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#101 2007-10-31 16:08:52

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

After three days of presentations, voting, and extended discussions, the "Mars community," as represented by something over 100 scientists who decided to attend the second Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) landing site selection meeting in a process that was open to all, have narrowed down to six the number of potential MSL landing sites. A few others were relegated to a sort of "wait list," standing by in case engineering constraints force too many of the top choices from the list.

The six potential sites are:

more ... from Emily Lakdawalla - 29 Oct 2007


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#102 2007-10-31 16:59:26

RedStreak
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From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Sounds like a mixed choice of possibilities complicated by the rover's budget troubles  :?

The craters sound like they have good possibilities, especially the one with the multiple channels.  After that I'd consider Nili Fossae and Meridiani, the later since it's been proven to be reasonably safe, interesting, and the same region might have more variety than expected.

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#103 2007-11-01 03:51:39

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

There's no shortage of interesting places, however engineering constraints take priority. There's not much difference between crash landing in an interesting place than an uninteresting one smile The new skycrane landing system and other improvements make a more precise landing possible, but the heavier rover makes EDL more difficult. MSL is about four times heavier than a MER. Altitude seems to be the main constraint, the further below datum a landing site is, the safer it is.

The phyllosilicate sites may be the best places to look for traces of past life.


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#104 2007-11-02 20:31:47

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Prime landing sites chosen for biggest Martian rover

Half a dozen possible landing sites have been selected for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), due to launch late in 2009.

The six favoured sites are:
• Mawrth Vallis (24º north): an ancient water outflow channel with light-coloured clay-rich rocks

• Nili Fossae Trough (22º north): a fracture that has been eroded and partly filled in by sediments and clay-rich ejecta from a nearby crater

• Jezero Crater (18º north): an ancient, once-flooded crater containing a fan-delta deposit rich in clays

• Southwest Meridiani (3º south): a site where there is evidence for an ancient and widespread clay-rich layer near the surface, as well as slightly younger materials containing sulphates, which also require water to form

• Holden Crater (26º south): an ancient lakebed with layered clay-rich sediments

• Terby Crater (28º south): another ancient lakebed with diverse deposits including clays

Last edited by SpaceNut (2012-03-04 22:07:12)

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#105 2007-11-10 11:03:19

RedStreak
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From: Illinois
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Posts: 541

Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

The cams are back!

http://www.space.com/news/071109-marssc … nding.html

NASA announced in September that it was scaling back some of Mars Science Laboratory's capabilities in order to keep the $1.7 billion rover mission on track.

Seeking to avoid writing another $75 million check for the already over-budget mission, NASA scuttled a descent camera designed to capture color video of the approaching martian surface and refused to provide any money beyond 2007 for Chem-Cam, a laser instrument that has exceeded its budget by 70 percent.

But Alan Stern, NASA's associate administrator for science, told Space News that the Chem-Cam and the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) programs have since found solutions to their budget quandaries and were back on the manifest.

Nothing about this yet on NASA.gov but this is awesome news.

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#106 2007-12-19 03:30:32

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Latest Landing Site Ellipses  - 14 Dec 2007

Attached is the list of the 6 landing sites being studied for landing MSL and a graphic for each showing the location of the ellipse being considered. For each site, the center latitude, longitude and center elevation of the ellipse is listed as well as a possible safe haven ellipse. The yellow ellipse is the opening of the launch period and the black ellipse is the closing of the launch period. Prime ellipses are 20 by 25 km and safe haven ellipses are 32 by 35 km, both oriented along entry azimuths. Single prime ellipses are being considered at each of the sites, except Mawrth, which has 4. The site that was called Runcorn is now provisionally named Miyamoto (expected to be official next week) and until then is listed as SW Meridiani.

These sites will now become the focus of MRO image acquisition that will be coordinated by John Grant and I. Our approach is to begin imaging the prime ellipses and to request stereo (as soon as rolls are allowed by MRO) for generating topographic maps for evaluating small scale slopes (2-5 m). These requests will include HiRISE, CTX and CRISM data.

