Author Topic: Mars Rover Curiosity  (Read 75683 times)

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #75 on: February 19, 2013, 08:28:14 AM »


Quote
02.13.2013
Laser Hits on Martian Drill Tailings (Annotated) 
A day after NASA's Mars rover Curiosity drilled the first sample-collection hole into a rock on Mars, the rover's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument shot laser pulses into the fresh rock powder that the drilling generated. This scene shows a line of pits left by laser hits on the drill tailings. The view is an annotated mosaic of images taken by the remote micro-imager in ChemCam, with color information from Curiosity's Mast Camera.

The drilled hole, at lower center, is about 0.6 inch (1.6 centimeters) in diameter. Curiosity drilled the hole 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) deep during the 182nd Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (Feb. 8, 2013). ChemCam repeatedly zapped several points near the hole on Sol 183 (Feb. 9, 2013) to obtain spectra providing information about composition, and then on the same sol took the images that have been combined to create this view. Arrows at 10 locations indicate the marks from the laser hits.

The site is on a patch of flat rock called "John Klein" in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Mars' Gale Crater.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/IRAP/CNES/LPGNantes/IAS/CNRS/MSSS
 
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #76 on: February 21, 2013, 09:35:17 AM »
Quote
02.20.2013
Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA Rover Confirms First Drilled Mars Rock Sample

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has relayed new images that confirm it has successfully obtained the first sample ever collected from the interior of a rock on another planet. No rover has ever drilled into a rock beyond Earth and collected a sample from its interior.
Transfer of the powdered-rock sample into an open scoop was visible for the first time in images received Wednesday at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

"Seeing the powder from the drill in the scoop allows us to verify for the first time the drill collected a sample as it bore into the rock," said JPL's Scott McCloskey, drill systems engineer for Curiosity. "Many of us have been working toward this day for years. Getting final confirmation of successful drilling is incredibly gratifying. For the sampling team, this is the equivalent of the landing team going crazy after the successful touchdown."

The drill on Curiosity's robotic arm took in the powder as it bored a 2.5-inch (6.4-centimeter) hole into a target on flat Martian bedrock on Feb. 8. The rover team plans to have Curiosity sieve the sample and deliver portions of it to analytical instruments inside the rover.

The scoop now holding the precious sample is part of Curiosity's Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA) device. During the next steps of processing, the powder will be enclosed inside CHIMRA and shaken once or twice over a sieve that screens out particles larger than 0.006 inch (150 microns) across.

Small portions of the sieved sample later will be delivered through inlet ports on top of the rover deck into the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.

In response to information gained during testing at JPL, the processing and delivery plan has been adjusted to reduce use of mechanical vibration. The 150-micron screen in one of the two test versions of CHIMRA became partially detached after extensive use, although it remained usable. The team has added precautions for use of Curiosity's sampling system while continuing to study the cause and ramifications of the separation.

The sample comes from a fine-grained, veiny sedimentary rock called "John Klein," named in memory of a Mars Science Laboratory deputy project manager who died in 2011. The rock was selected for the first sample drilling because it may hold evidence of wet environmental conditions long ago. The rover's laboratory analysis of the powder may provide information about those conditions.
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using the Curiosity rover with its 10 science instruments to investigate whether an area within Mars' Gale Crater ever has offered an environment favorable for microbial life. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.




Quote
02.20.2013
First Curiosity Drilling Sample in the Scoop 
This image from NASA's Curiosity rover shows the first sample of powdered rock extracted by the rover's drill. The image was taken after the sample was transferred from the drill to the rover's scoop. In planned subsequent steps, the sample will be sieved, and portions of it delivered to the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument and the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument.

The scoop is 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) wide.

The image was obtained by Curiosity's Mast Camera on Feb. 20, or Sol 193, Curiosity's 193rd Martian day of operations.

The image has been white-balanced to show what the sample would look like if it were on Earth. A raw-color version is also available.
 



