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  Satellites - Robotic Probes
  Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity (Page 3)

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Author Topic:   Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity
Scott
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posted 02-08-2004 10:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but there is a small chance that these could be Martian stromatolites. Stromatolites are the first structures in Earth's history to be caused by life. They are structures in the geological record, usually many hundreds of millions of years old (some exceptions are the living stromatolites in Shark Bay, Australia - I'm sure the Aussies here know about these) cause by algae growing on mud. The algae would grow on the mud, then the algae would be covered in new mud, then more algae would grow on top of the new mud, and on and on until you got a layered effect. The only life that existed way back then was blue-green algae, and stromatolites are how they evidenced themselves.

Click on this link to see many stromatolite pictures and webpages, including the current ones in Shark Bay.

BTW, I have a proposed name for the Opportunity Landing site - the "Nestle Crunch Station", due to the appearance of the soil. What does everyone think?

Shuttlefan
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posted 02-08-2004 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttlefan   Click Here to Email Shuttlefan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks a lot Scott for information and links,I think one thing is sure: That's an awful interesting place to be for an exploring vehicle. Great expectations!

Chris

Ben
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posted 02-08-2004 03:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Scott:
BTW, I have a proposed name for the Opportunity Landing site - the "Nestle Crunch Station", due to the appearance of the soil. What does everyone think?
If it wasn't already the Challenger Memorial Station, that'd be my first choice.

Nevermind the geology, we may have a more interesting target!:

From SpaceflightNow.com on today's briefing:

Other imagery taken by Opportunity appears to show the backshell and parachute resting on the plain outside the crater.

"We'll have to wait and see if that's really what's in the image," Erickson said."

dbeigie
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posted 02-08-2004 06:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dbeigie   Click Here to Email dbeigie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps the remains of an ancient Martian sailboat?

Scott
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posted 02-09-2004 09:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, we just got back from visiting my Mom over the weekend in the hospital after her knee replacement (she's doing fine) and JSC has published an image of the parachute and backshell.

This has to be the coolest mission since Apollo!

Philip
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posted 02-10-2004 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excellent panoramic views from Mars at Cornell University website.

Rick Boos
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posted 02-10-2004 05:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phill what do you think the chances are for JPL to send "Opportuity" over the the crash site of the backshell and parachute? I think it would be a real gold mine or bonanza as that backshell had to really hit the surface pretty hard and undoubtedly excavated the area. To me this represents a chance of a lifetime to do some really serious geology because the fresh excavating and debth thereof would reveal far more to "Opportunity" then it would ever hope to accomplish by moving its wheels back and forth and checking beneith the surface.Your thoughts on this?

astronut
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posted 02-10-2004 09:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astronut   Click Here to Email astronut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rick, that's a GREAT idea. I bet it would give the deepest look yet beneath the surface with such a fresh excavation.

------------------
Happy trails,
Wayno
"...you are go for TLI."
www.TransLunarInjection.com

Scott
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posted 02-14-2004 07:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have they figured out what the "berries" are everywhere around Opportunity? They know from the recent microphotographs that they are "shed" from the bedrock.

Philip
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posted 02-15-2004 09:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great interaction the contact made between ESA Mars Express orbiter and the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Spirit... together to Mars!

tegwilym
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posted 02-15-2004 02:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Scott:
Have they figured out what the "berries" are everywhere around Opportunity?
Yeah, that is definite evidence of life on Mars. There are nocturnal Mars Bunnies that come out at night while the rovers are sleeping.

I have a couple of bunnies here at home that produce large quantities of those little nuggets also!

Tom
-Bunny herder and space collector

Scott
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posted 02-15-2004 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well I guess that settles it. The smell in that crater must be horrible.

Blackarrow
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posted 02-15-2004 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can anyone who is following the work of "Spirit" and "Opportunity" answer a question which is really puzzling me? If you check the sites which show all the new "raw" images each day from each rover, there are a lot of meaningless images, with no explanation. What are the multiple images which look like an out-of-focus full Moon against a black background? What are the even weirder images which show a fuzzy blur, always with two bright dots near the centre? And why do the rovers transmit so many images of the little sun-dial? I could understand a few for calibration purposes, but why so many?

