The Jaxson

Community => Science and Technology => Topic started by: stephendare on June 27, 2008, 11:25:09 AM

Title: Mars Lives.
Post by: stephendare on June 27, 2008, 11:25:09 AM
http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSN2634952620080626
Quote
By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Flabbergasted" NASA scientists said on Thursday that Martian soil appeared to contain the requirements to support life, although more work would be needed to prove it.

Scientists working on the Phoenix Mars Lander mission, which has already found ice on the planet, said preliminary analysis by the lander's instruments on a sample of soil scooped up by the spacecraft's robotic arm had shown it to be much more alkaline than expected.

"We basically have found what appears to be the requirements, the nutrients, to support life whether past present or future," Sam Kounaves, the lead investigator for the wet chemistry laboratory on Phoenix, told journalists.

"It is the type of soil you would probably have in your back yard, you know, alkaline. You might be able to grow asparagus in it really well. ... It is very exciting for us."

The 1 cubic meter (35 cubic feet) of soil was taken from about 1 inch below the surface of Mars and had a pH, or alkaline, level of 8 or 9. "We were all flabbergasted at the data we got back," Kounaves said.

Pressed on whether there was still any doubt that life existed on Mars in some form, Kounaves said the results were "very preliminary" and more analysis was needed.

But he added: "There is nothing about the soil that would preclude life. In fact, it seems very friendly ... there is nothing about it that is toxic."

The $420 million Phoenix lander touched down in the north pole region of Mars on May 25 after a 10-month journey from Earth. It is the latest NASA bid to determine whether water -- a crucial ingredient for life -- ever flowed on the planet and whether life, even in the form of mere microbes, exists or ever existed there.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: gatorback on June 27, 2008, 12:22:04 PM
Oh I get it now.  Duh.  It's less about Life Mars and more about who quoted a correct source first.
Well, I talked about Life on mars on this forum over a year ago.  So, yeah me!
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 27, 2008, 05:34:45 PM
I love this stuff... right now we have two rovers alive and well on Mars and now the Pheonix probe has found ice and habitable soil...

Microbes or bacteria are next.... Wahoo!!!!!
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 29, 2008, 01:36:46 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/2211940/Buzz-Aldrin-Invest-in-Nasa-to-beat-the-Chinese-to-Mars.html
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Ocklawaha on June 29, 2008, 02:52:49 PM
(http://www.fahnenversand.de/fotw/images/f/fic-maat.gif)

hee hee

Ocklawaha
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: heights unknown on June 29, 2008, 03:48:12 PM
I love this stuff... right now we have two rovers alive and well on Mars and now the Pheonix probe has found ice and habitable soil...

Microbes or bacteria are next.... Wahoo!!!!!

So what does that mean for us?  I mean Mankind?  Remember, if we were meant to really travel, live, or subsist in the Heavens, let alone another planet, we would have been born out there, live there, or able to travel or live out there without the aid of machines (rocket ships, star ships, etc.).  Earth was created for Man, animals, and whatever other living organisms and things are now here as a result of that initial creation.  The other planets are void and/or hostile to humans and other living things that live on our planet; and...space is even more hostile with no atmosphere, air, or any type environment hospitable to humans and/or other living things on our planet; therefore, we can assess that we were meant to be right here on Mother Earth and no where else (one of the reasons why we have gravity, to keep us down here).  We may go to Mars, other planets, or possibly other solar systems one day, but granted we will not live there like most dream about or think.

Heights Unknown
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Ocklawaha on June 29, 2008, 05:48:40 PM
Quote
Remember, if we were meant to really travel, live, or subsist in the Heavens, let alone another planet, we would have been born out there, live there, or able to travel or live out there without the aid of machines (rocket ships, star ships, etc

Geeze man, with thinking like that, we would have never left Eden, or once expelled we sure wouldn't have left Iraq... How bad would THAT suck. If Columbus had thought like this, he would have gone down as another of the thousands of sailors that spent a lifetime off the coast of Europe. You know, "New Worlds" and all that stuff is dangerous to your health. Granted there were those of us who were already here. Is this where religion crosses science? My own reglious view are a mix of very consertative doctrine and a mix of quite liberal application. If they have no use, no point, no promise, no purpose, nothingness and void... then why would the Creator of the universe waste His time? Perhaps we have seen heaven and don't even know it? Perhaps we'll get close. Perhaps we'll find hell. Or maybe, like a jungle gym in a playground, he gave it to us as our own backyard. An infinate playground.

As for the Chinese going to theeven used vacuum tubes and electronics! Good work! Meanwhile, we've been flying around in deep space, landing on Venus, Mars and orbiting several others. By the time you read this we will probably be walking around on Mars or Neptune. By the way the rover is in the second canyon to the left, the keys are in it..." Love Uncle Sam moon. I heard NASA left them a sign: It reads, "Welcome Comrades, glad your sorry Red Advance finally got your sorry butts up here. We were here back in the 1960's, came back time and again until we decided it was a rather mundane adventure. We're REAL proud of your advancement anyhow. Viva China and all that...Damn, we bet you .  


Ocklawaha
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 30, 2008, 07:01:31 AM
I love this stuff... right now we have two rovers alive and well on Mars and now the Pheonix probe has found ice and habitable soil...

Microbes or bacteria are next.... Wahoo!!!!!

So what does that mean for us?  I mean Mankind?  Remember, if we were meant to really travel, live, or subsist in the Heavens, let alone another planet, we would have been born out there, live there, or able to travel or live out there without the aid of machines (rocket ships, star ships, etc.).  Earth was created for Man, animals, and whatever other living organisms and things are now here as a result of that initial creation.  The other planets are void and/or hostile to humans and other living things that live on our planet; and...space is even more hostile with no atmosphere, air, or any type environment hospitable to humans and/or other living things on our planet; therefore, we can assess that we were meant to be right here on Mother Earth and no where else (one of the reasons why we have gravity, to keep us down here).  We may go to Mars, other planets, or possibly other solar systems one day, but granted we will not live there like most dream about or think.

Heights Unknown

Wow... please pardon my naivete but I did not think people still thought like that!!!  What???  I suppose we should not fly in airplanes or sail in ships or descend in submarines.  Are you Amish? 
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: gatorback on June 30, 2008, 07:20:20 AM
I love this stuff... right now we have two rovers alive and well on Mars and now the Pheonix probe has found ice and habitable soil...

Microbes or bacteria are next.... Wahoo!!!!!

So what does that mean for us?  I mean Mankind?  Remember, if we were meant to really travel, live, or subsist in the Heavens, let alone another planet, we would have been born out there
Heights Unknown

Well, we certainly came from there and we've already been back.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: heights unknown on June 30, 2008, 07:50:16 AM
Quote
Remember, if we were meant to really travel, live, or subsist in the Heavens, let alone another planet, we would have been born out there, live there, or able to travel or live out there without the aid of machines (rocket ships, star ships, etc

Geeze man, with thinking like that, we would have never left Eden, or once expelled we sure wouldn't have left Iraq... How bad would THAT suck. If Columbus had thought like this, he would have gone down as another of the thousands of sailors that spent a lifetime off the coast of Europe. You know, "New Worlds" and all that stuff is dangerous to your health. Granted there were those of us who were already here. Is this where religion crosses science? My own reglious view are a mix of very consertative doctrine and a mix of quite liberal application. If they have no use, no point, no promise, no purpose, nothingness and void... then why would the Creator of the universe waste His time? Perhaps we have seen heaven and don't even know it? Perhaps we'll get close. Perhaps we'll find hell. Or maybe, like a jungle gym in a playground, he gave it to us as our own backyard. An infinate playground.

As for the Chinese going to theeven used vacuum tubes and electronics! Good work! Meanwhile, we've been flying around in deep space, landing on Venus, Mars and orbiting several others. By the time you read this we will probably be walking around on Mars or Neptune. By the way the rover is in the second canyon to the left, the keys are in it..." Love Uncle Sam moon. I heard NASA left them a sign: It reads, "Welcome Comrades, glad your sorry Red Advance finally got your sorry butts up here. We were here back in the 1960's, came back time and again until we decided it was a rather mundane adventure. We're REAL proud of your advancement anyhow. Viva China and all that...Damn, we bet you .  


Ocklawaha

You might be right about my thinking or even my attitude but deep inside you know I am correct.  At least in those instances we could make the choice to leave, or even if we were expulsed, there was air, rain, wind, clouds, food, all of the things to sustain humans/mankind; if we leave this beautiful planet that was created especially for us called earth, and we make one wrong move, or fail to plan carefully and exactly, we are dead.  At least here if we make a wrong move or make a mistake, we can move on to another part of the planet and all of our life support (air, sunshine, etc.) are still here.  We were not meant to live in space or any of the other planets; Earth is our home.

Heights Unknown
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: gatorback on June 30, 2008, 07:56:33 AM
We'll probably get hit  by an astroid before any of that happens.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 30, 2008, 08:02:50 AM
Quote
Remember, if we were meant to really travel, live, or subsist in the Heavens, let alone another planet, we would have been born out there, live there, or able to travel or live out there without the aid of machines (rocket ships, star ships, etc

Geeze man, with thinking like that, we would have never left Eden, or once expelled we sure wouldn't have left Iraq... How bad would THAT suck. If Columbus had thought like this, he would have gone down as another of the thousands of sailors that spent a lifetime off the coast of Europe. You know, "New Worlds" and all that stuff is dangerous to your health. Granted there were those of us who were already here. Is this where religion crosses science? My own reglious view are a mix of very consertative doctrine and a mix of quite liberal application. If they have no use, no point, no promise, no purpose, nothingness and void... then why would the Creator of the universe waste His time? Perhaps we have seen heaven and don't even know it? Perhaps we'll get close. Perhaps we'll find hell. Or maybe, like a jungle gym in a playground, he gave it to us as our own backyard. An infinate playground.

As for the Chinese going to theeven used vacuum tubes and electronics! Good work! Meanwhile, we've been flying around in deep space, landing on Venus, Mars and orbiting several others. By the time you read this we will probably be walking around on Mars or Neptune. By the way the rover is in the second canyon to the left, the keys are in it..." Love Uncle Sam moon. I heard NASA left them a sign: It reads, "Welcome Comrades, glad your sorry Red Advance finally got your sorry butts up here. We were here back in the 1960's, came back time and again until we decided it was a rather mundane adventure. We're REAL proud of your advancement anyhow. Viva China and all that...Damn, we bet you .  


Ocklawaha

You might be right about my thinking or even my attitude but deep inside you know I am correct.  At least in those instances we could make the choice to leave, or even if we were expulsed, there was air, rain, wind, clouds, food, all of the things to sustain humans/mankind; if we leave this beautiful planet that was created especially for us called earth, and we make one wrong move, or fail to plan carefully and exactly, we are dead.  At least here if we make a wrong move or make a mistake, we can move on to another part of the planet and all of our life support (air, sunshine, etc.) are still here.  We were not meant to live in space or any of the other planets; Earth is our home.

Heights Unknown
"Earth is our home."
All children are meant to leave home eventually...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 30, 2008, 08:05:57 AM
At this time it is not about "living" on other planets.  It is about exploring our neighborhood... learning about it.  Humans have been doing this since... well... since we became human.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: gatorback on June 30, 2008, 08:17:19 AM
Hunting food got us out of Eden now it's about exploration and expanding our minds.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on June 30, 2008, 12:31:05 PM
I was wondering what the rover uncovered.

Too bad they didn't send any microbes or asparagus seeds to plant.  :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 30, 2008, 12:36:20 PM
I was wondering what the rover uncovered.

Too bad they didn't send any microbes or asparagus seeds to plant.  :)
Here is a link to the two rovers.  Incidentally we really got our moneys worth out of them... The missions were to last 90 days... they are on their third year...

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html

Here is a link to the newest lander although not a rover...

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/main/index.html
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on June 30, 2008, 12:39:01 PM
Thanks!
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on June 30, 2008, 04:18:38 PM
Living on mars would be great as long as it doesn't look like Total Recall....

Doesn't the apocolypse include all creation or was it limited to earth?
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: gatorback on June 30, 2008, 04:25:44 PM
Will JSO be there?  Cuz, if they're not sign me up.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 30, 2008, 04:43:51 PM
Only to make sure you adhere to the building code... ::)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on July 16, 2008, 08:53:30 AM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1035440/Incredible-pictures-Mars--look-surprisingly-like-parts-Earth.html
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on July 16, 2008, 09:38:49 AM
(http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/07/15/article-0-01F3956A00000578-933_468x369_popup.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: NoFxfan on July 16, 2008, 11:23:44 PM


So what does that mean for us?  I mean Mankind?  Remember, if we were meant to really travel, live, or subsist in the Heavens, let alone another planet, we would have been born out there, live there, or able to travel or live out there without the aid of machines (rocket ships, star ships, etc.).  Earth was created for Man, animals, and whatever other living organisms and things are now here as a result of that initial creation.  The other planets are void and/or hostile to humans and other living things that live on our planet; and...space is even more hostile with no atmosphere, air, or any type environment hospitable to humans and/or other living things on our planet; therefore, we can assess that we were meant to be right here on Mother Earth and no where else (one of the reasons why we have gravity, to keep us down here).  We may go to Mars, other planets, or possibly other solar systems one day, but granted we will not live there like most dream about or think.

Heights Unknown


This logic is incorrect. What if one day we were to terraform Mars, creating a sustainable enviroment in which we could live without the aide of machinery?

If we were intended to stay here on this planet, why would our creator give us the ability to build and design these vessels which allow us to leave our planets atmosphere?
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: RiversideGator on July 16, 2008, 11:42:36 PM
Once again Stephen, these lies and misquotes from the extreme left/socialist sources which you rely on display nothing more than a basic ignorance of the Universe.

The earth is demonstrably flat, as I have proven with multiple charts and graphs, and which has been verified by centuries of alchemists and wizards who do not share your quaint "conservative" reliance on 'Science".

So Stephen, please, the world wants to know.  If the world is flat, as you yourself have proven unable to debunk, How are we supposed to believe that Mars could possible support life?

well River, this sounds like a straw man argument to me.

So, now you are making up fictitious quotes?  Interesting debating tactic.  Did you learn this at Harvard?  Was this during your undergraduate years there or was it perhaps in law school?   :D :D
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on August 01, 2008, 08:43:21 AM
Ice formed by water confirmed on Mars...!!

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2008/jul/HQ_08_195_Phoenix_water.html
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on August 01, 2008, 12:58:19 PM
So what kind of lifespan are they expecting from the probe?  The article stated the the original mission was set at 90 days but then extended. 
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on August 01, 2008, 01:49:14 PM
If the mars rovers are any yardstick it could last much longer than 90 days... the rovers are on their third year of a 90 day mission... :o
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on August 01, 2008, 02:35:33 PM
Good point.  It boggles me that NASA would spend the mega millions to launch such a complicated piece of equipment into space and land it on Mars for only a 90 day mission.  I'm sure there is some beuracratic reason for it though.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: uptowngirl on August 01, 2008, 05:47:47 PM
I love this stuff... right now we have two rovers alive and well on Mars and now the Pheonix probe has found ice and habitable soil...

Microbes or bacteria are next.... Wahoo!!!!!

So what does that mean for us?  I mean Mankind?  Remember, if we were meant to really travel, live, or subsist in the Heavens, let alone another planet, we would have been born out there, live there, or able to travel or live out there without the aid of machines (rocket ships, star ships, etc.).  Earth was created for Man, animals, and whatever other living organisms and things are now here as a result of that initial creation.  The other planets are void and/or hostile to humans and other living things that live on our planet; and...space is even more hostile with no atmosphere, air, or any type environment hospitable to humans and/or other living things on our planet; therefore, we can assess that we were meant to be right here on Mother Earth and no where else (one of the reasons why we have gravity, to keep us down here).  We may go to Mars, other planets, or possibly other solar systems one day, but granted we will not live there like most dream about or think.

Heights Unknown

Maybe we lived on Mars and ended up colonizing Earth!
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on August 04, 2008, 04:14:33 PM
There are certainly those that believe that we really are martians...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Ocklawaha on August 04, 2008, 04:35:33 PM
Damn! I KNEW IT! When my kids were in their teens, I suggested they were space cadets... Now I know!  

OCKLAWAHA
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 03, 2008, 09:27:09 AM
Mars Rovers update... yep... they are still alive... :)

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20080826a.html
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on September 03, 2008, 09:40:31 AM
Amazing stuff.  Can't wait to hear NASA declare a manned mission to Mars.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 03, 2008, 09:51:43 AM
That could be a great debate question... NASA funding, lunar and mars exploration.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on September 03, 2008, 10:22:02 AM
Does anyone know if there has been more discussion on the possible next generation of Space Shuttles?
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 03, 2008, 10:29:21 AM
As far as I can tell we will not go back to shuttles in the near future.  The next generation of rockets is currently being developed.  Shuttles never lived up to the "inexpensive reusable" concept as it was envisioned.  Rockets are cheaper, safer, and more reliable...

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/orion/
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 03, 2008, 10:36:56 AM
(http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/176579main_jsc2007e00152_lores.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on September 03, 2008, 10:44:05 AM
Safer?  I think as an astronaut I would rather a nice soft landing in a shuttle versus a "crash" landing in a capsule out in the middle of the ocean.

IMO, being able to reuse something (even if it is more expansive) gives a better understanding of how well it withstands the rigors of launch, zero gravity, and re-entry.  A one time use rocket doesn't leave much to examine once the astronauts are home. 

Plus rockets just look so "soviet" and the Shuttles look futuristic and cutting edge.  :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: gatorback on September 11, 2008, 05:26:23 AM
What if we put lipstick on the rockets?  I bet that would make them look less soviet. Lol.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Ocklawaha on September 11, 2008, 10:42:13 AM
Inside the Martin Waters? Shiver me timbers Popeye, that's some big bass!

(http://pserve.club.fr/Mars_Attacks1.jpg)

"If an eel swims out
and bites you on your snout
that's a moray!"


OCKLAWAHA
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 30, 2008, 09:14:55 AM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080929/sc_nm/us_mars_phoenix_1

Mars dust resembles seawater, NASA extends mission By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
Mon Sep 29, 3:57 PM ET
 


NASA extended the mission of the busy Phoenix lander on Monday, saying it will operate until it dies in the cold, dark Martian winter.

The lander found evidence that the chemical makeup of the dust on the surface of Mars resembles that of sea water, adding to evidence that liquid water that once may have supported life flowed on the planet's surface.

The Phoenix lander already has operated far longer than expected when it was dropped onto the Martian surface in May, and its controllers said they would squeeze every drop of life they could out of the solar-powered lander.

"We are literally trying to make hay as the sun shines," Barry Goldstein, Phoenix project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told reporters.

Scheduled to last just 90 Martian days, known as sols, the lander has already operated for more than 120.

But the sun will soon dip below the horizon until April. Already the lander is getting less power, after a summer of light-filled days akin to the months of daylight at Earth's poles in the summer.

In July, the Phoenix team reported definitive proof of water after the lander scraped up ice. It also found perchlorate, a chemical compound used by plants and microbes and it has sent back the first image of a speck of red Martian dust taken through an atomic force microscope.

The latest analysis shows evidence of a carbonate chemical, likely calcium carbonate, best known as limestone, said William Boynton, who leads a team operating the lander's Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer at the University of Arizona.

And, said JPL's Michael Hecht, further analysis shows the Martian dust is about as alkaline as seawater, with a pH of 8.3, more evidence that life could have existed on Mars.

Mars weatherman Jim Whiteway of the University of Toronto said the lander has seen snow, frost and clouds forming. "This is now occurring every night," he said -- although it is not yet clear whether any snow reaches the surface.

Peter Smith, Phoenix principal investigator at the University of Arizona, said Mars wobbles more than Earth does as it spins, so sometimes its poles point directly at the Sun. They would be warmer then, perhaps warm enough to melt ice that Phoenix has confirmed lies just below the red dust.

"If you were to sweep away this thin soil layer on what looks like this flat plain you would find it is more like a skating rink," Smith said.

"Is this a habitable zone on Mars? I think we are approaching this hypothesis," he added.

Smith said the scientists plan to turn on a microphone that was supposed to record the lander's descent in May but did not. "We are going to try and turn on this microphone and try to listen to Mars for the first time," he said.

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Doctor_K on September 30, 2008, 09:52:42 AM
Safer?  I think as an astronaut I would rather a nice soft landing in a shuttle versus a "crash" landing in a capsule out in the middle of the ocean.

IMO, being able to reuse something (even if it is more expansive) gives a better understanding of how well it withstands the rigors of launch, zero gravity, and re-entry.  A one time use rocket doesn't leave much to examine once the astronauts are home. 

Plus rockets just look so "soviet" and the Shuttles look futuristic and cutting edge.  :)
Not to split hairs on the subject, but I think I read that NASA's Orion capsules won't even be making ocean landings - they'll be making land-bound landings, a la the current Russian Soyuz capability.

Also, thanks to BT's always-apt postings and renderings, the Ares V will be using near-duplicates of the current STS (Shuttle) Solid Rocket Boosters; there will be partial carryover of technology.  In doing so, NASA is indeed using its knowledge of how the SRBs held up over the course of the STS program and applying it forward to the next generation of space vehicles and launch systems.

As much as I'm emotionally attached to the Space Shuttle (as I grew up during its heyday), I think that in the grand scheme of things the Shuttle will end up being a sort of evolutionary cul-de-sac in terms of Earth-launched spaceflight capabilities.  Orion, as a successor to and the evolution of Apollo/Mercury/Gemini, demonstrates this, IMO.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on September 30, 2008, 09:52:47 AM
Neat stuff!  I wonder if the Martian's know we're snooping around...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on September 30, 2008, 09:54:50 AM
Safer?  I think as an astronaut I would rather a nice soft landing in a shuttle versus a "crash" landing in a capsule out in the middle of the ocean.

IMO, being able to reuse something (even if it is more expansive) gives a better understanding of how well it withstands the rigors of launch, zero gravity, and re-entry.  A one time use rocket doesn't leave much to examine once the astronauts are home. 

Plus rockets just look so "soviet" and the Shuttles look futuristic and cutting edge.  :)
Not to split hairs on the subject, but I think I read that NASA's Orion capsules won't even be making ocean landings - they'll be making land-bound landings, a la the current Russian Soyuz capability.

Also, thanks to BT's always-apt postings and renderings, the Ares V will be using near-duplicates of the current STS (Shuttle) Solid Rocket Boosters; there will be partial carryover of technology.  In doing so, NASA is indeed using its knowledge of how the SRBs held up over the course of the STS program and applying it forward to the next generation of space vehicles and launch systems.

As much as I'm emotionally attached to the Space Shuttle (as I grew up during its heyday), I think that in the grand scheme of things the Shuttle will end up being a sort of evolutionary cul-de-sac in terms of Earth-launched spaceflight capabilities.  Orion, as a successor to and the evolution of Apollo/Mercury/Gemini, demonstrates this, IMO.


I didn't know that, thanks for the info.  How are the land-bound landing done?  Parachutes and bubble wrap?  :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 30, 2008, 10:05:27 AM
Safer?  I think as an astronaut I would rather a nice soft landing in a shuttle versus a "crash" landing in a capsule out in the middle of the ocean.

IMO, being able to reuse something (even if it is more expansive) gives a better understanding of how well it withstands the rigors of launch, zero gravity, and re-entry.  A one time use rocket doesn't leave much to examine once the astronauts are home. 

Plus rockets just look so "soviet" and the Shuttles look futuristic and cutting edge.  :)
Not to split hairs on the subject, but I think I read that NASA's Orion capsules won't even be making ocean landings - they'll be making land-bound landings, a la the current Russian Soyuz capability.

Also, thanks to BT's always-apt postings and renderings, the Ares V will be using near-duplicates of the current STS (Shuttle) Solid Rocket Boosters; there will be partial carryover of technology.  In doing so, NASA is indeed using its knowledge of how the SRBs held up over the course of the STS program and applying it forward to the next generation of space vehicles and launch systems.

As much as I'm emotionally attached to the Space Shuttle (as I grew up during its heyday), I think that in the grand scheme of things the Shuttle will end up being a sort of evolutionary cul-de-sac in terms of Earth-launched spaceflight capabilities.  Orion, as a successor to and the evolution of Apollo/Mercury/Gemini, demonstrates this, IMO.

Thanks for the insight... You are correct... we will be doing landings on land using parachutes and airbags.  The SRBs will be used on both Ares I and V.  Ares I looks like the first stage will be SRB followed by a second stage standard liquid fuel.  Ares V will use two SRBs in combination with liquid fuel for first stage, then liquid fuel for subsequent stages...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: jacksonvilleconfidential on September 30, 2008, 10:10:49 AM

So what does that mean for us?  I mean Mankind?  Remember, if we were meant to really travel, live, or subsist in the Heavens, let alone another planet, we would have been born out there, live there, or able to travel or live out there without the aid of machines (rocket ships, star ships, etc.).  Earth was created for Man, animals, and whatever other living organisms and things are now here as a result of that initial creation.  The other planets are void and/or hostile to humans and other living things that live on our planet; and...space is even more hostile with no atmosphere, air, or any type environment hospitable to humans and/or other living things on our planet; therefore, we can assess that we were meant to be right here on Mother Earth and no where else (one of the reasons why we have gravity, to keep us down here).  We may go to Mars, other planets, or possibly other solar systems one day, but granted we will not live there like most dream about or think.

Heights Unknown

Its called adaptation and maybe a little evolution thrown in for good measure.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Doctor_K on September 30, 2008, 10:16:06 AM
As much as I'm emotionally attached to the Space Shuttle (as I grew up during its heyday), I think that in the grand scheme of things the Shuttle will end up being a sort of evolutionary cul-de-sac in terms of Earth-launched spaceflight capabilities.  Orion, as a successor to and the evolution of Apollo/Mercury/Gemini, demonstrates this, IMO.
As a self-edit, I think had the X-33, and Rocket- and Space-Plane programs buy Lockheed gone through (the ones they were touting in the '90s and ealrier this decade), then it would've been the Apollo capsules ending up as the dead-ends rather than the Space Shuttle.  Since all of those were pretty much steps on the way to what has become the Orion/Constellation programs, it's now the Apollo-esque derivative that will take us back to the Moon.

--end of thread hijack--

As for Mars?  Who knows?  More than likely if Orion/Constellation is successful in getting us to and helping to establish a station of some sort on the Moon, then NASA will probably take that proven technology and apply it forward towards getting us to Mars.  (Can't help but throw in the Total Recall quote - "Get your *** to Mars...")

Then again, who knows what the next 20 years hold?  There might be some technological breakthrough or some advanced significant enough to merit using a different kind of technology altogether to make the trip to the Red Planet.  Maybe Ion Engines will come into their own by then?  Technological advances are almost always incremental rather than mind-blowing, so the speculation will continue to fluorish until the day...til all are one.  But I digress.  :D
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Doctor_K on September 30, 2008, 10:17:16 AM

So what does that mean for us?  I mean Mankind?  Remember, if we were meant to really travel, live, or subsist in the Heavens, let alone another planet, we would have been born out there, live there, or able to travel or live out there without the aid of machines (rocket ships, star ships, etc.).  Earth was created for Man, animals, and whatever other living organisms and things are now here as a result of that initial creation.  The other planets are void and/or hostile to humans and other living things that live on our planet; and...space is even more hostile with no atmosphere, air, or any type environment hospitable to humans and/or other living things on our planet; therefore, we can assess that we were meant to be right here on Mother Earth and no where else (one of the reasons why we have gravity, to keep us down here).  We may go to Mars, other planets, or possibly other solar systems one day, but granted we will not live there like most dream about or think.

Heights Unknown

Its called adaptation and maybe a little evolution thrown in for good measure.
Definitely adaptation.  As a species endowed with the ability to learn and adapt as we have over the millenia, it stands that we pretty much *must* take the next step into space.  It truly is the next frontier. 

Proto-humans spread out from Africa and Asia.  Enlightenment-age explorers spread out and stumbled upon the New World.  Copernicus, Cassini, Huygens, Newton, and the rest of their Western and Eastern contemporaries almost-literally exploded the envelope of human knowledge and understanding of the world and universe around us, in spite of oppostion from the Church, the ruling classes, and what was then 'common knowledge.'

We type and communicate on computers which are infinitely more powerful and capable than what put Apollo on the Moon only 50 years ago.  The World Wide Web brings us near-instant communication and information.  Ideas are shared infinitely faster than ever thought possible only what, two decades ago?

Point is, we advance.  We're drawn, as a species, to the 'next great challenge,' regardless of economics, politics, whatever.  The core yearning of the human spirit is to advance, learn, discover.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 30, 2008, 01:24:02 PM
Very well said... (heavy applause... standing ovation....)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: jacksonvilleconfidential on September 30, 2008, 01:29:38 PM
Im there with you Bridgetroll.  Encore!
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on September 30, 2008, 03:16:34 PM
Doctor_K, well said!  For some reason while I was reading your post I couldn't help but hum the Star Trek theme song.  You should be the spokesperson for NASA....   :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Doctor_K on September 30, 2008, 04:59:11 PM
LoL - thanks Jason.  Bad enough I slipped in the 80's Transformers 'til all are one' bit.  As a spokesperson, I'd make a lousy comedian.  And vice-versa.   :D

But I do feel that that's what lies ahead for us.  If that makes me idealistic and a tad cheesy, then so be it.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on September 30, 2008, 05:58:06 PM
I'm just as cheesy as you are then!  I agree that space is most definitely the next frontier.  Can't wait to read about a pending mission to the moon and then onward to Mars.

Just for grins...

http://au.geocities.com/bec78203/TOStheme.mp3
http://au.geocities.com/bec78204/TheMotionPicture.mp3

 ;D
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on December 31, 2008, 07:26:21 AM
The five year anniversary is here for the two rovers Spirit and Opportunity.  The taxpayers got their monies worth and then some.

Here is a short four minute video...

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.cfm?id=795
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Doctor_K on December 31, 2008, 09:37:12 AM
Good link, BT.  What a brilliant success story the Twins have been.  Each was slated for a 90-day mission, and here we are at the 5-year mark.  It's truly a shame that this doesn't get reported more across all the news and other media outlets.  It's certainly a triumph for space exploration and the expansion of knowledge.

Phenomenal success for NASA, especially amidst the uncertain futures of the Space Shuttle and Constellation/Orion programs.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on December 31, 2008, 09:42:48 AM
I agree Doc... for some reason our press would rather beat ourselves up over our failures rather than trumpet our many successes.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on February 18, 2009, 09:28:43 AM
Just a quick update on our intrepid rovers...

Spirit

As of Sol 1802 (January 27, 2009), Spirit's solar-array energy production is 200 watt-hours, enough to light a 100-watt bulb for two hours. Atmospheric opacity (tau) is 0.573, slightly higher than it was a week earlier. The dust factor is 0.255, meaning that only 25.5 percent of sunlight hitting Spirit's solar array penetrates the layer of accumulated dust to generate electricity. Otherwise, Spirit remains in good health. Spirit's total odometry is 7,540.67 meters (4.69 miles).

Opportunity

As of Sol 1782 (January 27, 2009), Opportunity's solar-array energy production is 570 watt-hours, enough to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly six hours. Atmospheric opacity (tau) is 0.483, slightly higher than it was a week earlier. The dust factor on the solar array is 0.609, meaning that 60.9 percent of the sunlight hitting the solar array penetrates the layer of accumulated dust to generate electricity. The rover is in good health. Opportunity's total odometry is 14,047.76 meters (8.73 miles).

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on February 18, 2009, 11:18:16 AM
Too bad there couldn't be a gust of wind or a rain shower to wash off the dust from the solar array.  I wonder if the rovers are built to hit the highway for a quick dust-off and then just get off at the next exit?
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Doctor_K on February 18, 2009, 11:57:26 AM
I seem to remember a while ago that one of them was stuck in a particularly fun storm, and that the wind had actually blown a portion of the accumulated dust off the arrays.  I don't have the story or date or anything, but I do remember reading about that some time ago.

What an awesome success story these rovers continue to be!
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on February 18, 2009, 12:00:25 PM
This has happened quite a few times... Spirit, which is the most covered, is in an area frequented by very large dust devils that have cleaned it before.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Bewler on February 18, 2009, 05:09:56 PM
Just read your speech on the previous page from a couple of months ago DocK and would just like to say, bravo my good man!

