Author Topic: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?  (Read 7023 times)

Offline Zed_Noir

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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.
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Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Further Mars seismology and/or heat flow missions?
« Reply #22 on: 01/04/2023 08:45 pm »
Moderator:
Splinter discussion thread created!
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Online JayWee

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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

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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

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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.
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Offline vjkane

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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

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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

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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

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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?
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Offline deadman1204

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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

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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.


Offline Zed_Noir

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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

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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.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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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.
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Offline Don2

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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

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