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#51 2004-10-31 03:37:37

djellison
Member
From: Leicester,UK
Registered: 2004-08-31
Posts: 113

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Isn't the sundial at the lander site? what did they do drive around in a circle?

No - the sundial is on the back solar array on the rover itself.

03pd0787-m.jpg

03pd0785-m.jpg


The only target on the lander is the lego 'red rover goes to mars' DVD with the three lego bricks.

They've been carrying their calibration targer ( the sundial ) with them since day 1.

Doug

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#52 2004-10-31 05:40:26

No life on Mars
Member
From: Newyork
Registered: 2004-02-25
Posts: 50

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Article about methane on Mars

Boynton tends to think that the hydrogen they’re seeing in those low-latitude regions is more likely to take the form of hydrated minerals than ice. One piece of evidence for this view is that the same regions have high chlorine levels, suggesting the rocks there have been weathered, which would be a way of getting hydrated minerals to form.

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#53 2004-10-31 06:08:06

Stu
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From: Kendal, Cumbria, England
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 318
Website

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Look carefully at that second photo in Doug's posting, all the techs gathered around the rover... look at the guy staring lovingly at the sundial...

"Awww, don't worry, I know Mars is a long way away, and cold, but you'll be fine. And listen, I know you're only small, and I know there's lots of fancier bits and pieces on this rover, but you're my very favourite part, with your cute little colour charts and your shiny stalk... you're better than all those instruments and robot arms and spiky wheels put together, believe me... and don't tell anyone, but I'm going to re-write some of the software so that every other photo sent back to Earth is of you! You'll be a star, the most famous sundial in the history of the world, and millions of people all over the world will see you when they visit websites each day... okay, so they'll want to see rocks and sand dunes and cliffs at first, and when they see you they'll want to writhe your head off with frustration, but they'll come to love you... just like I do..."


Stuart Atkinson

Skywatching Blog: http://journals.aol.com/stuartatk/Cumbrian-Sky

Astronomical poetry, including mars rover poems: http://journals.aol.com/stuartatk/TheVerse

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#54 2004-11-02 07:43:41

REB
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From: Houston, Texas
Registered: 2004-04-07
Posts: 555
Website

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Looks like Opportunity is coming out of Endurance.

I suspect Opportunity will last longer than Spirit, considering it has not driven as far, or had as rough terrain to traverse.


"Run for it? Running's not a plan! Running's what you do, once a plan fails!"  -Earl Bassett

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#55 2004-11-02 08:06:42

Palomar
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From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

I suspect Opportunity will last longer than Spirit

*Me too.  It seems certain, given all the indications, that the Columbia Hills will be Spirit's final resting place.  And likely Victoria Crater will be Oppy's.  Am eager for the trek there to begin and what may be found along the way.  :up:

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#56 2004-11-03 11:37:02

REB
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From: Houston, Texas
Registered: 2004-04-07
Posts: 555
Website

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Cool picture!

I would love to be there with my rock hammer and hand-lens to study that layering.


"Run for it? Running's not a plan! Running's what you do, once a plan fails!"  -Earl Bassett

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#57 2004-11-03 11:52:28

John Creighton
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From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 2,401
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Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Cool picture!

I would love to be there with my rock hammer and hand-lens to study that layering.

Is that the crater we were all waiting to see? I wonder what those white slabs are.

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#58 2004-11-03 12:05:17

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,338

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

I think that this photo shows the most direct water evidence.
Notice the waves in the soil.
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery....M1.HTML

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#59 2004-11-03 13:17:21

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Cool picture!

I would love to be there with my rock hammer and hand-lens to study that layering.

*Too bad it's not a color pic.  Would like to see the various hues within the layering.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#60 2004-11-03 14:58:33

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

I think that this photo shows the most direct water evidence.
Notice the waves in the soil.
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery....M1.HTML

they probed that already, it's just sand-dunes.  sad


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#61 2004-11-04 07:56:05

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Update on Spirit

*...lengthy update.  smile  Says despite the problem with the steering brake relay (article goes into some detail about all that...we've known about it for a while), Spirit is healthy and ready to proceed further into the Columbia Hills.  :up:

Thanks to forethought on the part of the rover design team, it is possible to disable the dynamic braking function using ground commands. Those commands deliberately and safely blow a fuse that is in line with the brake relay circuit.