I would just like to add that we're pretty much doomed if we don't eventually get off the Earth. Even if we manage to dodge or develop the technology to efficiently defend against extinction event causing meteorites there's still the issue of our sun burning up the entire planet. Of course this is all assuming that humans, or some variation of, are still around for the next few billion years.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on April 02, 2009, 08:21:48 AM
Send your name to Mars on the next Mars rover...
Here is the link...
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/participate/sendyourname/

Here is my certificate... :)
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/participate/sendyourname/?action=getcert&hashid=8F6183C7F5768B0103532DF55395F89E

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Cliffs_Daughter on April 02, 2009, 09:57:13 AM
 ;D Way cool! ;D
I got one for everyone in the family. Converted them to a .pdf to keep a bit longer.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on April 02, 2009, 10:17:42 AM
They did the same thing for the two rovers currenty on Mars now.  My entire family has been on Mars for 5 years now! :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on April 02, 2009, 12:44:18 PM
^ That explains a lot...   :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on April 02, 2009, 01:17:24 PM
 :D :D
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on April 02, 2009, 04:14:06 PM
Alright, I finally jumped the mothership for a plot on Mars too.  Hope you don't mind some wacky neighbors BT!  :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on April 02, 2009, 05:17:49 PM
We will ride the rover together for eternity... :D
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 20, 2009, 01:40:32 PM
The end may be near for our plucky Mars rover Spirit.  Covered in dust and driving backwards to drag rather than push a dead wheel... Spirit has gotten caught in deep sand and is buried up to its hubs.  Spirit has gotten stuck before but it was younger rover with less dust and more energy.

The wheel on the left is clearly buried, while the wheel on the left no longer works and is dragged by the other five wheels... :-[

(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/spirit/20090511a/SolA1899_hazcam_2F294958090EFFB1DNP1254L0M1_br.jpg)


http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on May 20, 2009, 02:56:25 PM
Poor guy.  I'd say he had a good run though.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on May 26, 2009, 03:53:22 PM
Looks like some of the dust has cleared from spirits solar panels increasing it's power.  Odyssey is testing some maneuvers that may be able to free spirit.
Those are some determined Rovers.
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20090518a.html (http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20090518a.html)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on May 26, 2009, 04:02:52 PM
Too bad we can't send some of this rain to mars to wash off the solar panels....
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 29, 2009, 09:19:53 AM
Rover Opportunity has just surpassed the 10 mile mark.  Spirit is literally "stuck" at 4.8 miles.  The good news for Spirit is it now has more power than it has had in a couple years thanks to another gust of wind blowing the dust off the panels...

Hail Rovers... Long live the Rovers... :)

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status.html#spirit
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 26, 2009, 01:40:44 PM
Quote
June 25, 2009

Mars Rover Yielding New Clues While Lodged in Martian Soil 

   
(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/spirit/20090624a/Sol1892A_P2560_L257F_br.jpg)
Quote
The soft soil exposed when wheels of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit dug into a patch of ground dubbed "Troy" exhibit variations in hue visible in this image, in which the colors have been stretched to emphasize the differences.

 
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars rover Spirit, lodged in Martian soil that is causing traction trouble, is taking advantage of the situation by learning more about the Red Planet's environmental history.

In April, Spirit entered an area composed of three or more layers of soil with differing pastel hues hiding beneath a darker sand blanket. Scientists dubbed the site "Troy." Spirit's rotating wheels dug themselves more than hub deep at the site. The rover team has spent weeks studying Spirit's situation and preparing a simulation of this Martian driving dilemma to test escape maneuvers using an engineering test rover at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

A rock seen beneath Spirit in images from the camera on the end of the rover's arm may be touching Spirit's belly. Scientists believe it appears to be a loose rock not bearing the rover's weight. While Spirit awaits extraction instructions, the rover is keeping busy examining Troy, which is next to a low plateau called Home Plate, approximately 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) southeast of where Spirit landed in January 2004.

"By serendipity, Troy is one of the most interesting places Spirit has been," said Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis. Arvidson is deputy principal investigator for the science payloads on Spirit and its twin rover, Opportunity. "We are able here to study each layer, each different color of the interesting soils exposed by the wheels."

One of the rover's wheels tore into the site, exposing colored sandy materials and a miniature cliff of cemented sands. Some disturbed material cascaded down, evidence of the looseness that will be a challenge for getting Spirit out. But at the edge of the disturbed patch, the soil is cohesive enough to hold its shape as a steep cross-section.

Spirit has been using tools on its robotic arm to examine tan, yellow, white and dark-red sandy soil at Troy. Stretched-color images from the panoramic camera show the tints best.

"The layers have basaltic sand, sulfate-rich sand and areas with the addition of silica-rich materials, possibly sorted by wind and cemented by the action of thin films of water. We're still at a stage of multiple working hypotheses," said Arvidson. "This may be evidence of much more recent processes than the formation of Home Plate…or is Home Plate being slowly stripped back by wind, and we happened to stir up a deposit from billions of years ago before the wind got to it?"

Team members from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston feel initial readings suggest that iron is mostly present in an oxidized form as ferric sulfate and that some of the differences in tints at Troy observed by the panoramic camera may come from differences in the hydration states of iron sulfates.

While extraction plans for the rover are developed and tested during the coming weeks, the team plans to have Spirit further analyze the soil from different depths. This research benefits from having time and power. In April and May, winds blew away most of the dust that had accumulated on Spirit's solar panels.

"The exceptional amount of power available from cleaning of Spirit's solar arrays by the wind enables full use of all of the rover's science instruments," said Richard Moddis of the Johnson team. "If your rover is going to get bogged down, it's nice to have it be at a location so scientifically interesting."

The rover team has developed a soil mix for testing purposes that has physical properties similar to those of the soil under Spirit at Troy. This soil recipe combines diatomaceous earth, powdered clay and play sand. A crew is shaping a few tons of that mix this week into contours matching Troy's. The test rover will be commanded through various combinations of maneuvers during the next few weeks to validate the safest way to proceed on Mars.

Spirit's right-front wheel has been immobile for more than three years, magnifying the challenge. While acknowledging a possibility that Spirit might not be able to leave Troy, the rover team remains optimistic. Diagnostic tests on Spirit in early June provided encouragement that the left-middle wheel remains useable despite an earlier stall.

"With the improved power situation, we have the time to explore all the possibilities to get Spirit out," said JPL's John Callas, project manager for Spirit and Opportunity. "We are optimistic. The last time Spirit spun its wheels, it was still making progress. The ground testing will help us avoid doing things that could make Spirit's situation worse."

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 26, 2009, 02:22:32 PM
Spirit is very interested in it at this time as it is currently buried in it.  It is general science and exploration.  More important than minerals on Mars is the search for water.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: heights unknown on June 26, 2009, 02:48:56 PM
Minerals are important too as we might run out of them here on earth and may need to go to mars or another planet to mine precious minerals.  We all know that water is important as the existence of water, whether in traces or other forms indicate that life may exist or may have existed on the rust red planet. 

One thing is for certain; we are the only ones inhabiting a planet in this solar system.  We may never know what really existed on Mars or what really happened for it to end up with no atmosphere until we die and appear before the Grand Creator who will explain everything.

Heights Unknown
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: heights unknown on June 26, 2009, 02:49:56 PM
Are those shoes in the upper right quadrant of the photo?  Or are those wheels from the rover?

Heights Unknown
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 26, 2009, 02:52:23 PM
They are rocks... Here is the Nasa site dedicated solely to the rover mission.

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: RiversideLoki on June 26, 2009, 04:45:14 PM
You guys are forgetting that you have to study the minerals to find the water. A lot of the minerals present in the sand are formed when water is present. You study the mineral content of the rocks and the soil, you discover what processes laid down the sandstones, and you have proof that water existed. If water existed, it surely still exists. Look at the water ice droplets on the Phoenix lander.

So yeah, studying minerals may seem boring and it doesn't have the "wow" factor of dramatic rocket launches, entries, and finding aliens. But it's really necessary work for us if we're going to set foot on Mars.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: mtraininjax on June 26, 2009, 04:54:14 PM
The periodic table lives on Mars, YEAH!!!!
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 15, 2009, 08:40:56 AM
Looks like time may be running out for the rover Spirit.  It is still stuck in the sand with one inoperable wheel.  A dust storm has reduced its power by half and the Martian winter approaches.  Unless freed and it can move to a more favorable position to collect sunlight during the martian winter it may not survive. 

Opportunity continues its research. and is about a third of its way to a huge crater.  Its chances of making it there are probably slim due to the extended age of the rover.  It is currently investigating a meteorite found while on the way.  Dust covering the solar arrays is an issue with this rover as well.


http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: buckethead on September 15, 2009, 08:49:37 AM
As I was looking at the photograph above, I saw a yetti run right through the frame.

You guys missed it.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Sportmotor on September 15, 2009, 04:40:36 PM
Edited: saw the date

The soil may have the ability to grow, but the atmosphere, climate, lack of a readyable and accessable water source and volatile weather does not support life.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Sportmotor on September 15, 2009, 04:47:00 PM
Er never mind, I thought you were quoteing someone from a long time ago...then I saw the date this thread started X3
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on November 13, 2009, 08:14:10 AM
Quote
November 12, 2009

NASA to Begin Attempts to Free Sand-Trapped Mars Rover 

   
 
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA will begin transmitting commands to its Mars exploration rover Spirit on Monday as part of an escape plan to free the venerable robot from its Martian sand trap.

Spirit has been lodged at a site scientists call "Troy" since April 23. Researchers expect the extraction process to be long and the outcome uncertain based on tests here on Earth this spring that simulated conditions at the Martian site.

"This is going to be a lengthy process, and there's a high probability attempts to free Spirit will not be successful" said Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "After the first few weeks of attempts, we're not likely to know whether Spirit will be able to free itself."

Spirit has six wheels for roving the Red Planet. The first commands will tell the rover to rotate its five working wheels forward approximately six turns. Engineers anticipate severe wheel slippage, with barely perceptible forward progress in this initial attempt. Since 2006, Spirit's right-front wheel has been inoperable, possibly because of wear and tear on a motor as a result of the rover's longevity.

Spirit will return data the next day from its first drive attempt. The results will be assessed before engineers develop and send commands for a second attempt. Using results from previous commands, engineers plan to continue escape efforts until early 2010.

"Mobility on Mars is challenging, and whatever the outcome, lessons from the work to free Spirit will enhance our knowledge about how to analyze Martian terrain and drive future Mars rovers," McCuisition said. "Spirit has provided outstanding scientific discoveries and shown us astounding vistas during its long life on Mars, which is more than 22 times longer than its designed life. "

In the spring, Spirit was driving backward and dragging the inoperable right front wheel. While driving in April, the rover's other wheels broke through a crust on the surface that was covering a bright-toned, slippery sand underneath. After a few drive attempts to get Spirit out in the subsequent days, it began sinking deeper in the sand trap. Driving was suspended to allow time for tests and reviews of possible escape strategies.

"The investigations of the rover embedding and our preparations to resume driving have been extensive and thorough," said John Callas, project manager for Spirit and Opportunity at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We've used two different test rovers here on Earth in conditions designed to simulate as best as possible Spirit's predicament. However, Earth-based tests cannot exactly replicate the conditions at Troy."

Data show Spirit is straddling the edge of a 26-foot-wide crater that had been filled long ago with sulfate-bearing sands produced in a hot water or steam environment. The deposits in the crater formed distinct layers with different compositions and tints, and they are capped by a crusty soil. It is that soil that Spirit's wheels broke through. The buried crater lies mainly to Spirit's left. Engineers have plotted an escape route from Troy that heads up a mild slope away from the crater.

"We'll start by steering the wheels straight and driving, though we may have to steer the wheels to the right to counter any downhill slip to the left," said Ashley Stroupe, a JPL rover driver and Spirit extraction testing coordinator. "Straight-ahead driving is intended to get the rover's center of gravity past a rock that lies underneath Spirit. Gaining horizontal distance without losing too much vertical clearance will be a key to success. The right front wheel's inability to rotate greatly increases the challenge."

Spirit has been examining its Martian surroundings with tools on its robotic arm and its camera mast. The rover's work at Troy has augmented earlier discoveries it made indicating ancient Mars had hot springs or steam vents, possible habitats for life. If escape attempts fail, the rover's stationary location may result in new science findings.

"The soft materials churned up by Spirit's wheels have the highest sulfur content measured on Mars," said Ray Arvidson a scientist at Washington University in St. Louis and deputy principal investigator for the science payloads on Spirit and Opportunity. "We're taking advantage of its fixed location to conduct detailed measurements of these interesting materials."

Spirit and its twin rover landed on Mars in January 2004. They have explored Mars for five years, far surpassing their original 90-day mission. Opportunity currently is driving toward a large crater called Endeavor.

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: sandyshoes on November 13, 2009, 09:09:42 AM
 ;D  omg, if a planet can support life, how long before they build a Wal-Mart there??
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on November 13, 2009, 09:19:29 AM
I hope they can maneuver spirit free. I would love to them last until we happen to have a manned mission to repair them.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on November 13, 2009, 09:27:08 AM
I hope so too but they have lasted looooong past their design which was 90 days.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on December 11, 2009, 08:58:40 AM
The end may be near for Spirit. :'(  It is still stuck... but making matters worse the right rear wheel may no longer be operable.  Getting unstuck with four wheels may not be possible.  Additionally... the Martian winter approaches and with the accumulation of dust on the solar panels and the rovers current unfavorable tilt it may simply freeze to death this winter.

The rover Opportunity continues its kamikaze trek to a far away crater.  Along the way it has found and analyzed numerous meteorites that are thousands of years old...

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/spotlight/20091210a.html


Quote
Results of diagnostic tests on Spirit's right-rear wheel on Sol 2109 (Dec. 8, 2009) continue to indicate a troubled wheel, which may leave the rover with only four operable wheels.

The Sol 2109 plan included a check of the grind motor of Spirit's rock abrasion tool (RAT) because it shares the same motor controller as the right-rear wheel. It also included rotor resistance tests on the right-rear motor at three temperatures using opposite voltage polarity from earlier tests, backward and forward commanded motion of the right-rear wheel, and a check of rotor resistance on all other operating wheels. The RAT motor appears okay, although a more exhaustive test will be tried later. The right-rear wheel rotor resistance tests continue to show very elevated resistance, although not as high as in previous tests, and exhibiting a curious voltage-dependent effect. No motion of the right-rear wheel occurred during the backward commanded motion. The forward motion was not executed since the initial backward motion did not occur. The rotor resistances on all the other operating wheels are nominal.

The plan ahead, still being developed, will likely include more rotor resistance tests, an attempt to apply higher voltage to the right-rear wheel to see if any movement will occur, and a check of the right-front wheel to confirm its status and to see if it may offer insight into the right-rear wheel's condition. Further ahead, steering tests will be considered to explore an external jam as a possible explanation.

Concurrent with this, the project is exploring whether any meaningful rover motion would be possible with only four operable wheels. Spirit lost the use of its right front wheel in 2006.

Because of the current rover tilt, the environmental conditions and dust accumulation on the solar arrays, Spirit is at risk of inadequate power for surviving through the next southern Mars winter, which reaches solstice on May 13, 2009. Even if extrication is not possible, some limited rover motion may be able to improve rover tilt and increase the chance of winter survival.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on December 11, 2009, 10:52:58 AM
I wonder how cold it gets down there.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on December 11, 2009, 11:27:54 AM
It is not so much the cold... as it is lack of sufficient sun at the correct angle to keep the batteries charged and the rover warm.  Remember these two rovers have survived multiple winters.  The problem is with Spirit being stuck it cannot move to a favorable position to soak up the required solar energy to survive.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: buckethead on December 11, 2009, 12:28:34 PM
http://pweb.jps.net/~tgangale/mars/faq.htm#seasons

Some answers to mars FAQs.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: mtraininjax on December 11, 2009, 02:34:19 PM
Sort of hard for Spirit to move, but I am amazed in my lifetime with the images so far from Mars. These are great first steps.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Dog Walker on December 12, 2009, 01:51:39 PM
The engineers and technicians who designed and built those things have every right to walk around with swelled heads.  I can't think of anything else that has lasted so far beyond its' design date except some old Mercedes diesels.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Bewler on December 15, 2009, 09:29:51 AM
It is not so much the cold... as it is lack of sufficient sun at the correct angle to keep the batteries charged and the rover warm. 

Should have sent it to Venus.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on December 15, 2009, 09:31:04 AM
Venus is too cloudy.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: jandar on December 15, 2009, 11:02:49 AM
Venus is also way too hot and way too much pressure.
Average temp of 860F and pressure of 80+ sea level pressures measure at the surface.

Good luck keeping electronics cool for more than a few hours at those temps and pressures.

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Bewler on December 15, 2009, 12:41:54 PM
Well then I guess send it to Mercury? Or no send it to drive around on the actual Sun's surface. Plently of solar energy there. Except for when its night time on the Sun of course.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on December 15, 2009, 02:05:13 PM
::clear eyes guy voice:::

"Bewler......Bewler......Bewler....."
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: sandyshoes on December 15, 2009, 03:10:56 PM
... I can't think of anything else that has lasted so far beyond its' design date except some old Mercedes diesels.


...and Liza Minelli
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Bostech on December 15, 2009, 03:45:34 PM
Actually there is.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-454170/The-71-year-old-vacuum-cleaner-thats-going-strong.html
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: subro on December 16, 2009, 04:48:38 PM
Mars lander just might rise from the dead
Scientists to start trying to revive long-frozen Phoenix probe
By Leonard David
Space Insider columnist
Space.com
updated 2:22 p.m. ET, Wed., Dec . 16, 2009
NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander lived up to its name — rising from the ashes of an earlier failed Mars landing attempt to go on to a successful mission. But now the probe has a chance to rise from the dead itself.

Phoenix touched down in Mars' northern plains in May 2008 and lasted for five months, exceeding its originally planned three-month mission. The robot quite literally dug up a number of scientific findings — including, perhaps, liquid water.

Eventually Phoenix succumbed to the bitterly cold winter on Mars. But now scientists are warming up to the prospect of re-establishing contact with Phoenix.

"We start listening in January for signals from our lander," said Peter Smith, Phoenix principal investigator at the Lunar and Planetary Lab at the University of Arizona in Tucson. "Our engineering team is quite curious to see how resilient the electronic systems are to the extreme cold of northern winter."

The odds don't look too promising.

Phoenix was not designed to withstand such a callous climate. The spacecraft was tested at minus 55 degrees Celsius (67 degrees below zero Fahrenheit), but a winter on Mars averages about minus 126 degrees C (minus 195 degrees F).

"While the recovery of Phoenix is improbable given the severe conditions that it has endured throughout the winter, the science that can still be accomplished makes the mission worth continuing," Smith advised.

Lazarus mode
The spacecraft's builder, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, did incorporate what's called the "Lazarus mode" — a means that might allow Phoenix to re-energize itself. What isn't known is how the lander's solar panels weathered the Martian winter.

As of Nov. 2, 2008, when the last contact was made with the probe, all instruments on Phoenix were functional, Smith said. An open oven and several microscope slides were ready for use, Smith said. "Our chemistry cells were already full, making additional sampling problematic," he added.

If contact is re-established with Phoenix, Smith said that the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer, or TEGA, can measure the isotopic ratios of the atmospheric gases. Also, the lander's weather station is fully functional, and all cameras were in excellent condition.

"We were just ready to begin a campaign to measure the thermal and electrical properties of the soil using the thermal and electrical-conductivity probe (TECP) instrument on the robotic arm," Smith said.

Planetary perk-up
So if Phoenix does a planetary perk-up, what can the lander attempt to do?

"Clearly, future use of Phoenix instruments depends on the health of the system," Smith responded. "If it fully recovers then we would start with an imaging campaign and measure soil properties with TECP, then progress to digging beneath the surface to see if the ice table has changed depth."

Additionally, scientists using a resuscitated Phoenix would try to use the remaining sample chambers to continue analyzing the soil composition and microscopic structures.

"Throughout these activities, a complete investigation of the weather conditions ... along with wind measurements is envisioned," Smith concluded.

Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than four decades. He is past editor-in-chief of the National Space Society's Ad Astra and Space World magazines and has written for SPACE.com since 1999.


© 2009 Space.com. All rights reserved. More from Space.com.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34449661/ns/technology_and_science-space/
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on February 03, 2010, 02:12:38 PM
Opportunity hits the tweve mile mark!

Quote
Opportunity has clicked over the 12-mile mark of driving on Mars. That's 19.31 kilometers, and more than 32 times farther than the success goal for the mission when the rover landed six years ago.

This milestone was reached on Opportunity's last drive on Jan. 28, 2010, as the rover reached the ejecta blanket of material surrounding the youngest crater to be explored by Opportunity on Mars, "Concepcion" crater.

"This is a truly remarkable achievement to drive so far for so long on another planet," said Bill Nelson, engineering team chief for the Mars Exploration Rovers at JPL. "In fact, in 2009 we covered more ground than any prior year since landing in 2004, about 5.3 Kilometers [3.3 miles]," he said.

To reach this milestone, Opportunity's drive motors made more than 38 million revolutions.

"This year and next will be a 19-kilometer [11.8-mile] marathon run from Victoria crater to Endeavour crater," said Nelson. "We will more than double all previous driving. We've made great progress so far and we have no plans to slow down."


http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/spotlight/20100201a.html
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on February 03, 2010, 02:15:01 PM
Spirit has been downgraded to a stationary science platform.


Quote
WASHINGTON -- After six years of unprecedented exploration of the Red Planet, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit no longer will be a fully mobile robot. NASA has designated the once-roving scientific explorer a stationary science platform after efforts during the past several months to free it from a sand trap have been unsuccessful.

The venerable robot's primary task in the next few weeks will be to position itself to combat the severe Martian winter. If Spirit survives, it will continue conducting significant new science from its final location. The rover's mission could continue for several months to years.

"Spirit is not dead; it has just entered another phase of its long life," said Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We told the world last year that attempts to set the beloved robot free may not be successful. It looks like Spirit's current location on Mars will be its final resting place."

Ten months ago, as Spirit was driving south beside the western edge of a low plateau called Home Plate, its wheels broke through a crusty surface and churned into soft sand hidden underneath.

After Spirit became embedded, the rover team crafted plans for trying to get the six-wheeled vehicle free using its five functioning wheels - the sixth wheel quit working in 2006, limiting Spirit's mobility. The planning included experiments with a test rover in a sandbox at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., plus analysis, modeling and reviews. In November, another wheel quit working, making a difficult situation even worse.

Recent drives have yielded the best results since Spirit became embedded. However, the coming winter mandates a change in strategy. It is mid-autumn at the solar-powered robot's home on Mars. Winter will begin in May. Solar energy is declining and expected to become insufficient to power further driving by mid-February. The rover team plans to use those remaining potential drives for improving the rover's tilt. Spirit currently tilts slightly toward the south. The winter sun stays in the northern sky, so decreasing the southward tilt would boost the amount of sunshine on the rover's solar panels.

"We need to lift the rear of the rover, or the left side of the rover, or both," said Ashley Stroupe, a rover driver at JPL. "Lifting the rear wheels out of their ruts by driving backward and slightly uphill will help. If necessary, we can try to lower the front right of the rover by attempting to drop the right-front wheel into a rut or dig it into a hole."

At its current angle, Spirit probably would not have enough power to keep communicating with Earth through the Martian winter. Even a few degrees of improvement in tilt might make enough difference to enable communication every few days.

"Getting through the winter will all come down to temperature and how cold the rover electronics will get," said John Callas, project manager at JPL for Spirit and its twin rover, Opportunity. "Every bit of energy produced by Spirit's solar arrays will go into keeping the rover's critical electronics warm, either by having the electronics on or by turning on essential heaters."

Even in a stationary state, Spirit continues scientific research.

"There's a class of science we can do only with a stationary vehicle that we had put off during the years of driving," said Steve Squyres, a researcher at Cornell University and principal investigator for Spirit and Opportunity. "Degraded mobility does not mean the mission ends abruptly. Instead, it lets us transition to stationary science."

One stationary experiment Spirit has begun studies tiny wobbles in the rotation of Mars to gain insight about the planet's core. This requires months of radio-tracking the motion of a point on the surface of Mars to calculate long-term motion with an accuracy of a few inches.

"If the final scientific feather in Spirit's cap is determining whether the core of Mars is liquid or solid, that would be wonderful -- it's so different from the other knowledge we've gained from Spirit," said Squyres.

Tools on Spirit's robotic arm can study variations in the composition of nearby soil, which has been affected by water. Stationary science also includes watching how wind moves soil particles and monitoring the Martian atmosphere.

Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004. They have been exploring for six years, far surpassing their original 90-day mission. Opportunity currently is driving toward a large crater called Endeavor and continues to make scientific discoveries. It has driven approximately 12 miles and returned more than 133,000 images.

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: buckethead on February 03, 2010, 04:32:17 PM
For those who did not know, Google Earth has complete coverage of Mars and the Moon too!

It's freakin incredible!
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: The Compound on February 03, 2010, 04:43:03 PM
I have a friend that works for NASA, here is a quote from him today on FB. Not good news :(

"I picked a depressing week to work onsite at NASA. Our president has cancelled the US plans to return humans to the moon and on to Mars and left us with no discerable vision for human spaceflight. There are a lot of people here who have poured the last 4-5 years of their life working on a program that is now defunct."
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Sportmotor on February 03, 2010, 05:21:51 PM
I have a friend that works for NASA, here is a quote from him today on FB. Not good news :(

"I picked a depressing week to work onsite at NASA. Our president has cancelled the US plans to return humans to the moon and on to Mars and left us with no discerable vision for human spaceflight. There are a lot of people here who have poured the last 4-5 years of their life working on a program that is now defunct."

That is truely dishearting :(
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: buckethead on March 22, 2010, 09:51:32 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1259813/Mars-Ice-walls-Red-Planet.html
(http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/03/22/article-1259813-08D2EFD7000005DC-868_964x871.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Bostech on March 23, 2010, 01:30:01 AM
I have a friend that works for NASA, here is a quote from him today on FB. Not good news :(

"I picked a depressing week to work onsite at NASA. Our president has cancelled the US plans to return humans to the moon and on to Mars and left us with no discerable vision for human spaceflight. There are a lot of people here who have poured the last 4-5 years of their life working on a program that is now defunct."

He's trying to prevent Haliburton from moving to Mars.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on March 23, 2010, 09:23:40 AM
What an amazing picture of Mars!!  I bet the snowboarders are drooling in their Wheaties looking at those slopes.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on March 23, 2010, 09:26:13 AM
 :D  Imagine... little or no wind resistance... low gravity... I wonder if boarding on CO2 snow is better than H2O snow?
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Bill Ectric on March 23, 2010, 10:26:27 AM
I would like to bring the esteemed William S. Burroughs into the discussion from beyond the grave... (the good stuff begins after a short intro)...

<embed src="http://ubu.artmob.ca/sound/dial_a_poem_poets/nova/Nova-Convention_10_burroughs.mp3" autostart="true" loop="true" height="0" width="0"></embed>              
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Bill Ectric on March 23, 2010, 11:27:19 AM
Buckethead, I somehow skimmed right past that photo of Mars without seeing it. It's beautiful! Really cool pic.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Bill Ectric on March 23, 2010, 11:50:17 AM
More Earth/Space-related Burroughs (I obviously don't know how to imbed audio files correctly, but if you click on the link, it will play)

<embed src="http://ubu.artmob.ca/sound/dial_a_poem_poets/nova/Nova-Convention_02_burroughs.mp3" autostart="true" loop="true" height="0" width="0"></embed><a ...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JaxNative68 on March 23, 2010, 04:35:48 PM
Venus is too cloudy.

venus is where we came from, mars is where we are going to go once this floating rock dies.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Bill Ectric on March 25, 2010, 09:25:47 AM
oops, I think I committed one of those ettiquette no-no's with the William S. Burroughs recordings because it goes off-topic. Please don't throw me to the sock puppets.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on March 25, 2010, 01:43:08 PM
No harm Bill.  ;)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Bill Ectric on March 25, 2010, 02:46:20 PM
Whew!
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 18, 2010, 08:08:40 AM
Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Opportunity Breaks 13 Miles on Mars! - sols 2267-2272, June 10-15, 2010:


Opportunity is driving again and has now covered 21 kilometers (13 miles) of odometry on Mars.

The pancam mast assembly (PMA) azimuth error from Sol 2257 (May 30, 2010), has been attributed to a problem within the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) instrument. An investigation of the Mini-TES is ongoing. The PMA has been restored to operation for imaging (not Mini-TES use).

On Sol 2267 (June 10, 2010), a quick fine attitude (QFA) was performed to refine the rover's attitude knowledge and to correct for gyro drift. Additional drive direction imagery was also collected. On Sol 2270 (June 13, 2010), Opportunity drove for the first time since the PMA anomaly, covering over 70 meters (230 feet). The rover drove again on Sol 2272 (June 15, 2010), achieving almost 72 meters (236 feet) of distance to the east.

As of Sol 2272 (June 15, 2010), solar array energy production was 297 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.280 and the solar array dust factor is 0.570.

Total odometry is 21,005.47 meters (21.00 kilometers, or 13.05 miles).

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Dog Walker on June 18, 2010, 09:22:35 AM
Never thought I would be cheering on a machine like a sports fan.  Go little machine, go!
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 18, 2010, 09:29:35 AM
Its twin... Spirit... is stuck in the sand and has fallen into "deep sleep" during the martian winter.  It is unkown if it will be able to reawaken.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on June 18, 2010, 12:37:07 PM
Never thought I would be cheering on a machine like a sports fan.  Go little machine, go!
I know how you feel.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 13, 2011, 08:53:03 AM
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20110104a.html

Quote
January 04, 2011

Rover Will Spend 7th Birthday at Stadium-Size Crater 

   
The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured a Dec. 31, 2010, view of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on the southwestern rim of a football-field-size crater called "Santa Maria."

Opportunity arrived at the western edge of Santa Maria crater in mid-December and will spend about two months investigating rocks there. That investigation will take Opportunity into the beginning of its eighth year on Mars. Opportunity landed in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time (Jan. 24, Pacific Time) for a mission originally planned to last for three months.




(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20110104a/PIA13754_Fig1-annot_ESP_020758_1780_Oppty-at-StaMaria_br.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on March 23, 2011, 03:39:51 PM
Spirit is likely dead... :(

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20110318a.html

Quote
March 18, 2011

Alternatives Have Begun in Bid to Hear from Spirit 

PASADENA, Calif. -- Hopes for reviving NASA's Spirit Mars rover dimmed further with passage last week of the point at which the rover's locale received its maximum sunshine for the Martian year.

The rover team has tried to contact Spirit for months with strategies based on the possibility that increasing energy availability might wake the rover from hibernation. The team has now switched to communication strategies designed to address more than one problem on the rover. If no signal is heard from Spirit in the next month or two, the team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will shift to single-rover operations, continuing to operate Spirit's active twin, Opportunity.

"The commands we are sending starting this week should work in a multiple-fault scenario where Spirit's main transmitter is no longer working and the mission clock has lost track of time or drifted significantly," said JPL's John Callas, project manager for Spirit and Opportunity.

Spirit landed on Mars Jan. 4, 2004 Universal Time (Jan. 3, Pacific Time) for a mission designed to last for three months. After accomplishing its prime-mission goals, Spirit worked for more than five years in bonus-time extended missions.

Spirit has not communicated since March 22, 2010. Power output from its solar array had been waning prior to that, and the rover had been expected to go into a low-power hibernation mode. With drive motors on two of its six wheels no longer working, Spirit had been unable in preceding months to maneuver much in its sand-trap location. The rover could not get to a favorable tilt for its solar panels as Martian winter approached.

During the Martian winter with most heaters turned off, Spirit experienced colder internal temperatures than in any of its three previous winters on Mars. The cold could have damaged any of several electronic components that, if damaged, would prevent reestablishing communication with Spirit.

However, attempts to regain contact have continued for more than eight months in the possibility that the seasonal increase in solar energy available at Spirit's location would revive the rover. NASA's Deep Space Network of antennas in California, Spain and Australia has been listening for Spirit daily. The rover team has also sent commands to elicit a response from the rover even if the rover has lost track of time, or if its receiver has degraded in frequency response.

The available solar energy at Spirit's site was estimated to peak on March 10. Revised commanding began March 15, including instructions for the rover to be receptive over UHF relay to hailing from the Mars orbiters for extended periods of time and to use a backup transmitter on the rover.

Spirit and Opportunity both have made important discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been favorable for supporting microbial life. Opportunity landed three weeks after Spirit.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Dog Walker on March 23, 2011, 03:49:06 PM
I hope they send it a final message that says, "Well done thy good and faithful servant."
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on March 23, 2011, 04:32:10 PM
Too bad the other probe can't come to the rescue. 

