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Old 06-17-2011, 09:24 PM   #46
N_Molson
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Looks like a genuine flying saucer. No better shape to enter the Martian atmosphere !
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:40 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_Molson View Post
 Looks like a genuine flying saucer. No better shape to enter the Martian atmosphere !
We should dare them to put "Honey! I'm home!!!" on the backshell.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:34 PM   #48
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NASA / NASA Dryden / NASA JPL:
Radar for Mars Gets Flight Tests at NASA Dryden

June 21, 2011

Southern California's high desert has been a stand-in for Mars for NASA technology testing many times over the years. And so it is again, in a series of flights by an F/A-18 aircraft to test the landing radar for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission.

The flight profile is designed to have the F/A-18 climb to 40,000 feet (about 12,000 meters). From there, it makes a series of subsonic, stair-step dives at angles of 40 to 90 degrees to simulate what the Mars radar will see while the spacecraft is on a parachute descending through the Martian atmosphere. The F/A-18 pulls out of each dive at 5,000 feet (about 1,500 meters. Data collected by these flights will be used to finesse the Mars landing radar software, to help ensure that it is calibrated as accurately as possible.

The testing is a collaboration of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Earlier tests, with a helicopter carrying the test radar, simulated the lower-altitude portion of the spacecraft's descent to the surface of Mars. For more information about the F/A-18 tests, see http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsyst...msl_radar.html .

The Mars Science Laboratory mission's rover, named Curiosity, will be shipped this month from JPL to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to be readied for launch between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18, 2011. The spacecraft will arrive at Mars in August 2012. After Curiosity lands on Mars, researchers will use the rover's 10 science instruments during the following two years to investigate whether the landing area has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

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Old 06-22-2011, 04:35 PM   #49
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Timelapse of Curiosity being packed for transfer to Florida

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Old 06-23-2011, 04:29 PM   #50
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NASA / NASA JPL:
NASA Mars Rover Arrives in Florida After Cross-Country Flight

June 23, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's next Mars rover has completed the journey from its California birthplace to Florida in preparation for launch this fall.

The Mars Science Laboratory rover, also known as Curiosity, arrived late Wednesday night at NASA's Kennedy Space Center aboard an Air Force C-17 transport plane. It was accompanied by the rocket-powered descent stage that will fly the rover during the final moments before landing on Mars. The C-17 flight began at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif., where the boxed hardware had been trucked from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

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Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory mission's rover, along with the mission's descent stage, arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on June 22, 2011, aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane.
Image credit: NASA


The rover's aeroshell -- the protective covering for the trip to the Red Planet -- and the cruise stage, which will guide it to Mars, arrived at Kennedy last month. The mission is targeted to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18. The car-size rover will land on Mars in August 2012.

"The design and building part of the mission is nearly behind us now," said JPL's David Gruel, who has managed Mars Science Laboratory assembly, test and launch operations since 2007. "We're getting to final checkouts before sending the rover on its way to Mars."

The rover and other spacecraft components will undergo more testing before mission staff stack them and fuel the onboard propulsion systems. Curiosity should be enclosed in its aeroshell for the final time in September and delivered to Kennedy's Launch Complex 41 in early November for integration with a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

Curiosity is about twice as long and more than five times as heavy as any previous Mars rover. Its 10 science instruments include two for ingesting and analyzing samples of powdered rock delivered by the rover's robotic arm. During a prime mission lasting one Martian year -- nearly two Earth years -- researchers will use the rover's tools to study whether the landing region has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and favorable for preserving clues about whether life existed.

{...}



NASA Press Release: RELEASE : 11-201 - NASA Mars Rover Arrives In Florida After Cross-Country Flight
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:33 PM   #51
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NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, known as Curiosity, arrives at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard an Air Force C-17 cargo plane. Also aboard is the rocket-powered descent stage that will fly the rover during the final moments before landing on Mars (SOURCE):
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:50 AM   #52
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NASA / NASA JPL:
New Animation Depicts Next Mars Rover in Action

June 24, 2011

Although NASA's Mars Science Laboratory will not leave Earth until late this year nor land on Mars until August 2012, anyone can watch those dramatic events now in a new animation of the mission.

The full, 11-minute animation, at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/video...ia_id=97780842, shows sequences such as the spacecraft separating from its launch vehicle near Earth and the mission's rover, Curiosity, zapping rocks with a laser and examining samples of powdered rock on Mars. A shorter, narrated version is also available, at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/video...ia_id=97718982.

