Updates Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity)

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T.Neo

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I wonder why they have such strict clean-room protocols. Won't the thing just get dirty on Mars anyway? :lol:

Maybe it's partially due to planetary protection.
 

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I wonder why they have such strict clean-room protocols. Won't the thing just get dirty on Mars anyway? :lol:

Maybe it's partially due to planetary protection.
They don't want to contaminate Mars with alien (Earth) life forms (yet). ;)
 

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NASA / NASA JPL:
Launch Preparations Report

August 31, 2011

Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

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.

{...}
 

Turbinator

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They don't want to contaminate Mars with alien (Earth) life forms (yet). ;)
If I was one of the scientists at NASA, I would sneeze all over the rover, every day.
The only way NASA is going to get serious founding, and the scientists their job security; is if they find a form of life out there.
Real, living, lifeforms.

 

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The Atlas 5 for the MSL has arrived at the SLC-41 Vertical Integration Facility:
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Will the MSL get "cranelifted" and dropped to the surface?
Better not. It would be bad if it's actually lifted and then dropped. :p It's meant to be soft-landed by a sky-crane.

Here's the diagram for landing:
 

T.Neo

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So, they are presumably not worried about harmful propellant leaking out of the skycrane assembly and potentially damaging the pristine Martian environment? ;)
 

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New photos in the KSC Media gallery showing arrival of solid rocket motor for the MSL's Atlas 5 (Sep. 12):
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Final SRM mating

And a couple more photos of rocket assembly that have appeared today in KSC Media Gallery, this time from mating of the final SRM to Atlas 5 (Sep. 15):
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MaverickSawyer

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My dad works at the same plant where they made those (Aerojet Sacramento). Where did you find those photos?
 

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Payload fairing for MSL arrived at KSC

New photos - Atlas V payload fairing for MSL arrived at the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Sep. 20 & 21):
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Centaur upper stage arriving at Vertical Integration Facility

And (again) new photos - Centaur upper stage for MSL's Atlas 5 arriving at Vertical Integration Facility (Sep. 21):
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Preparing for integration of Curiosity with the descent stage (Sep. 23):
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IronRain

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I think it's a pretty weird feeling to work on a rover for years, encapsulate it and knowing that the next time the rover will see the light is on another planet..
 
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