Quote
02.20.2013
Sifting Martian Samples 
This image shows the location of the 150-micrometer sieve screen on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, a device used to remove larger particles from samples before delivery to science instruments. The sieve lies within the Collection and Handling for In-situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA) structure, which is on the end of the rover's turret, or arm.

This picture was taken by the rover's Mast Camera on Sol 81, the 81st Martian day of the mission (Oct. 28, 2012). The color has been white-balanced to show the scene as it would appear on Earth.
 



Quote
02.20.2013
Views of Curiosity's Drill 
These schematic drawings show a top view and a cutaway view of a section of the drill on NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars. The section view on the right also indicates the flow of material within the drill bit.
 
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #77 on: March 01, 2013, 10:13:27 AM »
Quote
02.28.2013
Computer Swap on Curiosity Rover

PASADENA, Calif. - The ground team for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has switched the rover to a redundant onboard computer in response to a memory issue on the computer that had been active.
The intentional swap at about 2:30 a.m. PST today (Thursday, Feb. 28) put the rover, as anticipated, into a minimal-activity precautionary status called "safe mode." The team is shifting the rover from safe mode to operational status over the next few days and is troubleshooting the condition that affected operations yesterday. The condition is related to a glitch in flash memory linked to the other, now-inactive, computer.

"We switched computers to get to a standard state from which to begin restoring routine operations," said Richard Cook of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, project manager for the Mars Science Laboratory Project, which built and operates Curiosity.

Like many spacecraft, Curiosity carries a pair of redundant main computers in order to have a backup available if one fails. Each of the computers, A-side and B-side, also has other redundant subsystems linked to just that computer. Curiosity is now operating on its B-side, as it did during part of the flight from Earth to Mars. It operated on its A-side from before the August 2012 landing through Wednesday.

"While we are resuming operations on the B-side, we are also working to determine the best way to restore the A-side as a viable backup," said JPL engineer Magdy Bareh, leader of the mission's anomaly resolution team.

The spacecraft remained in communications at all scheduled communication windows on Wednesday, but it did not send recorded data, only current status information. The status information revealed that the computer had not switched to the usual daily "sleep" mode when planned. Diagnostic work in a testing simulation at JPL indicates the situation involved corrupted memory at an A-side memory location used for addressing memory files.

Scientific investigations by the rover were suspended Wednesday and today. Resumption of science investigations is anticipated within several days. This week, laboratory instruments inside the rover have been analyzing portions of the first sample of rock powder ever collected from the interior of a rock on Mars.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity to assess whether areas inside Gale Crater ever offered a habitable environment for microbes. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

Adam W

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #78 on: March 01, 2013, 10:21:55 AM »
Quote
02.28.2013
Computer Swap on Curiosity Rover

PASADENA, Calif. - The ground team for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has switched the rover to a redundant onboard computer in response to a memory issue on the computer that had been active.
The intentional swap at about 2:30 a.m. PST today (Thursday, Feb. 28) put the rover, as anticipated, into a minimal-activity precautionary status called "safe mode." The team is shifting the rover from safe mode to operational status over the next few days and is troubleshooting the condition that affected operations yesterday. The condition is related to a glitch in flash memory linked to the other, now-inactive, computer.

"We switched computers to get to a standard state from which to begin restoring routine operations," said Richard Cook of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, project manager for the Mars Science Laboratory Project, which built and operates Curiosity.

Like many spacecraft, Curiosity carries a pair of redundant main computers in order to have a backup available if one fails. Each of the computers, A-side and B-side, also has other redundant subsystems linked to just that computer. Curiosity is now operating on its B-side, as it did during part of the flight from Earth to Mars. It operated on its A-side from before the August 2012 landing through Wednesday.

"While we are resuming operations on the B-side, we are also working to determine the best way to restore the A-side as a viable backup," said JPL engineer Magdy Bareh, leader of the mission's anomaly resolution team.