Links to the six maps showing landing ellipses


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#107 2007-12-19 05:01:19

RedStreak
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From: Illinois
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

I have to admit the Merridiani sites look very plain if the map topography is any indication; like Opportunity MSL might luck out on finding something.

Personally I hope for one of the Vallis sites; there should be both mineral evidence as well as something to look at either.

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#108 2007-12-19 09:43:44

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

The   Nili Fossae Trough looks exciting and it has clays!


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#109 2008-01-04 10:05:49

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Been a while since last image of the beast.... Set to Roll in 2009: The All-New Bigger, Badder-Ass Mars Rover

Pull over, Spirit. Make way, Opportunity. There's a badder-ass rover rolling into Marsville, and it's big — like Mini Cooper big. Weighing 2,000 pounds (nearly three times the heft of its predecessors), the Mars Science Laboratory is nuclear powered and packed with gadgets never before seen on the Red Planet. Its mission: Assess Mars' past and present capacity to support life — from alien microbes to human explorers. MSL (prototype above, sans science gear) won't launch until fall 2009, but researchers are already arguing about where to land it. They have to pick the right spot because, well, life (on Mars) is at stake.

st_rover_630.jpg

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#110 2008-02-14 10:49:57

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Heat Shield Woes

Feb 14, 2008

By Jefferson Morris/Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover mission has run into problems with the development of its thermal protection system (TPS), along with other issues that could jeopardize its targeted September 2009 launch date.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin told House lawmakers in Washington Feb. 13 that while he still hopes the team can launch in 2009, the agency also is looking at options in 2010 or 2011.

The relative orbital positions of the Earth and Mars allow for a shorter trip time in 2011, although the spacecraft will hit Mars' atmosphere at a higher velocity, which has implications for the TPS, according to James Green, director of the planetary science division at NASA headquarters. For now, however, the team is still focused on a 2009 launch, Green stressed.

"We would look into those [later] options only as a contingency," he told Aerospace Daily.

NASA had planned to use a super lightweight ablative (SLA) heat shield for MSL, similar to what is used on the space shuttle's external tank. But SLA samples failed testing, so the team is switching over to Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA) material.

Changing to PICA, which also is the leading choice to protect the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle from reentry heating, is adding several tens of millions of dollars to MSL's cost, Griffin said. NASA is requesting $223.3 million for MSL in fiscal 2009, the lion's share of the Mars exploration budget for the year (DAILY, Feb. 11).

The heat shield issues, while adding cost, probably won't contribute to a mission delay because thermal protection system development is occurring in parallel with spacecraft and rover development, Green said.

But in addition to the heat shield problems, "things have gone more slowly than we would like" with the mission's overall development, Griffin said during his appearance before the House Science and Technology Committee.

MSL, a rover about the size of a small car, will be by far the largest mission mass ever landed on the Red Planet. "This is an incredibly complicated and intricate spacecraft," Green said. At the moment the team is lagging behind in the development of its avionics, he said.

Describing MSL as "crucial" to NASA's Mars program, Griffin said he doesn't consider the problems the team has encountered to be particularly unusual for a mission of MSL's scope. "I have great confidence in the Mars Science Lab team," he said.


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#111 2008-02-23 06:16:20

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Mars Science Lab Could Cost $2 Billion - 22 Feb 2008

By Jefferson Morris/Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

The total cost of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission could reach $2 billion as the program races to surmount its developmental problems and make its scheduled 2009 launch, according to Associate Administrator for Science Alan Stern.

A surface rover the size of a small car, the flagship-level MSL mission originally was approved at a cost of $1.5 billion, Stern told a Feb. 20 meeting of the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) in Monrovia, Calif. The latest estimate for the program is $1.8 billion, but it continues to rise, Stern said.