Any M.E.R. experts out there??

Scott
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posted 02-15-2004 08:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the full moon pictures you refer to are images of the sun, probably taken to calibrate the high gain antenna so that it points directly at the Earth. Just my guess.

Scott
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posted 02-16-2004 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Photo: Opportunity "burns rubber"?

apollo11lem5
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posted 02-16-2004 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for apollo11lem5   Click Here to Email apollo11lem5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How Cool! All this time I thought all the suspended dust in the Martian atmosphere was from dust storms. Now it is partially due to the MER rovers "peeling out". Hot Rodding on the red planet! ...Donald Brady

chet
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posted 02-16-2004 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whoa, how did that mysterious number "14" get etched in the soil there? Must be a sign of some ancient Martian civilization. Or perhaps some strange reference to Apollo 14??

-chet

Scott
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posted 02-16-2004 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very observant, Chet!

collshubby
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posted 02-17-2004 03:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for collshubby   Click Here to Email collshubby     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As Clark Griswold would say..."Burn dust! Eat my rubber!"

------------------
Brian Peter
astronautbrian@hotmail.com

mensax
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posted 02-18-2004 07:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
USA TODAY...
NASA's Mars Web sites had more than 4.9 billion hits since Jan 3. That's one hit each for almost three-fourths of the Earth's population (6.3 billion).
Either there are a lot more folks interested in the space program than just us... or you guys have been mighty busy hitting that refresh button!

Noah

Rick Boos
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posted 02-18-2004 07:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chet. Number "14" was the worlds greatest race driver's car number A. J. FOYT... How fitting!

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 02-18-2004 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Rick, I must correct you there. Red 5, Nigel Mansell was the worlds greatest race car driver.

Regards,
Rick.

Scott
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posted 02-18-2004 11:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Uh Gentlemen, before this thread tranforms into a heated, bitter exchange regarding the superiority of particular racing legends, let's get back to the important issue we were discussing... a hole in the dirt.

Rick Boos
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posted 02-19-2004 09:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No problem Scott.In my mind they are ALL great drivers, they all do the same thing, and they ALL put their lives on the line in doing so! By the way Jack Hewitt went nuts when he learned that his name went to Mars, as did Jan Berry of the surf singing group "Jan & Dean"! Other names were also sent by me for Guenter Wendt and the crew of Apollo 1.

Rick

Philip
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posted 03-04-2004 07:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did anyone already find a good weblink with info on IT onboard the MER rovers?

I know that the data these rovers send back to JPL via the Deep Space Network are gathered in the "Collaborative Information Portal" build with BORLAND-solutions...

ALAIN
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posted 03-09-2004 04:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ALAIN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting link on JPL roving vehicles.

LT Scott Schneeweis
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posted 03-09-2004 09:56 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Philip:
Did anyone already find a good weblink with info on IT onboard the MER rovers?
Its a good bet that the architecture is very similar to what we use in the DOD (either Info Workstation (IWS) or Defense Collaboration Tool set (DCTS)) for Infomation Management. Probably some bundled COTS Chat program like MIRC, NETMEETING with chat server, a white board program and of course the image repository where folks can execute user-pull to handle/manipulate the imagery and share results within the community). We have analogs to support everything from Intel to the targeting process...

Glint
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posted 03-09-2004 11:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Philip:
Did anyone already find a good weblink with info on IT onboard the MER rovers?
As far as onboard technology on the rovers you probably won't find much of anything that's Borland or Microsoft (Word, Excel, NetMeeting etc.). You probably won't find "INTEL Inside" these reliable beasts either.

Both rovers have a RAD6000 processor. The RAD6000 is a derivative of the PowerPC. PowerPC chips will be familiar to Macintosh and Macintosh clone (i.e. PowerComputing Corp.) users.

The operating system used is VXWorks, which should be familiar to all you embedded systems programmers out there. VXWorks is a COTS product. It wasn't that many years ago that onboard OS systems were each customized and home grown.

A nice article with more detailed information may be found here.

