Skip to comments.NASA's Mars rover Curiosity sidelined again after experiencing new problem
Posted on 03/19/2013 9:08:18 AM PDT by BenLurkin
After recovering from a computer problem, the Mars rover Curiosity is sidelined again, further delaying the restart of science experiments.
The latest complication occurred over the weekend when the six-wheel rover entered safe mode after experiencing a software file error.
'We would definitely like to get over this and get back to doing something.'
- Project manager Richard Cook
Curiosity remained in contact with ground controllers, but it can't zap rocks, snap pictures or roam around until the problem is fixed. Rover team members had expected to resume activities Monday, but they now have to wait a bit longer perhaps until the end of the week.
"We would definitely like to get over this and get back to doing something," said project manager Richard Cook of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which operates the $2.5 billion mission.
Studies at the Gale Crater landing site have been on hold since the beginning of March after engineers discovered a problem with Curiosity's computer memory, possibly caused by space radiation
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
There is a lot more radiation that makes it to the surface of Mars than here, due to our atmosphere and stronger magnetic field.
need more tin foil
Hard to understand how the shielding could have been inadequate, along with strategies to recover from memory errors.
Did anyone check the measurement units to see if the calculations reflected USEngineering or metric?
Turns out that the amount of radiation reaching the surface is considerably less than they expected. One of the earliest findings from this rover was that the radiation at surface level was comparable to what our astronauts experience on the space station.
I’m assuming the damage was likely done in transit.
The Martians disabled it so we would have to go fix it. Their idea if a practical joke...; )
I know. ‘Space radiation’. Space radiates, you know. Gotta love journalism.
The engineers KNEW they were going to a planet that had no magnetosphere. Moreover, you can test for this. You can actually create a lab environment where the vehicle has to perform under these conditions, and for extended lengths of time.
I’ve been studying the correlation between planetoids with magnetic fields and the observation of lightning on the planetoids.
Interesting. I do know they have special shielded closet they get into when a bad solar flare(s) are detected.
It sucks that mars is so far away. It would be technically much easier to colonize on mars than the moon but the amount of time spent in open space makes it more dangerous to get there.
A martian day is comparable to earth. There is at least some atmosphere so suits and habitats could be built for minimum pressurization. Daytime temperatures can be warm enough to require minimal heating.
“Space radiation” is the correct term, though sometimes you see “space weather”, to describe the particle environment.
A program used to estimate rad effects is called SpaceRad, after Space Radiation.
This is the sort of dumbing down that made thermodynamics harder than it had to be. The word ‘heat’ should never be used in the context of thermo, but because it is, it gets confusing - specific heat, etc. ‘Thermal energy’ is the correct term, and once you get into that practice, thermo is easy.
Space radiation is a term not unlike what 18th century scientists used the term ‘ether’ for. ‘The ether’ was a scientific term for a very long time until we got specific about what ‘the ether’ meant.
Bodies emitting thermal energy also emit EM radiation. The sun puts out UV radiation. Hydrogen and helium nuclei emit nutrinos. The Van Allen belts emit radiation. Then there are cosmic rays, which is another ‘ether’ like term, since their sources are myriad. At least cosmic rays are understood to originate outside the solar system.
Most of the radiation occuring on Mars is due to the Sun. As such, they could have designed around it sufficiently, but they apparently didn’t.
Mars is probably "so far away" for a reason. If it were significantly closer, gravitational interactions with Earth and the other inner planets could result in a chaotic orbit that would result in an eventual collision with the Earth, ruining a lot of people's weekends.
Also, Mars' inner moon, Phobos, is inside its Roche limits, so that it eventually will be torn apart and crash into Mars (sometime in the next 100 million years). The collision would result in a large amount of debris ejected into space, some of which will collide with Earth. If closer to Mars, Earth would just catch more Martian flak, again ruining a lot of weekend plans.
It ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids.
LOL my typa humor...: )
I don't believe that they know the 'problem' came from 'space radiation'. They know they have the problem, and are fixing it. All else is speculation. It's not like they have a 'space radiation damage' detector onboard.
Next time use FED-EX.
IIRC, the best guess is that this already happened.
You say that as if that would be a bad thing.
Well... Plan A was to have a foot of lead surrounding the entire memory core. This would have guaranteed protection.
This had to be scaled back a bit due to lift off, landing, and power drain problems, so Plan B was chosen.
Then you will enjoy this.
I’ve been thinking about shielding.
The Bigelow space capsules and the way they’re inflated with a foam in the bulkheads. I wonder how effective it would be to infuse the foam with powdered lead.
I bet they got some bogus Chinese parts using their Chinese outreach program.
It was looking at porn and got a virus.
“As such, they could have designed around it sufficiently, but they apparently didnt.”
Single event upsets are difficult to prevent or mitigate. The NASA guys in Greenbelt did years of screening and testing parts, but that will not prevent an SEU, it lets you predict them and try to mitigate with error checking and redundancy. SEU and other single event effects come from particles found in space, usually heavier than helium with a sharp numeric cutoff at iron. The heavier ones carry a lot of LET (linear energy transfer) when they hit your microprocessor.
The big problem is galactic cosmic rays (that’s the official term, often abbr GCR), which are hard to stop and can reach Martian surface. They are heavy and very energetic. The other part of space radiation (short for radiation found in space) is solar electrons and protons (in the solar wind along with small numbers of other particles like iron nuclei), and trapped particles like you find in the van Allen belts.
Yeah the terminology is “wrong” but that’s the language we use in the field.
I don’t think NASA knows what the problem is, but a good guess is radiation, either SEE or accumulated dose.
Are you trying to be funny?
No. Weight is a huge consideration on any satellite, and it would take a foot of lead(or more) to GUARANTEE protection of the electronics from ‘almost any’ kind of radiation.
Sounds like a good idea, but I can't answer that question.
Yes, I would venture that most of we FReepers who peruse aeronautical and space-related threads are cognizant that increased dead payload weight is an undesirable in any ballistic, orbital, or interplanetary launch scenario. No one is talking about “guaranteeing” protection. It is a cost benefit engineering tradeoff, like many other areas. My statement, or what I remember of it, is that I was surprised the type and amount of shielding chosen was (allegedly) breached so early in the game.
My statement, or what I remember of it, is that I was surprised the type and amount of shielding chosen was (allegedly) breached so early in the game.
I would agree except (like you mentioned) I am not sure that a breach is what caused the problem. If it was, maybe it's just that there are things we aren't aware of yet, that we didn't protect it from.
That is what I was trying to bring to light. I should have just been direct.
Maybe it was something we didn't protect it from or couldn't.