The spacecraft remained in communications at all scheduled communication windows on Wednesday, but it did not send recorded data, only current status information. The status information revealed that the computer had not switched to the usual daily "sleep" mode when planned. Diagnostic work in a testing simulation at JPL indicates the situation involved corrupted memory at an A-side memory location used for addressing memory files.

Scientific investigations by the rover were suspended Wednesday and today. Resumption of science investigations is anticipated within several days. This week, laboratory instruments inside the rover have been analyzing portions of the first sample of rock powder ever collected from the interior of a rock on Mars.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity to assess whether areas inside Gale Crater ever offered a habitable environment for microbes. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

I wonder if Howard Wolowitz was "entertaining" any ladies in the control room again...

Jason

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #79 on: March 01, 2013, 02:13:47 PM »
^ Hopefully he gets his space toilet figured out before we send some earthlings to Mars.

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #80 on: March 13, 2013, 09:13:29 AM »
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1438

Quote
03.12.2013
Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA Rover Finds Conditions Once Suited For Ancient Life On Mars

PASADENA, Calif. -- An analysis of a rock sample collected by NASA's Curiosity rover shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.

Scientists identified sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon -- some of the key chemical ingredients for life -- in the powder Curiosity drilled out of a sedimentary rock near an ancient stream bed in Gale Crater on the Red Planet last month.

"A fundamental question for this mission is whether Mars could have supported a habitable environment," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "From what we know now, the answer is yes."

Clues to this habitable environment come from data returned by the rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) and Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instruments. The data indicate the Yellowknife Bay area the rover is exploring was the end of an ancient river system or an intermittently wet lake bed that could have provided chemical energy and other favorable conditions for microbes. The rock is made up of a fine-grained mudstone containing clay minerals, sulfate minerals and other chemicals. This ancient wet environment, unlike some others on Mars, was not harshly oxidizing, acidic or extremely salty.

The patch of bedrock where Curiosity drilled for its first sample lies in an ancient network of stream channels descending from the rim of Gale Crater. The bedrock also is fine-grained mudstone and shows evidence of multiple periods of wet conditions, including nodules and veins.

Curiosity's drill collected the sample at a site just a few hundred yards away from where the rover earlier found an ancient streambed in September 2012.

"Clay minerals make up at least 20 percent of the composition of this sample," said David Blake, principal investigator for the CheMin instrument at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

These clay minerals are a product of the reaction of relatively fresh water with igneous minerals, such as olivine, also present in the sediment. The reaction could have taken place within the sedimentary deposit, during transport of the sediment, or in the source region of the sediment. The presence of calcium sulfate along with the clay suggests the soil is neutral or mildly alkaline.

Scientists were surprised to find a mixture of oxidized, less-oxidized, and even non-oxidized chemicals, providing an energy gradient of the sort many microbes on Earth exploit to live. This partial oxidation was first hinted at when the drill cuttings were revealed to be gray rather than red.
"The range of chemical ingredients we have identified in the sample is impressive, and it suggests pairings such as sulfates and sulfides that indicate a possible chemical energy source for micro-organisms," said Paul Mahaffy, principal investigator of the SAM suite of instruments at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

An additional drilled sample will be used to help confirm these results for several of the trace gases analyzed by the SAM instrument.

"We have characterized a very ancient, but strangely new 'gray Mars' where conditions once were favorable for life," said John Grotzinger, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. "Curiosity is on a mission of discovery and exploration, and as a team we feel there are many more exciting discoveries ahead of us in the months and years to come."

Scientists plan to work with Curiosity in the "Yellowknife Bay" area for many more weeks before beginning a long drive to Gale Crater's central mound, Mount Sharp. Investigating the stack of layers exposed on Mount Sharp, where clay minerals and sulfate minerals have been identified from orbit, may add information about the duration and diversity of habitable conditions.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project has been using Curiosity to investigate whether an area within Mars' Gale Crater ever has offered an environment favorable for microbial life. Curiosity, carrying 10 science instruments, landed seven months ago to begin its two-year prime mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more about the mission, visit: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl . You can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity




Quote
03.12.2013
Two Different Aqueous Environments 
This set of images compares rocks seen by NASA's Opportunity rover and Curiosity rover at two different parts of Mars. On the left is " Wopmay" rock, in Endurance Crater, Meridiani Planum, as studied by the Opportunity rover. On the right are the rocks of the "Sheepbed" unit in Yellowknife Bay, in Gale Crater, as seen by Curiosity.

