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#51 2006-04-25 08:38:41

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Planetary Radio interview with Rob Manning (MER EDL engineer) about MSL using skycrane and hypersonic steering; he also discusses ballutes for landing etc hear it here


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#52 2006-04-30 07:40:26

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Abstracts are now available for the 1st MSL Landing Site Workshop ... lots of documents to read about the selection process together with details of many potential sites


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#53 2006-05-03 07:35:35

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

It was either this thread or the Facilitating Ground Rendezvou where the use of a steerable parachutes had been discussed but I thought that there was another..

No need it would seem to develope this type of item for multiple landings within a given location. Of course setting up a GPS system for mars would still need to be done though.

GPS-Guided Parachutes Increase Safety In Resupply

This new parachute system, the Sherpa, has the ability to guide itself to the drop zone from up to 25,000 feet in the air and 15 miles away, landing within 100 yards of the targeted point of impact while carrying up to 2,200 pounds of supplies.

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#54 2006-05-03 13:18:57

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

MSL will use hypersonic steering during reentry, followed by parachutes then the steerable Skycrane for the final touchdown of the rover.

More details here


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#55 2006-05-31 11:37:50

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Space.Com report from the landing site selection workshop.

Some scientists here are backing the Holden Crater region. Others suggest that Gale Crater is a feature likely to rise to the top of the must do list. Many point to a "no brainer" of an exploration hot spot—the huge canyon landscape of Valles Marineris.

"Valles Marineris looks good now … but remember the cold feet that the engineers got about this with Spirit and Opportunity. I wouldn’t be surprised if Valles Marineris eventually falls out of favor for engineering reasons," predicted one Mars researcher taking part in the workshop.


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#56 2006-06-01 12:58:51

Julius Caeser
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

This Sky Crane business scares me.Although its advantages are clear over the parachute system,it might seem to be a bit too ambitious IMO.Hope that Rob Manning can do a good job like he already has done with Pathfinder and MER rovers with devising new landing techniques on Mars!

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#57 2006-06-01 13:53:09

RedStreak
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

This Sky Crane business scares me.Although its advantages are clear over the parachute system,it might seem to be a bit too ambitious IMO.

Ambitious I agree, but many thought the same for Pathfinder's airbags originally.

I've heard the airbag landing technique, while clearly proven and hopefully will be tried again on smaller missions, is too small to handle something of MSL's mass.

I'm not an engineer (or at least not yet  wink  ) so all I can really do is just hope they're crunching their numbers correctly...and hopefully not making those metric-English mistakes that doomed the Mars Climate Orbiter.

I'm more interested in what landing site they decide on.  I hope if not Valles Marineris itself then one of the larger, spectacular channels like Kasie Vallis or Mangala Valles; I can always recognize a picture of Mars not just by the volcanoes or Valles Marineris but by the long streak of Kasie running down to Echus Chasm.

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#58 2006-06-01 14:01:12

RedStreak
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

This is a pretty big vehicle. I could see the astronauts in the future welding a trailer hitch on it. Add some hydraulics to lift up the trailer and you have a jury-rigged dump truck.

*sudden image of the Duke boys on Mars  tongue   lol  *

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#59 2006-06-01 19:18:27

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

I've heard the airbag landing technique, while clearly proven and hopefully will be tried again on smaller missions, is too small to handle something of MSL's mass.

I did recall such a comment quite some time ago and then the new cev capsule is to land with this same technique and will be I would think considerably heavier than the MSL but I am just guessing.

It was meantioned in another thread that the company for the CEV has been awarded a contract to the ILC Dover to Develop CEV Airbags for NASA. This company was the same one that had done the other Mars missions air bags in the past. To which would not work for the MSL.

Had made mention of a demonstrator test that had already been done by Lockheed quite some time back with a capsule nearly the same weight as CEV's. I would think that these would be a better fit for the MSL but then again I have not the details to prove it with.

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#60 2006-06-01 20:14:41

RedStreak
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Had made mention of a demonstrator test that had already been done by Lockheed quite some time back with a capsule nearly the same weight as CEV's. I would think that these would be a better fit for the MSL but then again I have not the details to prove it with.

True but this is an interesting point you raise.

In any case though I imagine MSL will still chose the skycrane method, and if it works then it gives us more options for future missions.

