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Default Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity)
by Unstung 08-28-2010, 09:44 PM

The Atlas V 541 carrying Curiosity was launched on November 26, 2011 at 10:02 AM EST. The rover landed on Mars in August of 2012 at Gale Crater, chosen for its geology.
Curiosity has successfully touched down on August 6 at 1:31 AM EDT!

The Mars Science Laboratory is NASA's latest flagship mission and the biggest Mars rover ever built.
Mars Science Laboratory - Jet Propulsion Laboratory @ NASA
Mars Science Laboratory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Mars Science Laboratory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Last edited by Unstung; 08-06-2012 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 08-31-2010, 03:23 PM   #2
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Popular Mechanics: "James Cameron Designs 3D Camera for Mars Rover".

To be honest, I'm starting to get a little tired of James Cameron acting like Stephen Hawking just because he made a movie that a few people (not me!) liked.
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Old 08-31-2010, 03:40 PM   #3
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Well, you have to give the guy a bit of credit. He's done awesome films in the past (Terminator, anyone?), and both Avatar and Titanic were the highest grossing films of all time... and AFAIK he's been a NASA advisor or something like that before. He's also done work on ROVs and underwater cameras...

And Avatar actually contained a lot of science in the biology and technology, despite the leading characters being blue catpeople.

I myself didn't find Avatar particularly special, but I wouldn't call it a bad film...
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:01 PM   #4
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Also Cameron did a fair work in underwater archeology, even though he rarely gets proper credit outside the field. He did for example also do a expedition to the wreck of the Bismarck, and found out that the controversial claims of the second expedition had been wrong and result of a too superficial photography. (But since it was paid by a British TV station, it is sure no surprise, the expedition favored the theory that the Bismarck was sank by British torpedoes)

The resulting documentary about the expedition is pretty recommended, it also exists in a German dub for some years now, which runs on Phoenix every other semester.

Expedition: Bismarck - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Expedition: Bismarck - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 09-04-2010, 01:01 AM   #5
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JPL: "Next Mars Rover Stretches Robotic Arm".



Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory rover that will be on Mars two years from now, has been flexing the robotic arm that spacecraft workers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory attached to the rover body in August 2010.

The arm will be crucial for putting samples of soil or powdered rock into analytical instruments inside the rover. A camera and spectrometer to be installed at the end of the arm will also examine rocks and soils in place.

The Mars Science Laboratory will launch from Florida in November or December 2011 and land in August 2012 at one of the most intriguing sites on Mars. The landing site is still to be chosen from four finalists. Once on Mars, Curiosity will study whether the landing region has ever had environmental conditions favorable for life and favorable for preserving evidence of life if it existed.

Learn more about Curiosity at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl

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Old 09-13-2010, 10:18 PM   #6
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JPL: "NASA's Next Mars Rover Rolls Over Ramps".


NASA's next Mars rover, Curiosity, drives up a ramp during a test at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., on Sept. 10, 2010.

The rover Curiosity, which NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission will place on Mars in August 2012, has been rolling over ramps in a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to test its mobility system.

Curiosity uses the same type of six-wheel, rocker-bogie suspension system as previous Mars rovers, for handling uneven terrain during drives. Its wheels are half a meter (20 inches) in diameter, twice the height of the wheels on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers currently on Mars.

Launch of the Mars Science Laboratory is scheduled for 2011 during the period from Nov. 25 to Dec. 18. The mission is designed to operate Curiosity on Mars for a full Martian year, which equals about two Earth years.
A public lecture by Mars Science Laboratory Chief Scientist John Grotzinger, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, will take place at JPL on Thursday, Sept. 16, beginning at 7 PM PDT Time (10 PM EDT). Live video streaming, supplemented by a real-time web chat to take public questions, will air on Ustream at www.ustream.tv/channel/nasajpl.

More information about the mission is online at: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:41 PM   #7
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JPL: "Strong Robotic Arm Extends From Next Mars Rover".


Test operators in a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., monitor some of the first motions by the robotic arm. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
› Full image and caption.


NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has been exercising its robotic arm since last month, when the arm was first fastened to the rover.