The rock on the left is formed from sulfate-rich sandstone. Scientists think the particles were in part formed and cemented in the presence of water. They also think the concretions (spherical bumps distributed across rock face) were formed in the presence of water. The Meridiani rocks record an ancient aqueous environment that likely was not habitable due the extremely high acidity of the water, the very limited chemical gradients that would have restricted energy available, and the extreme salinity that would have impeded microbial metabolism -- if microrganisms had ever been present.

In the Sheepbed image on the right, these very fine-grained sediments represent the record of an ancient habitable environment. The Sheepbed sediments were likely deposited under water. Scientists think the water cemented the sediments, and also formed the concretions. The rock was then fractured and filled with sulfate minerals when water flowed through subsurface fracture networks (white lines running through rock). Data from several instruments on Curiosity -- the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer, the Chemistry and Camera instrument, the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument, the Mars Hand Lens Imager, the Mast Camera, and the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument -- all support these interpretations. They indicate a habitable environment characterized by neutral pH, chemical gradients that would have created energy for microbes, and a distinctly low salinity, which would have helped metabolism if microorganisms had ever been present.

Both color images have been white-balanced using the same technique to show roughly what they would look like if they were on Earth.

The "true color" image from Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam) was acquired on Sol 250 (the 250th Martian day of Opportunity's operations, which was Oct. 6, 2004, on Earth).

The image from Sheepbed was from Curiosity's Mast Camera on Sol 192 (the 192d Martian day of Curiosity's operations, which was Feb. 18, 2013, on Earth).

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/MSSS
 

 
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #81 on: March 19, 2013, 09:01:29 AM »
http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-03/mars-rover-curiosity-uncovers-watery-past-lots-gale-crater

Quote
Mars Rover Curiosity Uncovers A Watery Past Throughout Gale Crater

All around the site where the rover drilled its first sample, evidence shows the rocks formed in watery conditions.

By Rebecca BoylePosted 03.18.2013 at 3:33 pm

The Mars rover Curiosity's home in Gale Crater may be dry now, but it was definitely wet long, long ago, scientists said Monday. Curiosity has seen evidence of wet conditions all around the area where it drilled last month and has been parked in safe mode for a while.
 
The watery conditions extend beyond the site of Curiosity's drilling, according to NASA.

Scientists working with Curiosity keep noticing some interesting coloration in the rocks in Yellowknife Bay, where the rover has been exploring. Some of the rocks contain fissures, and bright veins crisscross their surfaces. Using a sensitive neutron instrument and the rover's infrared cameras, scientists were able to study these veins in great detail, and determine they contain signs of water.
 
"With Mastcam, we see elevated hydration signals in the narrow veins that cut many of the rocks in this area," said Melissa Rice of Caltech. "These bright veins contain hydrated minerals that are different from the clay minerals in the surrounding rock matrix."

That's interesting because it lends further credence to the idea that Gale Crater could have been hospitable for life. Curiosity's science team announced last week that past environmental conditions there were favorable for microbes. Now it looks like this is true across a broad swath of the area. It's also worth noting that this water apparently didn't change the rocks' chemical composition very much.

The rover's Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons instrument, or DAN, detected hydrogen in water molecules that are bound up inside minerals in the rock. There's a lot of variation in its location, but there is more in Yellowknife Bay than earlier on Curiosity's traverse, according to Maxim Litvak, deputy principal investigator for the DAN instrument at the Science Research Institute in Moscow.