The absence of the braking function for the steering actuators in question (right front and left rear steering) will not affect the accuracy of our drives or the rover's safety when we are stopped.

Until this problem is fully resolved, we will continue to drive with the right front and left rear steering actuators disabled, using tank-like steering.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#62 2004-11-04 09:09:32

REB
Member
From: Houston, Texas
Registered: 2004-04-07
Posts: 555
Website

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Good news, Cindy.

Here is another recent image from Opportunity. I find it a interesating picture.


"Run for it? Running's not a plan! Running's what you do, once a plan fails!"  -Earl Bassett

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#63 2004-11-04 09:31:23

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Good news, Cindy.

Here is another recent image from Opportunity. I find it a interesating picture.

*Hi REB.  Yeah, good pic.  Those flat, rectangular(ish) stones are always striking. 

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#64 2004-11-06 12:20:01

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Control of the MERs...

*...has shifted to Cornell in upstate NY from JPL over the past 2 months. 

There are five scheduled meetings daily for each rover conducted via computer and telephone links. Despite separate operating teams for each rover, researchers often switch back and forth. On a good day, those meetings run for six hours. On a bad one, they can last 12 hours or more, Squyres said.

"What characterizes this mission is that what we do each day depends on the day before. You can't plan ahead. You have to look at what you learned yesterday to plan tomorrow,'' he said.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#65 2004-11-08 08:37:28

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

*From today's "Astronotes" of space.com (is in updated column format, must copy and paste):

November 8

Volcanic Ash May Have Once Covered Martian Hill

The Spirit Rover continues to climb a Martian hill, whose rocks appear to have formed from the debris of an ancient volcanic eruption.

Both of NASA’s Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have remained productive long past their original three-month missions, which ended this past spring.

Even with problems with its wheels, Spirit is making progress up the Columbia Hills, where it previously found evidence for water in the types of minerals observed in certain rocks.

Spirit’s new findings give some clue as to what the scene was like before water changed these rocks’ compositions.

"Our leading hypothesis is that these rocks originated as volcanic ash that fell from the air or moved in ground-hugging ash flows, and that minerals in them were altered by water," said Ray Arvidson of Washington University, St. Louis, deputy principal investigator for the mission.

Evidence for the volcanic-ash origin comes from a layered rock called "Uchben," which researchers have scoured with Spirit’s rock abrasion tool.  Images of the rock’s interior reveal sand-size particles, many of them sharply angular in shape.

If wind or water had brought the pieces of Uchben to this spot, the unavoidable tumbling along the surface would have made the particles smoother.  As it is, the jagged shapes observed in the rock imply a volcanic eruption launched the particles to the Columbia Hills.

Wind and water may still have played an important part in the formation of the hills’ rocks.  The full explanation is still being worked out.

"We have really made headway just in the last several weeks in understanding these rocks,” said Steve Squyres, the rovers' principal investigator from Cornell University.  “The most likely origin is debris that blasted out of a volcano, was transported by air or water to its present location, and settled out in layers."

-- Michael Schirber

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#66 2004-11-10 15:29:52

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,338

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Another great resource of photo's

More Postcards From Mars big_smile

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#67 2004-11-10 18:36:22

Stephen
Member
Registered: 2004-01-16
Posts: 68

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Good news, Cindy.

Here is another recent image from Opportunity. I find it a interesating picture.

Actually, a much more dramatic picture is this one. Opportunity must almost have been perched on its tai to get that shot! smile

It also suggests Steve Squyres has got his wish about being able to "claw" his way up Burns Cliff.


======
Stephen

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#68 2004-11-10 19:05:54

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

*And speaking of Burns Cliff, Oppy is having a heck of a time, apparently.  Check out the references to "100% slippage."  :-\  They're unsure of Oppy's ability to even reach Burns Cliff via the current approach.

Good news, though:  Solar power is so plentiful they're able to reduce deep sleep mode.  :up: 

Apparently they're experimenting with mobility maneuvers. 