I can't help but think of "Batteries Not Included"...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on March 23, 2011, 04:35:23 PM
Not a bad life span for a mission that was designed to last 3 months. :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: wsansewjs on March 23, 2011, 04:44:15 PM
Haha speaking of those incredible rovers, "My other cars are on Mars!" was spoken by Dave Lavery, Program Executive for Solar System Exploration at NASA Headquarters].

I have personally met him along with my robotic's team presenting a homage to him and his team for the amazing rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. The homage is the poster that contains an alien with its squagee and cleaning solution spray as an irony to the day that Spirit came back alive luckily in its first Martian winter. It contains signatures of every team members. This was presented at the FIRST Robotics Championship 2007 in Atlanta, GA.

(http://www.teamresistance.org/underground/images/photoalbum/album_4/photo_302.jpg)

Wikipedia on Dave Lavery: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Lavery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Lavery)

-Josh
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on March 23, 2011, 04:48:33 PM
Very cool!  I have been a fan of this project since it's inception.  There was a program before the probes were launched where you could have your name burned into a CD and placed on each rover.  I and my family are on Mars... at least as a data bit! :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: wsansewjs on March 23, 2011, 04:50:09 PM
Very cool!  I have been a fan of this project since it's inception.  There was a program before the probes were launched where you could have your name burned into a CD and placed on each rover.  I and my family are on Mars... at least as a data bit! :)

That would be the first Mars rover, The Pathfinder.

-Josh
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on March 23, 2011, 04:51:40 PM
Nope... I am on both Spirit and Opportunity... I have the certificates... somewhere... :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: wsansewjs on March 23, 2011, 05:02:11 PM
Nope... I am on both Spirit and Opportunity... I have the certificates... somewhere... :)

Opps I mean the Pathfinder was the first one to do start it, then Spirit and Opportunity did afterward.

I think Opportunity should make a mad dash to where Spirit is and give a kiss to Spirit before they die. That would be a wonderful ending.

-Josh
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on March 23, 2011, 05:24:19 PM
Good Job Spirit.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Doctor_K on March 29, 2011, 03:31:32 PM
Not too shabby a job for a rover that was supposed to make it 90 days.

Who says NASA can't do anything right?
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 09, 2011, 03:16:18 PM
Below is a pic detailing Opportunities path since landing.  It begins at Eagle crater in the upper left.  Total mileage to date is nearly 19 miles.

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20110607a/PIA14135_Eagle-to-Endeavour_br.jpg

(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20110607a/PIA14135_Eagle-to-Endeavour_br.jpg)


Quote
Eagle to Endeavour: Opportunity's Path, Sol 2609

The yellow line on this map shows where NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity has driven from the place where it landed in January 2004 -- inside Eagle crater, at the upper left end of the track -- to a point about 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers) away from reaching the rim of Endeavour crater.

Endeavour crater has been the rover team's destination for Opportunity since the rover finished exploring Victoria crater in August 2008. Endeavour, with a diameter of about 14 miles (22 kilometers), offers access to older geological deposits than any Opportunity has seen before.

In honor of Opportunity's rover twin, the team has chosen "Spirit Point" as the informal name for the site on Endeavour's rim targeted for Opportunity's arrival at Endeavour. Spirit, which worked halfway around Mars from Opportunity for more than six years, ended communication in March 2010.

Opportunity reached the point in its traverse indicated on this map on the 2,609th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (May 27, 2011). By that sol, Opportunity had driven a total of 18.58 miles (29.9 kilometers). By Sol 2619 (June 6, 2011) it had driven an additional 0.19 mile (0.32 kilometer).

The western rim of Endeavour has a series of ridges. Spirit Point is the southern edge of a ridge called "Cape York." Farther south on the rim, a ridge called "Cape Tribulation" offers exposures identified from orbit as clay minerals.

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on August 05, 2011, 09:46:42 AM
Watch this time lapse from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

Full article...

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/04/flowing-water-mars_n_918860.html

(http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/577359main_pia14472-946b.gif)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on August 22, 2011, 10:53:38 AM
Mars Rover Opportunity Sends Snapshots of Endeavor Crater.
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/201589/20110822/mars-rover-opportunity-crater-endeavor-odyssey-spirit-water-impact-craters-nasa.htm (http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/201589/20110822/mars-rover-opportunity-crater-endeavor-odyssey-spirit-water-impact-craters-nasa.htm)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on August 22, 2011, 01:08:50 PM
Ya beat me to it Jeffrey... Opportunity arrived at Endeavor last week and I neglected to update...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on August 22, 2011, 01:27:57 PM
I was actually waiting for you to post an update when I saw this one.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on August 22, 2011, 01:28:38 PM
I hope we are posting updates five years from now.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on August 22, 2011, 01:35:31 PM
They are currently planning and building the next rovers as we speak.  The next generation will not be reliant on solar power.  Solar power and battery life is one of the limitations of our current set of rovers.

Five years from now we will be watching the new rovers... :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Dog Walker on August 22, 2011, 04:07:49 PM
And they will be put there by the Chinese if we can't get substantial improvement in our tax revenues soon.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 06, 2011, 01:55:59 PM
The new rovers name is... Curiosity.  It will launch sometime between Nov 25 and Dec 18 this year.  It will arrive on Mars Around 25 August 2012.

(http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/551038main_pia14156-43_946-710.jpg)

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20110831.html

Quote
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project continues to press ahead with launch preparation activities, planning to use additional time before encapsulating the rover in the launch vehicle's nose cone.

Officials want to maintain additional schedule margin for enhanced safety procedures in assembly and testing. System testing put the rover and other parts of the spacecraft through simulations of many activities from launch through operations on Mars' surface. Aspects of the test simulating the final moments before landing took longer than scheduled. Additional margin that had been built into the schedule has been consumed in recent weeks by stepped-up safety procedures in assembly and testing.

Based on this, the rover development team will turn over the spacecraft for encapsulation four days later in October than originally scheduled. The project expects to know in approximately two weeks if launch timelines may need to be adjusted. The mission's launch period begins Nov. 25 and runs through Dec. 18.

"We consumed some of the slack in our schedule during system testing in August, and we want to restore the slack to give the assembly, test and launch operations team time to do its job," said Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager Pete Theisinger of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The Mars Science Laboratory will deliver Curiosity to an August 2012 landing beside a mountain inside Gale crater on Mars. During a two-year mission on the Red Planet, the rover will investigate whether a selected area of Mars has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life and for preserving evidence about life.

The spacecraft's back shell, heat shield and cruise stage were delivered to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in May. The rover and descent stage were delivered in June.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. United Launch Alliance, Denver, is supplying the launch vehicle and launch services. Launch management for the mission is the responsibility of NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center.

More information about the Mars Science Laboratory is available online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and at http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ .


Link to video trailer...

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=105929071
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on November 28, 2011, 09:55:08 AM
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/27/local/la-me-adv-mars-launch-20111127


Quote
NASA launches largest-ever Mars rover

The one-ton, car-size Curiosity rocketed from Kennedy Space Center on Saturday. The vehicle is on a mission to determine whether life could have existed on Mars.

November 27, 2011|By Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles TimesReporting from Cape Canaveral, Fla. —

With the roar of an Atlas 5 engine, NASA on Saturday began its boldest venture yet to another planet — sending the Mars Science Laboratory on an eight-month journey expected to provide more detailed information about whether the Red Planet is, or ever has been, hospitable to life.

After a one-day delay to replace a faulty battery, the launch went off flawlessly at 7:02 a.m. PST, the rocket rising on a column of white smoke into a blue sky mottled with puffy cumulus clouds.

"Whew! That felt so good," said Joy Crisp, a deputy project scientist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, as the rocket trailed out of sight. "That was spectacular!"

Its payload was the rover Curiosity, the largest and most sophisticated in a series of robotic vehicles that NASA has sent to Mars. Built at JPL, Curiosity is a six-wheeled, one-ton vehicle the size of a compact car that is bristling with an array of sophisticated scientific gadgets.

Its mission, NASA officials have stressed, is not to find life on Mars, but to find out whether life ever could have existed there in the form of microbes, tiny organisms that are abundant on Earth. It also will try to find further evidence to suggest whether astronauts could survive on Mars, part of NASA's long-term plan to send a manned mission there.

"I like to say it's extraterrestrial real estate appraisal," Pan Conrad, a NASA astrobiologist, said at a pre-launch briefing earlier in the week.

Some 43 minutes after launch, a second stage rocket fell away, leaving the science lab capsule on its own. Control of the spaceship then shifted from the Kennedy Space Center to JPL, which will run the mission for its duration, expected to be a minimum of two years.

A group of JPL scientists and engineers at Kennedy burst into applause when the capsule separated from the rocket. Like most people associated with the mission, they were excited and relieved by the successful launch. Many have worked on the Mars Science Laboratory for nearly a decade and had to endure a two-year delay when the project missed its original launch date.

Pete Theisinger, the project manager at JPL, couldn't stop grinning when he got up to speak at a news conference after the launch. "Our spacecraft is in excellent health and it's on its way to Mars," he said. "Any questions?"

The lab faces a journey of 354 million miles. (Although Mars is less than half that distance from Earth, the fact that it is a moving target makes the trip longer.) It is due to land in spectacular fashion just after 10 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5.

Because of the size of the rover, NASA decided that its previous landing technique, in which vehicles were bounced onto the surface of the planet on air bags, would not work. So Curiosity, after being slowed in its descent by parachutes, will be lowered softly — NASA hopes — on long bridles using a sky crane technique modeled after those used by helicopters.

Once on the ground, NASA intends for the rover to spend one Martian year, or about two Earth years, exploring an area called Gale Crater, the site of a gently sloped, 3-mile-tall mountain made of sedimentary rock. As with prior missions, there is the likelihood that the rover will keep going after its two-year "warranty" expires.

Scientists hope that as the rover ascends the mountain, the rock will tell the geologic history of the area — and ideally suggest whether the planet could have supported life. That would require the presence of three things: water, energy and carbon. The first two have been established as existing on Mars, but previous missions have not allowed scientists to determine whether there is carbon.

"We're basically reading the history of Mars' environmental evolution," John Grotzinger, the project's chief scientist, said at one of the pre-launch briefings. However, he has been at pains to tamp down expectations.

"It's like looking for a needle in a haystack," he said, "and the haystack's as big as a football field."

Scientists believe it is more likely that Curiosity will find other indications of environmental conditions that point toward the possibility that life once existed on Mars, when it was warmer and wetter than it is today.

The researchers said they were excited by the opportunity to deploy some of Curiosity's new technology. One gadget, called a "chem cam," will use a laser to zap rocks, then analyze the resulting sparks with a spectrometer to identify the chemical elements in the material.

Curiosity also has a lab in its belly that will allow it to take soil and rock samples, analyzing their chemistry and mineralogy. And it will deploy an array of cameras to bring back high-definition still photographs and videos to Earth.

Such technology doesn't come cheap, and NASA officials were asked Saturday if they could justify the $2.5 billion being spent on the Mars Science Lab at a time of great need. Grotzinger said the cost, divided among the entire U.S. population, amounted to no more than the cost of a movie ticket per person. (It works out to about $8.)

"I'll leave it to you whether that's a movie you want to see," he said, adding: "This is the stuff that fuels kids' imaginations to go into science and engineering.… I think that's a great investment."

Mars program director Doug McCuistion said the space program also contributes to the economy by creating "high-tech, good-paying" jobs. "We don't spend any money on Mars," he said. "We spend it all here."

The Mars Science Lab is the latest in a series of U.S. missions to the Red Planet, dating to 1964 when Mariner 4 flew by and sent 21 photos back to Earth. More recently, the Pathfinder, Exploration and Opportunity missions landed robotic rovers that transmitted dramatic ground-level photos and other data about Mars — considered the most likely planet in our solar system other than Earth to have nurtured life.

By "life," however, scientists stress that they mean the most primitive forms, and don't expect Curiosity to be met by an ambassador.

At the same time, said Steven Benner, a biochemist who heads the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, "we don't want to have a lot of preconceptions. We want to consider that if, you know, Tim Allen's 'Galaxy Quest' alien rock creature comes up and bangs us on the head, we don't want to ignore it. That would be the 'aha!' moment that we would regret having missed. But that's relatively far down in our what-if scenarios."

mitchell.landsberg@latimes.com
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on November 28, 2011, 10:20:37 AM
Looking forward to the discoveries this rover will find.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on November 28, 2011, 10:40:51 AM
Looking forward to the discoveries this rover will find.

Rover Opportunity is still alive and currently looking for a spot to "winter over".  The rover is of an extreme elderly age... Dust covers the solar panels making electricity generation increasingly difficult.  NASA is looking for a spot where the rover will have a northerly tilt to enable it to gather the diminishing sunlight of the martian winter.  Rover Spirit died last winter after it got stuck and was unable to move to a suitable location...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Ralph W on November 28, 2011, 11:13:01 AM
Do you supposed they included windshield wipers on the new model to keep the dust from degrading the function of the solar collectors?
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: RiversideLoki on November 28, 2011, 11:35:19 AM
The new rover is powered by a newly designed MMRTG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-Mission_Radioisotope_Thermoelectric_Generator), a plutonium powered thermal source that will allow the rover to both stay warm and operate during night hours. It will not be affected by the dusty panel problem that has been the issue with the previous rovers.

This rover is significantly larger than the previous rovers, which will allow it to go further and conduct more science.

(http://hughesmatt.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/mars_science_laboratory_mockup_comparison_.jpg?w=324&h=241)

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on November 28, 2011, 12:25:47 PM
We shall see.  Opportunity and Spirit were designed to last 3, Three, months.  Opportunity is now completing its 8th, EIGHTH, YEAR.  We can only hope Curiosity lasts half as long... :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Dog Walker on November 28, 2011, 01:31:08 PM
Let's just hope that the really complicated landing method works and worry about lifespan later.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on November 28, 2011, 01:33:33 PM
Let's just hope that the really complicated landing method works and worry about lifespan later.

I agree... this new method is extremely complicated.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: RiversideLoki on November 28, 2011, 04:51:19 PM
The software and theory that they're using for the "sky crane" has actually already been tested on Phoenix with the exception of the whole rope lowering. Rocket assisted landings aren't that huge of a deal and a large amount of landers have used them, going all the way back to the Viking missions. It's that trapeze thing that's gonna be the nail biter.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on December 09, 2011, 07:39:41 AM
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20111207a.html

Quote
December 07, 2011

NASA Mars Rover Finds Mineral Vein Deposited By Water 
   
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has found bright veins of a mineral, apparently gypsum, deposited by water. Analysis of the vein will help improve understanding of the history of wet environments on Mars.

"This tells a slam-dunk story that water flowed through underground fractures in the rock," said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for Opportunity. "This stuff is a fairly pure chemical deposit that formed in place right where we see it. That can't be said for other gypsum seen on Mars or for other water-related minerals Opportunity has found. It's not uncommon on Earth, but on Mars, it's the kind of thing that makes geologists jump out of their chairs."

The latest findings by Opportunity were presented Wednesday at the American Geophysical Union's conference in San Francisco.

The vein examined most closely by Opportunity is about the width of a human thumb (0.4 to 0.8 inch, or 1 to 2 centimeters), 16 to 20 inches (40 to 50 centimeters) long, and protrudes slightly higher than the bedrock on either side of it. Observations by the durable rover reveal this vein and others like it within an apron surrounding a segment of the rim of Endeavour Crater. None like it were seen in the 20 miles (33 kilometers) of crater-pocked plains that Opportunity explored for 90 months before it reached Endeavour, nor in the higher ground of the rim.

Last month, researchers used the Microscopic Imager and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on the rover's arm and multiple filters of the Panoramic Camera on the rover's mast to examine the vein, which is informally named "Homestake." The spectrometer identified plentiful calcium and sulfur, in a ratio pointing to relatively pure calcium sulfate.

Calcium sulfate can exist in many forms, varying by how much water is bound into the minerals' crystalline structure. The multi-filter data from the camera suggest gypsum, a hydrated calcium sulfate. On Earth, gypsum is used for making drywall and plaster of Paris.

Observations from orbit had detected gypsum on Mars previously. A dune field of windblown gypsum on far northern Mars resembles the glistening gypsum dunes in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.

"It is a mystery where the gypsum sand on northern Mars comes from," said Opportunity science-team member Benton Clark of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. "At Homestake, we see the mineral right where it formed. It will be important to see if there are deposits like this in other areas of Mars."

The Homestake deposit, whether gypsum or another form of calcium sulfate, likely formed from water dissolving calcium out of volcanic rocks. The calcium combined with sulfur that was either leached from the rocks or introduced as volcanic gas, and it was deposited as calcium sulfate into an underground fracture that later became exposed at the surface.

Throughout Opportunity's long traverse across Mars' Meridiani plain, the rover has driven over bedrock composed of magnesium, iron and calcium sulfate minerals that also indicate a wet environment billions of years ago. The highly concentrated calcium sulfate at Homestake could have been produced in conditions more neutral than the harshly acidic conditions indicated by the other sulfate deposits observed by Opportunity.

"It could have formed in a different type of water environment, one more hospitable for a larger variety of living organisms," Clark said.

Homestake and similar-looking veins appear in a zone where the sulfate-rich sedimentary bedrock of the plains meets older, volcanic bedrock exposed at the rim of Endeavour. That location may offer a clue about their origin.

Opportunity and its rover twin, Spirit, completed their three-month prime missions on Mars in April 2004. Both rovers continued for years of extended missions and made important discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been favorable for supporting microbial life. Spirit stopped communicating in 2010. Opportunity continues exploring, currently heading to a sun-facing slope on the northern end of the Endeavour rim fragment called "Cape York" to keep its solar panels at a favorable angle during the mission's fifth Martian winter.

"We want to understand why these veins are in the apron but not out on the plains," said the mission's deputy principal investigator, Ray Arvidson, of Washington University in St. Louis. "The answer may be that rising groundwater coming from the ancient crust moved through material adjacent to Cape York and deposited gypsum, because this material would be relatively insoluble compared with either magnesium or iron sulfates."

NASA launched the next-generation Mars rover, the car-sized Curiosity, on Nov. 26. It is slated for arrival at the planet's Gale Crater in August 2012. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate in Washington. For more information about the rovers, visit http://www.nasa.gov/rovers and http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov . You can follow the project on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MarsRovers and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/marsrovers.

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

Steve Cole 202-358-0918
NASA Headquarters, Washington
stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov
NEWS RELEASE: 2011-377
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 25, 2012, 09:42:07 AM
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20120124a.html

Quote
January 24, 2012

Durable NASA Rover Beginning Ninth Year of Mars Work 

 
Eight years after landing on Mars for what was planned as a three-month mission, NASA's enduring Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is working on what essentially became a new mission five months ago.

Opportunity reached a multi-year driving destination, Endeavour Crater, in August 2011. At Endeavour's rim, it has gained access to geological deposits from an earlier period of Martian history than anything it examined during its first seven years. It also has begun an investigation of the planet's deep interior that takes advantage of staying in one place for the Martian winter.

Opportunity landed in Eagle Crater on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time and EST (Jan. 24, PST), three weeks after its rover twin, Spirit, landed halfway around the planet. In backyard-size Eagle Crater, Opportunity found evidence of an ancient wet environment. The mission met all its goals within the originally planned span of three months. During most of the next four years, it explored successively larger and deeper craters, adding evidence about wet and dry periods from the same era as the Eagle Crater deposits.

In mid-2008, researchers drove Opportunity out of Victoria Crater, half a mile (800 meters) in diameter, and set course for Endeavour Crater, 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter.

"Endeavour is a window further into Mars' past," said Mars Exploration Rover Program Manager John Callas, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The trek took three years. In a push to finish it, Opportunity drove farther during its eighth year on Mars -- 4.8 miles (7.7 kilometers) -- than in any prior year, bringing its total driving distance to 21.4 miles (34.4 kilometers).

The "Cape York" segment of Endeavour's rim, where Opportunity has been working since August 2011, has already validated the choice of Endeavour as a long-term goal. "It's like starting a new mission, and we hit pay dirt right out of the gate," Callas said.

The first outcrop that Opportunity examined on Cape York differs from any the rover had seen previously. Its high zinc content suggests effects of water. Weeks later, at the edge of Cape York, a bright mineral vein identified as hydrated calcium sulfate provided what the mission's principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., calls "the clearest evidence for liquid water on Mars that we have found in our eight years on the planet."

Mars years last nearly twice as long as Earth years. Entering its ninth Earth year on Mars, Opportunity is also heading into its fifth Martian winter. Its solar panels have accumulated so much dust since Martian winds last cleaned them -- more than in previous winters -- the rover needs to stay on a sun-facing slope to have enough energy to keep active through the winter.

The rover team has not had to use this strategy with Opportunity in past winters, though it did so with Spirit, farther from the equator, for the three Martian winters that Spirit survived. By the beginning of the rovers' fourth Martian winter, drive motors in two of Spirit's six wheels had ceased working, long past their design lifespan. The impaired mobility kept the rover from maneuvering to an energy-favorable slope. Spirit stopped communicating in March 2010.

All six of Opportunity's wheels are still useful for driving, but the rover will stay on an outcrop called "Greeley Haven" until mid-2012 to take advantage of the outcrop's favorable slope and targets of scientific interest during the Martian winter. After the winter, or earlier if wind cleans dust off the solar panels, researchers plan to drive Opportunity in search of clay minerals that a Mars orbiter's observations indicate lie on Endeavour's rim.

"The top priority at Greeley Haven is the radio-science campaign to provide information about Mars' interior," said JPL's Diana Blaney, deputy project scientist for the mission. This study uses weeks of tracking radio signals from the stationary rover to measure wobble in the planet's rotation. The amount of wobble is an indicator of whether the core of the planet is molten, similar to the way spinning an egg can be used to determine whether it is raw or hard-boiled.

Other research at Greeley Haven includes long-term data gathering to investigate mineral ingredients of the outcrop with spectrometers on Opportunity's arm, and repeated observations to monitor wind-caused changes at various scales.

The Mössbauer spectrometer, which identifies iron-containing minerals, uses radiation from cobalt-57 in the instrument to elicit a response from molecules in the rock. The half-life of cobalt-57 is only about nine months, so this source has diminished greatly. A measurement that could have been made in less than an hour during the rover's first year now requires weeks of holding the spectrometer on the target.

Observations for the campaign to monitor wind-caused changes range in scale from dunes in the distance to individual grains seen with the rover's microscopic imager. "Wind is the most active process on Mars today," Blaney said. "It is harder to watch for changes when the rover is driving every day. We are taking advantage of staying at one place for a while."

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. More information about Opportunity is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/rovers and http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov. You can follow the project on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MarsRovers and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/marsrovers.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 25, 2012, 09:47:39 AM
(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20120117a/PIA15277_3rovers-hi_D2011_1215_D511_br.jpg)

Three generations of Mars rovers.  The smallest is Sojourner.  Next in size is the Opportunity/Spirit team.  Curiosity is the large rover and is currently in flight on its way to Mars...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Doctor_K on January 25, 2012, 09:51:34 AM
Thanks for posting, BT.

Absolutely incredible!
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: wsansewjs on January 25, 2012, 01:04:41 PM
The software and theory that they're using for the "sky crane" has actually already been tested on Phoenix with the exception of the whole rope lowering. Rocket assisted landings aren't that huge of a deal and a large amount of landers have used them, going all the way back to the Viking missions. It's that trapeze thing that's gonna be the nail biter.

I plan to turn on NASA TV and watch the team live in response to what they will monitor. I will personally HOLD my breath from the entry into the orbit all the way to the landing.

May the rover land with sunshines, rainbows, and love!

-Josh
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on February 21, 2012, 07:46:33 AM
Rover Opportunity "self portrait" September 2007... note dust coating...

(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20120217a/PIA15114_sol1282_L456atc_br.jpg)


Opportunity December 2011... Much thicker dust threatens to kill rover over the winter...

(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20120217a/PIA15115_sols2811-14_L456atc_br.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on February 22, 2012, 04:50:34 PM
To bad Mars doesn't have the squeegie guys at every crater....   :)

.... is that a footprint in the upper right of the lower photo?
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on February 22, 2012, 04:56:23 PM
Shame we had no idea how long these rovers would last or the dusty build up could have been planned for.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 07, 2012, 09:14:21 AM
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20120503a.html

Quote
May 03, 2012

Paydirt at 8-Year-Old Mars Rover's 'New Landing Site' 

   
A report in the May 4 edition of the journal Science details discoveries Opportunity made in its first four months at the rim of Endeavour Crater, including key findings reported at a geophysics conference in late 2011.

Opportunity completed its original three-month mission on Mars eight years ago. It reached Endeavour last summer, three years after the rover's science team chose Endeavour as a long-term destination. This crater is about 4 billion years old and 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter.

The impact that excavated the crater left a jumble of fused-together rock fragments around the rim. In a chunk brought to the surface by a later, much smaller impact into the rim, Opportunity found evidence that the original impact released heated, underground water that deposited zinc in that rock. Later after the impact, cool water flowed through cracks in the ground near the edge of the crater and deposited veins of the mineral gypsum.

"These bright mineral veins are different from anything seen previously on Mars, and they tell a clear story of water flowing through cracks in the rocks," said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. He is the principal investigator for Opportunity and lead author of the new report by 27 researchers. "From landing until just before reaching the Endeavour rim, Opportunity was driving over sandstone made of sulfate grains that had been deposited by water and later blown around by the wind. These gypsum veins tell us about water that flowed through the rocks at this exact spot. It's the strongest evidence for water that we've ever seen with Opportunity."

For the past four months, the solar-powered rover has been working at one outcrop on the Endeavour rim, called Greeley Haven. Reduced daylight during the Martian winter, and accumulated dust on the rover's solar array, have kept energy too low for driving. "The days are now growing longer, and the sun is moving higher in the sky at Endeavour Crater. We expect Opportunity to resume driving in the next two months and continue exploring other parts of the crater's rim," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Researchers hope to get Opportunity to one of the deposits of clay minerals that have been detected in Endeavour's rim by observations from orbit. These minerals could be evidence of a non-acidic wet phase of the region's environmental history.

"Exploring Endeavour Crater is like having a new landing site," said JPL's Timothy Parker, a co-author of the new report. "That's not just because of the difference in the geology here compared to what we saw during most of the first eight years, but also because there's a whole vista before us inviting much more exploration."

Opportunity and its rover twin, Spirit, completed their three-month prime missions on Mars in April 2004. Both rovers continued for years of bonus, extended missions. Both have made important discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been favorable for supporting microbial life. Spirit stopped communicating in 2010.

NASA launched the next-generation Mars rover, car-size Curiosity of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, on Nov. 26 for arrival at Mars' Gale Crater in August 2012.

Landing successfully is quite a challenge, and the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity mission pioneers a new landing method to enable use of a heavier rover. Curiosity is about twice as long and more than five times as heavy as any previous Mars rover. Its size and mass accommodate a science payload designed to study whether the landing region has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life, including chemical ingredients for life.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project and Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. More information about Opportunity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/rovers and http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov . You can follow the project on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MarsRovers and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/marsrovers .

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 26, 2012, 08:24:10 AM
Mars rover Curiosity will be landing on Mars in slightly over a month... here is how...

Seven Minutes of Terror


http://www.youtube.com/v/Ki_Af_o9Q9s

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on June 27, 2012, 12:57:18 PM
I am really getting excited to see how the landing goes.

I wonder what happens to the descent stage after it flys off?  Seems to me that if it stayed within a reasonable distance, there may be components that could be useful to the rover if necessary.

It could also be useful to the Mars One group, if they planned a landing in that same area.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 27, 2012, 02:43:21 PM
It will fly off to a safe distance and crash...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: wsansewjs on June 27, 2012, 05:39:18 PM
It will fly off to a safe distance and crash...

This is what I heard from friends who's engineers at NASA. The Sky Crane was originally designed to deliver the rover, then land somewhere safely with the solar panel unfolding to create a strong communication relay for the rover, and the orbiter to Earth, but this plan was foiled due to the rocket's cargo payload weight limit.

-Josh
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on July 05, 2012, 09:33:01 AM
We are 30 days from the landing attempt...

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1241

Quote
Curiosity Rover on Track for Early August Landing

MARS SCIENCE LABORATORY MISSION STATUS REPORT

PASADENA, Calif. -- A maneuver on Tuesday adjusted the flight path of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft for delivering the rover Curiosity to a landing target beside a Martian mountain.

The car-size, one-ton rover is bound for arrival the evening of Aug. 5, 2012, PDT (early Aug. 6, EDT and Universal Time). The landing will mark the beginning of a two-year prime mission to investigate whether one of the most intriguing places on Mars ever offered an environment favorable for microbial life.

The latest trajectory correction maneuver, the third and smallest since the Nov. 26, 2011, launch, used four thruster firings totaling just 40 seconds. Spacecraft data and Doppler-effect changes in radio signal from the craft indicate the maneuver succeeded. As designed by engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., the maneuver adjusts the location where the spacecraft will enter Mars' atmosphere by about 125 miles (200 kilometers) and advances the time of entry by about 70 seconds.

"This puts us closer to our entry target, so if any further maneuvers are needed, I expect them to be small," said JPL's Tomas Martin-Mur, the mission's navigation team chief. Opportunities for up to three additional trajectory correction maneuvers are scheduled during the final eight days of the flight.

The maneuver served both to correct errors in the flight path that remained after earlier correction maneuvers and to carry out a decision this month to shift the landing target about 4 miles (7 kilometers) closer to the mountain.

It altered the spacecraft's velocity by about one-tenth of a mile per hour (50 millimeters per second). The flight's first and second trajectory correction maneuvers produced velocity changes about 150 times larger on Jan. 11 and about 20 times larger on March 26.

Shifting the landing target closer to the mountain, informally named Mount Sharp, may shave months off the time needed for driving from the touchdown location to selected destinations at exposures of water-related minerals on the slope of the mountain.

The flight to Mars has entered its "approach phase" leading to landing day. Mission Manager Arthur Amador of JPL said, "In the next 40 days, the flight team will be laser-focused on the preparations for the challenging events of landing day -- continuously tracking the spacecraft's trajectory and monitoring the health and performance of its onboard systems, while using NASA's Deep Space Network to stay in continuous communications. We're in the home stretch now. The spacecraft continues to perform very well. And the flight team is up for the challenge."

Descent from the top of Mars' atmosphere to the surface will employ bold techniques enabling use of a smaller target area and heavier landed payload than were possible for any previous Mars mission. These innovations, if successful, will place a well-equipped mobile laboratory into a locale especially well suited for its mission of discovery. The same innovations advance NASA toward capabilities needed for human missions to Mars.

A video about the challenges of the landing is online at: http://go.nasa.gov/Q4b35n or http://go.usa.gov/vMn.

As of June 27, the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft carrying the rover Curiosity will have traveled about 307 million miles (494 million kilometers) of its 352-million-mile (567-million-kilometer) flight to Mars.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ . You can follow the mission on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .

2012-188
Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Guy.Webster@jpl.nasa.gov


Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on July 31, 2012, 07:41:47 AM
6 Days to go... for August 6 landing...


(http://i.space.com/images/i/13438/i02/skycrane-mars-landing-msl-curiosity-111117e-02.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: wsansewjs on August 05, 2012, 05:40:36 PM
Yea, I am back.

Don't forget, tonight at 1:31am, we will find out if Curiousity have made it or not...

7 MINUTES OF TERROR!

Learn more about the awesome rover, Curiousity,  go visit http://getcurious.com/ (http://getcurious.com/)

Watch NASA HD Web Streaming: http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv (http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv)

-Josh
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Timkin on August 05, 2012, 06:06:36 PM
Yea, I am back.

Don't forget, tonight at 1:31am, we will find out if Curiousity have made it or not...

7 MINUTES OF TERROR!

Learn more about the awesome rover, Curiousity,  go visit http://getcurious.com/ (http://getcurious.com/)

Watch NASA HD Web Streaming: http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv (http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv)

-Josh

Glad you're back Josh.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on August 06, 2012, 06:42:58 AM
Curiosity landed successfully!  First low res pix...

(http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/proj/msl/redops/ods/surface/sol/00000/opgs/edr/fcam/FLA_397502305EDR_D0010000AUT_04096M_-br.jpg)

I think the Curiosity mission deserves its own thread and will be starting one to follow the two year mission.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on August 08, 2012, 01:53:03 PM
(http://static.arounder.com/HEADER-980x200/VR000015255.jpg)
Check out the panoramas from opportunity.
http://mars.arounder.com/ (http://mars.arounder.com/)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on August 30, 2012, 08:05:52 AM
While Curiosity is getting all the press... Opportunity trudges along...  8)

Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Opportunity Exceeds 35 Kilometers Of Driving! - sols 3051-3056, August 23-28, 2012:


Opportunity has exceeded over 35 kilometers (21.75 miles) of odometry!

