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NASA rover Opportunity lands on Mars and Spirit communicates again

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NASA rover Opportunity lands on Mars and Spirit communicates again

 
Old 01-24-2004, 11:31 PM
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NASA rover Opportunity lands on Mars and Spirit communicates again

It's a good day for NASA.

PASADENA, California (CNN) -- Opportunity, the second of NASA's twin rovers, has made the descent to the surface of Mars, touching down successfully at about 0505 GMT Sunday (12:05 ET).

NASA now has two rovers on the ground, after Spirit landed on the red planet January 3. Though Spirit's landing was near perfect, the rover mission has had serious complications in recent days.

Opportunity is an exact replica of Spirit but was programed to land on the opposite side of the planet, in an area known as the Meridiani Planum -- a smooth plain near Mars' equator, believed to be full of iron-bearing hematite.

The semi-precious mineral usually forms on Earth in the presence of liquid water -- leading scientists to think that water once flowed there.

The area is believed to be quite different from the reddish soil of Gusev Crater, where Spirit landed earlier this month.

Opportunity's site makes the landing more difficult than Spirit's, mission manager Jim Erickson said.

It is also the highest altitude landing attempted by NASA on Mars.

In addition, Mars' increased distance from Earth would lengthen the time needed to communicate with the spacecraft.

Troubles with Spirit
Scientists are hoping the rover won't have the same problems that have hit Spirit this week.

The rover was set to use its tools to examine a nearby boulder when NASA lost contact with the vehicle.

But NASA engineers found a work-around Saturday for Spirits problems, re-established communication and regained the ability to control it.

"This is very good news," project manager Pete Theisinger told reporters.

Spirit's condition, Theisinger said, "has been upgraded from critical to serious."

The rover is probably "three weeks away from driving," he said, as engineers study the problems and try to correct them with additional work-arounds in the meantime.

NASA engineers are working to trace the source of the problem as it could have implications on Opportunity's mission.

Spirit uses Flash memory to communicate with the flight software to establish a file structure and will shut itself down if the process is interrupted, Theisinger said.

Engineers guessed that Spirit's troubles were in its Flash memory and set about sending the rover a complex series of instructions to see if they could get it to bypass the corrupted memory.

Theisinger said engineers sent Spirit a command just before its daily "waking up," telling it to shut down and restart in what is known as "cripple mode," using RAM instead of Flash for its start-up instructions.

"That is precisely what happened," Theisinger said, and Spirit then sent an hour's worth of data back to Pasadena.

"Something in the flight software talking to the Flash memory is causing us difficulty," Theisinger said.

He said engineers did not know caused the problem, but that if it is purely a software problem, it is likely fixable. If, however, if a problem in the hardware is affecting the software, repair may not be possible.

But, "we have a vehicle that is stable now," he said.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/0...ers/index.html
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Old 01-24-2004, 11:35 PM
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SO I GUESS THERE REALLY IS A MARS!!!!!

hehe
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Old 01-25-2004, 12:20 AM
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marvin the marian fucked up spirit. he's going to do the same thing to opportunity
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Old 03-18-2006, 10:03 PM
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http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/ma...-20060317.html


Mars Rovers Get New Manager During Challenging Period

NASA's long-lived Mars rovers demand lots of care as they age and the Martian winter approaches.

Dr. John Callas, newly named project manager for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission, is coordinating the work to meet these challenges. He is a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. He was named project manager after earlier roles as science manager and deputy project manager for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers.

"It continues to be an exciting adventure with each day like a whole new mission," Callas said. "Even though the rovers are well past their original design life, they still have plenty of capability to conduct outstanding science on Mars. The JPL operations team and the remote science team working on the project are the best in the solar system at what they do. It is a pleasure and a privilege to lead such an outstanding team and great mission."

One of Spirit's six wheels has stopped working. Dragging that wheel, the solar-powered rover must reach a slope where it can catch enough sunshine to continue operating during the Martian winter. The period of minimum sunshine is more than 100 days away, but Spirit gets only enough power for about one hour per day of driving on flat ground. And the supply is dropping fast.

Spirit's right-front wheel became a concern once before, when it began drawing unusually high current five months after the January 2004 landing on Mars. Driving Spirit backwards redistributed lubricant and returned the wheel to normal operation. This week, during the 779th Martian day of what was originally planned as a 90-Martian-day mission, the motor that rotates that wheel stopped working.

"It is not drawing any current at all," said JPL's Jacob Matijevic, rover engineering team chief. One possibility engineers are considering is that the motor's brushes, contacts that deliver power to the rotating part of the motor, have lost contact. The motors that rotate Spirit's wheels have revolved more than 13 million times, far more than called for in the rovers? design.

Spirit's solar panels have been generating about 350 watt-hours of electricity daily for the past week. That is down about 15 percent since February and less than one-half of their output during the Martian summer.

The best spot for Spirit is the north-facing side of "McCool Hill," where it could spend the southern-hemisphere winter tilted toward the sun. Spirit finished studying a bright feature called "Home Plate" last week and is driving from there toward the hill. It has approximately 120 meters (about 390 feet) to go. Driving backwards with the right-front wheel dragging, the rover needs to stop and check frequently that the problem wheel has not snagged on anything and caused other wheels to slip excessively. Expected progress is around 12 meters (40 feet) per day under current conditions.

