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Mars rover Curiosity nears make-or-break landing attempt
reuters.com ^ | Aug 5, 2012 | steve gorman

Posted on 08/05/2012 3:07:52 AM PDT by Berlin_Freeper

PASADENA, Calif., Aug 5 (Reuters) - The Mars rover Curiosity, on a quest for signs the Red Planet once hosted the building blocks of life, streaked into the home stretch of its eight-month voyage on Sunday nearing a make-or-break landing attempt NASA calls its most challenging ever.

Curiosity, the first full-fledged mobile science laboratory ever sent to a distant world, was scheduled to touch down inside a vast, ancient impact crater on Sunday at 10:31 p.m. Pacific time (1:31 a.m. EDT on Monday/0531 GMT on Monday).

Mission control engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles acknowledge that delivering the one-ton, six-wheeled, nuclear-powered vehicle in one piece is a highly risky proposition, with zero margin for error.

(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: curiosity; mars; marsrover; nasa; space
Curiosity Rover Trailer
1 posted on 08/05/2012 3:07:55 AM PDT by Berlin_Freeper
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To: Berlin_Freeper

Can’t wait for the live thread tonite.


2 posted on 08/05/2012 3:17:09 AM PDT by Paradox (I want Obama defeated. Period.)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

The clock is counting down.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html


3 posted on 08/05/2012 3:24:04 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Paradox
Me too. Hope it's a success....

Just which they'd chosen a name far more worthy of such a great endeavor than "Curiosity."

If it fails...you know what the headlines will all read...some variation fo "Curiosity killed the ....."

4 posted on 08/05/2012 3:28:19 AM PDT by ken5050 ("One useless man is a shame, two are a law firm, three are a Congress".....John Adams)
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To: cripplecreek

T minus 19 hours and counting..!!!

Mars has been beautiful this summer, high and bright in the sky about 11 PM...

But I don’t have much faith in this whole “space elevator” farkle idea...


5 posted on 08/05/2012 3:33:46 AM PDT by djf (The barbarian hordes will ALWAYS outnumber the clean-shaven. And they vote.)
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To: ken5050

Failure is not an option.


6 posted on 08/05/2012 3:44:05 AM PDT by Berlin_Freeper (Siri: Gold Baby, Gold!)
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To: Berlin_Freeper
Ack Ack Ack!
7 posted on 08/05/2012 3:52:17 AM PDT by mkmensinger
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To: Berlin_Freeper

Watch live online> http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/participate/


8 posted on 08/05/2012 3:52:57 AM PDT by equaviator (There's nothing like the universe to bring you down to earth again.)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

That’s some kind of delivery system there. Interesting...


9 posted on 08/05/2012 3:54:30 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Vote Obama he's unqualified on so many subjects, citizenship, history, economics, racism, allies...)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

This may seem silly, but the landing time is part of the problem with NASA. Public relations. They are doing absolutely the coolest, most sophisticated landing in the history of the space program at 1:30am EST. It would been so easy to adjust the time at launch, in flight, etc... for the most publicity.

Next, they couldn’t build cameras (web camera size) and transmitters in the stages of the landing modules? They said they might not know for hours if they are successful. Imagine how cool it would be if they recorded and sent landing videos of the stages after the heat sink is blown away.


10 posted on 08/05/2012 3:57:20 AM PDT by BushCountry (I hope the Mayans are wrong!)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

“The Mars rover Curiosity, on a quest for signs the Red Planet once hosted the building blocks of life”

NASA seems to be all about the search for “life”
I would think making a habitat on the moon or even Mars would be more important.

If they find microbes in rock, does it really make a difference?


11 posted on 08/05/2012 4:13:24 AM PDT by winodog
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To: BushCountry

I read that two of the orbital platforms we have around Mars are in position and will be transmitting low-res, low-speed real time images from orbit.

I don’t think any of us plebes will see them, but they should have confirmation very quickly.


12 posted on 08/05/2012 4:29:50 AM PDT by djf (The barbarian hordes will ALWAYS outnumber the clean-shaven. And they vote.)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

When I read about everything that has to go right for that thing to land properly, the more I think about the cat that curiosity killed.


13 posted on 08/05/2012 4:31:58 AM PDT by mdmathis6 (Not left wing! Not right wing! But....CHRIST WING!)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

It’s for the Muslims!


14 posted on 08/05/2012 4:46:38 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Woe to them...)
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To: winodog

I agree. The last thing we want to find is life if we ever hope to go there.


15 posted on 08/05/2012 4:51:59 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: mdmathis6

From the press information PDF - this should be pretty interesting..