The rover is moving south along the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater surveying exposed outcrop in search of phyllosilicate clay minerals that have been detected from orbit.

On Sol 3051 (Aug. 23, 2012), Opportunity continued to move about 98 feet (30 meters) south along the inboard edge of Cape York, imaging the outcrop to the west with both Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam). On Sol 3053 (Aug. 25, 2012), the rover drove further south with more of an inboard bias to be closer to the outcrop. Again, more detailed Pancam and Navcam surveys were performed. On Sol 3055 (Aug. 27, 2012), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on the end of the robotic arm was imaged to re-confirm the available bit for future grinding and the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) collected a measurement of atmospheric argon.

On Sol 3056 (Aug. 28, 2012), Opportunity headed almost due west in a direct approach to some exciting outcrop units. With that drive, the rover passed 35 kilometers of odometry. Not bad for a vehicle designed for only about 1 mile (1 kilometer) of distance and 90 sols (days) of lifetime.

As of Sol 3056 (Aug. 28, 2012), the solar array energy production was 568 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.570 and a solar array dust factor of 0.684.

Total odometry is 21.76 miles (35,017.33 meters).

Opportunity Update Archive
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 17, 2012, 10:58:31 AM
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2012/09/mars-rover-finds-a-crunchy-blu.html

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NASA Mars rover finds a crunchy 'blueberry' surprise

 21:19 14 September 2012

NASA's Curiosity rover may be stealing all the headline of late, but lest it be forgotten, the veteran rover Opportunity is still turning up geologic gems. A recent scan of rocky outcrops near the west rim of Endeavour Crater revealed a dense group of marble-sized spheres that have experts baffled.
 
NASA scientists working on the Opportunity mission at first thought the spheres looked like structures known as Martian blueberries. These iron-rich orbs, discovered at the rover's landing site in 2004, are thought to have formed millions of years ago, when the Red Planet was likely warm enough to host liquid water.
 
In some places minerals precipitated out of the water as it diffused through rock, leaving behind hard masses. Erosion eventually exposed the spherules embedded in outcrops, like blueberries in a muffin.
 
Similar spheres have been found in sandstones in the US Southwest, and some scientists think they may hold clues to finding microbial life on Mars.

But when Opportunity took a closer look at the new spheres using its X-ray spectrometer, the rover found that they don't "taste" like blueberries.

For one, the spheres don't contain nearly as much iron. They're also much more tightly clustered than previous groups of blueberries, and they have a more fragile disposition.
 
"They seem to be crunchy on the outside, and softer in the middle," Opportunity's principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University, said in a NASA statement.

"They are different in concentration. They are different in structure. They are different in composition. They are different in distribution. So, we have a wonderful geological puzzle in front of us."
 
Luckily, Opportunity is still in good health, and engineers think the hardy rover should have plenty of juice left to study the mystery berries in the coming weeks.

(http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2012/09/14/mars-berries.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on September 17, 2012, 06:53:35 PM
Look like Martian deer droppings to me....
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 18, 2012, 06:33:41 AM
Look like Martian deer droppings to me....

Martian spawn?
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on October 16, 2012, 08:01:39 AM
Quote
September 28, 2012

Mars Rover Opportunity Working At 'Matijevic Hill' 

   
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars rover Opportunity, well into its ninth year on Mars, will work for the next several weeks or months at a site with some of the mission's most intriguing geological features.

The site, called "Matijevic Hill," overlooks 14-mile-wide (22-kilometer-wide) Endeavour Crater. Opportunity has begun investigating the site's concentration of small spherical objects reminiscent of, but different from, the iron-rich spheres nicknamed "blueberries" at the rover's landing site nearly 22 driving miles ago (35 kilometers).

The small spheres at Matijevic Hill have different composition and internal structure. Opportunity's science team is evaluating a range of possibilities for how they formed. The spheres are up to about an eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) in diameter.

The "blueberries" found earlier are concretions formed by the action of mineral-laden water inside rocks, but that is only one of the ways nature can make small, rounded particles. One working hypothesis, out of several, is that the new-found spherules are also concretions but with a different composition. Others include that they may be accretionary lapilli formed in volcanic ash eruptions, impact spherules formed in impact events, or devitrification spherules resulting from formation of crystals from formerly melted material. There are other possibilities, too.

"Right now we have multiple working hypotheses, and each hypothesis makes certain predictions about things like what the spherules are made of and how they are distributed," said Opportunity's principal investigator, Steve Squyres, of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. "Our job as we explore Matijevic Hill in the months ahead will be to make the observations that will let us test all the hypotheses carefully, and find the one that best fits the observations."

The team chose to refer to this important site as Matijevic Hill in honor of Jacob Matijevic (1947-2012), who led the engineering team for the twin Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity for several years before and after their landings. He worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., from 1981 until his death last month, most recently as chief engineer for surface operations systems of NASA's third-generation Mars rover, Curiosity. In the 1990s, he led the engineering team for the first Mars rover, Sojourner.

A different Mars rover team, operating Curiosity, has also named a feature for Matijevic: a rock that Curiosity recently investigated about halfway around the planet from Matijevic Hill.

"We wouldn't have gotten to Matijevic Hill, eight-and-a-half years after Opportunity's landing, without Jake Matijevic," Squyres said.

Opportunity's project manager, John Callas, of JPL, said, "If there is one person who represents the heart and soul of all three generations of Mars rovers -- Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity -- it was Jake."

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. For more information about Opportunity, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/rovers and http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov . You can follow the project on Twitter and on Facebook at: http://twitter.com/MarsRovers and http://www.facebook.com/mars.rovers .


####


Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on November 29, 2012, 03:26:07 PM
http://www.denverpost.com/dnc/ci_22082786/jpl-director-mars-rover-curiosity-life-compounds-organic (http://www.denverpost.com/dnc/ci_22082786/jpl-director-mars-rover-curiosity-life-compounds-organic)
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JPL director: Mars rover Curiosity may have found organic compounds, clue in search for life
Posted:   11/28/2012 09:00:09 PM MST
Updated:   11/28/2012 09:04:30 PM MST
By James Figueroa, SGVN


The Curiosity rover may have found organic compounds on Mars, Jet Propulsion Laboratory director Charles Elachi said in Rome on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

"Perhaps Curiosity has found simple organic molecules," Elachi said at La Sapienza University, according to La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno. "It's preliminary data that must be checked (on) organic, not biological, molecules."

The statement figures to set off a new round of speculation and excitement about the possibility of life on Mars.

Elachi, however, made clear that Curiosity cannot find life.

The rover's sample-analysis instruments can detect organic compounds like methane, which contain carbon, the basic building block for life.

Even if Curiosity finds methane, it has no way to confirm it came from a biological organism. The compound also forms through chemical reactions and has been found on meteorites.

Earlier this month, Curiosity project scientist John Grotzinger told NPR that recent data from the sample analysis would be "one for the history books."

It caused a furor of speculation about the mystery news, with most educated guesses pointing to organic compounds.

However, JPL has since said that Grotzinger's statement was meant to describe the mission as a whole, not a specific finding.

More details could emerge Monday at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, where a news conference about Curiosity is scheduled.

"There's not going to be any earth-shaking news on Monday," JPL spokesman Guy Webster said.

Since its celebrated landing in Mars' Gale Crater in August for a two-year mission, Curiosity has already found that an ancient streambed once rushed through the area, and found that properly equipped astronauts could withstand the radiation on the planet.

The soil sample the rover collected for its first sample-analysis test wasn't expected to come up with organic compounds.

The sample came from Rocknest, a sandy, windblown spot where previous tests had already shown much of the material had been transported from elsewhere.

Curiosity has since moved on to an area called Point Lake, overlooking lower terrain, where JPL scientists hope to use its rock-sampling drill for the first time.

The rover's ultimate destination is Mount Sharp, in the center of the crater, where layered rock provides a good chance to find organic material.

james.figueroa@sgvn.com

626-657-0987


Read more: JPL director: Mars rover Curiosity may have found organic compounds, clue in search for life - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/dnc/ci_22082786/jpl-director-mars-rover-curiosity-life-compounds-organic#ixzz2De4VQdaB
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: spuwho on December 02, 2012, 07:49:44 PM
Is it Mars? Or is it Nevada?

(http://www.aviationweek.com/media/images/fullsize/Space/NASA/Mars/LifeonMars_NASA.jpg)

It's Mars

Image taken 11/29 by Curiosity.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on December 05, 2012, 08:35:03 AM
http://www.livescience.com/25239-mars-rover-opportunity-endeavour-crater.html

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Mars Rover Opportunity Exploring Possibly Habitable Ancient Environment

by Mike Wall, SPACE.com Senior Writer

Date: 04 December 2012 Time: 04:40 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO — NASA's Mars rover Curiosity may be dominating the headlines, but its older, smaller cousin has made its way to a spot on the Red Planet that may have been capable of supporting life long ago.
 
The Opportunity rover, which landed on Mars in January 2004 along with its twin, Spirit, is currenlty studying clay deposits on the rim of the Red Planet's Endeavour Crater. The clays imply that the area was exposed to relatively neutral — as opposed to harshly acidic or basic — water long ago, researchers said.
 
"This is our first glimpse ever at conditions on ancient Marsthat clearly show us a chemistry that would've been suitable for life at the Opportunity site," Opportunity principal investigator Steve Squyres, of Cornell University, told reporters here today (Dec. 4) at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
 
Opportunity didn't just stumble blindly onto the clays. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft spotted them from orbit, leading the rover team to point the golf-cart-size robot toward its current location, which is known as Matijevic Hill.
 
"From orbit, we have seen the unambiguous infrared spectral signature of clays along the rim of Endeavour Crater," Squyres said. "It was that chemical beacon that drew us."
 
Opportunity has already circumnavigated Matijevic Hill, which was named after the late Jake Matijevic, who led the Spirit and Opportunity engineering teams for several years. Such a "walkaround" is exactly what a human field geologist would do to get the lay of the land, Squyres said.
 
The rover will likely stay at Matijevic Hill for a while, trying to understand how the clays were laid down billions of years ago, Squyres said. Part of the work will involve investigating mysterious tiny spherules Opportunity has discovered embedded in the clay matrix.
 
The Opportunity team initially thought the BB-size gray spheres were similar to the iron-rich "blueberries" that the rover has found elsewhere on the Red Planet. But initial analyses have shown that's not the case, leading Squyres to dub them "newberries."
 
The team isn't sure exactly what the newberries are, or how they formed.
 
"I think a big part of the story is going to be understanding the newberries," Squyres said. "I think figuring out the newberries is going to be fundamental to understanding how this clay-bearing unit was emplaced."
 
Opportunity and Spirit were tasked with three-month prime missions to search for signs of past water activity on Mars. They found plenty of it, and then kept on going. Spirit stopped communicating with Earth in 2010, and NASA declared the rover dead last year.
 
But Opportunity is still going strong. It has some age-related issues, such as an arthritic arm, but the rover remains in good health, Squyres said.
 
"Every day is a gift at this point," he said. "We're just going to push the rover, and push ourselves, as hard as we can."

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on December 05, 2012, 09:18:37 AM
It feels like we are so very close to finding some concrete evidence of life up there
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on December 12, 2012, 12:26:51 PM
(http://i.space.com/images/i/000/024/348/original/curiosity-mad-magazine.jpg?1355267000)

Apparently we will find Arthur E. Newman on Dec 18th.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on December 12, 2012, 01:41:16 PM
Lol... ;D... I think you mean...Alfred E. Neuman

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/19/Mad30.jpg/220px-Mad30.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 08, 2013, 08:11:34 AM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/jan/07/fake-mission-mars-astronauts-spaced-out

Quote

Fake mission to Mars leaves astronauts spaced out

Trip to Mars in pretend spaceship on Moscow industrial estate affects sleep, activity levels and motivation of six-man crew

Ian Sample, science correspondent
The Guardian, Monday 7 January 2013 14.59 EST


As the cheerless skies and grim economy sap all will to return to work, take heart that even on a trip to Mars, it is hard to get out of bed in the morning.

The drudge of interplanetary travel has emerged from research on six men who joined the longest simulated space mission ever: a 17-month round trip to the red planet in a pretend spaceship housed at a Moscow industrial estate.

Though chosen for the job as the best of the best, the would-be spacefarers spent more and more time under their duvets and sitting around idle as the mission wore on. The crew's activity levels plummeted in the first three months, and continued to fall for the next year.

On the return leg, the men spent nearly 700 hours longer in bed than on the outward journey, and only perked up in the last 20 days before they clambered from their capsule in November 2011. Four crew members suffered from sleep or psychological issues.

"We saw some problems," said Mathias Basner, of the University of Pennsylvania, who studies the effects of sleep-loss on behaviour. "There were no major adverse events, but there could have been if the stars were aligned in a certain way."

The $10m (£6.2m) Mars500 project, run by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems, launched, metaphorically, when the hatch to the mock-up spaceship closed behind three Russians, two Europeans and a Chinese man in June 2010. The men spent the next 520 days in windowless isolation. Their only contact with the outside world was over the internet and by phone lines that carried a delay of up to 20 minutes, to mimic the time it takes radio waves to reach Mars from Earth.

Throughout the mission, the men endured daily medical, physical and psychological examinations, to help space agencies learn how humans cope with the stress, confinement and limited company that astronauts will face on future voyages. The crew fought boredom by watching DVDs, reading books and playing Guitar Hero on a games console. Mission controllers faked a fire and a power outage to keep them alert.

The ESA selected the crew from thousands of highly qualified applicants, and put them through a year of intensive training. But despite embodying "the right stuff" that underpins the astronaut corps, the men struggled with the tedium of the mission.

"The monotony of going to Mars and coming back again is something that will need to be addressed in the future. You don't want your crew hanging around doing nothing," Basner said.

On a real mission, sedentary astronauts would be at greater risk of bone and muscle wastage.

According to the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, some crew members fared worse than others. One began living a 25-hour day, and quickly fell out of routine with the others. "If you live on a 25-hour day, after twelve days it's the middle of the night for you when it's daytime for everyone else," Basner said.

Another crew member slept at night but took ever longer naps during the day. Taken together, the two men spent a fifth of their time, or 2,500 hours, asleep when the rest of the crew were awake, or vice-versa. "That cannot be good for mission success, because mission-critical tasks will be scheduled for the day," Basner said.

A third crew member slept so badly he suffered chronic sleep deprivation and single-handedly accounted for the majority of mistakes made on a computer test used to measure concentration and alertness. "He was falling apart in terms of his attention system," Basner said. In a second study, not yet published, the team describes a fourth crew member who was developing mild depression.

"Only two of the men adapted well to the mission. Of the other four, there was at least one major reason for concern, where we would ask, should we really send someone like this on a long mission," Basner said.

For the 17 months of the mission to nowhere the crew had control over the amount of exercise they took, their meals, and the levels of ambient lighting. The right lighting is crucial to keep people on a regular sleep and wake cycle.

Improved lighting to mimic day and night could help some astronauts cope with long missions, but the results point to a need for tests that can spot astronauts who are vulnerable to sleep disorders, Basner said.

Steven Lockley, a neuroscientist who specialises in sleep medicine at Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston, said the study raised concerns about long-term space missions.

"Having some of the six crew members with different schedules, and different amounts of sleep, would likely make for poor team performance and increased risk of accidents and injuries in a real-life situation," he told the Guardian.

Astronauts on a trip to Mars would probably face even worse problems if they spent time on the surface of the planet, because the length of the Martian day is slightly longer than an Earth day. "The deleterious effects on sleep, performance, psychological health and physical health would likely have been much worse had the subjects been required to live on a 24.65-hour day," Lockley said.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 23, 2013, 07:59:49 AM
Tommorrow... rover Opportunity celebrates its tenth anniversary on Mars.  Opportunity was designed to live for 3 months and drive 2000 feet.  It enters its tenth year... and has traveled over 22 miles...

Congratulations NASA... and Opportunity!

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20130122a.html

Quote
January 22, 2013

NASA's Veteran Mars Rover Ready to Start 10th Year

   
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, one of the twin rovers that bounced to airbag-cushioned safe landings on Mars nine years ago this week, is currently examining veined rocks on the rim of an ancient crater.

Opportunity has driven 22.03 miles (35.46 kilometers) since it landed in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars on Jan. 24, 2004, PST (Jan. 25, Universal Time). Its original assignment was to keep working for three months, drive about 2,000 feet (600 meters) and provide the tools for researchers to investigate whether the area's environment had ever been wet. It landed in a backyard-size bowl, Eagle Crater. During those first three months, it transmitted back to Earth evidence that water long ago soaked the ground and flowed across the surface.

Since then, the mission's team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has driven Opportunity across the plains of Meridiani to successively larger craters for access to material naturally exposed from deeper, older layers of Martian history.

Opportunity has operated on Mars 36 times longer than the three months planned as its prime mission.

"What's most important is not how long it has lasted or even how far it has driven, but how much exploration and scientific discovery Opportunity has accomplished," said JPL's John Callas, manager of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project. The project has included both Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, which ceased operations in 2010.

This month, Opportunity is using cameras on its mast and tools on its robotic arm to investigate outcrops on the rim of Endeavour Crater, 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. Results from this area of the rim, called "Matijevic Hill," are providing information about a different, possibly older wet environment, less acidic than the conditions that left clues the rover found earlier in the mission.

Timed with the anniversary of the landing, the rover team has prepared a color panorama of the Matijevic Hill area. The image is online at: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/pia16703.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL also manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project and its rover, Curiosity.

For more information about Opportunity, visit http://www.nasa.gov/rovers and http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov . You can follow the project on Twitter and on Facebook at: http://twitter.com/MarsRovers and http://www.facebook.com/mars.rovers.

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Dog Walker on January 23, 2013, 11:34:40 AM
Talk about getting our money's worth!
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on March 15, 2013, 08:45:27 AM
Rover Opportunity update... yes it is still roving (10 years+ now)

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OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Opportunity Examining Rock Surfaces After Reset - sols 3234-3240, Feb. 27, 2013-Mar. 05, 2013:

Opportunity is exploring different locations around the inboard edge of 'Cape York' on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 3235 (Feb. 28, 2013), the rover experienced a warm reset triggered by the flight software when the rover attempted to write into the Flash file system. This behavior is similar to what was seen with Spirit as the Flash file system control block becomes corrupted with extended use. As a result of the reset, the rover stops all active sequences and operates in a state called Automode. Automode is a stable and safe state for the rover with daily wake ups and communication sessions with both X-band and Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) relay, but no active science sequences.

On Sol 3236 (March 1, 2013), as a result of the reset, an X-band fault with the high-gain antenna occurred, but this was expected from the reset. The project team sent real-time commands to the rover on Sol 3237 (March 2, 2013), to clear the faults, upload new sequences and activate those new sequences. The commanding worked as expected and Opportunity is operating nominally under master sequence control. The project is continuing its vigilance of the Flash memory situation. If the Flash situation deteriorates further, reformatting the Flash file system, as what was done with Spirit, is an option for full recovery.

Opportunity returned to science activity with some robotic arm work on Sol 3239 (March 4, 2013). The rover first placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on the surface target 'Lihir' for a short integration, then collected a Microscopic Imager mosaic of the same target, followed again by another placement of the APXS for a longer integration. With that science done, Opportunity drove over 108 feet (33 meters) due south on Sol 3240 (March 5, 2013), returning to a location called 'Kirkwood.' The plan ahead is to conduct some in-situ (contact) science on the 'newberries' seen before in this location.
As of Sol 3240 (March 5, 2013), the solar array energy production was 498 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.798 and a solar array dust factor of 0.580.

Total odometry is 22.13 miles (35615.79 meters).

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Overstreet on March 15, 2013, 09:21:36 AM
Tommorrow... rover Opportunity celebrates its tenth anniversary on Mars.  Opportunity was designed to live for 3 months and drive 2000 feet.  It enters its tenth year... and has traveled over 22 miles..........


Probably looking for "VEGER".
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Doctor_K on March 15, 2013, 09:41:55 AM
Being raised a "Space Coast" kid, stories like this continue to excite and amaze me.  Who says NASA is dead or irrelevant? 

This is truly, IMO, representative of the cutting edge of science and technology. 

Seriously.

What little tech gadget from 2003 do you still own that works almost as good as it did when you bought it? 

Imagine how much technology (and science, for that matter) has advanced in a decade.  Those things were state of the art a decade ago; compared to today's gadgets (and rovers), they're Plymouths.

A monochrome-screened flip phone in an age of Galaxy S-4s.

And it's still truckin'.

Just fantastic.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on April 01, 2013, 08:16:13 AM
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status.html#opportunity

Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Opportunity Moves Into Place for Quiet Period of Operations - sols 3255-3260, Mar. 21, 2013-Mar. 26, 2013:

Opportunity has moved into position for the coming three-week solar conjunction period at "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

This location, called 'Big Nickel,' is the last in-situ (contact) target before the rover departs from Cape York, once solar conjunction is concluded.

Solar conjunction is when the Sun comes between Earth and Mars, which occurs about once every 26 months. During this time there will be diminished communications to Opportunity. The team will suspend sending the rover new commands between April 9 and April 26. The rover will continue science activities using a long-term set of commands to be sent beforehand. No new images are expected to be returned during this time.

On Sol 3255 (March 21, 2013), after completing the investigation of the 'Newberries' at the location called 'Kirkwood,' Opportunity drove over 82 feet (25 meters) straight north toward the location called 'Big Nickel.' On Sol 3257 (March 23, 2013), the rover completed the approach to 'Big Nickel' with a 13-foot (4-meter) drive. In order to reach a specific surface target, Opportunity performed a modest, 0.8 inch (2-centimeter) bump on Sol 3260 (March 26, 2013).

With the rover precisely positioned, the plan ahead is to sequence the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the target, called 'Esperance' and place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration.

On Sols 3255, 3256 and 3257 (March 21, 22 and 23, 2013), Opportunity benefitted from some dust cleaning of the solar arrays, improving energy production.

As of Sol 3260 (March 26, 2013), the solar array energy production was 590 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.760 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.654.

Total odometry is 22.15 miles (35.65 kilometers).

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 21, 2013, 08:19:39 AM
The solar conjunction is over... but the Mars winter is fast approaching.  Opportunity must move to a favorable position to survive...

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20130517a.html

Quote
May 17, 2013

Mars Rover Opportunity Examines Clay Clues in Rock


PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is driving to a new study area after a dramatic finish to 20 months on "Cape York" with examination of a rock intensely altered by water.

The fractured rock, called "Esperance," provides evidence about a wet ancient environment possibly favorable for life. The mission's principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., said, "Esperance was so important, we committed several weeks to getting this one measurement of it, even though we knew the clock was ticking."

The mission's engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., had set this week as a deadline for starting a drive toward "Solander Point," where the team plans to keep Opportunity working during its next Martian winter.

"What's so special about Esperance is that there was enough water not only for reactions that produced clay minerals, but also enough to flush out ions set loose by those reactions, so that Opportunity can clearly see the alteration," said Scott McLennan of the State University of New York, Stony Brook, a long-term planner for Opportunity's science team.

This rock's composition is unlike any other Opportunity has investigated during nine years on Mars -- higher in aluminum and silica, lower in calcium and iron.

The next destination, Solander Point, and the area Opportunity is leaving, Cape York, both are segments of the rim of Endeavour Crater, which spans 14 miles (22 kilometers) across. The planned driving route to Solander Point is about 1.4 miles (2.2 kilometers). Cape York has been Opportunity's home since the rover arrived at the western edge of Endeavour in mid-2011 after a two-year trek from a smaller crater.

"Based on our current solar-array dust models, we intend to reach an area of 15 degrees northerly tilt before Opportunity's sixth Martian winter," said JPL's Scott Lever, mission manager. "Solander Point gives us that tilt and may allow us to move around quite a bit for winter science observations."

Northerly tilt increases output from the rover's solar panels during southern-hemisphere winter. Daily sunshine for Opportunity will reach winter minimum in February 2014. The rover needs to be on a favorable slope well before then.

The first drive away from Esperance covered 81.7 feet (24.9 meters) on May 14. Three days earlier, Opportunity finished exposing a patch of the rock's interior with the rock abrasion tool. The team used a camera and spectrometer on the robotic arm to examine Esperance.

The team identified Esperance while exploring a portion of Cape York where the Compact Reconnaissance Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter had detected a clay mineral. Clays typically form in wet environments that are not harshly acidic. For years, Opportunity had been finding evidence for ancient wet environments that were very acidic. The CRISM findings prompted the rover team to investigate the area where clay had been detected from orbit. There, they found an outcrop called "Whitewater Lake," containing a small amount of clay from alteration by exposure to water.

"There appears to have been extensive, but weak, alteration of Whitewater Lake, but intense alteration of Esperance along fractures that provided conduits for fluid flow," Squyres said. "Water that moved through fractures during this rock's history would have provided more favorable conditions for biology than any other wet environment recorded in rocks Opportunity has seen."

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project launched Opportunity to Mars on July 7, 2003, about a month after its twin rover, Spirit. Both were sent for three-month prime missions to study the history of wet environments on ancient Mars and continued working in extended missions. Spirit ceased operations in 2010.

For more information about Opportunity, visit http://www.nasa.gov/rovers and http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov . You can follow the project on Twitter and on Facebook at: http://twitter.com/MarsRovers and http://www.facebook.com/mars.rovers
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 31, 2013, 07:56:54 AM
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20130516a.html

Quote
May 16, 2013

Nine-Year-Old Mars Rover Passes 40-Year-Old Record

(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20130516a/PIA16934_OutOfThisWorldRecords_th250.jpg) 
Artist's Concept of Rover on Mars
This chart illustrates comparisons among the distances driven by various wheeled vehicles on the surface of Earth's moon and Mars. Of the vehicles shown, the NASA Mars rovers Opportunity and Curiosity are still active and the totals for those two are distances driven as of May 15, 2013.
Images and Captions
 
 
PASADENA, Calif. -- While Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt visited Earth's moon for three days in December 1972, they drove their mission's Lunar Roving Vehicle 19.3 nautical miles (22.210 statute miles or 35.744 kilometers). That was the farthest total distance for any NASA vehicle driving on a world other than Earth until yesterday.

The team operating NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity received confirmation in a transmission from Mars today that the rover drove 263 feet (80 meters) on Thursday, bringing Opportunity's total odometry since landing on Mars in January 2004 to 22.220 statute miles (35.760 kilometers).

Cernan discussed this prospect a few days ago with Opportunity team member Jim Rice of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The Apollo 17 astronaut said, "The record we established with a roving vehicle was made to be broken, and I'm excited and proud to be able to pass the torch to Opportunity."

The international record for driving distance on another world is still held by the Soviet Union's remote-controlled Lunokhod 2 rover, which traveled 23 miles (37 kilometers) on the surface of Earth's moon in 1973.

Opportunity began a multi-week trek this week from an area where it has been working since mid-2011, the "Cape York" segment of the rim of Endeavour Crater, to an area about 1.4 miles (2.2 kilometers) away, "Solander Point."

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL also manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project and its rover, Curiosity, which landed on Mars in August 2012.

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on June 04, 2013, 01:09:20 PM
That's pretty impressive
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Overstreet on June 04, 2013, 05:19:43 PM
 "....... landing on Mars in January 2004......"

 What is impressive is that without ever going to the shop it still works.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 10, 2013, 10:51:56 AM
(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20130607a/pia17070_br.jpg)

Quote
Opportunity's Traverse Through 112 Months


This map shows the 22.553-mile (36.295-kilometer) route driven by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity from the site of its landing, inside Eagle crater at the upper left, to its location more than 112 months later, in late May 2013, departing the "Cape York" section of the rim of Endeavour crater.

The gold line covers traverses through the 3,323rd Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity's work on Mars (May 30, 2013). The base image for the map is a mosaic of images taken by the Context Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The scale bar is 5 kilometers (1.24 miles).

Opportunity completed its three-month prime missions in April 2004 and has continued operations in bonus extended missions. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reached Mars in 2006, completed its prime mission in 2010, and is also working in an extended mission.

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 10, 2013, 10:53:48 AM
(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20130607a/pia17072_br.jpg)

Quote
This map of a portion of the western rim of Endeavour Crater on Mars shows the path of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity as the rover is driving from the "Cape York" segment of the rim to its next destination, the "Solander Point" segment.

The gold line traces Opportunity's traverse from when it approached Cape York from the west, in summer 2011, to the rover's position near "Nobbys Head" after a drive of 102 meters on the mission's 3,328th Martian day, or sol (June 4, 2013). 

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 10, 2013, 10:56:03 AM
(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20130607a/pia17076_br.jpg)

Quote
Perspective View of 'Botany Bay' and Surroundings, With Vertical Exaggeration


A stereo pair of images from taken from Mars orbit were used to generate a digital elevation model that is the basis for this simulated perspective view of "Cape York," "Botany Bay," and "Solander Point" on the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The view is from the crater interior looking toward the southwest, and the vertical exaggeration is fivefold.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity investigated the Cape York segment of Endeavour's rim from August 2011 to May 2013 and then drove away from Cape York toward Solander Point. A white line labeled "Opportunity" indicates the rover's traverse from a target called "Esperance" on Cape York to the rover's location on 3,327th sol (Martian day) of the rover's mission on Mars (June 3, 2013).

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took the images used for creating this elevation model and simulated perspective view.

For reference, the highest elevation on Solander Point is approximately 180 feet (55 meters) above the surrounding plains. Opportunity is on the way to the northern tip of Solander Point to spend the upcoming winter season. That location has a north-facing slope favorable for electrical output by Opportunity's solar panels during the Mars southern-hemisphere winter. Researchers expect that tens of yards, or meters, of ancient strata uplifted by or deposited during the formation of Endeavour Crater will be exposed for detailed measurements.

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 10, 2013, 11:03:21 AM
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23676-old-mars-rover-digs-up-evidence-for-drinkable-water.html

Quote
Old Mars rover digs up evidence for drinkable water
15:45 10 June 2013 by Victoria Jaggard

An old Mars rover that landed nine years ago has found the latest evidence that drinkable water once flowed on the Red Planet. Combined with previous, similar discoveries, this suggests that neutral water was once present all over the planet, so life could have arisen in multiple places.

Winter is coming to Mars's Southern hemisphere, where NASA's Opportunity rover is exploring. But before heading for sunnier hills for the rest of the season, the solar-powered rover squeezed in an examination of an ancient rocky outcrop on Endeavour crater and hit pay dirt. The outcrop, called Esperance, contains aluminium-rich clay minerals, something that must have formed in the presence of neutral, life-friendly water billions of years ago.

"We've been discovering evidence for water on Mars since Opportunity landed in 2004," Steve Squyres, the rover's principal investigator, said at a press briefing on 7 June. But the vast majority of that liquid would have been more like sulphuric acid, and only hospitable to extreme microbes.

This is the first time Opportunity has founds signs the planet once hosted water that would have been favourable to more familiar life forms. "This is water you could drink," says Squyres, of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The result shows that habitable conditions probably existed all over Mars.

Similar stories

A 2010 analysis of data from Opportunity's now defunct twin rover Spirit, which had been exploring Gusev crater on the opposite side of the planet, revealed a vast cache of carbonates, a clay mineral that also needs water to form but that dissolves in acidic conditions. Hints of carbonates had previously been spied from orbit in a more northerly Martian region called Nili Fossae.

And earlier this year NASA's roving science lab Curiosity used its more advanced instruments to drill into and examine rocks in the Gale crater. The results offered the first direct evidence of neutral, slightly salty water on Mars, which also appears to have contained compounds that early microbes could have used as energy sources.

"It's really striking to me how similar the stories are that are being told by the rocks at Endeavour crater and the rocks being investigated at Gale crater," says Squyres. "It is broadly consistent with patterns we see over the whole planet."

Esperance is part of a collection of fine-grained outcrops along the rim of Endeavour crater. Getting a good look at it was no easy task. "This took us weeks," Squyres said. The task was interrupted by a dust storm, and a period of radio silence as Mars went behind the sun from Earth's perspective. What's more, the rock itself was a challenge to examine using the older rover's tools.

Lumpy, bumpy, dirty

"It was lumpy, bumpy, dirty – covered with all sorts of Martian crud," says Sqyures. "It took us seven tries."