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Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Animation
Next Mars Rover in Action


Curiosity's landing will use a different method than any previous Mars landing, with the rover suspended on tethers from a rocket-backpack "sky crane."

The new animation combines detailed views of the spacecraft with scenes of real places on Mars, based on stereo images taken by earlier missions.

"It is a treat for the 2,000 or more people who have worked on the Mars Science Laboratory during the past eight years to watch these action scenes of the hardware the project has developed and assembled," said Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager Pete Theisinger at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "The animation also provides an exciting view of this mission for any fan of adventure and exploration."

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This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


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Old 06-25-2011, 08:53 AM   #53
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Here is an embed video of it (same as posted by Orb)

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Old 06-25-2011, 07:12 PM   #54
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Gale Crater is the prime candidate now: http://www.nature.com/news/2011/1106....2011.380.html
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:19 PM   #55
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NASA / NASA JPL:
July 18, 2011
MEDIA ADVISORY : M11-147
NASA Announcing Landing Site For New Mars Rover


WASHINGTON -- NASA and the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum will host a news conference at 10 a.m. EDT, Friday, July 22 to announce the selected landing site for the agency's latest Mars rover. The event will be in the museum's Moving Beyond Earth Gallery. NASA Television and the agency's Web site will provide live coverage of the event.

Participating in the news conference:
  • John Grant, geologist, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum National, Washington
  • Michael Meyer, Mars Exploration Program lead scientist, NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • John Grotzinger, MSL project scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif.
  • Dawn Sumner, geologist, UC Davis, Calif.
  • Michael Watkins, MSL project engineer, JPL
{...}

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), or Curiosity, will land on the surface of Mars in August 2012. Curiosity is being assembled and readied for a November launch at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Curiosity is about twice as long and more than five times as heavy as any previous Mars rover. The rover will study whether the landing region had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and for preserving clues about whether life existed.

July 22 is Mars Day at the museum. The annual event marks the July 1976 landing of Viking 1, the first spacecraft to operate on Mars. The day will feature displays, family activities and presentations by scientists from the museum's Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, the Museum of Natural History and NASA. Visitors will learn about the latest Mars research, missions and see a life-size model of Curiosity.

{...}
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Old 07-22-2011, 02:28 PM   #56
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NASA's Next Mars Rover to Land at Gale Crater

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's next Mars rover will land at the foot of a layered mountain inside the planet's Gale crater.

The car-sized Mars Science Laboratory, or Curiosity, is scheduled to launch late this year and land in August 2012. The target crater spans 96 miles (154 kilometers) in diameter and holds a mountain rising higher from the crater floor than Mount Rainier rises above Seattle. Gale is about the combined area of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Layering in the mound suggests it is the surviving remnant of an extensive sequence of deposits. The crater is named for Australian astronomer Walter F. Gale.

"Mars is firmly in our sights," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Curiosity not only will return a wealth of important science data, but it will serve as a precursor mission for human exploration to the Red Planet."

During a prime mission lasting one Martian year -- nearly two Earth years -- researchers will use the rover's tools to study whether the landing region had favorable environmental conditions for supporting microbial life and for preserving clues about whether life ever existed.

"Scientists identified Gale as their top choice to pursue the ambitious goals of this new rover mission," said Jim Green, director for the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The site offers a visually dramatic landscape and also great potential for significant science findings."

In 2006, more than 100 scientists began to consider about 30 potential landing sites during worldwide workshops. Four candidates were selected in 2008. An abundance of targeted images enabled thorough analysis of the safety concerns and scientific attractions of each site. A team of senior NASA science officials then conducted a detailed review and unanimously agreed to move forward with the MSL Science Team's recommendation. The team is comprised of a host of principal and co-investigators on the project.

Full Article...


Gale Crater
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:27 PM   #58
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Photos

A few photos that appeared today in KSC Media Gallery from Curiosity deployment testing (performed on July 18):
Click on images to view larger versions
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:43 AM   #59
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Curiosity at Kennedy Space Center

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Old 08-03-2011, 08:48 PM   #60
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Photos Atlas V 1st stage and Centaur arrive at Port Canaveral

July 29, 2011: Atlas V 1st stage and Centaur upper stage arrive at Port Canaveral:
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