Mars Descent Imager (MARDI)

During the final few minutes of Curiosity’s flight to the
surface of Mars, the Mars Descent Imager, or MARDI,
will record a full-color video of the ground below. This
will provide the Mars Science Laboratory team with information
about the landing site and its surroundings, to
aid interpretation of the rover’s ground-level views and
planning of initial drives. Hundreds of the images taken
by the camera will show features smaller than what can
be discerned in images taken from orbit.
The video will also give fans worldwide an unprecedented
sense of riding a spacecraft to a landing on Mars.
MARDI will record the video on its own 8-gigabyte flash
memory at about four frames per second and close to
1,600 by 1,200 pixels per frame. Thumbnails and a few
samples of full-resolution frames will be transmitted to
Earth in the first few days after landing. The nested set
of images from higher altitude to ground level will enable
pinpointing of Curiosity’s location. The pace of sending
the rest of the frames for full-resolution video will depend
on sharing priority with data from the rover’s other
investigations.
The full video — available first from the thumbnails in
YouTube-like resolution and later in full detail — will
begin with a glimpse of the heat shield falling away from
beneath the rover. The first views of the ground will
cover an area several kilometers (a few miles) across.
Successive frames taken as the vehicle descends will
close in and cover successively smaller areas. The video
will likely nod up and down to fairly large angles owing
to parachute-induced oscillations. Its roll clockwise and
counterclockwise will be smaller, as thrusters on the
descent stage control that motion. When the parachute
is jettisoned, the video will show large angular motions
as the descent vehicle maneuvers to avoid re-contacting
the back shell and parachute. Rocket engine vibration
may also be seen. A few seconds before landing, the
rover will be lowered on tethers beneath the descent
stage, and the video will show the relatively slow approach
to the surface. The final frames, after landing, will
cover a bath-towel-size patch of ground under the frontleft
corner of the rover


16 posted on 08/05/2012 4:55:33 AM PDT by bigtoona
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To: Berlin_Freeper

Holy cow .. that is some simply amazing tech. I hope they pull it off, and why isn’t this landing being shown on live tv at a better time? Couldn’t they have chosen a different launch window to arrive when more people could view it? 130 am EST isn’t exactly going to garner a ton of viewership.

Since when does NASA do space exploration? I thought their job was to coddle the Muslims these days.


17 posted on 08/05/2012 5:08:55 AM PDT by eak3
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To: DoughtyOne

I keep thinking: What if the upper part lands atop the rover?


18 posted on 08/05/2012 5:40:22 AM PDT by theDentist (FYBO/FUBO; qwerty ergo typo : i type, therefore i misspelll)
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To: djf

A space elevator tethered to a world with muslims on it is a very, very suicidal idea.


19 posted on 08/05/2012 5:50:56 AM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (Obama Kills))
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To: cripplecreek

NASA must know something the rest of us dont.


20 posted on 08/05/2012 6:23:51 AM PDT by winodog
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To: Berlin_Freeper
Looking at the animation of the perfect landing, there's way too many stages that can go wrong. The tether stage is vulnerable to a number of potential snags and twists. Why couldn't they have used traditionally proven landing methods, given so much has been invested in building the rover?

I hope it works out for them ....but I have a doubt.

21 posted on 08/05/2012 6:28:29 AM PDT by Musketeer
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To: bigtoona

Good, not as bad as I first thought. Should make for some good video. I want this to work since the landing is straight out of a science fiction novel. Heck with the silly mission of finding life, I want the technology to be sound so we can invade and rule planets like Pandora in the near future.


22 posted on 08/05/2012 6:29:20 AM PDT by BushCountry (I hope the Mayans are wrong!)
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To: Musketeer

The vehicle is the size of a car and has more delicate instruments then any before it. Can not use the any of the traditional methods since there is no water to splash down or landing runways. As complicated as the landing sounds and I might be eating my words, if this works this will be the way to land large complicated instruments. The traditional way of bouncing a lander that is surrounded by balloons off the surface seems more crazy if you ask me.


23 posted on 08/05/2012 6:37:27 AM PDT by BushCountry (I hope the Mayans are wrong!)
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To: eak3

Launch windows are chosen for technical reasons, not to satisfy the entertainment addicted American public.

That said, NASA is an extreme Affirmative Action example, no longer the “best and brightest”. JPL succeeds, because the entire center is contracted out and there are very few “civil” servants located there. The rest of the agency is treading water with little mission except making Muslims feel good about their bloody history.


24 posted on 08/05/2012 7:05:59 AM PDT by wrencher
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To: theDentist

“I keep thinking: What if the upper part lands atop the rover?”

Watch the “7 Seconds of Terror” Video at the link Equaviator posted. The upper part rockets away after lowering the rover. Pretty fascinating. Hope it works.