Orbital data had hinted there might be clays known as smectites in the region. On Earth these form when basalt is exposed to relatively small amounts of water. Instead, the clays inside Esperance are closer to montmorillonite, a mineral that is rich in aluminium and lower in iron. This suggests that the clays formed as large amounts of water flowed through fractures in igneous rock, said Opportunity scientist Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St Louis, Missouri.

Esperance is one of the oldest rock outcrops that Opportunity has examined, probably dating from the first billion years of Martian history, says Sqyures. Finding hints of more acidic conditions in younger rocks would fit with the picture of Mars drying out and getting colder over time, so that its water became more concentrated. But without samples of rock it's hard to pinpoint ages and link the different environments with periods of Mars's past, says Squyres.

Opportunity is now on its way to Solander Point, a hill about 2.2 kilometres away that contains 50 metres of exposed layered deposits. "We are hoping the stratigraphy and some interesting chemistry and mineralogy will be exposed, and maybe we will see the geological context in the older rocks," says Arvidson.

Race against time

The situation parallels the plan for NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed in 2012, and is wrapping up its investigation of rocks at a site in Gale crater called Yellowknife Bay. In a few weeks it will begin its trek to Mount Sharp, a 5-kilometre mountain also boasting layered deposits.

The difference is that Opportunity needs to hurry. The dark cold of Martian winter will set in after August. Being on the north-facing slopes of Solander Point will give Opportunity the best chance of gathering enough sunlight to keep working through the season, says Arvidson. Nuclear-powered Curiosity will be able to take its time, meandering to the base of Mount Sharp over the next 10 months or so.

There's also the constant worry that Opportunity – now almost 10 years into what was designed as a 90-day mission – could suffer a fatal failure. Unlike Curiosity, Opportunity was built without redundant systems, so if a component breaks, the mission is over, says John Callas, the project manager for Opportunity at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

"With each of the craters we've visited it's been like a whole new mission," says Callas. "But Opportunity could have a massive stroke at any time, so we treat each day preciously."
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on July 21, 2013, 01:49:21 PM
(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20130717a/PIA17278-Fig1_oblique.jpg)

Quote
Figure 1, an oblique, northward-looking view based on stereo orbital imaging, shows the location of Opportunity on its journey from Cape York to Solander Point when HiRISE took the new color image. Endeavour Crater is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. The distance from Cape York to Solander Point is about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers). The red line indicates the path the rover has driven.

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on July 21, 2013, 01:50:19 PM
Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Stopping for Science on the Way to 'Solander Point' - sols 3364-3369, Jul. 11, 2013-Jul. 16, 2013:

Opportunity is in good health. We are now within a few hundred (656-984 feet, or 200-300 meters) of the 'Solander Point' destination. However, the team doesn't need the northerly tilt that Solander Point offers yet, so they decided to use a few of the margin sols accumulated to investigate an area of interesting terrain and gypsum signatures.

The Sol 3366 (July 13, 2013) drive began veering to the Southeast and then to the East in the Sol 3369 (July 16, 2013) drive. The team sequenced a multi-sol drive in the three-sol plan of 3366-3368 (July 13-July 15, 2013). However, though the first sol drive of 262 feet (80 meters) on (July 13, 2013) completed nominally, the second sol drive on Sol 3367 (July 14, 2013), was precluded due to exceeding a pitch-limit at the end of the first sol of driving. This was as a result of a safety check specifically designed for multi-sol drives, which worked as intended as Opportunity happened to find herself in a shallow depression at the end of Sol 3366 (July 13, 2013) drive. In total, Opportunity drove 912 feet (278 meters) in three drives for this period.

As of Sol 3369 (July 16, 2013), the solar array energy production was 450 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.705 and a solar array dust factor of 0.584.

Total odometry is 23.52 miles (37.86 kilometers).

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on August 15, 2013, 07:57:48 AM
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20130814a.html

Quote
August 14, 2013

MARS EXPLORATION ROVER MISSION STATUS REPORT

Mars Rover Opportunity Working at Edge of 'Solander'
 
PASADENA, Calif. - NASA's Mars rover Opportunity is studying the area of contact between a rock layer formed in acidic wet conditions long ago and an even older one that may be from a more neutral wet environment.

This geological contact line recording a change in environmental conditions billions of years ago lies at the foot of a north-facing slope, "Solander Point," that the rover's operators chose months ago as Opportunity's work area for the coming Martian southern hemisphere winter.

Opportunity has survived five Martian winters since it landed on Mars in January 2004. A northern slope would tilt the rover's solar panels toward the winter sun, providing an important boost in available power.

Three months ago, the mission began a trek of about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) from an area where Opportunity worked for nearly two years, on "Cape York," to reach Solander Point for the winter.

"We made it," said Opportunity's project scientist, Matt Golombek of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "The drives went well, and Opportunity is right next to Solander Point. We know we could be on that north-facing slope with a one-day drive, but we don't need to go there yet. We have time to investigate the contact between the two geological units around the base of Solander Point. Geologists love contacts."

Both Cape York and Solander Point are raised segments of the western rim of Endeavour Crater, which is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. Between these two raised segments, the ground surface is part of a geological unit called the Burns Formation, which also includes virtually all the rocks Opportunity studied from its landing site in Eagle Crater until its arrival at Cape York two years ago. The Burns Formation includes sulfate-bearing minerals that are evidence of an ancient environment containing sulfuric acid.

The geological contact that Opportunity is now investigating is where Burns Formation rocks border older rocks uplifted by the impact that formed Endeavour Crater. From observations by Mars orbiters and from Opportunity's work on Cape York, researchers suspect these older rocks may contain minerals that formed under wet conditions that were not as acidic.

The rover is also observing some loose rocks that may have rolled off Solander Point, providing a preview of what Opportunity may find after it climbs onto that rim segment.

Based on an analysis of the amount of dust accumulated on the rover's solar panels, the team plans to get Opportunity onto the north-facing slope before mid-December. Daily sunshine for the rover will reach a winter minimum in February 2014. The team expects to keep the rover mobile through the winter. Solander Point offers rock outcrops for the rover to continue studying through the winter months.

The twin rovers of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project, Opportunity and Spirit, both completed three-month prime missions in April 2004 and began years of bonus, extended missions. Both found evidence of wet environments on ancient Mars. Spirit ceased operations during its fourth Martian winter, in 2010. Opportunity shows symptoms of aging, such as loss of motion in some joints, but continues to accomplish groundbreaking exploration and science.

(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/tm-opportunity/images/MERB_Sol3391_1_br2.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on October 25, 2013, 08:38:58 AM
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20131023a.html

Quote
October 23, 2013

MARS EXPLORATION ROVER MISSION STATUS REPORT
Mars Rover Opportunity Heads Uphill
 
 
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover has begun climbing "Solander Point," the northern tip of the tallest hill it has encountered in the mission's nearly 10 Earth years on Mars.

Guided by mineral mapping from orbit, the rover is exploring outcrops on the northwestern slopes of Solander Point, making its way up the hill much as a field geologist would do. The outcrops are exposed from several feet (about 2 meters) to about 20 feet (6 meters) above the surrounding plains, on slopes as steep as 15 to 20 degrees. The rover may later drive south and ascend farther up the hill, which peaks at about 130 feet (40 meters) above the plains.

"This is our first real Martian mountaineering with Opportunity," said the principal investigator for the rover, Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. "We expect we will reach some of the oldest rocks we have seen with this rover -- a glimpse back into the ancient past of Mars."

The hill rises southward as a ridge from Solander Point, forming an elevated portion of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The crater spans 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. The ridge materials were uplifted by the great impact that excavated the crater billions of years ago, reversing the common geological pattern of older materials lying lower than younger ones.

Key targets on the ridge include clay-bearing rocks identified from observations by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars, which is on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The observations were specially designed to yield mineral maps with enhanced spatial resolution.

This segment of the crater's rim stands much higher than "Cape York," a segment to the north that Opportunity investigated for 20 months beginning in mid-2011.

"At Cape York, we found fantastic things," Squyres said. "Gypsum veins, clay-rich terrain, the spherules we call newberries. We know there are even larger exposures of clay-rich materials where we're headed. They might look like what we found at Cape York or they might be completely different."

Opportunity reached Solander Point in August after months of driving from Cape York. Researchers then used the rover to investigate a transition zone around the base of the ridge. The area reveals contact between a sulfate-rich geological formation and an older formation. The sulfate-rich rocks record an ancient environment that was wet, but very acidic. The contact with older rocks may tell researchers about a time when environmental conditions changed.

Opportunity first explored the eastern side of Solander Point, then drove back north and around the point to explore the western side. "We took the time to find the best place to start the ascent," said Opportunity's project manager, John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Now we've begun that climb."

The rover began the climb on Oct. 8 and has advanced farther uphill with three subsequent drives.

"We're in the right place at the right time, on a north-facing slope," Callas said. In Mars' southern hemisphere, a north-facing slope tilts the rover's solar panels toward the sun during the Martian winter, providing an important boost in available power.

During the most recent of the five winters that Opportunity has worked on Mars, the rover spent several months without driving, safe on a small, north-facing patch of northern Cape York. The area where the rover is now climbing, however, offers a much larger north-facing area, with plenty of energy-safe ground for the rover to remain mobile. Opportunity is currently at a northward tilt of about 17 degrees.

In the coming Martian winter, daily sunshine will reach a minimum in February 2014. The rover team plans a "lily pad" strategy to make use of patches of ground with especially favorable slopes as places to recharge the rover's batteries between drives.

Opportunity landed on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004 (Universal Time and EST; Jan. 24, PST), three weeks after its twin, Spirit. Spirit was the first Martian mountaineer, summiting a 269-foot (82-meter) hill in 2005. Spirit ceased operations in 2010. NASA's newest Mars rover, Curiosity, landed in 2012 and is currently driving toward a 3-mile-high (5-kilometer-high) mountain.

Recent drives by Opportunity and Curiosity have taken the total distance driven by NASA's four Mars rovers (including Sojourner in 1997) past 50 kilometers. The total on Oct. 21 was 31.13 miles (50.10 kilometers), including 23.89 miles (38.45 kilometers) by Opportunity.


(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/tm-opportunity/images/MERB_Sol3451_1_br2.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on November 07, 2013, 08:10:24 AM
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20131023a.html

Quote
October 23, 2013

MARS EXPLORATION ROVER MISSION STATUS REPORT
Mars Rover Opportunity Heads Uphill
 

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover has begun climbing "Solander Point," the northern tip of the tallest hill it has encountered in the mission's nearly 10 Earth years on Mars.

Guided by mineral mapping from orbit, the rover is exploring outcrops on the northwestern slopes of Solander Point, making its way up the hill much as a field geologist would do. The outcrops are exposed from several feet (about 2 meters) to about 20 feet (6 meters) above the surrounding plains, on slopes as steep as 15 to 20 degrees. The rover may later drive south and ascend farther up the hill, which peaks at about 130 feet (40 meters) above the plains.

"This is our first real Martian mountaineering with Opportunity," said the principal investigator for the rover, Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. "We expect we will reach some of the oldest rocks we have seen with this rover -- a glimpse back into the ancient past of Mars."

The hill rises southward as a ridge from Solander Point, forming an elevated portion of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The crater spans 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. The ridge materials were uplifted by the great impact that excavated the crater billions of years ago, reversing the common geological pattern of older materials lying lower than younger ones.

Key targets on the ridge include clay-bearing rocks identified from observations by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars, which is on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The observations were specially designed to yield mineral maps with enhanced spatial resolution.

This segment of the crater's rim stands much higher than "Cape York," a segment to the north that Opportunity investigated for 20 months beginning in mid-2011.

"At Cape York, we found fantastic things," Squyres said. "Gypsum veins, clay-rich terrain, the spherules we call newberries. We know there are even larger exposures of clay-rich materials where we're headed. They might look like what we found at Cape York or they might be completely different."

Opportunity reached Solander Point in August after months of driving from Cape York. Researchers then used the rover to investigate a transition zone around the base of the ridge. The area reveals contact between a sulfate-rich geological formation and an older formation. The sulfate-rich rocks record an ancient environment that was wet, but very acidic. The contact with older rocks may tell researchers about a time when environmental conditions changed.

Opportunity first explored the eastern side of Solander Point, then drove back north and around the point to explore the western side. "We took the time to find the best place to start the ascent," said Opportunity's project manager, John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Now we've begun that climb."

The rover began the climb on Oct. 8 and has advanced farther uphill with three subsequent drives.

"We're in the right place at the right time, on a north-facing slope," Callas said. In Mars' southern hemisphere, a north-facing slope tilts the rover's solar panels toward the sun during the Martian winter, providing an important boost in available power.

During the most recent of the five winters that Opportunity has worked on Mars, the rover spent several months without driving, safe on a small, north-facing patch of northern Cape York. The area where the rover is now climbing, however, offers a much larger north-facing area, with plenty of energy-safe ground for the rover to remain mobile. Opportunity is currently at a northward tilt of about 17 degrees.

In the coming Martian winter, daily sunshine will reach a minimum in February 2014. The rover team plans a "lily pad" strategy to make use of patches of ground with especially favorable slopes as places to recharge the rover's batteries between drives.

Opportunity landed on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004 (Universal Time and EST; Jan. 24, PST), three weeks after its twin, Spirit. Spirit was the first Martian mountaineer, summiting a 269-foot (82-meter) hill in 2005. Spirit ceased operations in 2010. NASA's newest Mars rover, Curiosity, landed in 2012 and is currently driving toward a 3-mile-high (5-kilometer-high) mountain.

Recent drives by Opportunity and Curiosity have taken the total distance driven by NASA's four Mars rovers (including Sojourner in 1997) past 50 kilometers. The total on Oct. 21 was 31.13 miles (50.10 kilometers), including 23.89 miles (38.45 kilometers) by Opportunity.

(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/tm-opportunity/images/MERB_Sol3472_1_br2.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on November 13, 2013, 02:20:35 PM
(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/tm-opportunity/images/MERB_Sol3482_1_br2.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 06, 2014, 09:51:32 AM
http://mars.nasa.gov/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1578

Quote
01.03.2014
Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Decade-Old Rover Adventure Continues on Mars and Earth

Eighth graders didn't have Facebook or Twitter to share news back then, in January 2004. Bekah Sosland, 14 at the time, learned about a NASA rover landing on Mars when the bouncing-ball video on the next morning's Channel One news in her Fredericksburg, Texas, classroom caught her eye.
"I wasn't particularly interested in space at the time," she recalled last week inside the spacecraft operations facility where she now works at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "I remember I was talking with friends, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed this thing bouncing and rolling on a red surface. I watched as it stopped and opened up, and it had this rover inside."

That animation portrayed how NASA landed the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity three weeks apart, using airbags to cushion the impact at the start of the missions, planned to last for three months. Spirit reached Mars on Jan. 4, 2004, Universal Time (Jan. 3, PST) and worked for six years. Opportunity landed on Jan. 25, UT (Jan. 24, PST) and is still exploring, with Sosland now on the team planning what it does each day.

"I watched that news and said, 'This is amazing: a rover on another planet!' Gears started turning in my head that day about engineering and space -- thinking about a career. It was definitely a milestone in my life and something I'll always remember."

On her path to that career, high-school teacher Brett Williams in Fredericksburg inspired her to build real rockets, and she completed a 2013 engineering degree from the University of Texas, Austin. But nobody in 2004 was predicting that either Spirit or Opportunity might still be roving Mars in summer 2013, which is when Sosland joined JPL.

"I certainly never thought I'd have an opportunity to work on Opportunity," she said. "That only became possible because this mission has been going so incredibly long. The reason Opportunity has worked so long is the people who built it and operate it. I'm loving that I can be a part of this team now."

Most of the engineers who operated Spirit and Opportunity during the three-month prime missions in 2004 have switched to other projects, including later Mars spacecraft. Sosland is among several on Opportunity's team today who were in school a decade ago.

Unlike her, Mike Seibert in late 2003 was eagerly tracking the run-up to the rover landings, while he was an engineering undergraduate at the University of Colorado. He had even ordered cardboard 3-D glasses in anticipation of images from stereo cameras on Spirit and Opportunity.

"I was living in my fraternity's house in Boulder that January. People thought I was weird, wearing 3-D glasses and looking at those pictures from Mars," said Seibert.

Less than two years later, he was working on the rover team at JPL. He has, since then, served as a mission manager and in other roles for both Spirit and Opportunity and participated in many key moments of the extended missions.

The dramatic landings and overland expeditions of Spirit and Opportunity have also inspired countless students who have not gained a chance to work on the rover team, but have participated in the adventure online by exploring images from the rovers or other activities.

What an adventure it's been. Though Spirit and Opportunity were built as nearly identical twins, and both succeeded in the main goal of finding evidence for ancient watery environments on Mars, their stories diverged early.

Spirit was sent to a crater where the basin's shape and apparent inflow channels seen from orbit suggested a lake once existed. Opportunity's landing area, almost exactly halfway around the planet, was selected mainly on the basis of a water-clue mineral detected from orbit, rather than landform shapes. Spirit's destination did not pan out initially. The crater may have held a lake, but if there are any lakebed sediments, they are thoroughly buried under later volcanic deposits. Opportunity, the luckier twin, landed a stone's throw from an exposure of layered rock that within weeks yielded compositional and textural evidence of a water-rich ancient environment.

Within the initial three-month missions and without expectation of surviving a full year, each rover set out cross-country toward other destinations: hills on the horizon for Spirit and craters exposing deeper layers for Opportunity. Spirit drove a total of 4.8 miles (7.7 kilometers), some of that with one of its six wheels not rotating. Loss of use of a second wheel while the rover was in a sand trap contributed to the 2010 end of that mission. Opportunity has driven 24 miles (38.7 kilometers) and is still going strong.

One key to Spirit and Opportunity working for years, instead of a few months, has been winds that occasionally remove some of the dust accumulating on solar panels that generate the rovers' electricity. Also, the ground crew became adept at managing each rover's power consumption and taking advantage of slopes for favorably tilting the rovers toward the sun during Martian winters.

"Ultimately, it's not only how long the rovers work or how far they drive that's most important, but how much exploration and scientific discovery these missions have accomplished," said JPL's John Callas, project manager for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project, who has worked on the Spirit and Opportunity missions for more than 13 years.
By driving to outcrops miles from their landing sites, both rovers reached evidence about multiple episodes of Martian history, "traveling across time as well as across Martian terrain," he said. Opportunity is currently exploring outcrops on the rim of Endeavour Crater, which is 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter.

"Opportunity is still in excellent health for a vehicle of its age," Callas said. "The biggest science may still be ahead of us, even after 10 years of exploration."

The science achievements have already provided major advances in understanding of Mars.

The rovers' principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., described some of the key findings, starting with what Spirit found after driving from the crater floor where it landed into hills to the east:

"In the Columbia Hills, we discovered compelling evidence of an ancient Mars that was a hot, wet, violent place, with volcanic explosions, hydrothermal activity, steam vents -- nothing like Mars today.

"At Opportunity's landing site, we found evidence of an early Mars that had acidic groundwater that sometimes reached the surface and evaporated away, leaving salts behind. It was an environment with liquid water, but very different from the environment that Spirit told us about.

"When Opportunity got to the rim of Endeavour Crater, we began a whole new mission. We found gypsum veins and a rich concentration of clay minerals. The clay minerals tell us about water chemistry that was neutral, instead of acidic -- more favorable for microbial life, if any ever began on Mars."

"Because of the rovers' longevity, we essentially got four different landing sites for the price of two."

The evidence the rovers glean from rocks at these sites may not be the only huge benefit of the adventures, though. Bekah Sosland and Mike Seibert may be examples of something even greater.

Squyres said, "I'm incredibly proud of the science we've done on this mission, but in the end, perhaps our most important legacy will turn out to be the young people who have seen what we've done and made career choices based on that. If an outcome of our mission is to help inspire a new generation of explorers to do even better than we did, that will be the greatest thing we could have accomplished."

The Mars Exploration Rover Project is one strong element in a robust program of NASA's ongoing and future Mars missions preparing for human missions there by the 2030s.
The Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter missions have been studying the Red Planet since arriving there in 2001 and 2006, respectively. NASA's next-generation Mars rover, Curiosity, is examining an area that once offered conditions favorable for microbial life. NASA launched the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission two months ago, to begin orbiting in September 2014. The agency plans to launch a mission to Mars in 2016 called Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, or InSight, to learn about the deep interior of Mars. A Curiosity-size rover planned for launch in 2020 has the task to check for evidence of past life on Mars.

Special products for the 10th anniversary of the twin rovers' landings, including a gallery of selected images, are at http://mars.nasa.gov/mer10/ .

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more information about the project's twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, visit http://www.nasa.gov/rovers and http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov . You can follow the project on Twitter and on Facebook at: http://twitter.com/MarsRovers and http://www.facebook.com/mars.rovers .
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 15, 2014, 07:51:03 AM
(http://mars.nasa.gov/files/resources/MER10-SpiritAndOpportunity_ByTheNumbers.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on January 15, 2014, 10:06:08 AM
That little buggy should break every record available
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on February 04, 2014, 01:35:10 PM
Gettin a bit dusty after 10 years...  8)

(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20140123a/pia17759_JC2_br.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: David on February 04, 2014, 04:46:44 PM
How do the panels capture enough sunlight to generate any power with all that dust?

I remember watching the special about it, they usually have to park it on a hill with the panels facing the sun for the winter, and that was years ago.

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on February 05, 2014, 06:44:53 AM
How do the panels capture enough sunlight to generate any power with all that dust?

I remember watching the special about it, they usually have to park it on a hill with the panels facing the sun for the winter, and that was years ago.



The panels have produced progressively less power as the years have gone by.  Mission controllers have had to tailor the daily activities accordingly.  Occasionally wind storms sweep by and clean off some of the dust.  It is extremely important to remember... this machine was designed to last 3 months.  It has now been actively exploring for 10 years now and has travelled over 24 miles.  It is showing signs of age... it drives backward most of the time as one of the wheels is not working properly... the joints of the arm are arthritic and stiff... the tool used to brush and grind rocks is not brushing and grinding as well as it once did.  It is winter where it is now and the rover will not move very much as it must park tilted towards the sun to capture enough energy to survive... but barring some kind of mechanical or electrical failure it should survive the winter and continue on its way...  8)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on February 07, 2014, 12:21:25 PM
I'll gladly send some rain to our Martian explorer to help with a good washing.  :)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on March 28, 2014, 08:15:26 AM
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status.html#opportunity

Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Helpful Wind Cleans Solar Panels - sols 3603-3609, Mar. 13, 2014-Mar. 19, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring 'Murray Ridge' on Solander Point, part of the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover continues to investigate the region called 'Cook Haven.' On Sol 3603 (March 13, 2014), Opportunity completed the in-situ (contact) analysis of a target called 'Augustine' with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same. On the next two Sols, the rover conducted remote sensing with the collection of Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images and a measurement of atmospheric argon with the APXS. Atmospheric opacity (tau) measurements using the Navcam were performed in support of the InSIght mission. On Sol 3607 (March 17, 2014) a short bump was planned to approach a target rock, called 'Sugarloaf.' However, the drive stopped after just 2.3 meters (7.55 feet) due to the rover sensing higher average current in three of the rover wheels. This was a safety check to detect possible embedding events. Although the rover did experience as much as 50% slip, there was no risk of embedding, just a steep upward climb. Given the difficult terrain, the approach to Sugarloaf would require multiple additional drives to be able to use the robotic arm on the rock surface. So, the science team chose to document Sugarloaf with more color imagery and to drive further south and west to new targets. On Sol 3609 (March 19, 2014), Opportunity drove about 16.35 meters (53.64 feet) to the southwest. The rover experienced a solar panel dust cleaning event between Sols 3605 and 3606 (March 15 and March 16, 2014). This resulted in about a 10% improvement in power production.
As of Sol 3609, the solar array energy production was 574 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.450 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.777.

Total odometry is 24.10 miles (38.79 kilometers)


(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/tm-opportunity/images/MERB_Sol3609_1_br2.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on April 02, 2014, 04:47:47 PM
http://www.youtube.com/v/xngUpUyyT70


Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 20, 2014, 07:30:36 AM
(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/tm-opportunity/images/MERB_Sol3655_1_br2.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on July 01, 2014, 07:46:10 AM
Opportunity keeps on Truckin...  8)

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status.html#opportunity

Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Rover Has Enough Energy for Some Late-Night Work - sols 3697-3703, June 18, 2014-June 24, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring the west rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover is continuing south along the ridgeline that forms the spine of the crater rim, collecting color imagery of targets and outcrops along the way.

With ample energy, Opportunity has been able to conduct some late-night activities. On Sol 3697 (June 18, 2014), the rover collected an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS), and took advantage of a Phobos moon imaging opportunity. On Sol 3698 (June 19, 2014), the rover proceeded just over 82 feet (25 meters) to the south with another Phobos imagining opportunity that night, and an argon measurement on the next night. Sol 3700 (June 21, 2014), was the first sol of a 2-sol 'touch 'n go' with the collection of a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and subsequent APXS measurement on a surface target of opportunity. The rover then drove on the next sol, heading 42 feet (13.5) meters south.

On Sol 3703 (June 24, 2014), Opportunity began an approach to a surface target with a 31 feet (9.4-meter) move. Also, the project continues with the spacecraft clock correction, moving the clock about 3 seconds back each sol. There have been no Flash-related anomalies and the rover continues in good health.

As of Sol 3703 (June 24, 2014), the solar array energy production was 743 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.652 and a solar array dust factor of 0.894.

Total odometry is 24.60 miles (39.59 kilometers).


(http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/tm-opportunity/images/MERB_Sol3703_1_br2.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 02, 2014, 08:30:14 AM
Opportunity is having memory issues...  :(

Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Flash-Memory Reformat Planned  - sols 3759-3766, August 21, 2014-August 28, 2014:

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading toward 'Marathon Valley', a putative location for abundant clay minerals. However, flash-memory induced resets have increased in occurrence, preventing meaningful science until this problem can be corrected. The project is developing plans to reformat the flash file system to correct the problem.

 A flash-memory reformat was done successfully five years ago on Spirit, but this will be the first time on Opportunity. The project is preparing the rover for the reformatting. With no master sequence running, the flash memory is being systematically emptied of science data products. On Sol 3762 (Aug. 24, 2014), the project activated a new communication table on the rover, insuring predictable communication for the next several weeks. Due to the complexity of the frequent resets hitting during high-gain antenna passes causing subsequent X-band faults, the team sent a real-time command of a special sequence that converts the next several X-band passes to use the low-gain antenna. This was completed on Sol 3766 (Aug. 26, 2014).

 The next step in the plan is to boot the rover into a mode that does not use the flash file system. This will allow confirmation of the health of the rover independent of the flash file system. Also, the operations team has sequenced a checksum test of the lower portion of flash to get some data on the physical heath of the flash memory chips in general. Remaining science data will be returned from the flash file system prior to the reformat.

 The rover remains power positive with a healthy energy balance, thermally stable and communicative both over X-band with the DSN and via UHF relay with the orbiters.

 As of Sol 3764 (Aug. 26, 2014), the solar array energy production was 680 watt-hours with an estimated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.858 and a solar array dust factor of 0.753.

 Total odometry as of Sol 3765 (Aug. 27, 2014) is 25.28 miles (40.69 kilometers).

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/mission/status.html#opportunity
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 03, 2014, 12:42:11 PM
http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/opportunity-rovers-memory-undergo-reformat?dom=PSC&loc=recent&lnk=9&con=opportunity-rovers-memory-to-undergo-reformat

Quote
Opportunity Rover's Memory To Undergo Reformat
In preparation for another two years' work.
 
By Francie Diep
 Posted 09.02.2014 at 1:00 pm 

Nearly a decade after it landed on Mars, NASA's Opportunity rover is about to get a fresh start. Opportunity's engineers plan to reformat its flash memory, which is good news, as the rover's mission has been renewed for another two years, Nature News reports.

Over their lifetimes, Opportunity and the now-dead Spirit rover provided crucial evidence that Mars once held persistent, neutral liquid water. Now, Opportunity's engineers are hoping the rover will make it to a site called Marathon Valley, where astronomers think there are several layers of exposed clay minerals that Opportunity could examine. The clay-ey site's name is a nod to Opportunity's journey, as the rover will have driven a marathon's distance by the time it gets to the valley. Opportunity already holds the record for the longest distance ever driven by wheels on a surface not on Earth.

Engineers have to perform some fixes, however, to ensure Opportunity's instruments will be ready for Marathon Valley. Over the past few months, the rover's computer has been resetting itself, interrupting its master sequence -- the machine's daily to-do list from its masters on Earth. The resets slow down Opportunity's data-gathering. NASA engineers think that Opportunity's flash memory has some worn-out cells, and a reformat will help them identify which cells to avoid in the future.

Engineers previously reformatted the flash memory on Spirit, but this will be the first time they've tried to reformat anything on Opportunity. Whether or not the reformatting works, the rover has proved incredibly long-lasting; its original goals were to survive three months on Mars and to drive only 0.62 miles.

(http://www.popsci.com/sites/popsci.com/files/styles/article_image_large/public/opportunity%20route.jpg?itok=tPX0xbvz)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: spuwho on September 08, 2014, 09:29:11 PM
Per Aviation Week:

http://aviationweek.com/space/two-orbiters-one-comet-arriving-mars-soon (http://aviationweek.com/space/two-orbiters-one-comet-arriving-mars-soon)

Two Orbiters, One Comet Arriving At Mars Soon

(http://aviationweek.com/site-files/aviationweek.com/files/uploads/2014/09/AW_09_08_2014_3128.jpg)

Scientists and spacecraft controllers in Denver, Bangalore and many points in between are preparing for a rush of activity at the planet Mars, where two new spacecraft designed to study its atmosphere will arrive later this month, followed shortly thereafter by a rare Oort Cloud comet.

If all goes as planned, the two orbiters and the comet Siding Spring should add volumes to human knowledge about where most of the red planet’s water went, and perhaps about how it got there in the beginning.

NASA’s only Mars mission in the current launch window—the $671 million Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (Maven)—is expressly designed to investigate whether the water that once ran on the surface escaped into space. India’s Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)—its first flight to the red planet—can address some of the same questions (see page 42).

And Siding Spring’s flyby of Mars will be the equivalent of a free trip to the Oort Cloud, the mysterious realm of icy planetesimals 5 trillion miles from the Sun, which might have showered the inner Solar System with primordial water and perhaps even the building blocks of life.

Mars being Mars, there is also a risk of spacecraft failure, compounded by the danger posed by high-speed comet debris. At 34 mi./sec.—the closing speed as Siding Spring crosses the orbit of Mars—even a dust mote could damage or destroy a delicate instrument or critical piece of spacecraft hardware. So Maven and MOM will interrupt their planned checkout periods to hunker down as the comet passes only 80,000 mi. from the planet they, hopefully, will be orbiting.

Recent ground observations of Siding Spring’s path and coma suggest the comet will not pose as big a threat as originally feared, and mission scientists on all of the spacecraft at Mars are planning to take maximum advantage of the opportunity for observation that it represents (see page 42). But the guiding principle of spacecraft operation remains “safety first,” particularly after the programs have spent 10 months and plenty of money getting to their objective.

“Safety and health of the spacecraft and instruments absolutely come first,” says Bruce Jakosky, a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) who is the Maven principal investigator. “There is no question about that. So if there is something that happens in the run-up to the comet, we’re going to make sure we’re safe. We want to survive and do our mission.”

Siding Spring will pass closest to Mars on Oct. 19. Maven will arrive there on Sept. 21, followed by MOM on Sept. 24. For Jakosky, who has managed the Scout-class mission from the beginning, the first order of business will be ensuring his spacecraft gets safely into orbit. Maven controllers have been in a 60-day “command moratorium” since the end of July that was designed into the Mars orbit-insertion (MOI) sequence to circumvent any action that might go wrong and cause problems.

“We just finished our last operational readiness test for orbit insertion,” he said Aug. 11. “It’s basically a rehearsal, and the team went through everything we’re going to be doing on MOI day to make sure we knew the procedures, knew what we had to do and were prepared. So we’re doing everything we can to be ready to ensure a success.”

With a 12.5-min. one-way speed-of-light delay in radio signals between the Maven spacecraft and its controllers at the Lockheed Martin facility near Denver, where it was built, the actual MOI will be completely autonomous.

Nominally, the MOI is a three-day sequence leading up to a 34-min. burn beginning a little before 10 p.m. EDT on the 21st—a Sunday—that will slow the spacecraft enough to enter orbit. But there is plenty of redundancy built into the flight-computer programming in case something goes wrong.

