hands-crafted can work for mass production of simple items (hundreds of children assembling Nike sneakers in a sweatshop), that doesn't work for complex ones where everything has to be at high precision.

We did a study a number of years ago about cubesat constellations of science spacecraft and one of the questions was if it is possible to apply the same mass production techniques used for satellites like Starlink to a small science spacecraft, like Earth sensing instruments. It really doesn't work that well for lots of reasons, but one of them is that commercial smallsats don't require very high precision or calibration.

Offline redliox

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2526
  • Illinois USA
  • Liked: 677
  • Likes Given: 96
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #30 on: 01/05/2023 06:12 pm »

Lots and lots of development. Ensuring they would penetrate and survive across all kinds of surfaces I believe has always been the key sticking point.


You are right--lots and lots, and the end result has been disappointing. Penetrators just are not a good option.

Sadly that was the impression I was getting, even without the lackluster performance of DS2.

What about drilling rigs?  Europe's hard-luck rover is supposed to include a decent drill.  Could something similar be used to bury a seismometer a meter or deeper, possibly backfill, and generate some clean, weather-proof data without exceeding say a New Frontiers-level budget?
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Offline deadman1204

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1749
  • USA
  • Liked: 1457
  • Likes Given: 2474
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #31 on: 01/05/2023 06:45 pm »

Lots and lots of development. Ensuring they would penetrate and survive across all kinds of surfaces I believe has always been the key sticking point.


You are right--lots and lots, and the end result has been disappointing. Penetrators just are not a good option.

Sadly that was the impression I was getting, even without the lackluster performance of DS2.

What about drilling rigs?  Europe's hard-luck rover is supposed to include a decent drill.  Could something similar be used to bury a seismometer a meter or deeper, possibly backfill, and generate some clean, weather-proof data without exceeding say a New Frontiers-level budget?
At this point, are we looking at a dedicated mission for a heat probe? I hate to ask, but is a heat probe viewed as worth a full discovery mission?
« Last Edit: 01/05/2023 06:49 pm by deadman1204 »

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15218
  • Liked: 7678
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #32 on: 01/05/2023 07:38 pm »
Sadly that was the impression I was getting, even without the lackluster performance of DS2.

What about drilling rigs?  Europe's hard-luck rover is supposed to include a decent drill.  Could something similar be used to bury a seismometer a meter or deeper, possibly backfill, and generate some clean, weather-proof data without exceeding say a New Frontiers-level budget?

They just don't seem to work. They've been tested like crazy, but (I think) the failure modes are all over the map. Sometimes they go in too far. Sometimes they go in at the wrong angle. Sometimes something else happens. And I think that's why they just cannot be made to work, because it's not easy to identify the most likely problems and design for them.


Online Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5432
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1793
  • Likes Given: 1292
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #33 on: 01/05/2023 07:45 pm »
Serial production of a instrument in identical units should reduce the cost of the follow on units after the initial unit. One would think.

It just really doesn't work like that for science instruments. They tend to require such high precision and calibration that there is no way to automate that. It's all careful, hands-on work. And while hands-crafted can work for mass production of simple items (hundreds of children assembling Nike sneakers in a sweatshop), that doesn't work for complex ones where everything has to be at high precision.

We did a study a number of years ago about cubesat constellations of science spacecraft and one of the questions was if it is possible to apply the same mass production techniques used for satellites like Starlink to a small science spacecraft, like Earth sensing instruments. It really doesn't work that well for lots of reasons, but one of them is that commercial smallsats don't require very high precision or calibration.

Was thinking of setting up the manufacturing process for multiple instruments at start and retaining personnel to work on serial instruments. Always expect the work will be hands-on.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #34 on: 01/05/2023 08:37 pm »
Sadly that was the impression I was getting, even without the lackluster performance of DS2.

What about drilling rigs?  Europe's hard-luck rover is supposed to include a decent drill.  Could something similar be used to bury a seismometer a meter or deeper, possibly backfill, and generate some clean, weather-proof data without exceeding say a New Frontiers-level budget?

They just don't seem to work. They've been tested like crazy, but (I think) the failure modes are all over the map. Sometimes they go in too far. Sometimes they go in at the wrong angle. Sometimes something else happens. And I think that's why they just cannot be made to work, because it's not easy to identify the most likely problems and design for them.

For the HP3 probe? The one on InSight?
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline ccdengr

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 650
  • Liked: 482
  • Likes Given: 72
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #35 on: 01/05/2023 09:21 pm »
I hate to ask, but is a heat probe viewed as worth a full discovery mission?
Given the current budget situation, we'll be lucky if there is a Discovery AO released any time soon.  And I think a dedicated heat probe mission is probably not a viable concept.  It was definitely a secondary goal on InSight.

And even the track record of heat probes being placed by astronauts on Apollo is quite spotty.

Online zubenelgenubi

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11025
  • Arc to Arcturus, then Spike to Spica
  • Sometimes it feels like Trantor in the time of Hari Seldon
  • Liked: 7304
  • Likes Given: 70585
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #36 on: 01/05/2023 09:35 pm »
I hate to ask, but is a heat probe viewed as worth a full discovery mission?
And even the track record of heat probes being placed by astronauts on Apollo is quite spotty.
A worthy endeavor for some of the budding geologists and engineers who are NSF members--improving heat probe technology towards greater reliability!
« Last Edit: 01/05/2023 09:36 pm by zubenelgenubi »
Support your local planetarium! (COVID-panic and forward: Now more than ever.) My current avatar is saying "i wants to go uppies!" Yes, there are God-given rights. Do you wish to gainsay the Declaration of Independence?

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #37 on: 01/05/2023 09:49 pm »
I hate to ask, but is a heat probe viewed as worth a full discovery mission?
And even the track record of heat probes being placed by astronauts on Apollo is quite spotty.
A worthy endeavor for some of the budding geologists and engineers who are NSF members--improving heat probe technology towards greater reliability!

The Apollo heat flow probes were supposed to be drilled down to 3 meters - however, the lunar subsurface turned out to be far more dense and difficult to drill through than anticipated. IIRC, the leading theory is that vibrations from meteorite impacts compact the lunar subsurface over time, while the upper surface layer remains fairly loose.

On Apollo 15, the heat flow probe holes were only drilled down to about 1 and 1.5 meters. Heat flow data was returned for these depths.

On Apollo 16 the cable linking the heat flow probes to the ALSEP was accidentally broken.

On Apollo 17 they managed to drill down 2.5 meters for both holes. The heat flow probes for both Apollo 15 and 17 continued to transmit data back to Earth until the ALSEPs were shut down.

The Apollo heat flow data found rapid heating then a warming trend - thought to be anomalous or the result of a long-term lunar heating trend, until a study suggested that the Apollo astronauts kicking up the regolith darkened the surface near the heat flow probes enough to cause them to heat up rapidly shortly after installation, then they slowly warmed over time from solar heating of the darkened surface, as the heat slowly penetrated further downward. This is currently the accepted understanding of the data, as far as I know.

One of the challenges for any future heat flow probe is how to get in situ measurements without disrupting the nearby surface such as to introduce unwanted variables into the data.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Online Don2

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 507
  • Liked: 273
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #38 on: 02/14/2023 06:25 am »
LPSC 2023 abstract proposing a Cerberus Fossae seismic network. The use 6 penetrators with the aim of at least a 4 station network.
https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2023/pdf/1111.pdf

Tags:
 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Margaritaville Beach Resort South Padre Island
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
1