In the long run, watch for this long and strong arm to become the signature apparatus of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory. After landing in August 2012, the mission will rely on it for repeated research activities. One set of moves crucial to the mission's success has never been tried before on Mars: pulling pulverized samples from the interior of Martian rocks and placing them into laboratory instruments inside the rover.

Engineers and technicians are putting the arm through a range of motions this month in the clean room where Curiosity is being assembled and tested at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

"We're fine-tuning the ability to make the arm go exactly where we want it to go," said JPL's Brett Kennedy, cognizant engineer for the robotic arm. "Next, we'll start pushing on things with the arm."

The arm can extend about 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) from the front of the rover body. Still to be added: the turret at the end that holds a percussive drill and other tools weighing a total of about 33 kilograms (73 pounds).

"This arm is strong, but still needs to move accurately enough to drop an aspirin tablet into a thimble," Kennedy said.

The titanium arm has two joints at the shoulder, one at the elbow and two at the wrist. Each joint moves with a cold-tolerant actuator, custom-built for the mission. The tools to be wielded by the arm include a magnifying-lens camera; an element-identifying spectrometer; a rock brush; and mechanisms for scooping, sieving and portioning samples. The mission is designed to operate on Mars for a full Martian year, which equals about two Earth years.

MDA Information Systems Inc.'s Space Division in Pasadena built and tested the arm, incorporating actuators from Aeroflex Corp., Plainview, N.Y. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more information about the mission, visit http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.

---------- Post added at 12:40 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:35 AM ----------

JPL: "Five Things About NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover".


An artist's concept illustrates what the Mars rover Curiosity will look like on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
› Full image and caption.
› Mars Science Laboratory Fact Sheet.


Mars Science Laboratory, aka Curiosity, is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term program of robotic exploration of the Red Planet. The mission is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in late 2011, and arrive at an intriguing region of Mars in August 2012. The goal of Curiosity, a rolling laboratory, is to assess whether Mars ever had an environment capable of supporting microbial life and conditions favorable for preserving clues about life, if it existed. This will help us better understand whether life could have existed on the Red Planet and, if so, where we might look for it in the future.

1. How Big Is It?: The Mini Cooper-sized rover is much bigger than its rover predecessors, Spirit, Opportunity and Pathfinder. Curiosity is twice as long (about 2.8 meters, or 9 feet) and four times as heavy as Spirit and Opportunity, which landed in 2004. Pathfinder, about the size of a microwave oven, landed in 1997.

2. Landing--Where and How: In November 2008, possible landing sites were narrowed to four finalists, all linked to ancient wet conditions. NASA will select a site believed to be among the most likely places to hold a geological record of a favorable environment for life. The site must also meet safe-landing criteria. The landing system is similar to a sky crane heavy-lift helicopter. After a parachute slows the rover's descent toward Mars, a rocket-powered backpack will lower the rover on a tether during the final moments before landing. This method allows landing a very large, heavy rover on Mars (instead of the airbag landing systems of previous Mars rovers). Other innovations enable a landing within a smaller target area than previous Mars missions.

3. Toolkit: Curiosity will use 10 science instruments to examine rocks, soil and the atmosphere. A laser will vaporize patches of rock from a distance, and another instrument will search for organic compounds. Other instruments include mast-mounted cameras to study targets from a distance, arm-mounted instruments to study targets they touch, and deck-mounted analytical instruments to determine the composition of rock and soil samples acquired with a powdering drill and a scoop.

4. Big Wheels: Each of Curiosity's six wheels has an independent drive motor. The two front and two rear wheels also have individual steering motors. This steering allows the rover to make 360-degree turns in-place on the Mars surface. The wheels' diameter is double the wheel diameter on Spirit and Opportunity, which will help Curiosity roll over obstacles up to 75 centimeters (30 inches) high.

5. Rover Power: A nuclear battery will enable Curiosity to operate year-round and farther from the equator than would be possible with only solar power.

---------- Post added at 12:41 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:40 AM ----------

New Scientist: "Bad breath sniffer to hunt for life on Mars".
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Old 09-21-2010, 09:27 PM   #8
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Check out the 3D images!

The Planetary Society Blog: "Seeing Curiosity".
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:53 PM   #9
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JPL: "Laser Tool for Studying Mars Rocks Delivered to JPL".