“If it goes correctly we go into orbit; if it doesn’t, we don’t,” says Jakosky. “In order to ensure it goes correctly, we have engine-out capability, so that if we lose one of the six thrusters we’re using, we can still get into orbit on five of them. We also have a computer-reboot capability, so if something happens during the burn, we designed it so that we could have a 13.5-min. outage, and that’s enough time for the computer to reboot, decide it still has a problem, swap sides, realize it’s supposed to be in the middle of its burn, reacquire attitude, resume the burn and get into orbit.”

Maven navigators are working with NASA’s Deep Space Network to track the spacecraft very precisely, and may decide to conduct one more trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) nine days before MOI. Jakosky says a course-correction burn planned for the end of July was canceled because it was not needed. The aim-point is a 100-by-200-km box in the sky, and so far Maven is inside the box if not headed straight for the bull’s-eye.

“Whether we do [the final TCM] will depend on what the tracking shows our trajectory to be, relative to our target point,” he says.

Discovered just last year, the comet Siding Spring will swing past Mars Oct. 19, offering scientists an unprecedented close-up look at an Oort/Cloud object.
Mindful of the September 1999 loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter, the Maven MOI sequence also has provisions for an emergency orbit-raising maneuver at 24 hr. and then again at
6 hr. before insertion. The earlier spacecraft plunged too deeply into the atmosphere on arrival at the planet and disintegrated because of a mix-up between English and metric units of measurement (AW&ST Oct. 4, 1999, p. 40).

“The hooks are in there so we can do it if we need it,” Jakosky says. “We don’t expect to need it.”

Five orbital-adjustment maneuvers are planned to put Maven into its 6,200 X 150-km (3,850 X 93-mi.) science orbit. Instrument checkout will run until the end of October, when the spacecraft is scheduled to begin a year-long data-collection session designed to help scientists understand the interactions between the upper Martian atmosphere, the solar wind and other elements of the space environment.

A primary objective is to test the theory that the liquid water that once flowed on the planet’s surface was lost when the solar wind and ultraviolet radiation in sunlight stripped away the heavy, wet primordial atmosphere.

The instrument suite designed for the job consists of the Solar Wind Electron Analyzer (SWEA) to measure solar winds and electrons in the Martian ionosphere; the Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA), to measure solar wind and ion density and velocity in the planet’s magnetosheath; the Suprathermal and Thermal Ion Composition (Static) instrument, which will measure ions in the atmosphere of Mars, including moderate energy escaping ions; and the Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) instrument to measure the impact of the solar wind on the planet’s upper atmosphere.

Also on board are the Langmuir Probe and Waves (LPW) instrument, which includes an extreme ultraviolet sensor, to measure properties of the ionosphere, wave-heating in the upper atmosphere and extreme ultraviolet inputs into the atmosphere from the Sun. Rounding out the package is a magnetometer, which will measure interplanetary solar wind and magnetic fields in the ionosphere; a Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer to measure the composition and isotopes of ions and thermal neutrals in the atmosphere; and an Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph for global remote sensing of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere at Mars.

Maven scientists designed the instruments to work across the entire range of the spacecraft’s elliptical orbit, making in-situ measurements of the upper atmosphere at the lowest altitudes and then backing off for remote-sensing measurements that will allow researchers to extrapolate the low-altitude data out to global processes.

The arrival of a comet from the distant Oort Cloud, on a multimillion-year orbit that will reach its closest approach to the Sun five days after it passes Mars, is pure serendipity for comet experts. While the Maven team plans to switch off instruments that could be damaged if they are hit with debris while they are active, and to turn the spacecraft into the orientation that affords the greatest protection from any oncoming dust from Siding Spring, controllers also will interrupt instrument checkout and calibration to make observations of the event.

Still, safety comes first so at the point of greatest danger from the comet, plans call for Maven—and the other orbiters circling Mars that day—to be on the other side of the planet. Once its early orbital parameters are established, Jakosky says, controllers will adjust the orbit to minimize the danger by using Mars as a shield.

“We can get about 20 min. of hiding behind the planet, and the time of peak risk of the dust is thought to be between 30 and 60 min., so that is a significant risk reduction right there,” he says.

Jakosky’s counterparts at the Indian Space Research Organization are facing the same problems, and are considering the steps they can take to prepare the MOM spacecraft for the encounter. They are also working with Jakosky and his colleagues on possibly coordinating some scientific observations while the two orbiters are measuring the upper atmosphere.

“We’re going to meet with some of the Indian investigators before our science mission starts to talk about what’s possible,” Jakosky says. “There is a strong desire to collaborate, and I don’t know where it’s going to head.”

Of particular interest to the Maven scientists are the Lyman-alpha photometer and mass spectrometer on MOM. Maven, too, carries a mass spectrometer to measure chemical composition and coordinated observations at the same time from different locations which “allow you to separate out temporal and spatial variability,” Jakosky says.

However, because the Maven and MOM teams are just beginning detailed discussions, the most likely outcome will be joint data analysis at the end of the science missions, he says. Maven scientists have also been working with scientists on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission, which carries several instruments that can complement the Maven suite, so coordinated observations with that team are more likely. Joint data analysis with the Europeans is also in the cards, Jakosky says.

With the five-day delay in commissioning caused by the comet encounter, Maven probably will not be able to start its science mission until the second week in November. Jakosky says the annual American Geophysical Union meeting Dec. 15-19 in San Francisco is well timed for release of data on the comet encounter two months earlier.

“We think it is going to take about three months for us to come out with real, preliminary results about what Maven is telling us about Mars,” Jakosky says of the primary mission objectives. “Before that, we’re going to do everything we can to get data out and show people the types of things we’re measuring; but in terms of grand pronouncements of what it all means, at least [for the] preliminary pronouncements, we’re thinking about mid-to-late winter.”
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 15, 2014, 09:20:03 AM
The reformat was successful... Opportunity Lives!  8)

Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Flash-Memory Reformat Successful!  - sols 3773-3778, September 04, 2014-September 09, 2014:

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards 'Marathon Valley,' a putative location for abundant clay minerals.

 The rover's Flash file system was successfully reformatted on Sol 3773 (Sept. 4, 2014). The Flash space available is slightly smaller (<1%) than before the reformat, consistent with the reformatting process flagging some bad cells to avoid. On Sol 3775 (Sept. 6, 2014), some scripts and configuration files were copied back to Flash from EEPROM (other non-volatile storage) were they were kept during the reformat. Other configuration files were loaded from the ground on Sol 3776 (Sept. 7, 2014). The rover has performed without any anomalies or unusual behavior since the reformat.

 A drive was sequenced on Sol 3778 (Sept. 9, 2014), using visual odometry to navigate around potential rock obstacles. The drive stopped almost as soon as it started because the rover's visual odometry could not find enough visual features for the algorithm to converge. The plan ahead is to re-sequence the drive but to instruct the rover to use a different scene with more visual features for the visual odometry.

 As of Sol 3778 (Sept. 9, 2014), the solar array energy production was 694 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.879 and a solar array dust factor of 0.754.

 Total odometry is 25.28 miles (40.69 kilometers).
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 29, 2014, 09:05:52 AM
Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Opportunity's Heading to a Small Crater Called 'Ulysses'  - sols 3786-3792, September 17, 2014-September 23, 2014:

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals.

 The rover is headed to a near-term target, a small crater named "Ulysses." The rover is moving closer to Ulysses to get a peek inside. On Sol 3787 (Sept. 18, 2014), Opportunity drove a little over 44 feet (13.5 meters) in rocky terrain, requiring the use of Visual Odometry to safely navigate. On Sol 3789 (Sept. 20, 2014), the rover moved closer to the rim of Ulysses, but the drive stopped after 15 feet (4.6 meters) because Visual Odometry was not tracking on the last steps. An evening Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer measurement of atmospheric argon was performed on Sol 3790 (Sept. 21, 2014). The rover continued closer to Ulysses on the next sol with a 13-feet (4-meter) bump. High slip prevented the rover from completing the turn for communication at the end of the drive.

 Recently, there were more Flash-related events. Two more "amnesia" events occurred on the evenings of Sols 3786 and 3789 (Sept. 17 and Sept. 20, 2014). And two Flash write errors to Bank 7 occurred on Sols 3791 and 3792 (Sept. 22 and Sept. 23, 2014). All these events were benign and did not impact the rover's operation. The project continues to investigate. Otherwise, Opportunity continues in good health.

 As of Sol 3792 (Sept. 23, 2014), the solar array energy production was 639 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.889 and a solar array dust factor of 0.740.

 Total odometry is 25.34 (40.77 kilometers).
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on November 13, 2014, 10:15:34 AM
(http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/mission/tm-opportunity/images/MERB_Sol3834_1_br2.jpg)

Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Dust Levels Back to Normal  - sols 3827-3834, October 29, 2014-November 06, 2014:

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards 'Marathon Valley,' a putative location for abundant clay minerals about a mile (1.6 kilometers) to the south.

 The rover has completed the investigation of the Ulysses crater and is exiting the ejecta field to resume the strategic drive south. The regional dust storms that had raised atmospheric opacity (tau) have abated and the tau is returning to normal seasonal levels. On Sols 3827 and 3828 (Oct. 29 and Oct. 30, 2014), Opportunity drove 38 feet (11.6 meters) and 39 feet (12.0 meters), respectively in rocky terrain to exit the Ulysses crater ejecta field.

 On Sol 3829 (Oct. 31, 2014), the rover again drove to complete the exit from the ejecta field, but high slip terminated the drive after just 5 feet (1.5 meters). A careful assessment indicated the rover was safe and the cause of the slip was the high slopes and loose soil.

 On Sol 3832 (Nov. 3, 2014), a modified drive of over 105 feet (32 meters) permitted the rover to safely exit the ejecta field. On Sols 3833 and 3834 (Nov. 4 and Nov. 6, 2014), Opportunity headed south with drives of 106 feet (32.4 metes) and 132 feet (40.25 meters) respectively. The project has also implemented a more advanced diagnostic for amnesia events, if any occur. The rover continues in good health.

 As of Sol 3834 (Nov. 6, 2014), the solar array energy production was 505 watt-hours with an improved atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.359 and a solar array dust factor of 0.711.

 Total odometry is 25.45 miles (40.95 kilometers).

(http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/gallery/all/1/n/3838/1N468904144EFFCIYPP1797R0M1-BR.JPG)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on December 11, 2014, 08:24:25 AM
Old age is beginning to affect memory...  :(

Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Flash-Memory Reformat Planned  - sols 3852-3861, November 24, 2014-December 03, 2014:

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards 'Marathon Valley,' a putative location for abundant clay minerals less than a mile (about a kilometer) to the south.

 The rover is stopped at an interesting geologic unit and conducting in-situ (contact) measurements. On Sol 3853 (Nov. 25, 2014), the rover used the robotic arm to reposition the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for a surface measurement. On the next sol, the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) was used to brush a new surface target, which was then imaged with the Microscopic Imager (MI) and examined with the APXS.

 With the Thanksgiving holiday, a multi-sol plan was built to collect Pancam images over the long holiday weekend. However, the rover experienced amnesia events and then a computer reset around Sol 3856 (Nov. 28, 2014). After the reboot, the rover was no longer under sequence control and was unable to mount the flash (non-volatile) memory. The project restored the rover to normal sequence operation on Sol 3859 (Dec. 1, 2014), but the flash file system remained unavailable. The project prepared for a reformatting of the flash memory on Sol 3862 (Dec. 4, 2014).

 As of Sol 3859 (Dec. 1, 2014), solar-array energy production was 468 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.376 and a solar-array dust factor of 0.638.

 Total odometry as of Sol 3861 (Dec. 3, 2014) is 25.66 miles (41.30 kilometers).
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on December 15, 2014, 09:34:05 AM
Getting worse...

Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Flash-Memory Resets Continue  - sols 3862-3867, December 04, 2014-December 09, 2014:

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards 'Marathon Valley,' a putative location for abundant clay minerals only about a mile (about 1 kilometer) to the south.

 Because of the deteriorating performance of the Flash file system, the project reformatted the rover's Flash memory on Sol 3862 (Dec. 4, 2014). Although the rover's operation improved immediately after the reformat, Flash behavior quickly deteriorated. Opportunity experienced a set of resets on Sols 3864 and 3865 (Dec. 6 and Dec. 7, 2014). After this, the project made the decision to operate the rover without the use of Flash memory until another fix can be implemented. On Sol 3866 (Dec. 8, 2014), the rover was booted without using Flash (and instead storing data products in volatile RAM memory) and all the fault conditions were cleared. On Sol 3867 (Dec. 9, 2014), Opportunity performed light science activities in preparation for driving on the next sol. Longer term, the project is developing a strategy to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system.

 As of Sol 3867 (Dec. 9, 2014), the solar array energy production was 500 watt-hours, an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.215 and a solar array dust factor of 0.659.

 Total odometry is 25.66 miles (41.30) kilometers.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on December 17, 2014, 10:30:33 AM
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/newsroom/pressreleases/20141211a.html

Quote
December 11, 2014


MARS EXPLORATION ROVER MISSION STATUS REPORT
 Opportunity Working in No-Flash Mode for Now

 

 
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is continuing its traverse southward on the western rim of Endeavour Crater during the fall of 2014, stopping to investigate targets of scientific interest along way. This view is from Opportunity's front hazard avoidance camera on Nov. 26, 2014.

Persistent computer resets and "amnesia" events on NASA's Mars Exploration rover Opportunity that have occurred after reformatting the robot's flash memory have prompted a shift to a working mode that avoids use of the flash data-storage system.

The most recent reformatting of Opportunity's flash memory was last week. Following that, performance of the flash memory remained intermittent, and difficulty in placing data into the memory led to computer resets during the weekend.

Flash memory retains information even when power is shut off during the rover's overnight power-conserving "sleep" time. In the no-flash mode, the rover can continue normal operations of science observations and driving, though it cannot store data during the overnight sleep. Data gathered each Martian day is stored in volatile memory, which on Opportunity is random-access memory, or RAM. That data stored in volatile memory is relayed Earthward before sleep because it is lost when power goes off.

The team is developing a set of commands to restore usability of the flash memory through an overhaul more extensive than the reformatting that has been used so far. The incidents of Opportunity's flash memory not accepting data for storage have occurred in only one of the seven banks of flash microchip circuitry on board. The team plans to send commands for the rover to avoid that entire bank.

"The mission can continue without storing data to flash memory, and instead store data in volatile RAM," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas or NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "While we're operating Opportunity in that mode, we are also working on an approach to make the flash memory usable again. We will be sure to give this approach exhaustive reviews before implementing those changes on the rover."

Opportunity is examining outcrops on the western rim of Endeavour Crater while traversing southward toward "Marathon Valley," where clay minerals have been detected in observations by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project landed twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity on Mars in early 2004 to begin missions planned to last only three months. Both rovers far exceeded those original plans. Spirit worked for six years, and Opportunity is still active. Findings about ancient wet environments on Mars have come from both rovers. The project is one element of NASA's ongoing and future Mars missions preparing for a human mission to the planet in the 2030s. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on February 12, 2015, 08:54:57 AM
http://phys.org/news/2015-02-mars-rover-nearing-marathon.html

(http://cdn.phys.org/newman/gfx/news/hires/2015/marsrovernea.jpg)

Quote
The map shows the rover's location as of Feb. 10, 2015, in the context of where it has been since late December 2014 and the "Marathon Valley" science destination ahead. Opportunity is within about 220 yards (200 meters) of completing a marathon. The green band indicates where it could reach the official Olympic marathon-race distance of 26.219 miles (42.195 kilometers). The rover's route might zigzag as the rover team chooses a path toward Marathon Valley, so there is uncertainty about where exactly it will pass marathon distance. In this image, north is up. The southern end of the solid blue line indicates the rover's position after a drive on Sol 3926, the 3,926th Martian day of Opportunity's work on Mars (Feb. 9, 2015). The rover team plans to drive Opportunity near or into "Spirit of St. Louis Crater" before the rover enters Marathon Valley. This area is all part of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

 Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-02-mars-rover-nearing-marathon.html#jCp

Quote
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is nearing a location on Mars at which its driving distance will surpass the length of a marathon race.

A drive on Feb. 8, 2015, put the rover within 220 yards (200 meters) of this marathon accomplishment. An Olympic marathon is 26.219 miles (42.195 kilometers).

Opportunity is headed for a portion of the western rim of Endeavour Crater where observations by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have detected multiple types of clay minerals. These minerals are indicative of an ancient wet environment where water was more neutral rather than harshly acidic. More than six months ago, the rover team informally named that destination "Marathon Valley," having estimated what the odometry would total by the time Opportunity gets there.

"When Opportunity was in its prime mission 11 years ago, no one imagined this vehicle surviving a Martian winter, let alone completing a marathon on Mars," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "Now, that achievement is within reach as Opportunity approaches a strategic science destination. What's most important about the longevity and driving distance the mission keeps extending are not numerical thresholds, but the wealth of scientific information returned about Mars, made possible by these feats."

Before driving Opportunity into Marathon Valley, the team plans to use the rover for observations of an impact crater called "Spirit of Saint Louis Crater," at the entrance to the valley.

The team is operating Opportunity in a mode that avoids use of the rover's flash memory. In this mode, data gathered during each Martian day are stored in volatile memory and transmitted to an orbiter before the rover's overnight, energy-conserving "sleep." NASA orbiters Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter relay the rover data to Earth.

Opportunity engineers plan in coming weeks to upload a software revision they have developed to enable resuming use of non-volatile flash memory. It is designed to restore Opportunity's capability to store data overnight or longer, for transmitting later.

During its original three-month prime mission, beginning after landing on Jan. 25, 2004, UST (Jan. 24, 2004, PST) Opportunity drove 0.48 mile (771.5 meters). Its twin, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, landed three weeks earlier and covered 0.39 mile (635 meters) in its three-month prime mission. Both Spirit and Opportunity have returned compelling evidence about wet environments on ancient Mars. Spirit's mission ended in 2010. Since 2011, Opportunity has been investigating the western rim of Endeavour, a crater that is 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter.

The rover climbed to its highest elevation on the Endeavour rim on Jan. 6, 2015, reaching a point about 440 feet (135 meters) above the local plains. It has driven about 440 yards (400 meters) since then, mainly southward toward the entrance to Marathon Valley.


 Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-02-mars-rover-nearing-marathon.html#jCp

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on February 12, 2015, 12:52:23 PM
I think the Martians are helping it along.....
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on March 02, 2015, 07:49:32 AM
Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  New Flight Software to Fix Memory Issues is Onboard Rover - sols 3937-3943, February 19, 2015-February 26, 2015:

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 492 feet (150 meters) away.

 The project is preparing to mask off the troubled Bank 7 sector of the Flash file system with a new version of the flight software (FSW). The preparations for the FSW load and build were to begin with the 3-sol plan on Sol 3938 (Feb. 20, 2015). However, bad weather and a complex power outage in Canberra, Australia prevented the plans from being sent. The rover was allowed to safely execute its onboard runout plan for the weekend.

 On Sol 3941 (Feb. 23, 2015), preparations were restarted for the FSW build. Remote sensing observations of Marathon Valley were also performed. On Sol 3942 (Feb. 24, 2015), the FSW patch was uploaded and the new FSW was successfully built and saved onboard. On the next sol, Opportunity successfully booted onto the new version of FSW and is running without error. Further remote observations of Marathon Valley with the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and the collection of an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer were also commanded. The plan ahead is to allow a few days to confirm all aspects of the new FSW before performing the reformat of the Flash file system with the new software.

 As of Sol 3943 (Feb. 26, 2015), the solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.734 and a solar array dust factor of 0.674.

 Total odometry is 26.13 miles (42.05 kilometers).
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on March 06, 2015, 08:26:18 AM
(http://i.guim.co.uk/static/w-620/h--/q-95/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/3/5/1425579521295/db2639f6-a95f-4faf-a368-b2554cf300ff-620x372.jpeg)

Nasa finds evidence of a vast ancient ocean on Mars

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/05/nasa-finds-evidence-of-a-vast-ancient-ocean-on-mars

Ian Sample, science editor @iansample
 
Thursday 5 March 2015 14.00 EST 

Quote
A massive ancient ocean once covered nearly half of the northern hemisphere of Mars making the planet a more promising place for alien life to have gained a foothold, Nasa scientists say.

The huge body of water spread over a fifth of the planet’s surface, as great a portion as the Atlantic covers the Earth, and was a mile deep in places. In total, the ocean held 20 million cubic kilometres of water, or more than is found in the Arctic Ocean, the researchers found.

Unveiled by Nasa on Thursday, the compelling evidence for the primitive ocean adds to an emerging picture of Mars as a warm and wet world in its youth, which trickled with streams, winding river deltas, and long-standing lakes, soon after it formed 4.5bn years ago.

The view of the planet’s ancient history radically re-writes what many scientists believed only a decade ago. Back then, flowing water was widely considered to have been a more erratic presence on Mars, gushing forth only rarely, and never forming long-standing seas and oceans.

“A major question has been how much water did Mars actually have when it was young and how did it lose that water?” said Michael Mumma, a senior scientist at Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Writing in the journal, Science, the Nasa team, and others at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Munich, provide an answer after studying Mars with three of the most powerful infra-red telescopes in the world.

The scientists used the Keck II telescope and Nasa’s Infrared Telescope Facility, both in Hawaii, and the ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, to make maps of the Martian atmosphere over six years. They looked specifically at how different forms of water molecules in the Martian air varied from place to place over the changing seasons.

Martian water, like that on Earth, contains standard water molecules, made from two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, and another form of water made with a heavy isotope of hydrogen called deuterium. On Mars, water containing normal hydrogen is lost to space over time, but the heavier form is left behind.

When normal water is lost on Mars, the concentration of deuterium in water left behind goes up. The process can be used to infer how much water there used to be on the planet. The higher the concentration of deuterium, the more water has been lost.

The infrared maps show that water near the Martian ice caps is enriched with deuterium. The high concentration means that Mars must have lost a vast amount of water in the past, equivalent to more than six times that now locked up in the planet’s frozen ice caps.

The scientists calculate that the amount of water was enough to create a global ocean that covered the entire surface of Mars to a depth of 137m. But Mars was probably never completely submerged. Based on the Martian terrain today, the scientists believe the water pooled into a much deeper ocean in the low-lying northern plains, creating an ocean that covered nearly a fifth of the planet’s surface. The Atlantic, by comparison, covers about 17% of Earth’s surface.

“Ultimately we can conclude this idea of an ocean covering 20% of the planet which opens the idea of habitability and the evolution of life on the planet,” said Geronimo Villanueva, the first author on the study.

The huge body of water lasted for millions of years. But over time, the Martian atmosphere thinned. The drop in pressure meant more ocean water wafted into space. The planet lost much of its insulation too. No longer warm enough to keep the water liquid, the ocean receded and eventually froze. Today, only 13% of the ocean remains, locked up the Martian polar caps.

“We now know Mars was wet for a much longer time than we thought before,” said Mumma. Nasa’s Curiosity rover has already shown that Mars had standing water for 1.5 billion years, longer than it took for life to emerge on Earth. “Now we see that Mars must have been wet for a period even longer,” Mumma added.

John Bridges, a planetary scientist at Leicester University, who works on Nasa’s Curiosity rover mission, said Mars was surely at least habitable in the distant past. “Ten years ago, the story of water on Mars was an occasional flood of rocky debris every 100m years that then switched off again. We now know it’s more continuous. There were long-standing bodies of water: lakes, deltas and perhaps even seas,” he said.

“It seems to me that we have excellent evidence that Mars was once habitable, though whether it was ever inhabited is not clear. But there’s a chance. A life-bearing meteorite might have been ejected from Earth and could have landed in the water on Mars,” he added.

The search for life on Mars will ramp up in 2018 when the European Space Agency sends its Exomars rover to the red planet. The rover will look for chemical signatures of life, perhaps emanating from microbes living deep beneath the Martian soil. Last year, Nasa’s Curiosity rover detected methane in the Martian atmosphere. The finding sparked intense speculation that the gas might be coming from living organisms. It might, but there is no evidence to suggest it is. Methane is regularly produced on planets through geological processes without any need for life.

Charles Cockell, professor of astrobiology at Edinburgh University, said: “The longer water persists on a planetary body in one location, particularly if there is geological turnover, the more likely it is that it would provide a habitable environment for a suitable duration for life to either originate or proliferate. An ocean would meet this need.” That life was possible does not make it inevitable though. “Of course, it could have been uninhabited,” he added.

http://www.youtube.com/v/FLP16_J4ZDQ

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on March 09, 2015, 07:47:22 AM
(http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/gallery/press/opportunity/20150305a/Opportunity_Marathon-Valley_Sol3948map-MAIN_br2.jpg)

Quote
March 05, 2015


Rover Examining Odd Mars Rocks at Valley Overlook
 

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity climbed last month to an overlook for surveying "Marathon Valley," a science destination chosen because spectrometer observations from orbit indicate exposures of clay minerals.

 Near the overlook, it found blocky rocks so unlike any previously examined on Mars that the rover team has delayed other activities to provide time for a thorough investigation.

 "We drove to the edge of a plateau to look down in the valley, and we found these big, dark-gray blocks along the ridgeline," said Opportunity Project Scientist Matt Golombek of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "We checked one and found its composition is different from any ever measured before on Mars. So, whoa! Let's study these more before moving on."

 The first rock checked at the site has relatively high concentrations of aluminum and silicon, and an overall composition not observed before by either Opportunity or its twin rover, Spirit. This was determined by examining the rock, called "Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau," with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer instrument on the end of Opportunity's robotic arm. The next target rock at the site is called "Sergeant Charles Floyd." The team's target-naming theme in the area is from the Lewis and Clark expedition.

 Although the rocks are gray, the visible-light spectrum of the Charbonneau type has more purple than most Mars rocks, and the spectrum of the Floyd type has more blue. Of the two types, the bluer rocks tend to lie higher on the ridge.

 Actions to restore use of Opportunity's non-volatile flash file system will resume after inspection of the rocks on this ridge. Due to recurrent problems with the flash memory, including "amnesia events" and computer resets, Opportunity has been operating since late 2014 in a mode that avoids use of the flash memory.

 Between the stops at Charbonneau and Floyd, the rover team uploaded to Opportunity a new version of the rover's flight software. The new version is designed to use only six of the rover's seven banks of flash memory. It will avoid the seventh bank, known to be a problem area.

 The rover is using the new software, but a memory reformatting will be needed before resuming use of flash memory. After reformatting, the operations team will avoid use of the rover's arm for several days to make sure the flash file system is fixed and no longer causes resets. A reset during the use of the rover's arm would require a complex recovery effort.

 As of March 5, Opportunity has driven 26.139 miles (42.067 kilometers) since it landed on Mars in January 2004. This brings it within 140 yards (128 meters) of reaching the distance of a marathon footrace.

 NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. For more information about Opportunity and Spirit, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/rovers

 and

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on March 24, 2015, 08:02:58 AM
Quote
March 23, 2015

NASA Reformats Memory of Longest-Running Mars Rover

Things to know:
 -- The rover team reformatted the aging rover's flash memory to restore use of overnight data storage
 -- Opportunity completed inspections of blocky rocks above Marathon Valley
 -- The rover is nearing the equivalent of a marathon in total driving distance

 After avoiding use of the rover's flash memory for three months, the team operating NASA's 11-year-old Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reformatted the vehicle's flash memory banks and resumed storing some data overnight for transmitting later.
The team received confirmation from Mars on March 20 that the reformatting completed successfully. The rover switched to updated software earlier this month that will avoid using one of the seven banks of onboard flash memory. Some of the flash-memory problems that prompted the team to adopt a no-flash mode of operations in late 2014 were traced to Bank 7. The remaining six banks provide more nonvolatile memory capacity than the rover has used on all but a few days since landing on Mars in January 2004.

In the no-flash mode of operations, Opportunity continued conducting science investigations and driving, but transmitted each day's accumulated data before powering down for overnight conservation of energy. Flash memory is nonvolatile, meaning it retains data even without power. Opportunity also uses random access memory, which retains data only while power is on.

Last week, Opportunity completed examination of unusual rocks it found at an overlook to its "Marathon Valley" science destination. The rover is approaching an elongated crater called "Spirit of St. Louis" on the path to Marathon Valley. As of March 23, Opportunity has 47 yards (43 meters) remaining to drive before its odometry passes the distance of an Olympic marathon race.

"Opportunity can work productively without use of flash memory, as we have shown for the past three months, but with flash we have more flexibility for operations," said Opportunity Project Manager John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "The rover can collect more data than can be returned to Earth on any one day. The flash memory allows data from intensive science activities to be returned over several days."

Marathon Valley was selected as a science destination because spectrometer observations from orbit indicate exposures of clay minerals. Before entering the valley, Opportunity will observe Spirit of St. Louis Crater, which holds an interior rock structure rising higher than the crater rim.

As of March 16, Opportunity has driven 26.192 miles (42.152 kilometers) since it landed on Mars in January 2004. A marathon is 26.219 miles (42.195 kilometers).
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 26, 2015, 07:38:58 AM
Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Rover Restored to Normal Operations After a Reset Error  - sols 4018-4023, May 14, 2015-May 19, 2015:

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater at the 'Spirit of St. Louis' crater near the entrance of 'Marathon Valley.' The rover had been exploring the outcrops inside the Spirit of St. Louis crater.

 On Sol 4018 (May 14, 2015), the project attempted to restore the rover to master sequence control after an unexplained reset on Sol 4017 (May 13, 2015). However, an operational error prevented the use of the high-gain antenna (HGA), and the rover did not receive subsequent recovery commands.

 The rover was successfully restored to normal operations on Sol 4020 (May 16, 2015). On that sol, Opportunity executed a very small turn-in-place of only 4.6 degrees to position a surface target within reach of the robotic arm instruments. That evening, an overnight atmospheric argon measurement using the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was made. Another amnesia event occurred on the evening of Sol 4021 (May 17, 2015), but it was benign with no loss of data. On Sol 4023 (May 19, 2015), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) was used to brush a surface target for in-situ (contact) investigation. After the brushing, a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic was collected, followed by the placement of the APXS for a multi-hour integration.

 As of Sol 4023 (May 19, 2015), the solar array energy production was 536 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.105 and a solar array dust factor of 0.727.

 Total odometry is 26.28 miles (42.30 kilometers), more than a marathon.

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 09, 2015, 07:19:00 AM
While Mars science is on temporary hold during the Solar Conjunction... Ridley Scott has created some science fiction... Enjoy!  8)


http://www.youtube.com/v/Ue4PCI0NamI

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: spuwho on June 09, 2015, 07:31:59 AM
We dont have a good record of Martian based movies so far but Ridley Scott is a good director. Here's hoping.

After conjunction ends, there is going to be a lot of space in the news.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: PeeJayEss on June 09, 2015, 09:56:50 AM
The book is quite good, so I'm hopeful for the movie, especially with Ridley Scott and that cast. Pretty stacked.
Trailer shows some promise.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on June 09, 2015, 10:14:20 AM

http://www.cnet.com/news/nasa-craft-finds-glass-on-mars/ (http://www.cnet.com/news/nasa-craft-finds-glass-on-mars/)
(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/2e/a7/9b/2ea79bd7129a8129e9b1362c484365dc.jpg)
Quote
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found glass in a crater on Mars.

No, it's not the leftovers from an ancient Mars cocktail party where rowdy guests smashed "marstini" glasses on the ground. It's a type of glass known as impact glass, which is formed from the heat of a meteorite impact. Because the material that's around when the meteorite hits can be sealed in the glass, NASA researchers believe the glass could provide a clue to possible past life on Mars.

That's especially true because some of the impact glass the MRO found was in a crater called Hargraves that's situated near a 400-mile-long (about 650 kilometers) trough known as Nili Fossae. That area is rich in hydrothermal fractures, which are vents that might have sustained life just below the Martian surface.

"If you had an impact that dug in and sampled that subsurface environment, it's possible that some of it might be preserved in a glassy component," Brown University researcher John Mustard said in a statement. "That makes this a pretty compelling place to go look around, and possibly return a sample."

Mustard worked with Brown graduate student Kevin Cannon to find the glass. The duo built on previous research from Peter Shultz (also of Brown) that showed plant matter and other organic molecules in impact glass found in Argentina from a meteorite collision millions of years ago.

"The work done by Pete and others showed us that glasses are potentially important for preserving biosignatures," Cannon said. "Knowing that, we wanted to go look for them on Mars and that's what we did here. Before this paper, no one had been able to definitively detect them on the surface." The paper Cannon is referring to was published last week in the journal Geology.

Seeing the glass in images from the MRO proved to be quite a challenge because -- believe it or not -- the glass doesn't give off as strong a signal as the rock that's mixed with it when light is reflected off the Martian surface.