Once Curiosity gets rolling again, it will cross another potentially interesting geologic boundary where scientists could find even more water evidence, Litvak said.
 
"We are looking forward for the next drive," he said in a news conference.


Quote
Hydration Map at Knorr Rock On this image of the rock target "Knorr," colors map the amount of mineral hydration indicated by a ratio of near-infrared reflectance intensities measured by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. The color scale on the right shows the assignment of colors for relative strength of the calculated signal for hydration. The map shows that the stronger signals for hydration are associated with pale veins and light-toned nodules in the rock. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/ASU
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

mbwright

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #82 on: March 19, 2013, 10:14:40 AM »
This is really amazing technology.  It's sad to see the space shuttle program dismantled, and losing direction.  Some really great products have come out of NASA research.

We can communicate with a robot on Mars, but I can't get cell coverage at my house and elsewhere with AT&T.  Something is so wrong.

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #83 on: May 09, 2013, 08:26:19 AM »
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21829163.600-mars-rover-wakes-up-gets-better-laser-aiming.html

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Mars rover wakes up, gets better laser aiming

SPRING break is over for NASA's Mars rover. But before it can get to work, Curiosity will receive some upgrades, such as the ability to fire its laser with more autonomy.

The rover had gone into standby mode throughout April, when Mars went behind the sun from our perspective. Limited radio communications made it too difficult for drivers on Earth to send Curiosity new commands.

The blackout left the team with a cliffhanger: in March, Curiosity had delivered the first chemical evidence of an ancient life-friendly environment on Mars.

The rover woke up on 1 May and is transitioning to new software. As a result, the ChemCam tool, which shoots rocks with a laser to analyse the resulting puff of gas, will be able to auto-adjust to avoid glare from the sun, letting it aim at a wider range of rocks.

After the upgrade, Curiosity will try to confirm the habitable conditions at its current site, says mission lead scientist John Grotzinger. "After that, we're likely to begin the trek to Mount Sharp," a layered mountain that should show how the Martian surface has changed over time.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #84 on: May 29, 2013, 10:32:11 AM »


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PASADENA, Calif. - NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has used the drill on its robotic arm to collect a powdered sample from the interior of a rock called "Cumberland."
Plans call for delivering portions of the sample in coming days to laboratory instruments inside the rover. This is only the second time that a sample has been collected from inside a rock on Mars. The first was Curiosity's drilling at a target called "John Klein" three months ago. Cumberland resembles John Klein and lies about nine feet (2.75 meters) farther west. Both are within a shallow depression called "Yellowknife Bay."

The hole that Curiosity drilled into Cumberland on May 19 is about 0.6 inch (1.6 centimeters) in diameter and about 2.6 inches (6.6 centimeters) deep.

The science team expects to use analysis of material from Cumberland to check findings from John Klein. Preliminary findings from analysis of John Klein rock powder by Curiosity's onboard laboratory instruments indicate that the location long ago had environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. The favorable conditions included the key elemental ingredients for life, an energy gradient that could be exploited by microbes, and water that was not harshly acidic or briny.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity to assess the history of habitable environmental conditions inside Gale Crater. After a few more high-priority observations by the rover within and near Yellowknife Bay, the rover team plans to start Curiosity on a months-long trek to the base of a layered mound, Mount Sharp, at the middle of the crater. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #85 on: May 29, 2013, 10:37:31 AM »
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #86 on: July 24, 2013, 01:00:48 PM »
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1498

Quote
07.23.2013
Curiosity Makes Its Longest One-Day Drive on Mars

PASADENA, Calif. - NASA's Mars rover Curiosity drove twice as far on July 21 as on any other day of the mission so far: 109.7 yards (100.3 meters).
The length of the drive took advantage of starting the 340th Martian day, or sol, of the mission from a location with an unusually good view for rover engineers to plan a safe path. In weeks to come, the rover team plans to begin using "autonav" capability for the rover to autonomously navigate a path for itself, which could make such long drives more frequent.