And "Son of Bane"?  ???  Okay...  roll 

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#69 2004-11-11 02:22:02

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Opportunity's unexpected power bonus lately hasn't been fully explained. They've come up with the idea that mini-tornadoes could have swept dust from the panels but they've seen no evidence of such phenomena. And the tornadoes would have to have passed directly over the MER or, presumably, they would throw more dust onto the panels than they removed. Then there's the condensed water vapour theory, gathering the dust into small areas and allowing more sunlight through. But nothing fully explains the enigma, yet.
    I know most of you are already familiar with all this but you may not realise that my wife has solved the problem of why Opportunity has more power. She insists it's perfectly obvious that helpful martians with feather dusters have been cleaning the solar panels of an evening, when the MER is in 'standby mode'. These martians, according to her, regard our rover as "cute" and have developed a soft spot for it - wanting it to continue its brave explorations. She maintains they'd be happy to fix Spirit's wheel and steering-actuator too, but Gusev Crater's a more sparsely populated area and none of the locals has spotted that rover yet!

    Makes pefect sense to me.   :up:    tongue   
   (But then, I've learned it's often best to avoid futile arguments if possible.  big_smile  )


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#70 2004-11-11 07:09:22

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,338

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Evidence of water deepens mystery of planet's history - Mars answers spur questions

Five spacecraft are circling Mars and creeping across its ruddy surface, looking for traces of long-gone waters and signs that the cold, arid planet may once have been hospitable to life.

Now I know the rovers names but what did we call the rest of the probe that is still in orbit?
Still waiting on Mars express to use its radar to see how deep the water goes.

Next year, NASA's Lockheed Martin-built Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will launch on a mission to snap the sharpest-ever pictures of the red planet's surface. In 2007 another Lockheed Martin craft, Phoenix, will land in a polar region and attempt to dig into subsurface ice.

In 2009, NASA's Mobile Science Laboratory - as big as a Volkswagen Bug - will be launched. Science instruments for the lab will be selected in about two weeks.

Beyond that, NASA is planning a mission to bring Mars rocks and soil to Earth. And President Bush has called for human missions back to the moon and on to Mars. McCleese said the best-guess date on a human Mars mission is 2030.

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#71 2004-11-11 09:56:35

djellison
Member
From: Leicester,UK
Registered: 2004-08-31
Posts: 113

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Now I know the rovers names but what did we call the rest of the probe that is still in orbit?

Well - the cruise stages for Pathfinder, Spirit and Opportunity actually entered the martian atmosphere shortly after the landers did - but burnt up in the process, so there's nothing of them left.

The Viking landers had parental orbiters - and both are still in orbit - and are, imaginatively called Viking Orbiter 1 and 2.

Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express are the only currently operating mars orbiters.

Doug

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#72 2004-11-11 11:04:29

Palomar
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From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

Opportunity's unexpected power bonus lately hasn't been fully explained. They've come up with the idea that mini-tornadoes could have swept dust from the panels but they've seen no evidence of such phenomena. And the tornadoes would have to have passed directly over the MER or, presumably, they would throw more dust onto the panels than they removed.

*Intriguing.  smile  I know there's lots of articles "out there" but Shaun, do you happen to recall where you read about the mini-tornado theory?  I've not come across it; am rather sure I'd remember having read about it myself (being a dust devil lover and all that).  I have read the notion of *gusts of wind* perhaps blowing the dust off, but not termed as "mini-tornadoes."

(And presumably we still won't get a photo of either a dust devil or a mini- from either MER!)  :-\

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#73 2004-11-11 11:17:57

REB
Member
From: Houston, Texas
Registered: 2004-04-07
Posts: 555
Website

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

I thought it was getting a power boost from the angle of the slope it is on, which causes more of a right angle between the solar cells and the Sun.


"Run for it? Running's not a plan! Running's what you do, once a plan fails!"  -Earl Bassett

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#74 2004-11-11 13:38:58

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

How i read the mini tornado thinghy was that they half said it in jest: they truly have no idea what's happening, but a mini-tornado exactly crossing the rover's path was not ruled out completely, despite it being a very 'wild' guess...

It was more an off the record thing, not in print oficcially from JPL/NASA, but during an interview someone said it... And of course the press took it gladly, strange you idn't see it anywhere, Cindy, it has been repeated in several newsstories.


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#75 2004-11-11 13:57:16

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Opportunity & Spirit **8** - ...More...

strange you didn't see it anywhere, Cindy, it has been repeated in several newsstories.

???  sad  ???

*Can't win 'em all, I guess.  Unless my memory is going kaput (doubtful).  :hm: 

Thanks for your reply, Rik.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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