To tease it out, Mustard and Cannon re-created a bit of Mars in the lab by firing powders similar to Martian rocks in an oven to create glass. Next they captured the light waves that glass reflected and created an algorithm to find similar signals in MRO's data. Their experiment was a success.

"This significant new detection of impact glass illustrates how we can continue to learn from the ongoing observations by this long-lived mission," said Richard Zurek, MRO project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.

MRO has been orbiting Mars since its arrival on March 10, 2006, with the primary goal of figuring out whether water existed on the Red Planet for a long period of time in its history.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on June 09, 2015, 10:18:05 AM
Love that trailer BT.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 29, 2015, 07:45:52 AM
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Rover In Good Health After Communication Blackout  - sols 4053-4058, June 19, 2015-June 24, 2015:

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater at the 'Spirit of St. Louis' crater near the entrance of 'Marathon Valley.'

 The Earth-Mars Solar Conjunction command moratorium and communication blackout has just ended. Telemetry is again being received from the Opportunity and the rover is in good health. Normal tactical planning has resumed with the Sol 4059 (June 25, 2015) plan.

 As of Sol 4055 (June 21, 2015), the solar array energy production was 477 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.797 and a solar array dust factor of 0.644.

 Total odometry is 26.33 miles (42.37 kilometers), more than a marathon.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on July 09, 2015, 09:11:13 AM
Opportunity time lapse from 2004 to 2015... 8 minutes long but check it out.   8)

https://www.youtube.com/v/3b1DxICZbGc

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on July 10, 2015, 07:14:31 AM
(http://mars.nasa.gov/images/Sol180B_fhaz_rovershadow-PIA06739-thmfeat.jpg)

Quote
July 07, 2015

Opportunity Rover's 7th Mars Winter to Include New Study Area

Operators of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity plan to drive the rover into a valley this month where Opportunity will be active through the long-lived rover's seventh Martian winter, examining outcrops that contain clay minerals.

Opportunity resumed driving on June 27 after about three weeks of reduced activity around Mars solar conjuntion, when the sun's position between Earth and Mars disrupts communication. The rover is operating in a mode that does not store any science data overnight. It transmits the data the same day they're collected.

The rover is working about half a football field's length away from entering the western end of "Marathon Valley," a notch in the raised rim of Endeavour Crater, which is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004 and has been studying the rim of Endeavour since 2011.

Engineers and scientists operating Opportunity have chosen Marathon Valley as the location for the solar-powered rover to spend several months, starting in August, to take advantage of a sun-facing slope loaded with potential science targets.

Marathon Valley stretches about three football fields long, aligned generally east-west. Observations of the valley using the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have detected exposures of clay minerals holding evidence about ancient wet environmental conditions. Researchers plan to use Opportunity to investigate relationships among these clay-bearing deposits.

The team plans to drive Opportunity this month to sites on the valley's northern side, where the slope faces south. Right now, it is early autumn in the southern hemisphere of Mars. The shortest day of the hemisphere's winter won't come until January. As the sun's daily track across the northern sky gets shorter, the north-facing slope on the southern side of the valley will offer the advantage of tilting the rover's solar panels toward the sun, to boost the amount of electrical energy production each day.

First, though, the mission's initial activities for a few days after emerging from the solar conjunction period are to examine rocks in and near a band of reddish material at the northern edge of an elongated crater called "Spirit of St. Louis." During the driving moratorium, the rover used the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on the end of its robotic arm to assess the chemical composition of a target in this red zone.

The rover is operating in a mode that avoids use of the type of onboard memory -- non-volatile flash memory -- that can retain data even when power is turned off overnight. It is using random-access memory, which retains data while power is on. The rover operated productively in this mode for several months in 2014. A reformatting of the flash memory earlier this year temporarily slowed the frequency of flash-induced computer resets, but the reset occurrences increased again later in the spring.

"Opportunity can continue to accomplish science goals in this mode," said Opportunity Project Manager John Callas, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "Each day we transmit data that we collect that day."

"Flash memory is a convenience but not a necessity for the rover," Callas said. "It's like a refrigerator that way. Without it, you couldn't save any leftovers. Any food you prepare that day you would have to either eat or throw out. Without using flash memory, Opportunty needs to send home the high-priority data the same day it collects it, and lose any lower-priority data that can't fit into the transmission."

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project landed twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity on Mars in 2004 to begin missions planned to last three months. Both rovers far exceeded those plans. Spirit worked for six years, and Opportunity is still active. Findings about ancient wet environments on Mars have come from both rovers. The project is one element of NASA's ongoing and future Mars missions preparing for a human mission to the planet in the 2030s. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about Opportunity, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/rovers
http://mars.nasa.gov/mer/

Follow the project on Twitter and Facebook at:

http://twitter.com/MarsRovers
http://www.facebook.com/mars.rovers
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Jason on July 13, 2015, 09:22:05 AM
Excellent video! Was hoping to see some Martians though...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on August 03, 2015, 07:36:34 AM
https://www.youtube.com/v/EADbiFTHirk

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on October 05, 2015, 07:49:50 AM
http://mars.nasa.gov/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1857

Quote
09.25.2015
Opportunity Mars Rover Preparing for Active Winter
NASA's Opportunity Mars rover will soon drive to the southern side of a valley where a sunward tilt will help the solar-powered rover keep active through the Martian winter.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is conducting a "walkabout" survey of "Marathon Valley," where the rover's operators plan to use the vehicle through the upcoming Martian winter, and beyond, to study the context for outcrops bearing clay minerals.
Marathon Valley slices downhill from west to east for about 300 yards or meters through the western rim of Endeavour Crater. Opportunity has been investigating rock targets in the western portion of the valley since late July, working its way eastward in a thorough reconnaissance of the area.

The rover's panoramic camera has captured a scene dominated by a summit called "Hinners Point," forming part of the valley's northern edge. The image also shows a portion of the valley floor with swirling reddish zones that have been a target for study. It is online at:

http://mars.nasa.gov/multimedia/images/?ImageID=7484

For several months starting in mid- to late October, the rover team plans to operate Opportunity on the southern side of the valley to take advantage of the sun-facing slope. The site is in Mars' southern hemisphere, so the sun is to the north during fall and winter days. Tilting the rover toward the sun increases power output from its solar panels. The shortest-daylight period of this seventh Martian winter for Opportunity will come in January 2016.
"Our expectation is that Opportunity will be able to remain mobile through the winter," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

The walkabout is identifying investigation targets in and near the valley floor. Rocks in reddish zones there contain more silica and less iron than most rocks in the area.

"We have detective work to do in Marathon Valley for many months ahead," said Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator Ray Arvidson, of Washington University in St. Louis. "During the Martian late fall and winter seasons Opportunity will conduct its measurements and traverses on the southern side of the valley. When spring arrives the rover will return to the valley floor for detailed measurements of outcrops that may host the clay minerals."

Endeavour Crater spans about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. Opportunity has been studying its western rim since 2011. Marathon Valley became a high priority destination after a concentration of clay minerals called smectites was mapped there based on observations by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Smectites form under wetter, milder conditions than most rocks at the Opportunity site. Opportunity is investigating relationships among clay-bearing and neighboring deposits for clues about the history of environmental changes.

The rover team has been dealing for more than a year with Opportunity's tendency to undergo unplanned computer resets when using the type of onboard memory that retains information when power is off: flash memory. For three months until mid-September, operators fully avoided use of flash memory. In this mode, images and other data cannot be stored overnight, when the rover is powered off to conserve energy. To gain operational flexibility in a trade-off with possible "lost" days from resets, the team has resumed occasional use of flash memory.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project landed twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity on Mars in 2004 to begin missions planned to last three months. Both rovers far exceeded those plans. Spirit worked for six years, and Opportunity is still active. Findings about ancient wet environments on Mars have come from both rovers. The project is one element of NASA's ongoing and future Mars missions preparing for a human mission to the planet in the 2030s. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about Opportunity, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/rovers
http://mars.nasa.gov/mer/

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on October 20, 2015, 09:12:23 AM
Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  The Rover Is Now On Northerly Slopes To Charge The Solar Panels For The Winter - sols 4162-4167, October 09, 2015-October 14, 2015:

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater completing a valley floor survey for clay minerals before moving to the winter location on the south side of the valley.

Low-elevation orbiter relay passes to the west have resulted in little to no data return on some relay passes. This is a function of orbit geometry and the high valley wall to the west within Marathon Valley. On Sol 4163 (Oct. 10, 2015), Opportunity drove over 33 feet (10 meters) in a dogleg maneuver, first north then east, avoiding some terrain obstacles. The rover collected some mid-drive images of the departed location to assist analysis of some wheel/terrain interaction during the last turn in place.

On the next sol, the rover collected both Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas and continued with the diagnostic readout of Flash Bank 7. More Pancam panoramas were taken on the sol after that.

On Sol 4166 (Oct. 13, 2015), Opportunity drove again, this time about 66 feet (20 meters) to the southeast. Afterward, more Pancam and Navcam panoramas where collected. The rover is now on some favorable northerly tilted terrain. Opportunity will remain on northerly slopes for the balance of the winter.

As of Sol 4166 (Oct. 13, 2015), the solar array energy production was 325 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.557 and a solar array dust factor of 0.577.

Total odometry is 26.48 miles (42.62 kilometers), more than a marathon.


Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: spuwho on October 20, 2015, 08:12:57 PM
Excellent video! Was hoping to see some Martians though...

Matt Damon wasnt available at the time of the shoot.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on April 08, 2016, 07:32:56 AM
Yes... Opportunity is still going...

Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Climbing to Clay-Mineral Site Seen from Orbit - sols 4324-4330, March 23, 2016-March 29, 2016:
Opportunity is exploring the south side of 'Marathon Valley' located on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover is up on the slopes of 'Knudsen Ridge.'

The objective is to identify specific outcrops for evidence of clay minerals. Opportunity has been driving towards high-slope regions that show evidence for clay minerals observed from orbit. With each drive the rover has bee collected extensive pre-drive and post-drive Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas to document the terrain.

On Sol 4325 (March 24, 2016), Opportunity drove west intending to cover about 49 feet (15 meters), but only achieved about 22 feet (6.8 meters). Visual Odometry (VO), which is used to track the rover's progress and direction, had difficulty converging on the featureless terrain around the rover. Visual Odometry works by tracking local surface features in the terrain as the rover moves. Another drive was sequenced on Sol 4328 (March 27, 2016), for about 79 feet (24 meters), but again the drive stopped after only 55 feet (16.9 meters) again due to lack of VO convergence on the featureless terrain. More progress was made on the next sol with a 22-foot (6.6-meter) drive to the southwest and on Sol 4330 (March 29, 2016), with a 43-foot (12.9-meter) drive also to the southwest.

Opportunity is now believed to be in the area of the clay minerals seen from orbit. The rover is documenting the terrain with extensive Pancam color (multi-filter) panoramas. Energy levels have also improved markedly, a combination of improving solar insolation with season and dust cleaning events on the solar arrays.

As of Sol 4330 (March 29, 2016), the solar array energy production has increased to 650 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.589 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.857 (although this number may be affected by atmospheric clouds).

Total odometry is 26.55 miles (42.74 kilometers), more than a marathon.

(http://mars.nasa.gov/mer/mission/tm-opportunity/images/MERB_Sol4329_1.jpg)

Quote
04.04.2016
Opportunity's Devilish View from on High

From its perch high on a ridge, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity recorded this image of a Martian dust devil twisting through the valley below. The view looks back at the rover's tracks leading up the north-facing slope of "Knudsen Ridge," which forms part of the southern edge of "Marathon Valley."

Opportunity took the image using its navigation camera (Navcam) on March 31, 2016, during the 4,332nd Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars.

Dust devils were a common sight for Opportunity's twin rover, Spirit, in its outpost at Gusev Crater. Dust devils have been an uncommon sight for Opportunity though.

Just as on Earth, a dust devil is created by a rising, rotating column of hot air. When the column whirls fast enough, it picks up tiny grains of dust from the ground, making the vortex visible.

During the uphill drive to reach the top of Knudsen Ridge, Opportunity's tilt reached 32 degrees, the steepest ever for any rover on Mars.

(http://mars.nasa.gov/imgs/2016/04/opportunity-devilish-view-ridge-PIA20012-br2.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 03, 2016, 09:47:28 AM
http://www.airspacemag.com/space/life-in-universe-special-what-is-life-180958432/

Quote
Would We Know Alien Life If We Saw It?
And have we already seen it on Mars?

By Trudy E. Bell | Air & Space Magazine | April 2016

At this moment, seven robotic spacecraft are roving or orbiting Mars, taking photos, gathering data, and generally doing the bidding of scientists back on Earth. After 15 years of this continuous robotic presence, we know the Red Planet better than any world besides our own. And planetary scientists have an answer, finally, to one of their oldest and most fundamental questions: Could Mars support life?
The answer is yes: certainly in the past, and very possibly today. In 2013, less than a year after Curiosity touched down in the ancient lakebed Gale Crater, John Grotzinger, the project’s principal investigator, announced with confidence: “We have found a habitable environment,” one where substantial amounts of surface water existed billions of years ago. What’s more, the Curiosity science team is convinced that the lakes and streams lasted for long periods, perhaps millions of years.
Another announcement, just as momentous, followed last September: Water still flows on Mars today—at or very near the surface. For more than a decade, NASA’s strategy in exploring Mars has been to “follow the water”; the agency reasons that wherever there’s water, we might find life. Now, having made the case for water, space agencies are preparing to launch Mars missions whose primary purpose is to search for evidence of biology. And, unlike earlier searches, these missions have a real chance for success.
In the 1960s, the first generation of planetary scientists tried to come up with a single suite of instruments (for what became the 1976 Viking landers) that could settle definitively whether life exists on Mars. Ultimately, they failed. Scientists now suspect that past experiments in Martian biology asked questions that were too narrow or even wrong.
“Defining life is a problem,” explains Carol Cleland, a University of Colorado philosopher who has spent more than a decade examining the scientific and philosophical literature on the nature of life. “If your definition is wrong, you’ll look for the wrong thing—and be liable to miss all kinds of weird forms of life. Even today, we haven’t gotten away from an Aristotelian definition.”
More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle defined living beings as those that metabolize (consume nutrients and eliminate waste) and sexually reproduce. That definition served well enough until the middle of the 20th century, when scientists learned about DNA and came to understand that the predominant life-form on Earth is the single-cell organism. (Indeed, complex multicellular life doesn’t appear in the fossil record until less than a billion years ago.)
Many single-cell creatures defy Aristotelian ideas about metabolism and reproduction. Some don’t consume organic nutrients at all. A bizarre marine microbe called Shewanella, for example, gets its metabolic energy by using “nanowires” that draw electrons directly from rocks. Some organisms don’t need sex to reproduce: They “fragment” directly from the parent. Still others act as if they’re alive at some times, dead at others. Viruses, for example, can lie dormant for centuries in a crystalline state.
In the past few decades, scientists have found many “extremophiles,” which survive quite nicely in environments once thought to be lethal: in superheated geysers, on the bottoms of Antarctic glaciers, in the crushing blackness of the deep ocean.
If terrestrial life has turned out to be far stranger and more adaptable than we once thought, how much weirder could it be in an alien biosphere like Mars?
Yet there’s reason to hope we’ll find familiar organisms too. “The argument for water-based and carbon-based life is never stronger than on Mars,” says David Des Marais, principal investigator of space science and astrobiology at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California. “Some folks like to speculate that solvents other than water might also support life,” he notes. “While one can never absolutely deny the possibility of ‘weird life’ based on an alternative solvent, water is particularly favorable for Mars because the environment of Earth has been more similar to that of Mars than that of any other planet in our solar system.”
Since we have to start somewhere, Des Marais and others argue that we should look for familiar forms of life first; we can worry about the life-forms we don’t know later. “Pick your best shot” for success, he says.

Read the rest here... http://www.airspacemag.com/space/life-in-universe-special-what-is-life-180958432/
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: spuwho on May 03, 2016, 12:30:59 PM
There is a major launch window in 2018 for an expedited Mars trajectory coming up.

Right now 2 projects are trying to leverage it.

The SpaceX Red Dragon mission and the British/Russian Mars Rover joint venture.

The Red Dragon has about a 40 percent chance of making the window. The problem is the Falcon Heavy is 18 months behind schedule.

The Rover has about a 25 percent chance as they announced this week that major suppliers in Russia are behind schedule and there are still cost/design issues yet to resolve.

So you are going to hear a lot about Mars projects in the next year as they try to make the window.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 16, 2016, 07:00:58 AM
http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/how-should-humans-divvy-up-mars

Quote
How Should Humans Divvy Up Mars?
No one can claim sovereignty of Mars, but there are ideas about how best to use the land.

By Sarah Laskow JUNE 15, 2016

Land use policy is one of the most emotional and provocative areas of law. Witness the anger about a bike lane. Consider the angst around tall buildings, wind farms, and public land designations. Earthlings have developed very strong feelings about what’s theirs and what goes next to it.

Now imagine what will happen when a small group of people take those same preoccupations to Mars.

A few people who study life in the universe already are working on thinking through land use on other planets.  “In the grand scheme of things, with the growing commercial exploration of space, it’s not premature to think about these questions,” says Charles Cockell, a professor of astrobiology at University of Edinburgh.

“Basically all the globe has been claimed,” says Jacob Haqq-Misra, a research scientist at Blue Marble Space Institute, whose new paper details a “Practical Approach to Sovereignty on Mars.” For him, the big question is: Does it make sense to carry the colonization mindset of the past to space, in the future?

On Earth, land use policy is a muddle of zoning and compromises. On Mars, when humans arrive, assuming we don’t find Martians, we will have a clean slate. How should we split the planet up—if we do at all?

There are previous claims to land on Mars. In 1954, a group of Arkansas men founded a Planet Mars Development Corp. to start making claims. By 1956, the Japan Astronautical Society, organized to promote the country’s interest in space travel, was giving away 80 acres stretches as part of its membership package. In the 1980s, Dennis Hope, an American entrepreneur, claimed Mars, along with the Moon, as his own; today it’s possible to buy plots at moonestates.com or buymars.com. (There’s even a GroupOn voucher available.)

Compared to claims to the Moon, though, assertions of private ownership of Mars have been few and far between, perhaps because earthlings were convinced for many decades that there could be aliens living on the Red Planet already.

No part of space is supposed to be claimed as sovereign land. You can’t rule part of Mars. For the past 49 years, humans have explored space under the auspices of an international agreement, the Outer Space Treaty, in which signatories agreed: space was “the province of all mankind” and should be used “for the benefit and in the interests of all countries.”

That was an easy enough sell when only the U.S. and the Soviet Union had actually been to space. Then-U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson, faced with space budget cuts, was worried the USSR would claim the moon; the rest of the world was worried about being blasted by space nukes. But with commercial companies and government space agencies promising that trips to Mars will start sometime within the next two years (SpaceX), or the next two decades (NASA), that agreement is about to be challenged.

Already, last year, the U.S. passed a space law that could violate the Outer Space Treaty. In delightfully mundane legalese, the law covers the permitting of rocket transit: for example, “reusable launch vehicles” can get a permit for “an unlimited number of launches and reentries”—but not if they’re carrying a “human being for compensation or hire.”

It also entitles U.S. citizens to “any asteroid resource or space resource obtained” in commercial recovery operations. That’s the part that could violate the treaty, although the law claims this is different than asserting sovereignty over a celestial body, which is explicitly prohibited.

Either way, far from reserving space resources for the benefit of all mankind, the U.S. government’s current policy asserts that if you grab something valuable in space, it should be all yours.

At the moment, no one really knows where the prime spots on Mars will be, either for scientific research, survival, or commercial exploitation. Space explorers are in essentially the same position as Europeans were in when they started traveling to North America: they believed there was something valuable (gold, they hoped), but they had no idea where it might be.

But let’s presume, as many space policy experts do, that space explorers will try to claim part of Mars for their country or company, or at least try to derive some commercial benefit from the place they land. What should happen when people do reach Mars?

A couple of years ago, Haqq-Misra, of the Blue Marble Space Institute, proposed “a simple solution” for determining land use on Mars: let the people who make it there hash it out for themselves, with no interference from Earth. This idea was part of a larger proposal to “liberate Mars from the start,” he wrote in the Boston Globe. “Colonists arriving on a liberated Mars would relinquish their former status as earthlings and embrace a new planetary citizenship as martians.”

In this system, the new citizens of Mars would develop their own rules and regulations for land use (and every other form of law and order). No earthlings could own land on the planet, either. This system has the advantage of fitting with earth-bound legal precedents for making land claims—you have to live in the place first—and it excuses Earth from enforcing laws made on this planet more than 140 million miles away.

An older idea for divvying up land on Mars, which Cockell, the Edinburgh professor, proposed back in 2004, would designate large chunks of the planet’s surface as parks. Like parks on Earth, these “planetary parks” would be sites of scientific interest, natural beauty, or historical significance. They might protect areas where life is most likely to be found, the large volcanoes there that dwarf Mt. Everest, or the sites where Mars rovers landed. They’d be accessed only along predefined routes, by sterilized robots or people in sterilized suits, and no space vehicle would be allowed to land there.

“It’s a counterpoint of a libertarian, free enterprise view” that should govern the rest of the planet, say Cockell. “The conditions are so extreme that you want to minimize regulations.” But there should also be some way to set aside at least some part of the planet where economic motivations don’t take precedence. “Even though the surface of these planetary bodies is very large and it’s not like anyone will overcrowd them, some sort of conservation ethic should be part of settling these places.”

What about the rest of the Red Planet, where people might actually live? A few years ago, David Collins, a lecturer at City University, London, proposed a “limited form of first possession” as a model for Mars land use. Essentially, if you land on Mars, you’re allowed control and use of land within a certain radius (Collins suggests 100 kilometers, or about 62 miles) from your landing spot.

Last month's paper, by Haqq-Misra and co-author Sara Bruhns, proposes a “pragmatic approach” that combines these two ideas, of parks and limited possession. Their proposal stays more or less within the bounds of the Outer Space Treaty, because while it allows economic exploitation of Mars’ resources within a colony’s boundary, it does not establish sovereignty over those parcels of land. What that would mean, in practice, is that newcomers could camp out in an established colony, without permission. They would only have to negotiate use of resources with the colony’s borders.

It’s easy to imagine that this could lead to conflict. Imagine that your younger sibling came and sat in your room. Even if they’re not eating your snacks or playing with your toys, their very presence could get on your nerves after awhile. Presciently, Bruhns and Haqq-Misra also added a system for resolving conflicts on Mars. Every colony established, they suggest, will govern itself, but Mars settlers should also establish a “Mars Secretariat” to resolve conflicts with between colonies.

“If that broke down, the host nation is responsible for the ones it sends into space,” Haqq-Misra says. “But you could imagine a wide-scale rebellion, and the time it would take to organize a law enforcement mission from Earth to Mars. That’s one reason I like my idea of Mars liberation. It’s a little more radical, but it forces us to come up with new solutions to these problems.”

That sort of flexibility might be necessary, too: settlers on Mars may have to live underground in soil that’s toxic to human metabolic systems to avoid exposure to radiation. Whereas people on Earth usually divide the rights to land between surface rights and mineral rights, people on Mars may need completely different ideas for how to divvy up space, both above and below the ground.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: JeffreyS on June 16, 2016, 10:52:50 AM
Interesting BT when we start using interplanetary resources there will be competition and conflict over them. No wind farms on Mars though atmosphere is too thin. (That was the biggest problem with the science on the movie the Martian wind even at fast speeds on mars would feel light.)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 16, 2016, 12:17:54 PM
For asteroids and such I think whomever has physical possession should have exclusive mining rights... IE... he who takes the risks... reaps the rewards.  Planets and moons will be difficult as the article suggests...  8)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 20, 2016, 10:57:28 AM
http://qz.com/702624/as-silicon-valley-lays-plans-to-colonize-mars-researchers-offer-a-blueprint-for-governing-it/

Quote
As Silicon Valley lays plans to colonize Mars, researchers offer a blueprint for governing it

NASA has been tasked with landing humans on Mars by the 2030s. The nonprofit Mars One foundation claims it’s preparing to blast off hardware for human habitation of the Red Planet by 2024. And Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, has made it his mission to turn Mars into humanity’s second home to save our species from possible extinction.
No political system exists to manage these new arrivals—and if humans indeed colonize Mars in the 21st century, we’re going to need one soon. But it’s hard to find good precedents for governing in a place where air may need to be a basic right of citizenry and an entire planet is up for grabs.
Musk’s vision for governance on Mars is steeped in the libertarian-leaning ideals of Silicon Valley. At a recent Recode event, he described a system of “direct democracy,” rather than a reliance on elected officials to represent the masses. Musk would let people vote directly on most (if not all) issues before the government. Laws would be subject to expiration dates and popular recall by 40% of the population, ensuring it’s “easier to remove a law than to create one.” Musk believes the colonization of another planet will give humanity an opportunity to reboot its mode of governance, much as the US Constitution did in 1788, making a sharp break with outdated institutions and ideas born in an earlier era.
Humans have learned a lot in the intervening centuries about how to manage competing polities. And researchers publishing in the journal Space Policy on May 30 say we should use them. Three treaties in particular—agreements governing the high seas, Antarctica, and outer space— point the way to “successful sharing of international resources,” say the authors.

The researchers, from the nonprofit Blue Marble Space Institute of Science in Seattle, came to rather different conclusions than Musk about how to encourage harmony between rival states, sustain Martian exploration, and avoid follies ranging from physical violence to rampant environmental degradation.
Their full proposal (https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1511/1511.05615.pdf) borrows from the Antarctic Treaty System and the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, as well as the 1967 Outer Space Treaty (https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1511/1511.05615.pdf) that decrees “the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind.” It hands local power to Martian inhabitants, coordinated by a weak central authority called the Mars Secretariat. No country can make a sovereign claim, but property rights to extract minerals and resources are permitted. Colonizing parties can occupy limited plots of Martian land, and claim exclusive economic rights within a 100 kilometer radius, but not prevent others from inhabiting or traversing the territory. Colonists remain under the legal jurisdiction of their host nation. Conflicts are resolved either by temporary Martian tribunals of representatives from other Mars colonies or diplomacy back on Earth.

The researchers say they drew two lessons from history in thinking through principles for a future Martian government. The first is that space-faring nations will probably resist, if not reject, attempts by a strong central authority to impinge on national sovereignty. The second is that any proposal to redistribute to all nations any riches from Mars will probably fail. The ill-fated Moon Agreement of 1979 seized on both ideas and never won support from a single space-faring country (although 11 nations that have never been to space signed on). The Antarctic and ocean treaties were explicitly crafted to avoid these kinds of clauses.
To address the Outer Space Treaty’s decree that space should benefit all humanity, the authors offer several possibilities: the creation of “planetary parks” preserving land for scientific and cultural purposes; a “Mars tax,” from the use of Mars resources, distributed to all countries; or a reinterpretation of the clause, to designate the creation of space colonies as an intrinsic benefit to the species. That, the authors say, should balance the need for property rights and private investment with shared benefits as humans settle our solar system.
The urgency is real. Martian colonists may be years away, but the legal structure for the private sector to invest in space exploration (and mine asteriods) must be in place to catalyze the investments that will get us there. With that in mind, Congress already passed a commercial space bill, the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2262 (https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2262), to enable these businesses. It was signed into law last November. It recognizes property claims of US citizens who mine celestial bodies, prevents others from interfering with their activities, and offers liability protection for highly risky spaceflights.

Space lawyer James Dunstan said the bill was designed to reassure entrepreneurs that the “US will recognize claims of property rights of US citizens who go out and mine asteroids…if you expend the resources and go do it, and bring that stuff back, we will agree—recognize it—as your property.” But the scope of the law is narrow. It was criticized by groups like TechFreedom, a libertarian think tank on technology policy, for lacking a way to resolve conflicts and holding the potential to ignite a new space race for territory grabs.
The authors of the Mars governance proposal say that plans by both SpaceX and Mars One may violate the Outer Space Treaty. If so, this gives policy makers about a decade to get things right. Musk said last week that Space X’s plan is to launch Mars missions beginning in 2018 and then every two years or so from there on out. A manned flight would follow during the 2020s. (And NASA is only a decade behind.)
By 2040, Musk expects to see a thriving Martian city and, three decades later, a red planet inhabited by at least 1 million people. He wants to join them and retire on the planet before he turns 100.
By that time, it may not matter what those of us on Earth think. The principle of a society’s right to self-determination, articulated by US president Woodrow Wilson in 1918 in calling for the League of Nations, posited that people are now “dominated and governed only by their own consent.” The right for people to break away from their mother country was affirmed, and entered the annals of international law; more than 80 former colonies have gained independence and joined the United Nations since 1945, as Michael Byers, a political science researcher at the University of British Columbia, noted in a piece for the Washington Post.
In that spirit, a Mars colony should be entitled to independence, and the government of its choosing, if the colonists demand it through a popular vote. “Human rights are universal,” writes Byers. “They apply to every human being, on this planet and elsewhere.”
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: spuwho on June 20, 2016, 12:23:34 PM
I think the desire to colonize Mars is admirable and I dont have any issues with it in principle.

However, Mars is a cold, desolate and barren planet with very little air, no magnetic field and low gravity.

Living underground will be mandatory and until someone comes up with artificial gravity, will have significant long term side effects on any human who stays for an extended period of time.

I get the exploration stuff, its awesome, but there is a great deal of idealism to expect the economics of Mars to support 1 million people ever.

I can imagine the growth in technologies that will be required to support a population will be enourmous and significant, but without some basic breakthroughs in living science, peoples life there wont last 3 years, let alone a single generation.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 20, 2016, 01:10:20 PM
I think the desire to colonize Mars is admirable and I dont have any issues with it in principle.

However, Mars is a cold, desolate and barren planet with very little air, no magnetic field and low gravity.

Living underground will be mandatory and until someone comes up with artificial gravity, will have significant long term side effects on any human who stays for an extended period of time.

I get the exploration stuff, its awesome, but there is a great deal of idealism to expect the economics of Mars to support 1 million people ever.

I can imagine the growth in technologies that will be required to support a population will be enourmous and significant, but without some basic breakthroughs in living science, peoples life there wont last 3 years, let alone a single generation.

If only we could get the internet on our telephones?? :D  Hmmm... Elon Musk says he and his will be there in a mere 10 years... Without NASA.  A million people must begin with one.  How will humans divy up the planet?  First flag in the ground?  First anti rocket laser cannon?  An Antarctic style arrangement?  We dont need solutions or answers yet... but... tic tic tic... time flies when your not paying attention...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 20, 2016, 01:28:38 PM
Some old NASA posters...  8)

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/nasas-retro-mars-recruitment-posters-make-us-nostalgic-as-hell?trk_source=homepage-lede

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: spuwho on June 20, 2016, 07:07:50 PM
I think the desire to colonize Mars is admirable and I dont have any issues with it in principle.

However, Mars is a cold, desolate and barren planet with very little air, no magnetic field and low gravity.

Living underground will be mandatory and until someone comes up with artificial gravity, will have significant long term side effects on any human who stays for an extended period of time.

I get the exploration stuff, its awesome, but there is a great deal of idealism to expect the economics of Mars to support 1 million people ever.

I can imagine the growth in technologies that will be required to support a population will be enourmous and significant, but without some basic breakthroughs in living science, peoples life there wont last 3 years, let alone a single generation.

If only we could get the internet on our telephones?? :D  Hmmm... Elon Musk says he and his will be there in a mere 10 years... Without NASA.  A million people must begin with one.  How will humans divy up the planet?  First flag in the ground?  First anti rocket laser cannon?  An Antarctic style arrangement?  We dont need solutions or answers yet... but... tic tic tic... time flies when your not paying attention...

People said almost the same thing about the Yukon....just before gold was found.  It was cold, remote, no women, no whiskey, why would anyone want to go there? Then gold and voila, everyone wanted to be there.

So my guess is that Mars will be initially populated with frontier like people, people who can say they did it and scientists working on their astrophysics PhD.  And then someone will stumble onto some incredible rare mineral and once the surveys show that the planet is loaded with it, then the swarms will come looking to get rich.

https://www.youtube.com/v/dAX2H0hpOc4
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 30, 2016, 09:08:04 AM
http://mars.nasa.gov/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1913

Quote
06.14.2016
Rover Opportunity Wrapping up Study of Martian Valley

"Marathon Valley," slicing through a large crater's rim on Mars, has provided fruitful research targets for NASA's Opportunity rover since July 2015, but the rover may soon move on.
Opportunity recently collected a sweeping panorama from near the western end of this east-west valley. The vista shows an area where the mission investigated evidence about how water altered the ancient rocks and, beyond that, the wide floor of Endeavour Crater and the crater's eastern rim about 14 miles (22 kilometers) away.