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/participate/


25 posted on 08/05/2012 7:42:50 AM PDT by Ronald_Magnus
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To: Ronald_Magnus

7 MINUTES I should have said


26 posted on 08/05/2012 7:44:00 AM PDT by Ronald_Magnus
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To: theDentist

Ouch. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo... ;^)


27 posted on 08/05/2012 8:29:25 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Vote Obama he's unqualified on so many subjects, citizenship, history, economics, racism, allies...)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

I have an XBox, and NASA came out with a free game for the XBox called “Mars Rover Landing”. It uses the Kinect system to control the Curiosity through body movements. The first stage is keeping the Curiosity on the landing track during re-entry. Second, a three-stage pyro activation that blows out the parachute and seperates the heat sheild, then controlling the rockets to lower the rover to the ground.

I haven’t made it past the pyro stage. I hope that doesn’t bode ill for tonight.


28 posted on 08/05/2012 8:53:13 AM PDT by hoagy62 ("Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered..."-Thomas Paine. 1776)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

Great tune for the thread!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBwy5y_tdQk


29 posted on 08/05/2012 12:21:09 PM PDT by djf (The barbarian hordes will ALWAYS outnumber the clean-shaven. And they vote.)
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To: equaviator

glad you made your post; you beat me to it


30 posted on 08/05/2012 1:18:24 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: BushCountry

Gee, if only YOU had been on the engineering teams!!!

Or, can we otherwise assume that many cost and engineering factors resulted in whatever “might have been” not being selected for “what MUST be”.


31 posted on 08/05/2012 1:22:17 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: djf

from post # 8 of this thread:

Watch live online> http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/participate/


32 posted on 08/05/2012 1:25:00 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: theDentist

Your question explains why the JPL engineers for NASA refer to the descent as “7 minutes of terror” - the multiple phases of the descent requiring different engineering solutions for each stage, the total (short) time the descent will take and the long time (14 minutes) between a communication sent from the rover and its lander before that communication is received on earth, means whatever the scientists are being told happened, happened 14 minutes ago and something else - the next stage - is “happening now”, and it will be 14 more minutes before they will know about it. They’ll be “sweating bullets” until the rover is completely landed and safely so.

In case you missed post number 8 on this thread:

Watch live online> http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/participate/


33 posted on 08/05/2012 1:37:29 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: Wuli

I have NEVER been successful watching any of NASA’s “live threads”

I don’t know if it’s too much Java crap or whatever... I have DSL, and bandwidth is not a problem, just that the feeds do not work for me.


34 posted on 08/05/2012 1:54:42 PM PDT by djf (The barbarian hordes will ALWAYS outnumber the clean-shaven. And they vote.)
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To: djf

this one will entertain you - made me laugh

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7k_LsBWcCc


35 posted on 08/05/2012 2:00:40 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: Wuli

Lol!

Music sounds like cartoons from the 60’s!

Let’s hope that is what happens - if any of those thrusters on the elevator thingie fail, it’s a 2 billion dollar pile of junk.


36 posted on 08/05/2012 2:09:16 PM PDT by djf (The barbarian hordes will ALWAYS outnumber the clean-shaven. And they vote.)
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To: djf

I read where 96 things have to happen for it to
land correctly. Seems to me they might have had
some cameras facing up ward to watch the chute
deploy, watch the rover deploy, separate to
at least have an idea of what if any went wrong.

I’ll be watching tonight.
Good luck NASA.


37 posted on 08/05/2012 2:17:07 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: djf

if you notice real closely on whatever video player the you tube selection is using, there are actually two tracks of “progress” being shown - one is how much of the video has been “shown”, and ahead of it is another track (different shade or different color on the “progress” track) showing how much of the video has been “loaded” either into ram or virtual memory as well.

usually “pausing” the “playing” does not stop the “loading”, until either it is complete or, in some cases, has “loaded” into all the memory that has been made available to it;

in these cases, performance can sometimes be improved by restarting the playing of the video, and briefly afterward pausing it, letting the loading get further and further ahead of the playing, and then hit the > button again. It will continue the play from the point at which it was stopped, but more of the video will be in memory ahead of the playing process, and the quality of the viewing might improve.

I found, when I had DSL, that method helped, sometimes, not every time

I have the highest speed Fios system now and I have not had problems with any “live” feeds of any kind.


38 posted on 08/05/2012 2:22:23 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: Berlin_Freeper

Just listened to Bob Zubrin’s talk on the case for Mars. He’s been along some of these arguments since I had a subscription to Analog back in the 80s.


39 posted on 08/05/2012 7:22:25 PM PDT by Tanniker Smith (Rome didn't fall in a day, either.)
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