Author Topic: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover  (Read 55287 times)

Offline Blackstar

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Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #161 on: 08/08/2018 11:05 PM »
Was at JPL this morning. Took a photo of Mars 2020 coming together. Rover parts not yet in the big clean room.

Offline Lar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #162 on: 08/09/2018 01:16 PM »
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/08/us-plans-mars-should-include-more-sample-return-report-warns
Thanks for sharing this (and the other one in the next post)

Do you have a view on whether the commentary in these two pieces hits or misses the mark?
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline vjkane

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #163 on: 08/09/2018 03:41 PM »
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/08/us-plans-mars-should-include-more-sample-return-report-warns
Thanks for sharing this (and the other one in the next post)

Do you have a view on whether the commentary in these two pieces hits or misses the mark?
I've read the report.  The committee looked at a wide range of topics, and the committee provided its judgement on all of them.  The committee found that NASA's managers have done a pretty good job of trying to execute to the last Decadal Survey with the resources they had.  There are no big red flags.  So different reporters focus their short articles on different ones of the 24 recommendations made by the committee.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #164 on: 08/09/2018 07:35 PM »
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/08/us-plans-mars-should-include-more-sample-return-report-warns
Thanks for sharing this (and the other one in the next post)

Do you have a view on whether the commentary in these two pieces hits or misses the mark?

I would suggest that everybody here who is interested read the report themselves. The study director was a wise and knowledgeable expert. Handsome too, and smells like daffodils.


Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #165 on: 08/09/2018 07:40 PM »
I've read the report.  The committee looked at a wide range of topics, and the committee provided its judgement on all of them.  The committee found that NASA's managers have done a pretty good job of trying to execute to the last Decadal Survey with the resources they had.  There are no big red flags.  So different reporters focus their short articles on different ones of the 24 recommendations made by the committee.

That's pretty accurate. There are a bunch of recommendations, but some of them are big ones, and others are rather narrow, and some of them are along the lines of "the decadal survey recommended doing X, and we recommend that you continue to do X." Different reporters picked out different things to emphasize, in part because the report does not give the reporters red meat in the form of "NASA is doing a bad job..."

In fact, what you're seeing is sorta one of the foundations of journalism. For weeks now there has been bad news about JWST, and so reporters have been jumping on that story because it is juicy. And then along comes a report that basically says that the planetary science program is well-managed and doing a good job, and a lot of reporters are either bored, or don't know how to write that story.

I think the stuff that the reporters kinda missed is what the committee said about the Europa Lander. There is a subtle, but important point being made there. But read the report yourself and you'll figure it out.


Offline gosnold

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #166 on: 08/10/2018 02:33 PM »
I think the stuff that the reporters kinda missed is what the committee said about the Europa Lander. There is a subtle, but important point being made there. But read the report yourself and you'll figure it out.

That NASA should stick to the decadal and not study missions because they are popular in Congress?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #167 on: 08/10/2018 04:08 PM »
That NASA should stick to the decadal and not study missions because they are popular in Congress?

I'm going to break that sentence down into three parts.

1-"That NASA..." NASA doesn't get a lot of say in the matter. The agency has to do what the executive and legislative leadership tells them to do. Now NASA does get some say in how they implement things. And external advisory reports can back up NASA when they decide to do things (or swat at them when they don't do things).

2-"and not study missions"  Studying is fine. Studying doesn't cost a lot of money. It's building things that costs money.

3-"are popular in Congress" Congress is not a point source, it is made up of a lot of people, some with much more power than others. When a bill comes out of Congress it is, for all intents and purposes, Congress speaking. But 99% of Congress many not care about some issue and only 1% does.

And all of that points to the importance of building a broad consensus. Big, expensive missions should happen because a lot of people want them to happen.

Offline vjkane

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #168 on: 08/11/2018 04:07 PM »
There's a new description of the Midway landing site that's been posted on the page for the upcoming landing site meeting.

https://marsnext.jpl.nasa.gov/workshops/2018-10/midway_ellipse_development_info_v4.pdf

The center of the Midway landing eclipse is 10 km closer to the Jezero eclipse and a mission that lands in one and traverses to the second is considered feasible.  Per the post, "exposures and accessibility of NE Syrtis-type stratigraphy in the Midway ellipse has been deemed roughly equivalent to the original NE Syrtis ellipse by multiple subject matter experts. Multiple safe routes into or out of Jezero crater have been identified by the Mars 2020 Project."

Offline gosnold

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #169 on: 08/20/2018 03:22 PM »
I'm going to break that sentence down into three parts.

Ok, so the less diplomatic version is that Culbertson should not put money for building a lander unless the decadal recommends it.

Btw spacenews has a piece on the report that is pretty good:
https://spacenews.com/committee-praises-nasas-planetary-science-program-but-raises-some-concerns/

Offline Blackstar

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Offline jbenton

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #171 on: 08/22/2018 12:21 AM »
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/casey-dreier/2018/0815-national-academies-report-mars-plans.html

The article says a lot about the concern for MSR planning and the lack of a new telecoms orbiter again, but it also says that the report speaks glowingly of the Mars 2020 rover's progress:

Quote
Speaking of sample return, the report also examined NASA's progress toward addressing the top recommendation of the decadal survey: a caching rover to start a sample return campaign from Mars. The Mars 2020 rover is deemed to fully meet those recommendations by including a full suite of in-situ scientific instrumentation and a sample caching and preparation system at ⅔ the cost of the original decadal estimate.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #172 on: 08/22/2018 02:20 AM »

The article says a lot about the concern for MSR planning and the lack of a new telecoms orbiter again, but it also says that the report speaks glowingly of the Mars 2020 rover's progress:


You can always download the report for free and read it yourself. There's a whole chapter on Mars.