The ChemCam instrument for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission uses a pulsed laser beam to vaporize a pinhead-size target, producing a flash of light from the ionized material -- plasma -- that can be analyzed to identify chemical elements in the target. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL.
› Full image and caption.


The NASA Mars Science Laboratory Project's rover, Curiosity, will carry a newly delivered laser instrument named ChemCam to reveal what elements are present in rocks and soils on Mars up to 7 meters (23 feet) away from the rover.

The laser zaps a pinhead-sized area on the target, vaporizing it. A spectral analyzer then examines the flash of light produced to identify what elements are present.

The completed and tested instrument has been shipped to JPL from Los Alamos for installation onto the Curiosity rover at JPL.

ChemCam was conceived, designed and built by a U.S.-French team led by Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.M.; NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; the Centre National d'Études Spatiales (the French national space agency); and the Centre d'Étude Spatiale des Rayonnements at the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse, France.

For more information, see the Los Alamos National Laboratory news release at http://www.lanl.gov/news/releases/ma...wsrelease.html.

Information about the Mars Science Laboratory mission is available at http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl and www.nasa.gov/msl.
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:29 PM   #10
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SPACE.com:
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:04 PM   #11
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The Planetary Society Blog: "Fourth MSL Landing Site Workshop: A review".
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:55 AM   #12
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NASA JPL: Atmosphere Checked, One Mars Year Before a Landing:
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PASADENA, Calif. -- What will the Martian atmosphere be like when the next Mars rover descends through it for landing in August of 2012?

An instrument studying the Martian atmosphere from orbit has begun a four-week campaign to characterize daily atmosphere changes, one Mars year before the arrival of the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. A Mars year equals 687 Earth days.

The planet's thin atmosphere of carbon dioxide is highly repeatable from year to year at the same time of day and seasonal date during northern spring and summer on Mars.
...
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Old 10-01-2010, 05:45 PM   #13
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The Planetary Society Blog:
Mars Climate Sounder Watches Mars Weather to Prepare for Curiosity Landing.
Fourth MSL Landing Site Workshop: Day 2: Reports from Ryan Anderson.
Fourth MSL Landing Site Workshop: Day 3: Engineering constraints.

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Old 10-03-2010, 01:33 PM   #14
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The Planetary Society Blog: "Fourth MSL Landing Site Workshop: Day 3: Final discussion".
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Old 10-09-2010, 01:08 AM   #15
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NASA:
NASA's Mobile Mars Laboratory Almost Ready for Flight


The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite has completed assembly at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and is nearly ready for a December delivery to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., where it will be joined to the Curiosity rover. SAM and Curiosity are set to fly on the on the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover mission scheduled for launch in the fall of 2011.

SAM will become an automated, mobile laboratory as it is carried across Mars by the rover when the mission arrives at the Red Planet in 2012. Together with other instruments on Curiosity, SAM will assess whether Mars ever was, or is still today, an environment able to support microbial life.

"We expect Curiosity will make amazing discoveries," said SAM Principal Investigator Dr. Paul Mahaffy of NASA Goddard, "and we are looking forward to the contributions our mobile chemistry laboratory can make to a better understanding of the history of our neighboring planet."

SAM is in flight configuration, meaning its instruments are in the condition they will be during launch and are ready to begin operations on Mars. The instrument suite (a mass spectrometer, gas chromatograph, and tunable laser spectrometer) has started final environmental testing this week, which includes vibration and thermal testing to ensure SAM can survive the launch, deep space flight, and conditions on Mars.

Once at Mars, SAM will examine the planet's habitability by exploring molecular and elemental chemistry relevant to life. SAM will analyze samples of Martian rock and soil to assess carbon chemistry through a search for organic compounds. The lab will also determine the chemical state of light elements other than carbon, and look for isotopic tracers of planetary change.

NASA JPL, a division of Caltech, manages the Mars Science Laboratory project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. SAM was built by NASA Goddard using significant elements provided by industry, university, and NASA partners.


Image Thumbnails - click to see larger versions
SAM laboratory prior to installation of the side panelsSAM laboratory after installation of the side panelsMSL Curiosity rover
Photo Credits: NASA/JPL/MSL Project
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