Curiosity is about three weeks into a multi-month trek, from the "Glenelg" area where it worked for the first half of 2013, to an entry point for the mission's major destination: the lower layers of Mount Sharp. The mission's longest one-day drive prior to July 21 was about 54 yards (49 meters), on Sol 50 (Sept. 26, 2012). After completing the longer drive, Curiosity drove 68.2 yards (62.4 meters) on July 23 (Sol 342), bringing the mission's total driving distance so far to 0.81 mile (1.23 kilometers).

The Sol 340 drive included three segments, with turns at the end of the first and second segments. Rover planners used information from stereo imaging by the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on Curiosity's mast, plus images from the telephoto-lens Mast Camera (Mastcam). The drive also used the rover's capability to use imagery taken during the drive to calculate the driving distance, a way to verify that wheels have not been slipping too much while turning.

"What enabled us to drive so far on Sol 340 was starting at a high point and also having Mastcam images giving us the size of rocks so we could be sure they were not hazards," said rover planner Paolo Bellutta of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We could see for quite a distance, but there was an area straight ahead that was not clearly visible, so we had to find a path around that area."

The rover was facing southwest when the sol began. It turned slightly more to the west before driving and used visual odometry to be sure it drove the intended distance (about 55 yards or 50 meters) before turning back farther southward. The second leg, next turn, and third leg completed the drive without visual odometry, though the rover was using another new capability: to turn on visual odometry autonomously if tilt or other factors exceed predetermined limits.

New software on Curiosity gives it the capability to use visual odometry through a range of temperatures. This was needed because testing this spring indicated the Navcam pair linked to the rover's B-side computer is more sensitive to temperature than anticipated. Without the compensating software, the onboard analysis of stereo images could indicate different distances to the same point, depending on the temperature at which the images are taken. The rover was switched from its A-side computer to the redundant B-side computer on Feb. 28 due to a flash-memory problem -- subsequently resolved -- on the A-side. The Navcam pair linked to the A-side computer shows less variability with temperature than the pair now in use.

"For now, we're using visual odometry mostly for slip-checking," said JPL's Jennifer Trosper, deputy project manager for Curiosity. "We are validating the capability to begin using autonav at different temperatures."

The autonomous navigation capability will enable rover planners to command drives that go beyond the route that they can confirm as safe from previous-sol images. They can tell the rover to use the autonomous capability to choose a safe path for itself beyond that distance.

Curiosity landed at the "Bradbury Landing" location within Gale Crater on Aug. 6, 2012, EDT and Universal Time (Aug. 5, PDT). From there, the rover drove eastward to the Glenelg area, where it accomplished the mission's major science objective of finding evidence for an ancient wet environment that had conditions favorable for microbial life. The rover's route is now southwestward. At Mount Sharp, in the middle of Gale Crater, scientists anticipate finding evidence about how the ancient Martian environment changed and evolved.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover.

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 .



Quote
07.23.2013
View From Curiosity's Arm-Mounted Camera After a Long Drive 
The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on NASA's Curiosity rover is carried at an angle when the rover's arm is stowed for driving. Still, the camera is able to record views of the terrain Curiosity is crossing in Gale Crater, and rotating the image 150 degrees provides this right-side-up scene. The scene is toward the south, including a portion of Mount Sharp and a band of dark dunes in front of the mountain. It was taken on the 340th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars, shortly after Curiosity finished a 329.1-foot (100.3-meter) drive on that sol. The drive was twice as long as any previous sol's drive by Curiosity.

When the robotic arm, turret, and MAHLI are stowed, the MAHLI is looking out from the front left side of the rover. This is much like the view from the driver's side of cars sold in the USA.