Marathon Valley lured the mission because researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter had mapped water-related clay minerals at this area of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover team chose the valley's informal name because Opportunity's arrival at this part of the rim coincided closely with the rover surpassing marathon-footrace distance in total driving since its January 2004 Mars landing.

"We are wrapping up our last few activities in Marathon Valley and before long we'll drive away, exiting along the southern wall of the valley and heading southeast," said Opportunity Principal Investigator Steve Squyres, of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

As Opportunity examined the clay-bearing rocks on the valley floor that were detected from orbit, the rover's own observations of the valley's southern flank revealed streaks of red-toned, crumbly material. The science team chose to investigate this apparently weathered material. The rover approached exposures of it to prepare for using the Rock Abrasion Tool, called the RAT. This tool grinds away a rock's surface to expose the interior for inspection.

"What we usually do to investigate material that's captured our interest is find a bedrock exposure of it and use the RAT," Squyres said. "What we didn't realize until we took a close-enough look is that this stuff has been so pervasively altered, it's not bedrock. There's no solid bedrock you could grind with the RAT."

Instead, the rover exposed some fresh surfaces for inspection by scuffing some of the reddish material with a wheel.

Squyres said, "In the scuff, we found one of the highest sulfur contents that's been seen anywhere on Mars. There's strong evidence that, among other things, these altered zones have a lot of magnesium sulfate. We don't think these altered zones are where the clay is, but magnesium sulfate is something you would expect to find precipitating from water.

"Fractures running through the bedrock, forming conduits through which water could flow and transport soluble materials, could alter the rock and create the pattern of red zones that we see."

As of June 14, Opportunity has driven 26.59 miles (42.79 kilometers). NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, built the rover and manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more information about Opportunity, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/rovers
http://mars.nasa.gov/mer/
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on October 20, 2016, 07:42:30 AM
http://mars.nasa.gov/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1940

Quote
0.07.2016
NASA's Opportunity Rover to Explore Mars Gully

NASA's Opportunity Mars rover will drive down a gully carved long ago by a fluid that might have been water, according to the latest plans for the 12-year-old mission. No Mars rover has done that before.

The longest-active rover on Mars also will, for the first time, visit the interior of the crater it has worked beside for the last five years. These activities are part of a two-year extended mission that began Oct. 1, the newest in a series of extensions going back to the end of Opportunity's prime mission in April 2004.

Opportunity launched on July 7, 2003 and landed on Mars on Jan. 24, 2004 (PST), on a planned mission of 90 Martian days, which is equivalent to 92.4 Earth days.
"We have now exceeded the prime-mission duration by a factor of 50," noted Opportunity Project Manager John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "Milestones like this are reminders of the historic achievements made possible by the dedicated people entrusted to build and operate this national asset for exploring Mars."

Opportunity begins its latest extended mission in the "Bitterroot Valley" portion of the western rim of Endeavour Crater, a basin 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter that was excavated by a meteor impact billions of years ago. Opportunity reached the edge of this crater in 2011 after more than seven years of investigating a series of smaller craters. In those craters, the rover found evidence of acidic ancient water that soaked underground layers and sometimes covered the surface.

The gully chosen as the next major destination slices west-to-east through the rim about half a mile (less than a kilometer) south of the rover's current location. It is about as long as two football fields.

"We are confident this is a fluid-carved gully, and that water was involved," said Opportunity Principal Investigator Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. "Fluid-carved gullies on Mars have been seen from orbit since the 1970s, but none had been examined up close on the surface before. One of the three main objectives of our new mission extension is to investigate this gully. We hope to learn whether the fluid was a debris flow, with lots of rubble lubricated by water, or a flow with mostly water and less other material."

The team intends to drive Opportunity down the full length of the gully, onto the crater floor. The second goal of the extended mission is to compare rocks inside Endeavour Crater to the dominant type of rock Opportunity examined on the plains it explored before reaching Endeavour.

"We may find that the sulfate-rich rocks we've seen outside the crater are not the same inside," Squyres said. "We believe these sulfate-rich rocks formed from a water-related process, and water flows downhill. The watery environment deep inside the crater may have been different from outside on the plain -- maybe different timing, maybe different chemistry."

The rover team will face challenges keeping Opportunity active for another two years. Most mechanisms onboard still function well, but motors and other components have far exceeded their life expectancy. Opportunity's twin, Spirit, lost use of two of its six wheels before succumbing to the cold of its fourth Martian winter in 2010. Opportunity will face its eighth Martian winter in 2017. Use of Opportunity's non-volatile "flash" memory for holding data overnight was discontinued last year, so results of each day's observations and measurements must be transmitted that day or lost.

In the two-year extended mission that ended last month, Opportunity explored the "Marathon Valley" area of Endeavour's western rim, documenting the geological context of water-related minerals that had been mapped there from orbital observations. Last month, the rover drove through "Lewis and Clark Gap," a low point in the wall separating Marathon Valley from Bitterroot Valley. A recent color panorama from the rover features " Wharton Ridge," which extends eastward from the gap.

This week, Opportunity is investigating rock exposures next to " Spirit Mound," a prominent feature near the eastern end of Bitterroot Valley. The third main science goal of the new extended mission is to find and examine rocks from a geological layer that was in place before the impact that excavated Endeavour Crater. The science team has not yet determined whether the mound area will provide rocks that old.

Opportunity and NASA's next-generation Mars rover, Curiosity, as well as three active NASA Mars orbiters, and surface missions to launch in 2018 and 2020 are steps in NASA's Journey to Mars, on track for sending humans there in the 2030s. JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, built Opportunity and manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more information about Opportunity, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/rovers
http://mars.nasa.gov/mer/


(http://mars.nasa.gov/imgs/2016/10/opportunity-marathon-valley-gully-map-pia20854-full.jpg)

(http://mars.nasa.gov/imgs/2016/10/opportunity-panorama-warton-ridge-enhanced-pia20850-full.jpg)

Quote
Panorama of 'Wharton Ridge' on Mars (Enhanced Color)

Mars Rover Opportunity's Panorama of 'Wharton Ridge' (Enhanced Color)
This scene from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows "Wharton Ridge," which forms part of the southern wall of "Marathon Valley" on the western rim of Endeavour Crater. In this version of the scene the landscape is presented in enhanced color to make differences in surface materials more easily visible

The full extent of Wharton Ridge is visible, with the floor of Endeavour Crater beyond it and the far wall of the crater in the distant background. Near the right edge of the scene is "Lewis and Clark Gap," through which Opportunity crossed from Marathon Valley to "Bitterroot Valley" in September 2016.

Before the rover departed Marathon Valley, its panoramic camera (Pancam) acquired the component images for this scene on Aug. 30, 2016, during the 4,480th Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity's work on Mars.

Opportunity's science team chose the ridge's name to honor the memory of Robert A. Wharton (1951-2012), an astrobiologist who was a pioneer in the use of terrestrial analog environments, particularly in Antarctica, to study scientific problems connected to the habitability of Mars. Over the course of his career, he was a visiting senior scientist at NASA Headquarters, vice president for research at the Desert Research Institute, provost at Idaho State University, and president of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

The view spans from east-northeast at left to southeast at right. Color in the scene comes from component images taken through three of the Pancam's color filters, centered on wavelengths of 753 nanometers (near-infrared), 535 nanometers (green) and 432 nanometers (violet).

(http://mars.nasa.gov/imgs/2016/10/opportunity-spirit-mound-endeavour-crater-enhanced-pia20852-full.jpg)

Quote
'Spirit Mound' Beside Martian Crater (Enhanced Color)

This Sept. 21, 2016, scene from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows "Spirit Mound" overlooking the floor of Endeavour Crater. The mound stands near the eastern end of "Bitterroot Valley" on the western rim of the crater, and this view faces eastward.

'Spirit Mound' at Edge of Endeavour Crater, Mars (Enhanced Color)
This scene from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows "Spirit Mound" overlooking the floor of Endeavour Crater. The mound stands near the eastern end of "Bitterroot Valley" on the western rim of the crater, and this view faces eastward.

In this version of the scene the landscape is presented in enhanced color to make differences in surface materials more easily visible

For scale, the two rocks at lower center are each about 8 inches (about 20 centimeters) across. At the mound's crest line, the image covers an area about 28 feet (about 8.5 meters) wide.

The component images for this mosaic were taken on Sept. 21, 2016, during the 4,501st Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity's work on Mars. Exposures were taken through three of the Pancam's color filters, centered on wavelengths of 753 nanometers (near-infrared), 535 nanometers (green) and 432 nanometers (violet).

The informal name the rover's science team chose for this feature refers to Spirit Mound in South Dakota. The team is using names of sites visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition as informal names for features in Mars' Bitterroot Valley (named for a valley that the expedition visited in Montana).
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: spuwho on October 20, 2016, 12:26:12 PM
Great updates. The translation of scale from the orbital photos to those made on the ground still amaze me.

I still feel like I am looking at photos of the Great Basin in Nevada.

As far as the gullys and valleys on Mars, I am of the belief the larger valleys were formed when a meteor hit and caused a massive ice melt which caused enough water to flow and pool, until it either was reabsorbed and froze into the soil or evaporated when the meteoric dust cloud dispersed.

Until we get the long term gravity issue resolved, mankind will not survive on Mars for more than a year at the most. It will take more than Mark Watney's potatoes to fix it.

The ISS has proven that life in zero-g causes loss of vision in long duration space flight. Until they can find a way to resolve it, our Martian time will be very, very limited.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on October 20, 2016, 01:09:18 PM
This is a 90 day... DAY... mission that has lasted 12 years... YEARS!  Simply effing amazing!  8)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: Gunnar on October 20, 2016, 02:05:58 PM
Until we get the long term gravity issue resolved, mankind will not survive on Mars for more than a year at the most. It will take more than Mark Watney's potatoes to fix it.

The ISS has proven that life in zero-g causes loss of vision in long duration space flight. Until they can find a way to resolve it, our Martian time will be very, very limited.

Mars does have a considerably lower gravity than earth (0.375 times that of earth) but not zero gravity. Radiation is probably the bigger issue.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: spuwho on October 22, 2016, 07:54:15 PM
Until we get the long term gravity issue resolved, mankind will not survive on Mars for more than a year at the most. It will take more than Mark Watney's potatoes to fix it.

The ISS has proven that life in zero-g causes loss of vision in long duration space flight. Until they can find a way to resolve it, our Martian time will be very, very limited.

Mars does have a considerably lower gravity than earth (0.375 times that of earth) but not zero gravity. Radiation is probably the bigger issue.

Thanks Gunnar, allow me to restate, the ISS shows that human exposure to zero-g can cause eventual blindness, a fractional gravity would simply extend the period by which it would take the eyeball to deform.

I agree, radiation is a big issue, because Mars doesnt have a magnetic field like Earth, it is massively susceptible to solar flares and other extra solar radiation events.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on November 09, 2016, 10:53:48 AM
http://www.popsci.com/ron-howard-and-brian-grazer-want-you-to-go-to-mars

Quote
WHY RON HOWARD AND BRIAN GRAZER WANT TO TAKE YOU TO MARS
IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS OF NATGEO'S 'MARS' MINISERIES DISCUSS COLONIZING THE RED PLANET
By Sarah Fecht

(http://www.popsci.com/sites/popsci.com/files/styles/large_1x_/public/images/2016/11/daedalus_mars_01.jpg?itok=oPeQLd4a&fc=50,50)

If you liked The Martian and/or love Elon Musk, then National Geographic has a show for you. Half documentary and half dramatization, Mars is a six-part miniseries about colonizing the red planet, and it debuts on November 14 at 9pm Eastern.
The series relies on interviews with hotshots like astronaut Scott Kelly, NASA chief Charles Bolden, science spokesperson Neil deGrasse Tyson, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to paint a picture of what the journey to Mars could look like and how we might get there. Although many of those details haven't been settled in real life, the series makes educated guesses about humanity's interplanetary future.
Executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer previously worked together on Apollo 13, A Brilliant Mind, and From Earth to the Moon. We caught up with them to chat about why Mars captured their attention, and how it felt to make a documentary about the future instead of the past. An edited transcript follows.

Brian Grazer: Basically, Ron and I like space. Everybody likes the feeling of being transported to space. Recently, Justin Wilkes at RadicalMedia [a company that helped produce the series] came to me and said they wanted to do a movie or series about colonizing Mars. I call up Ron and said, 'What do you think of this?' And he goes 'I like it.' Within 24 hours I had lunch with Peter Rice [the CEO for Fox, which owns Nat Geo], and he just jumped on the idea. It was the fastest pitch and the fastest buy we ever had in our lifetime.
PS: Why do you think that is? Why is Mars such an appealing topic right now?
Ron Howard: There's a tipping point that's going on. It's kind of supercharged by Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, and to a degree Richard Branson--high profile people who've sort of said, 'Exploration has to happen in one way, shape, or form.' Elon has been sort of the most dramatic about wanting to go all the way to Mars and make it happen. And NASA and President Obama have completely embraced this and redoubled their efforts to make that a priority. Mars is also very cinematic, and incredibly exotic, and dangerous. Everybody knows that it's going to be mankind's greatest challenge, and greatest adventure.

BG: I think the global mass culture is either consciously or unconsciously sensitized to how vulnerable we are here on the planet. And so I think this is sort of primordial to us as human beings. How do we preserve our species in the case of some kind of global catastrophe?
PS: Are you hoping that the series helps to make Mars colonization happen in real life?
BG: I'd like for people to understand what it would be like to transport ourselves to space--what that feels like, the adventure, the discoveries, and its potential outcomes of just having tremendous scientific and geopolitical importance.
RH: My motive is a close cousin to that. This is exciting to deal with--what it would take, what it would be like, what would it mean to go to Mars and colonize? I believe in the imperative to explore, so any project that I can be involved with that celebrates that, and expands people's imagination around that idea of pushing out, is one of the most positive things that I think I could be involved with.

PS: In the series, the group that leads to way to Mars is a coalition of space-faring nations and aerospace corporations. Why not just have NASA do it?
RH: We felt that the most progressive idea that we could offer would be that private resources had been pooled in an international effort to do this thing. I think we wanted to de-politicize it, and also encourage that kind of thinking, and show that great entrepreneurs are willing to do it.
PS: Compared to making movies about past events, like with Apollo 13, what was it like making a documentary of the future? Especially since many of the details about the journey to Mars haven't been finalized.
RH: There's a tremendous amount of research that's being done and it's been going on since the Apollo era. Rocket scientists have been building on that for these last 50 years. No, we don't know everything. A lot of it is conjecture. But there's a hell of a lot that they feel they're very certain of. So everything we tried to dramatize is inspired by what we've learned or through the interviews that we conducted.

BG: It axes on the same thing. It's research, it's meeting astronauts and people who are involved in space flight, in this case Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos' people. There's always research involved. In the case of Mars, one has to extrapolate on what that would look like to colonize, and so it's very different. One is interpreting an actual event, and the other is prognosticating based on speaking to experts, whether it's NASA JPL or one of these companies: what are the possibilities, what are the outcomes, what are the risks, all of those kinds of things.
RH: A great jumping off place was Stephen Petranek's book, How We'll Live On Mars. Everybody in the field thinks it's very well researched, even if they don't agree with every detail. So we worked with Stephen and utilized his book as a foundation.
PS: Would you go to Mars if you had the chance?
BG: I have a hard time just taking trans-Atlantic flights, so I don't think I have the skill set for it. Ron would probably go. I wouldn't.
RH: I wouldn't go. It's a huge commitment. But I interviewed Scott Kelly at the space station, and he said, "Well, I've spent now a year and a half in space, I don't think so." And then he waited and he said, "But if they thought they needed an old guy, I'd probably go." It's irresistible for a particular breed of human being, but I probably don't quite fall into that category.

https://www.youtube.com/v/9rLZYyMbJic

https://www.youtube.com/v/4tIXHLC24aY

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: spuwho on November 09, 2016, 01:43:38 PM
I saw the promos for this and I would like to see it.

Hopefully they cover the physical risks of long term Martian stays. We have been technically able to send humans to Mars for sometime and I have no doubt about that happening. Its the physical and mental impacts that are not discussed very well at times.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on November 09, 2016, 01:46:50 PM
Radiation, cosmic rays and bone / muscle loss are huge issues that need to be addressed and overcome...
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 09, 2017, 01:33:01 PM
The Spiders from Mars...  8)


(http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/imgs/2016/12/mars-hirise-baby-spider-growth-pia21257-br2.gif)

Quote
'Baby Spider': Growth of a Martian Trough Network

This sequence of three images shows the growth of a branching network of troughs carved by thawing carbon dioxide over the span of three Martian years. This process is believed to also form larger radially patterned channel features known as Martian "spiders."

The images were taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and included in a report on the first detection of such troughs persisting and growing, from one Mars year to the next.

The ground area included in this animated GIF sequence spans about 640 feet (195 meters) across, at 70 degrees south latitude, 178 degrees east longitude. The three images are excerpts from HiRISE observations ESP_014185_1095 , taken Aug. 5, 2009; ESP_023600_1095 , taken Aug. 9, 2011; and ESP_041402_1095, taken May 25, 2015. The sequence repeats multiple times.

(http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/imgs/2016/12/mars-landscape-araneiforms-fans-pia21258-br2.jpg)

Quote
Possible Development Stages of Martian 'Spiders'

These five images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show different Martian features of progressively greater size and complexity, all thought to result from thawing of seasonal carbon-dioxide ice that covers large areas near Mars' south pole during winter.

The sequence illustrates possible stages in development of a type of Martian terrain called "araneiform," from Latin for spider-shaped. They range from a depression with one trough (upper left) to a broad network of "spiders" (lower right). Each image has a scale bar in meters, from 20 meters (66 feet) in the upper-left image to 300 meters (984 feet) in the lower-right one.

Each image also includes dark "fans" that result from the same thawing process. Carbon-dioxide ice, better known as "dry ice," does not occur naturally on Earth. On Mars, sheets of it cover the ground during winter in areas near both poles, including the south-polar regions with spidery terrain. The dark fans appear in these areas each spring.

Spring sunshine penetrates the ice to warm the ground underneath, causing some carbon dioxide on the bottom of the sheet to thaw into gas. The trapped gas builds pressure until a crack forms in the ice sheet. Gas erupts out, and gas beneath the ice rushes toward the vent, picking up particles of sand and dust. This erodes the ground and also supplies the geyser with particles that fall back to the surface, downwind, and appear as the dark spring fans.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on April 27, 2017, 08:08:10 AM
The intrepid rover Opportunity keeps chugging along... this dusty creaky old rover has moved another half mile since my last update and I suspect it will remain in this general location for the next 6 months at least as there is a lot to look at in this new area called Perseverance Valley.  8)

Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Opportunity Nears 'Perseverance Valley' - sols 4692-4698, April 05, 2017-April 11, 2017:
Opportunity is continuing the drive south to 'Perseverance Valley' on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover drove on Sols 4693 and 4695 (April 6 and April 8, 2017), covering 46 feet (14.11 meters) and 138 feet (41.94 meters), respectively and is now within 0.2 miles (350 meters) of the valley. Targeted Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images were taken before each drive with Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Pancam panoramas collected after the drives. Color clast surveys of the ground were performed on Sols 4692, 4694 and 4696 (April 5, April 7 and April 9, 2017). On Sol 4697 (April 10, 2017), the robotic arm was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) of an exposed outcrop target. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was placed on the same target for a multi-hour integration.

As of Sol 4698 (April 11, 2017), the solar array energy production was 414 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.996 and a solar array dust factor of 0.596.

Total odometry is 27.59 miles (44.41 kilometers).

(https://mars.nasa.gov/mer/mission/tm-opportunity/images/MERB_Sol4695_1.jpg)

(https://mars.nasa.gov/mer/gallery/all/1/n/4712/1N546508614EFFCYIWP1826R0M1.JPG)

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 12, 2017, 07:48:01 AM
https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/mission/status.html#opportunity

Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Opportunity Reaches 'Perseverance Valley' - sols 4719 - 4725, May 3, 2017 - May 9, 2017:
Opportunity has arrived at the top of "Perseverance Valley" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The next step on Sol 4720 (May 4, 2017), was a short approach of 39 feet (12 meters) to the northern end of the "spillway" that overtops into Perseverance. From this vantage point, the rover has been engaged in multiple-sol collection of extensive Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas all around the rover. This is to document the spillway notch, as well as, the morphology of the channel that enters into the spillway, along with more distant features.

Early on the morning of Sol 4721 (May 5, 2017), Opportunity was able to capture with the Pancam camera a transit of the Martian moon, Phobos across the sun.

As of Sol 4725 (May 9, 2017), the solar array energy production was 391 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.893 and a solar array dust factor of 0.554.

Total odometry is 27.80 miles (44.74 kilometers).

(https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/gallery/all/1/p/4726/1P547742761EFFCZ00P2424L2M1-BR.JPG)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 19, 2017, 10:28:47 AM
Quote
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Opportunity Takes in the View from the Top of 'Perseverance Valley' - sols 4726 - 4732, May 10, 2017 - May 16, 2017:
Opportunity is at the top of "Perseverance Valley" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The current plan is to survey the valley below in order to generate a digital elevation map for route planning down the valley.

On Sols 4726 to 4729 (May 10 and May 13, 2017), the rover conducted an extensive Panoramic Camera (Pancam) survey, collecting more than two dozen multi-color frames. Then, on Sol 4730 (May 14, 2017), Opportunity drove north with a 74-feet (22.7-meter) dogleg to reach a promontory that overlooks the valley below. From this location, the rover is collecting one "eye" of a long-baseline stereo survey.

On Sols 4731 and 4732 (May 15 and May 16, 2017), Pancam long-baseline stereo imaging was collected. After this long-baseline imaging campaign is complete, Opportunity will commence a walk-about of the region around the top of the valley spillway.

As of Sol 4732 (May 16, 2017), the solar array energy production was 384 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.870 and a solar array dust factor of 0.547.

Total odometry is 27.82 miles (44.77 kilometers).

(https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/mission/tm-opportunity/images/MERB_Sol4720_1.jpg)
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 30, 2017, 09:19:49 AM
Very cool video...  8)

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A tour of Mars assembled from NASA images reveals a wondrous but uninviting planet

Since it first began orbiting Mars in 2006, the HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment), a powerful camera attached to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, has captured some 50,000 images of the planet. Its photographs have given scientists unprecedented access to Mars’s canyons, craters, mountains and sand dunes – the most detailed looks at the topography of another planet to date. In making A Fictive Flight Above Real Mars, the Finnish filmmaker Jan Fröjdman transformed stereoscopic anaglyphs taken by HiRISE into coloured, seemingly three-dimensional moving images, giving viewers something resembling the experience of a leisurely flight above our neighbouring planet. While often breathtaking, the video depicts unmistakably desolate, barren landscapes, hostile to human life, and still very far from a place to call home.

Director: Jan Fröjdman

https://www.youtube.com/v/bTFoaycB8ps?ecver=1




Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 11, 2018, 09:00:31 AM
This rover limps along (28 miles) gathering data 10 years past its expected life span... It is now exploring what appears to be a channel where water once flowed...

https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/home/index.html

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OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Opportunity Takes Images Over the Holiday Period - sols 4943 to 4957, Dec. 19, 2017 - Jan. 2, 2018:
Opportunity is continuing her winter exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned upstream of a fork in the flow channels. Over the holiday period Opportunity stayed in place collecting extensive Panoramic Camera (Pancam) color stereo imagery of the surroundings. Over 70 frames of Pancam imagery were collected. With the robotic arm positioning the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on a surface target, long elemental integrations were collected on Sols 4943, 4945 and 4947 (Dec. 19, 21 and 23, 2017). Only a single sol, Sol 4956 (Jan. 1, 2018), was a recharge sol.

As of Sol 4957 (Jan. 2, 2018), the solar array energy production was 420 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.483 and a solar array dust factor of 0.663.

Total odometry is 28.01 miles (45.08 kilometers).

(https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/mission/tm-opportunity/images/MERB_Sol4836_1_br2.jpg)

(https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/gallery/all/1/p/4964/1P568866090EFFD0J8P2390L5M1.JPG)

(https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/gallery/all/1/n/4959/1N568428391EFFD0J8P1826L0M1-BR.JPG)

(https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/gallery/all/1/n/4959/1N568428195EFFD0J8P1826L0M1-BR.JPG)



Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on February 26, 2018, 09:10:13 AM
https://www.youtube.com/v/SWr6GoGaqdQ

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 25, 2018, 06:49:17 AM
https://www.youtube.com/v/OFWS1Dh6H_4

Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 14, 2018, 10:35:43 AM
Opportunity is in trouble...  ???

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/kzkk4z/nasas-opportunity-rover-is-battling-for-its-life-in-an-epic-martian-dust-storm

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NASA’s Opportunity Rover Is Battling for Its Life in an Epic Martian Dust Storm
Opportunity has driven farther and lived longer than any interplanetary rover. But can it survive one of the most intense dust storms ever observed on Mars?
Becky Ferreira Jun 13 2018, 3:42pm

NASA’s Opportunity rover, which landed on Mars in 2004, is the endurance champion of interplanetary explorers. Over the past 14 years, it has trundled across some 30 miles of Mars’ equatorial Meridiani Planum region—by far the longest distance traveled on an alien world—and has outlived its planned mission length 56 times over.

But Opportunity is now battling a potentially fatal challenge, in the aptly named Perseverance Valley. For the past few weeks, the rover has become enveloped by a gigantic dust storm. Stretching out over an area the size of North America and Russia combined, it is one of the most intense storms ever observed on Mars, and Opportunity is right in the center of it. (The Curiosity rover is fine and has avoided the worst of the storm.)

“There’s a severe dust storm on Mars that is threatening Opportunity,” John Callas, Opportunity project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said in a Wednesday teleconference.

“As a result, the rover has fallen asleep and is waiting out the storm. The project team is very concerned. We’re watching the weather and we’re listening with the Deep Space Network for signals.”

(https://video-images.vice.com/_uncategorized/1528918689038-callas-1-pia22521_sky1b.png?resize=985:*)
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The dust storm from Opportunity’s perspective. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/TAMU

Dust blotted out the Sun from Opportunity’s perspective, forcing the solar-powered Opportunity to hunker down and switch off every energy-sucking instrument except its master clock, Callas said. The rover transmitted its last message on Sunday, telling its operators that it was running on very little power.

“Even though we heard from the rover, the rover was under master sequence control, I made the decision to declare a spacecraft emergency because there wasn’t enough energy to sustain activities,” Callas said.

Opportunity weathered a giant dust storm before, in 2007, but its Mars Exploration Rover (MER) twin, Spirit, wasn’t so fortunate, as it was left with much more dust on its solar panels. After a string of bad luck, including getting stuck in a sand trap, Spirit stopped communicating with NASA, likely because it lacked the energy to ward off cold hardware-wrecking temperatures. NASA declared the rover dead in 2011.

The MER team is cautiously optimistic that Opportunity will escape this fate, and not only because the rover has managed to overcome everything else Mars has thrown at it. Spirit was struggling to keep warm during the dark and cold Martian winter, but when the dust clears for Opportunity, which mission leads expect will be another month or two, it will be summer on Mars. Unlike Spirit, Opportunity has warmer temperatures and more sunlight to aid its recuperation.

(https://video-images.vice.com/_uncategorized/1528918748997-800px-Opportunity_rover_lifetime_progress_map.jpeg?resize=800:*)

“At this point, we’re in a waiting mode,” Callas said. “We’re listening everyday for possible signals from the rover and being prepared to respond to that. We’re concerned but we’re hopeful that the storm will clear and the rover will be able to communicate to us.”

However, there’s a chance that Opportunity has finally met its maker on Mars. It’s too soon to start eulogizing this long-lived Martian explorer, but even so, it’s an opportunity to take a moment to reflect on this rover’s incredible stamina and the insights into our neighbor world it has delivered.

“We’re all pulling for Opportunity,” Jim Watzin, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters, said in the teleconference. “As you know it’s been a remarkably resilient rover. I’s longevity has taught us much about operating on the surface of Mars. Regardless of how this turns out, this rover has proven to be an invaluable investment that has greatly increased our ability to explore the red planet.”
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on February 13, 2019, 10:18:14 AM
it is a sad day today...  :(

https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/moon-mars/a26322768/rip-opportunity-rover/

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NASA Says Goodnight to Opportunity, Its Most Enduring Mars Rover
Opportunity colored our modern understanding of the red planet. Now, it's time to say goodbye.

By John Wenz  Feb 13, 2019

It looks like lights out for Opportunity, one of NASA's most successful missions of all time.

The craft, which arrived at the Red Planet in July 2004, has been out of communication since last summer. Many months' worth of attempts to contact the craft failed. Today, NASA is officially saying goodbye to the craft that, for years and years, couldn't be stopped. At 2 p.m. Eastern, the space agency will give a press conference on the rover and is expected to say that the last attempts to reach it have failed.

Opportunity had been roving the surface of Mars for 15 years before the ominous, giant global dust storm that sealed its demise came along. This wasn't the first time a dust storm had made Oppy go silent. But a subsequent "cleaning" event—what NASA calls it when weather conditions clear, exposing the solar panels and allowing the craft to recharge—never happened. (The Curiosity rover, by contrast, uses a plutonium-powered device called a radioisotope thermoelectric generator as a power source.)

Band of Rovers

It may seem hard to believe given NASA's string of successful Mars missions, but the first successful rover didn't deploy until 1997. That's when the Sojourner craft arrived at Mars, roving for 83 Martian days on what was intended to be a seven-day test mission.

NASA followed Sojourner up in 2003 with two crafts—Spirit and Opportunity. Spirit was launched first, leaving Earth in June 2003 and arriving in January 2004. Like its sister craft, Spirit vastly outperformed its intended 90-day mission, returning science for nearly six years before becoming permanently stuck by a rock. (Driving vehicles on other planets is really, really hard when you can't be there in person.)

But even with its sibling gone, Opportunity pressed on. Following its initial landing in 2004, the craft found evidence of past water on Mars, accumulating evidence of a rich, potentially habitable past on Mars. And aside from a few major storms that got in the way, the rover never stopped returning science data. If you could stand on the surface of Mars right now and gave upon Opportunity, you'd find that its instruments were deployed just days before last contact, ready to do science.

While some NASA spacecraft have endured for longer than 15 years, those are orbiter or flyby missions—they're not encountering the sheer number of hazards Opportunity did on the ground. While the Voyager missions pressed on even 42 years after launch, they never had to sweep through a global dust storm or survive hazardous terrain.

So while Opportunity may be gone, it leaves behind an incredible legacy. It's been suggested by some on the team that Curiosity may not ever get the same life span, and Mars 2020 (you can guess when NASA intends to launch it) is a lot like an upgraded Curiosity.

Opportunity's Legacy

We're not done exploring Mars just because this is the end of the line for Opportunity. There are still several orbiters around the planet including MAVEN, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. On the surface, there's Curiosity and the recently arrived Mars InSight, which will dig underground on Mars in search of seismic activity. In fact, InSight just deployed its Mole instrument this week. Mars 2020 and a potential orbiter mission are in the works.

And Oppy's discoveries will guide the future of Martian exploration. Other landers found only patchy evidence of the past life of Mars, but Opportunity unlocked ancient lake beds and truly uncanny evidence for a wet and warm past on the Red Planet. This, in turn, has fueled what we look for on Mars— which is to say, water and clues to if life could ever have arisen on Mars.

For instance, MAVEN is unlocking the history of the atmosphere and why a once-thick atmosphere went away. Curiosity is exploring an ancient lakebed. Odyssey and MRO look for seasonal deposits of water on Mars, while InSight will study underground, looking for potential signs of unexpected heat and seismic activity that could show that Mars is still alive.

So while today may be an official goodbye to Opportunity, it lives on in its legacy that informs our exploration of Mars every day. May we all be so lucky to have such a rich legacy. Goodnight, rover. You've served us better than we could ever have hoped for.
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on June 13, 2019, 03:58:15 PM
Send your name to Mars on the next rover...

This will be the third rover with my name on it...   8)

https://mars.nasa.gov/participate/send-your-name/mars2020/
Title: Re: Mars Lives.
Post by: BridgeTroll on September 09, 2019, 09:05:38 AM
Time is running out...  8)

https://mars.nasa.gov/participate/send-your-name/mars2020/