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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old July 16 2012, 11:22 PM   #1
JanewayRulz!
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Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/video...a_id=146903741

What a complex manuever just to land the thing!

Did I mention this rover is 9 feet by 9 feet?

Hope they keep Howard Wolowitz away from it.
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Old July 17 2012, 12:01 AM   #2
Ar-Pharazon
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

"If any one thing doesn't work" indeed.

Why not use the tried & true airbag landing from the other two? Couldn't that be done with a larger rover?

This way, the sky-crane could land on it, the lines could break or release before it lands, the lines might not release and it gets dragged along, it could land too hard and get damaged.

And those are just possible mechanical failures.
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Old July 17 2012, 12:09 AM   #3
sojourner
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

It still seems stupid to me that their answer to dust from the rocket plume was this Rube Goldbergian pulley system and jet away maneuver instead of, um, a dust cover.


I don't have much confidence in this working.
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Old July 17 2012, 01:25 AM   #4
gturner
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

Of course it will work. It was designed by top men.

If it doesn't, on impact an airbag will deploy to protect the little midget who's supposed to drive it.

The rover is the size of a Mini Cooper, and NASA says we don't have a good method for landing anything heavier except by direct thrust. Parachutes are already at their size limits because Mars' atmosphere is so thin.
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Old July 17 2012, 01:37 AM   #5
Ar-Pharazon
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

sojourner wrote: View Post
It still seems stupid to me that their answer to dust from the rocket plume was this Rube Goldbergian pulley system and jet away maneuver instead of, um, a dust cover.


I don't have much confidence in this working.
You mean like this?



I don't know, I doubt NASA's system would work as well.
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Old July 17 2012, 01:39 AM   #6
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

I'm reminded of the issues launching the Space Shuttle, when it seemed that a component costing maybe $2000.00 could cause a catastrophic failure.

Or the famous metric vs. SAE mistake that ended up costing the US a Mars lander...


the more things you put into something, the more things you have that can go wrong...

Don't get me wrong, I sincerely hope they pull this off, but my feelings on the chances,
mighty slim odds..
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Old July 17 2012, 07:59 AM   #7
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

This is what happens when you hire scientists who participated in Rube Goldberg design contests and let them have free reign.

So is that 10:31PM the time it actually lands or the time the signal of it landing is relayed back to Earth?
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Old July 17 2012, 12:48 PM   #8
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

Well probes to Mars don't exactly have a high succes rate.

Whilst the OP is correct in the time, it should be noted that is for PDT. Which would be 06-08-12 @ 05:31 UTC.
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Old July 17 2012, 03:09 PM   #9
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

Why do I get the feeling that NASA has contracted with ACME and this was designed by Wile E. Coyote?

At least the large smoldering hole in the Marsian surface will be visible to the Mars Odyssey Observer...

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Old July 17 2012, 09:43 PM   #10
gturner
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

But I'm sure everyone at JPL will cross their fingers for this one.
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Old July 17 2012, 10:02 PM   #11
MacLeod
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

Well for the Metric vs Imperial debacle it should never have happened. Most credible Scientist and Engineers would use the Metric scale. And wasn't it Lockhead Martin that made the error more so than NASA?
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Old July 17 2012, 10:44 PM   #12
gturner
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

It's long been known that the most common failure point in a rocket project is the interface between teams. It badly afflicted the early European efforts at a multi-stage rocket because each stage had a different team with a different nationality, and they didn't bother to nail down all the technical details of seperation. Differing units would be a prime example of that, but they could've just as easily goofed by using different coordinate systems (like X,Y,Z=0 being the center of Mars versus the surface landing target).
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Old July 18 2012, 03:49 AM   #13
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

gturner wrote: View Post
I find your lack of faith disturbing.

But I'm sure everyone at JPL will cross their fingers for this one.
I'm sure they will... but keeping with the design of this probe's landing they will do so by having a finger grown on the back of a mouse in a lab... That mouse will then be trained to stand on its hind legs lifting the finger up into the air so that the JPL employee can hold their own finger up against it to cross them.
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Old July 19 2012, 11:18 PM   #14
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

I have more faith that it can work. The skycrane is kind of an evolution of the airbag system used on Mars Pathfinder. In both cases, jets reduce the velocity of the craft to zero. The differences:

Pathfinder was cut from a higher altitude, so it had to bounce, hence the reason for the airbags.

Curiosity jettisons it's exterior shell (to save weight) before firing its engines to slow its decent. It goes to 0 velocity much lower to the ground, so the rover is lowered gently.

There are big differences, but much of it is just an evolution of earlier systems.
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Old July 21 2012, 04:10 AM   #15
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Re: Mars Curiosity Rover... to land 10:31 pm 8/5/2012

I hope it survives the seven minutes of terror.
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