Philip
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posted 03-10-2004 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Glint:
As far as onboard technology on the rovers you probably won't find much of anything that's Borland or Microsoft (Word, Excel, NetMeeting etc.).
Sure thing... I was talking about the ground segment.

Glint
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posted 03-10-2004 02:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Philip:
Sure thing... I was talking about the ground segment.
O.K. sorry. I replied to the word "onboard" which has a very specific meaning to me.

ALAIN
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posted 03-11-2004 03:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ALAIN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why does NASA-JPL publish certain photos made by the rovers in color and other photos in B&W ?

Check JPL's website and search in the Mars Images catalog for PIA 05311. An excellent photo that shows the tracks made by Opportunity rover, available in B&W only...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-11-2004 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Though I cannot find the specific photo you refer to Alain, the answer may be the fact that not all of Opportunity's (or Spirit's) cameras are color.

The four engineering hazcams (hazard avoidance cameras) and the two engineering navcams (navigation cameras) are black-and-white. The microscopic imager is also monochromatic.

Only the two science pancams (panoramic cameras) are capable of delivering color photographs.

The mission's (and therefore, the cameras') goals are not to deliver pretty pictures but rather the data needed to direct the rover to its next science target. Color photographs require a greater use of bandwidth and that may calculate into their relative low percentage when compared to b&w images from the rovers.

Scott
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posted 03-11-2004 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spirit reaches Bonneville

Note the gleam from the backshell on the far crater rim.

pokey
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posted 03-11-2004 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pokey   Click Here to Email pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Early Results from the Mars Missions (public lecture) is scheduled for March 16th at 7PM at Univ. of Houston Clear Lake. Tickets are free but are first-come-first-served.

Speakers are Drs. Steve Squyres (Cornell/JPL) and Agustin Chicarro (ESA).

Call Lunar Planetary Institute 281-486-2139.

Philip
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posted 03-12-2004 01:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ALAIN:
Check JPL's website and search in the Mars Images catalog for PIA 05311.
To see that particular photo, go to jpl.nasa.gov, click on "Images" and in the "Planetary PhotoJournal" you click the planet Mars... on the next weblink upper-right allows to enter a NASA/JPL photo number (e.g. PIA05311).

Or directly...

Philip
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posted 03-16-2004 06:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Superb to see that the MER rovers took a photo of Earth, our home planet and of the Moons of Mars Phobos & Deimos!

One of the night-time photos taken by the Rovers showed the Viking Orbiter 2 in the Martian night-sky... still orbiting after almost 30 years!

The more the Rover comes to the crater rim, the more small rocks are distributed at this rim... Already over 60 sols (days) on Mars, looking curiously forward how long the MERs will last on the Red planet!

Congrats to everyone at NASA-JPL-Caltech-Cornell!

ALAIN
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posted 03-18-2004 03:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ALAIN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well is the planet Mars red-coloured (surface photos) or cream-coloured (orbiter photos)?

spaceuk
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posted 03-23-2004 02:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I see NASA/JPL and PI's are to make another 'major discovery' announcement in the next couple of hours.

I understand its an Opportunity site discovery.

Phill

spaceuk
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posted 03-23-2004 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was sent an image to JPL taken by Spirit showing the East Hills/Columbia Hills in background on what appeared - on first glance - to be a dust storm blowing across the hills.

I couldn't make up my mind - still cannot - whether it was an image distortion or was a dust storm.

JPL said they hadn't noticed this and couldn't make up their minds whether it was an image glitch or something more 'telling'.

I asked whether they had any large photo prints of this but was told that - like us - they view vast majority of images on computer screens due to lack of funding for photoprints.

They said it might be an albedo difference but were uncertain.

Anyone else noticed this?

Phill

spaceuk
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posted 03-23-2004 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They have in fact made the announcement now - a salty sea!
The site where a NASA robot found the first hard evidence that water once existed on Mars is apparently the remains of an ancient shoreline of a salty sea, scientists reported today.

A detailed analysis of rocks in the shallow crater where the rover has been studying the Red Planet's geology indicates the formations were shaped by gently flowing salt water, indicating the area was probably once the coastline of an ocean, scientists said.

No doubt further data to come in next hour or so.

Phill
UK


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