The main purpose of Curiosity's MAHLI camera is to acquire close-up, high-resolution views of rocks and soil at the rover's Gale Crater field site. The camera is capable of focusing on any target at distances of about 0.8 inch (2.1 centimeters) to infinity. This means it can, as shown here, also obtain pictures of the Martian landscape.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
 
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #87 on: August 10, 2013, 10:36:17 AM »
Year 1 in 2 minutes...  8)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/p83pSCm5ZMU" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/p83pSCm5ZMU</a>

In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #88 on: August 23, 2013, 10:10:08 AM »
Curiosity Rover Report (08.22.13): The Odometer Keeps Turning

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ryZatqbdnDw" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ryZatqbdnDw</a>

In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #89 on: August 30, 2013, 08:26:00 AM »
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-259

Quote
NASA'S Mars Curiosity Debuts Autonomous Navigation

August 27, 2013

PASADENA, Calif. - NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has used autonomous navigation for the first time, a capability that lets the rover decide for itself how to drive safely on Mars.
 
This latest addition to Curiosity's array of capabilities will help the rover cover the remaining ground en route to Mount Sharp, where geological layers hold information about environmental changes on ancient Mars. The capability uses software that engineers adapted to this larger and more complex vehicle from a similar capability used by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, which is also currently active on Mars.
 
Using autonomous navigation, or autonav, Curiosity can analyze images it takes during a drive to calculate a safe driving path. This enables it to proceed safely even beyond the area that the human rover drivers on Earth can evaluate ahead of time.
 
On Tuesday, Aug. 27, Curiosity successfully used autonomous navigation to drive onto ground that could not be confirmed safe before the start of the drive. This was a first for Curiosity. In a preparatory test last week, Curiosity plotted part of a drive for itself, but kept within an area that operators had identified in advance as safe.
 
"Curiosity takes several sets of stereo pairs of images, and the rover's computer processes that information to map any geometric hazard or rough terrain," said Mark Maimone, rover mobility engineer and rover driver at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "The rover considers all the paths it could take to get to the designated endpoint for the drive and chooses the best one."
 
The drive on Tuesday, the mission's 376th Martian day, or "sol," took Curiosity across a depression where ground-surface details had not been visible from the location where the previous drive ended. The drive included about 33 feet (10 meters) of autonomous navigation across hidden ground as part of a day's total drive of about 141 feet (43 meters).
 
"We could see the area before the dip, and we told the rover where to drive on that part. We could see the ground on the other side, where we designated a point for the rover to end the drive, but Curiosity figured out for herself how to drive the uncharted part in between," said JPL's John Wright, a rover driver.
 
Curiosity is nearly two months into a multi-month trek from the "Glenelg" area, where it worked for the first half of 2013, to an entry point for the mission's major destination: the lower layers of a 3-mile-tall (5-kilometer-tall) mound called Mount Sharp.
 
The latest drive brought the distance traveled since leaving Glenelg to 0.86 mile (1.39 kilometers). The remaining distance to the Mount Sharp entry point is about 4.46 miles (7.18 kilometers) along a "rapid transit route." That route was plotted on the basis of images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The actual driving route, which will be based on images from Curiosity's own cameras, could be longer or shorter.
 
Curiosity's science team has picked a few waypoints along the rapid transit route to Mount Sharp where driving may be suspended for a few days for science. The rover has about 0.31 mile (500 meters) left to go before reaching the first of these waypoints, which appears from orbiter images to offer exposed bedrock for inspection.
 
"Each waypoint represents an opportunity for Curiosity to pause during its long journey to Mount Sharp and study features of local interest," said Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. "These features are geologically interesting, based on HiRISE images, and they lie very close to the path that provides the most expeditious route to the base of Mount Sharp. We'll study each for several sols, perhaps selecting one for drilling if it looks sufficiently interesting."
 
After landing inside Gale Crater in August 2012, Curiosity drove eastward to the Glenelg area, where it accomplished the mission's major science objective of finding evidence for an ancient wet environment that had conditions favorable for microbial life. The rover's route is now southwestward. At Mount Sharp, in the middle of Gale Crater, scientists anticipate finding evidence about how the ancient Martian environment changed and evolved.
 
JPL, a division of Caltech, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover.
 
More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl , 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 .

In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."