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#61 2006-06-01 20:33:47

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

"skycrane" concept image here

This particular view is simular to a carrier plane and lander in one but as the weight is lowered to the surface its center of gravity will shift causing it to need more fuel which will be in limited supply. It will first after entering the mars atmosphere shed its heat shield and will deploy a steerable parachute. Hoping to slow the descent to the surface. With mars thin atmosphere and the much greater mass of the MSL will it be capable of this?

The skycrane is intended to lower the rover once reaching 15 feet above the surface in approximate 8 seconds and then peal off away from the MSL. Thats a real gentle landing requiring even more fule.

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#62 2006-06-01 20:44:05

RedStreak
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Omitting the failure with the '98 Mars Surveyors I trust the engineering with probes more than shuttle engineering myself.  Skycrane is bold, no denying that, but if we want access to more than safe-but-bland-as-hell terrain something like Skycrane would have innevitably been required.  Even the airbag missions were targeted for the relatiely smooth plains.  Also, with an RTG plugged in the rover will have power to support an active guidance system instead of worrying about conserving batteries until ol' Sol rises.  With the same altimeter and cameras onboard the previous rovers MSL could steer away from any trouble instead of hoping the airbags don't pop.

Thinking about it, a blimp probe might be the safest way to rove on Mars, or even deliver rovers to various sites.

Perhaps the next mission could send a blimp - somethink akin to a prototype of the fictional DaVinci and Issiac Newton probes on Discovery Channel's Alien Planet.  Instead of a lander for a base a future equivelant of Sojourner could be lowered and then retrieved periodically.  It would be one hell of a Mars probe.

Anyway, all we can do is hope they know they're wiring the skycrane properly...  :?

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#63 2006-06-02 16:20:56

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

NASA announce that an Atlas V has been selected to launch the MSL from Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The total Mars Science Laboratory launch service price is $194.7 million. That cost includes NASA launch services and mission integration requirements.


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#64 2006-06-27 13:26:16

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

msla5xq.jpg
Latest (April 2006) MSL conceptual design ripped from Mission overview doc below

New documents available:

Mission overview PDF (2MB)

Engineering constraints for landing PDF (250KB)


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#65 2006-09-07 13:27:07

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

mslconceptdeisaugust2006yz7.jpg

Image from MSL Draft Environmental Impact Statement (PDF  5 MB, August 2006). Although this document is mainly concerned with the radiological risks associated with launch of MSL and its RTG, it contains a lot of information about the mission and rover.


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#66 2006-09-21 06:19:37

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

corer-abrader_1.jpg
Details of the new super RAT from Honeybee Robotics

The CAT can acquire, break, retain, and transfer consolidated and unconsolidated cores; abrade, polish, and brush rocks and crusty soils; and change-out different end-effectors and bits. The CAT uses its bit change-out system to change between coring and abrading modes, as well as to replace worn bits to maintain high coring and abrasion penetration rates.


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#67 2006-10-16 06:21:57

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

You would have thought that this question would have been answered by now...

NASA Weighs Power-Source Options for Mars Rover

NASA expects to decide by the end of the year whether to use conventional solar arrays or a nuclear battery to power the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory rover.

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#68 2006-10-16 06:39:12

RedStreak
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

I agree that they should have answered.

If they go with solar power at least visiting  Valles Marineris would still be feasible.  But nuclear would be quite handy if they want this to be a long-term probe.

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#69 2006-10-16 07:05:47

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Yup agreed and with the only weak link on the current rovers being wheel motor drive, maybe this should be the focus.
The need for nuclear may be precluded based on not knowing if solar could provide power for complete operation in Mars winter months for the MSL rover.
They may not have all the numbers yet to tell which one to use.

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#70 2006-10-16 07:19:45

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

You would have thought that this question would have been answered by now...

It has been answered but NASA has no choice ... see next paragraph:

NASA clearly would prefer to use a so-called multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator, or MMRTG, a device that converts heat from decaying Plutonium-238 into electricity. But federal environmental regulations require the U.S. agency to give the general public a chance to weigh in before making a final decision on the rover ...

Note this description of the public meeting:

During the meeting, despite two hours reserved for public comment, no one rose to speak. Most of the two dozen people in attendance were either NASA and Department of Energy officials or part of a group of local university students enrolled in a class on federal environmental regulations and procedures.