MSL's problems began to surface last year, when NASA had to shift $62 million to the program and cost-cap its various instruments to keep it on track. Just a few months later, the program revealed it would not be able to make its September 2009 launch date without another infusion of cash, as it dealt with a costly change in its thermal protection scheme (DAILY, Feb. 14).

Following an evaluation by an independent cost team, NASA is bracing itself to shift an estimated $165 million to keep MSL going. That money will be taken from current appropriations, and will come from within the Science Mission Directorate's Planetary division, Stern said.

"From what we've been told by the independent cost review team, this is not the end," Stern said. "It's going to go up some more. We just don't know how much."

In December, NASA spent $53 million on MSL, then $56 million the following month. "They are going as hard as they can to make that launch window," Stern said. "We should know in the next roughly hundred days if that's going to be possible or not. Hopefully by June or July it'll be clear." If 2009 is impossible, the program can shoot for a 2010 or 2011 launch..


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#112 2008-03-14 09:20:08

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

20080307amslwheelpq2.jpg

Big Wheels Cross The Finish Line...for Now! - 7 Mar 2008

NASA's next mission to Mars gets rolling, as engineers on the mobility team cross a finish line of their own. Just complete is fabrication of the wheels for the Mars Science Laboratory rover. In 2010, the SUV-sized rover will land on Mars, touching down on all six of its truck-sized wheels, ready to drive. This dust-busting wheel will soon join with its shock-absorbing, titanium spokes and the perfectly balanced springs that will snap them into place. With only 18 months to get the rover ready, the mission team will be driving hard to build their rover, test it, and send it on its way!


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#113 2008-05-21 11:13:51

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

MSL_20080512.jpg
Third-Generation Mars Rover Dwarfs Predecessors - 12 May 2008

Mars rovers appear to be shrinking with age! The biggest, baddest, newest rover being built is the Mars Science Laboratory rover (right). It's the size of a small sport-utility vehicle. Still exploring Mars four years after landing are the dune-buggy-sized rovers Spirit and Opportunity (left). The first-generation rover, Sojourner, is the size of a microwave oven.

Why are the rovers getting bigger? The answer is one word: science. The mass and volume of science instruments -- tools the rovers use to study the Martian surface and environment -- have remained fairly constant at about 10 percent. To determine if Mars ever could have supported life, the Mars Science Laboratory rover will travel farther, carry more instruments, and sample more rocks and soils than ever before. Like a car with more gizmos, the newest robotic beast has to evolve to carry all the gear!


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#114 2008-05-22 07:07:41

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Ya quite impressive the tire to the small rover comparisons are.

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#115 2008-05-27 05:06:08

Felix32
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From: Belgrade
Registered: 2008-05-27
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

How long is the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) expected to supply energy to the rover?

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#116 2008-05-27 08:00:34

Rune
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From: Madrid, Spain
Registered: 2008-05-22
Posts: 191

Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

How long is the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) expected to supply energy to the rover?

Umm... a few thousand years? RTG's work by getting electricity out of the heat generated by isotope degradation over time, so till the radioactive material cools off and stops being radioactive. The Voyagers had a similar system and are still under power, after all. My personal guess is that some other critical piece of equipment is going to fail first, but as to when, no idea.


Rune. Just like the Duracell bunny!


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#117 2012-02-14 20:50:48

SpaceNut
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Posts: 12,701

Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Lots of downs in the new direction of the budget...

The new direction does not imperil NASA's $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, which will drop the 1-ton Curiosity rover onto the Martian surface this August to investigate if the Red Planet can, or ever did, support microbial life.

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#118 2018-08-01 22:07:17

SpaceNut
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#119 2018-08-05 11:31:42

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 12,701

Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Nasa put lots of sensors in the heatshield and here is some information on the measurements.

www.ssdl.gatech.edu/sites/default/files/papers/conferencePapers/AIAA-2013-0908.pdf
Initial Assessment of Mars Science Laboratory Heatshield Instrumentation and Flight Data

This is about shape and thickness of the materials used to keep the landing safe to the ground.

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