Opportunity is closer to the equator, so does not need to winter on a slope like Spirit. Opportunity spent most of the past four months at "Erebus Crater." It examined layered outcrops, while the rover team determined and tested a strategy for dealing with degraded performance by a motor in the shoulder of its robotic arm. Opportunity left Erebus this week and is on a 2 kilometer (1.2 mile) journey to a giant crater called "Victoria."

Callas has worked on the Mars rovers' mission since 2000 and five other Mars missions since joining JPL in 1987. He succeeds Jim Erickson, who switched to a leadership role with NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Callas grew up near Boston and graduated from Tufts University, Medford, Mass. He earned his doctorate in physics from Brown University, Providence, R.I.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter projects for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

For images and information about the rovers on the Web, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/rovers

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/home
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Old 03-18-2006, 10:04 PM
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Mars Rover Spirit Down a Wheel

http://science.slashdot.org/article....48203&from=rss


Mars Rover Spirit Down a Wheel


riflemann writes "NASA is reporting that two years into its 90-day mission, Spirit has lost one wheel and is now running on five wheels, dragging the broken wheel. With this reduced mobiity, the rover still needs to make its way to a slope where it can catch enough sun over the Martian winter to keep it operating. 'Even though the rovers are well past their original design life, they still have plenty of capability to conduct outstanding science on Mars.', says project leader Dr. John Callas."

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Old 03-18-2006, 10:06 PM
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These little rovers were built in the building next to my previous office at that time at JPL.

I remember going into the observation deck and watchin the engineers build and test them. It was an awesome site.

The fact that they have lasted for 2 yeras is a phenomenal feat.
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Old 03-18-2006, 10:25 PM
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The IMAX movie on these was preety cool...
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Old 03-19-2006, 05:46 PM
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2 years and still going...amazing. I wonder how long before the solar panels get too much dust on them to where they will not be able to charge the batteries?
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:00 PM
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10 Years....and still going!

Even for a robot, persistence pays off.

On Jan. 24, 2004, the little rover known as Opportunity touched down on the Martian surface, to start a career that was expected to last only a few months. Ten years later, the senior-citizen rover is still going strong and after many frustrating years scouting sites far too acidic to host life, Opportunity has finally spotted a place where the conditions were once hospitable to living organisms. The first such site, a complex of lake beds and streams, was revealed by NASA's Curiosity rover, a Johnny-come-lately that landed on Mars in mid-2012.

"We have discovered another place on Mars that could have provided a habitat for life in a more ancient time," Michael Meyer, lead scientist of NASA's Mars exploration program, said at a NASA press conference Thursday.

The new life-friendly spot is on the edge of a giant hollow called Endeavour Crater, which the golf-cart-size rover arrived at in 2011. There the rover's sensors found evidence of clay minerals that can only form in a water environment with moderate acidity. It's not clear whether the site, which is the oldest evidence of water found by Opportunity, once held a lake, a stream or some other form of water.

"If I were there back when this material was being emplaced and altered, and I had my summer house, this is where I would drill to get good drinking water," said Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis, one of the lead scientists for Opportunity.

To go with that now-vanished water, the rover has just spotted what scientists are calling the "jelly doughnut," a small, odd rock with a deep-red center, white rim and a composition unlike anything seen before on the Red Planet.

"A rock just simply appeared in front of us. ... This is strange," said Cornell University's Steve Squyres, the top scientist for Opportunity. "Mars keeps throwing new stuff at us, and it's these kinds of unexpected discoveries that make this mission continue to be the exciting and fun thing that it is." The rock was probably "tiddly-winked" out of the Martian surface by the rover's wheels when the vehicle performed a pirouette, Squyres said, but so far scientists have been unable to determine the rock's original resting place.

The rover's sister robot, Spirit, has been incommunicado since 2010, but Opportunity is still healthy. NASA may have to pull the plug on the mission for financial reasons before Opportunity is ready to die, but in the meantime, the can-do rover is headed to explore more places that may have once hosted life.

"What we're going to see, we don't know. We'll find out when we get there," Squyres said. "We have an exciting period of discoveries ahead of us. As long as the rover keeps going, we'll keep going."
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/n...rover/4782581/
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:53 PM
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^ Financial reasons!?! To think of all the time, money, and effort to build it and get it there, and it's going to be shut down while it's still capable

Originally Posted by Moog-Type-S View Post
2 years and still going...amazing. I wonder how long before the solar panels get too much dust on them to where they will not be able to charge the batteries?
I saw something recently on a TV show about how a mini tornado (dust devil?) swept right over one of these machines and cleared the dust off of its solar panels
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:01 AM
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:24 AM
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To be honest, this ten year run of operation occurred because of one JPL individual:

Sly

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Old 01-24-2014, 12:33 PM
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Bad news.

They've discovered Martian-made Mars Warming.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:03 PM
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:44 PM
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Initial expectations were 90 days of operation and 1 km of distance traveled. 14.5 years and 45 km later a dust storm came along.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:04 AM
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:56 AM
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:36 PM
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So who gave who the silent treatment?


I bet someone forgot someone's birthday..
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by thoiboi View Post
So who gave who the silent treatment?


I bet someone forgot someone's birthday..
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