NASA spokesman Dwayne Brown said the first public meeting held Sept. 27 in Cocoa, Fla., also was sparsely attended.

MSL will have an RTG.


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#71 2006-10-16 09:24:40

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Yup was in the know of both quotes but have not seen any news release by Nasa on it as of yet...
Nuclear would be preferrable when considering the longevity and of possible use time of the rover but what of the extended costs for mission control which needs to be approved of with the current rovers what is the outcome for the choice...

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#72 2006-11-21 14:36:42

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover


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#73 2006-12-15 08:00:36

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

Previously we have mentioned 'Life chip' ready for 2009 Mars missions and "microfabricated lab on a chip," but I think this may be a prelimanry use of the device on the ISS.

'Lab-on-a-Chip' (Locad) will keep space station squeaky clean

Marshall develops hand-held device to analyze bacteria

The age of a "Star Trek" "Tri-corder" may be close.

Marshall Space Flight Center scientists have developed a hand-held device similar in size and shape to the Tri-corder scanner of the popular science fiction character Mr. Spock.

:twisted:  :idea: 


The "chip" has microscopic channels used to analyze bacteria,
Locad, will allow International Space Station crews to perform laboratory-like analyses in minutes, eliminating time-consuming science chores used on the orbiting lab today

This will give station crews the ability to test the overall cleanliness of the International Space Station in a matter of just minutes," Monaco said. "Importantly, they would know if a (dangerous) bacteria was present very quickly, so they could respond to it."

Saturday's launch of Discovery lofted the experiment to the space station, and crews are expected to begin using Locad "starting around May," said Ginger Flores, a Marshall program manager who oversaw the $4.5 million project.

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#74 2007-01-09 04:09:12

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

NASA/Boeing Test Data System For MSL Heatshield

KEITH STEIN, Launchspace Editor

Wed Jan 3, 10:33 PM ET --- The Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI) project has been approved to incorporate an atmospheric data system into the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) heatshield, for collecting valuable environmental data during the spacecraft's entry into the Martian atmosphere.

This data system includes a series of pressure ports, through the thermal protection system, which feed to pressure transducers mounted inside the aeroshell.

MSL is scheduled for launch in 2009.

"The MEDLI project is on a very aggressive schedule, and an early determination of the proper port configuration is critical to successful integration with the MSL schedule," NASA said in contract documents released Wednesday. A matrix of arcjet tests is necessary to find the port diameter that can be sustained under pyrolysis and ablation, providing a good pressure measurement without compromising heatshield integrity.

Expected conditions at the pressure port locations range between 60 and 110 W/cm2 in heat rate, and 0.1 to 0.3 atmospheres in pressure. The test matrix consists of nine points spanning these conditions, with three port diameters to be compared at each condition.

Approximately six survivability tests at 225 W/cm2 will be required, once the optimal port diameters are determined. NASA will fabricate all of the necessary samples.

The MEDLI project is managed by NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. Langley intends to purchase the arcjet testing services from The Boeing Company who is the only known commercial source for providing these arcjet-testing conditions.

"While NASA facilities have been identified that can perform the services, the facilities cannot accommodate the required schedule," NASA said. NASA intends to commence testing later this month.


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#75 2007-01-09 13:54:04

cIclops
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Re: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - rover

update from MEPAG meeting 9 January 2007 (live blog)

Joy Crisp - MSL Status

Passed mission systems PDR this Fall. Top techncial challenges - entry, descent, landing; sampele acquisition, processing and distirbution, and analytical laboratory instrumentation.

Sample acquisition, processing and sampling: needs to brush and abrade surfaces; place instruments over rock; acquire rock samples, collect samples.

Schedule is rather tight - and mission is complex. Looking at alternate designs to lower risk, cost, simplify design. Looking at possibility of using a powdering drill bit instead of a corer and crusher. However this would delete the ability ti vuiew sample stratigraphy before powedering.

Do not know fate of tunable laster spectrometer due to budget issues. Trying to retain instrument - but perhaps with two instead of four channels.

PDR comepleted. CDR being undertaken on instruments. RTG will be our power source. Second workshop coming up in October 2007. First one was held in June 2006.


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