I'd add that when we did the decadal survey we didn't really expect the second phase of Mars sample return to begin in this decade. We wanted MAX-C (the caching rover) to happen, and it has in the form of Mars 2020. But what we also wanted to happen was for serious technology development on the ascent vehicle to get underway. That did not happen until last year, nearly halfway through the period covered by the decadal survey. Hopefully that technology development investment continues.
« Last Edit: 08/22/2018 02:45 AM by Blackstar »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #173 on: 08/22/2018 02:56 AM »
Was at JPL this morning. Took a photo of Mars 2020 coming together. Rover parts not yet in the big clean room.

I got a bunch more photos, but they don't really show much. The skycrane is visible there and that's complete. They might still be planning some testing on it, but it is assembled. They're bringing together the cruise stage pieces, some of which are at the top right. I have a photo of the left side of the room that has a large circular frame. They attach part of the spacecraft to that and use it to rotate into place. I assumed that it was for the cruise stage, but because the frame is at one side of the room and the cruise stage is at the other side of the room and the skycrane is in between them, I now think that the big circular frame is going to be used for the heat shield. (I have photos I took of Curiosity coming together ca 2008 and I could go look at them since it's the same equipment.)

You can see a bunch of people in bunny suits in the lower left of the photo. When I was there they were practicing with another large frame device. They were practicing how they moved around it, who climbed up on it, and how they rotated it. I don't know what that frame is for. I don't think it is for the rover itself. When they were assembling Curiosity back in 2008, the boxy center section was sitting upside down on a table with a few of its wheels attached. Somehow they rotated it upside down and then rightside up.

When you stand there and look at the spacecraft parts and the handling equipment you start to appreciate that they don't just design a spacecraft. They also design the equipment to handle the spacecraft, and they have to consider the procedures for assembling it. So design is a very iterative process--you cannot simply draw everything on a CAD program and only after you have finished figure out how you will assemble it. What if there's no attachment point for you to pick it up? All that stuff--hooks, holes, strongpoints--has to be worked into the design.

And before you move a very expensive piece of equipment, you practice practice practice.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #174 on: 08/22/2018 03:09 AM »
I took this photo of the Curiosity assembly process in late October 2008.

What you are seeing:

-Center upper left is the heat shield

-Center foreground is the top of the backshell, which covers the rover

-Center upper left is the frame that they use to rotate Curiosity (this is what they were practicing with two weeks ago, so they were practicing maneuvering Mars 2020 when they start to bring the rover parts in)

-Center upper right is Curiosity, flipped upside down

-Upper far right is the edge of the Skycrane
« Last Edit: 08/22/2018 03:11 AM by Blackstar »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #175 on: 08/22/2018 03:12 AM »
Sorry that this is blurry. This is another photo I took in October 2008. Curiosity is at left, the skycrane is at center, and the solar panels for the cruise stage are at right.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #176 on: 08/22/2018 03:13 AM »
Here is the heat shield for Curiosity, in October 2008. The Mars 2020 heat shield was not yet in the clean room as of two weeks ago.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #177 on: 08/22/2018 03:18 AM »
Here is Curiosity in October 2008. It is upside down, and two of the wheels have been attached. Note that at this point things were getting kinda cramped in that clean room. One surprise to me was that they did not have a lot of work room between the rover and the skycrane. They probably did not have too many people working on the rover at any one time because of that. You really don't want somebody to trip and reach for a handhold and break part of the rover or skycrane.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #178 on: 08/22/2018 03:26 AM »
As I noted, I took those photos in late October 2008. The launch window was October 2009. In December 2008 the program concluded that they could not not meet the 2009 launch date. You can find a report from January 2009 here:

https://www.lpi.usra.edu/pss/jan92009/presentations/mslTechnicalCook.pdf

I later heard a senior NASA official who came in after the problems state that they (the program) knew that they were not going to make the schedule considerably before December 2008, but that they were burning money like crazy throughout 2008 to try and catch up. He said that if he had been in charge then, he would have postponed the launch at that point (presumably summer 2008?) and come up with a re-plan so that they spent less money over the extra period of time rather than try and rush to meet a date that was impossible. Armchair quarterbacking, but that does not mean he was wrong.
« Last Edit: 08/22/2018 03:34 AM by Blackstar »

Offline jbenton

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Re: NASA - Mars 2020 Rover
« Reply #179 on: 08/22/2018 05:53 PM »

The article says a lot about the concern for MSR planning and the lack of a new telecoms orbiter again, but it also says that the report speaks glowingly of the Mars 2020 rover's progress:


You can always download the report for free and read it yourself. There's a whole chapter on Mars.

I'd add that when we did the decadal survey we didn't really expect the second phase of Mars sample return to begin in this decade. We wanted MAX-C (the caching rover) to happen, and it has in the form of Mars 2020. But what we also wanted to happen was for serious technology development on the ascent vehicle to get underway. That did not happen until last year, nearly halfway through the period covered by the decadal survey. Hopefully that technology development investment continues.

Could you remind me of the title of the report and where to download it? Thanks.

Edit: Never mind, found it.
« Last Edit: 08/23/2018 09:13 AM by jbenton »

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