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  Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity (Page 6)

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Author Topic:   Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity
MarylandSpace
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posted 12-27-2004 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Totally awesome images.

Garry

spaceuk
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posted 01-02-2005 04:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking at the closeup images this morning indicates that the heatshield did its job well - very , very well. There appears to be little damage caused through frictional heating - damage appears to be after impact with Martian ground.

I'll be interested on NASA and contractor comments later.

Scott
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posted 01-03-2005 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Look at this new picture. You can see the tracks in the distance coming over the hill.

spaceuk
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posted 01-04-2005 05:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, I just love these long distance track images. It gives a real 'feeling' of exploration.

Always wanting see 'what's over the hill'.

Alan
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posted 01-04-2005 01:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alan   Click Here to Email Alan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Philip:
Opportunity on the way to its heatshield!
Isn't that like travelling millions of miles to view a thing they brought themselves.

Philip
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posted 01-06-2005 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well I guess that the MERs have worked so good that NASA-JPL engineers decided to take a look at the heatshield anyway...

Scott
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posted 01-12-2005 09:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New true-color pic.

Scott
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posted 01-13-2005 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbital images of Spirit's tracks from its voyages.

spaceuk
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posted 01-13-2005 03:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I understand Spirit is currently 'bogged down' at its current site on Husband Hill due to wheel slippage again.

Going up is to put it bluntly a bit of a 'drag' due to the sandy nature of the soil underneath its wheels.

spaceuk
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posted 01-14-2005 07:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That 'rock' we are currently seeing in very recent images from Opportunity, JPL MER team members believe may well be a nickel iron meteorite!

Now that would be something.

Phill
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Ben
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posted 01-14-2005 08:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kind of interesting...here is the culprit.

Scott
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posted 01-14-2005 10:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sure looks like a meteorite.

spaceuk
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posted 01-19-2005 09:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is a meteorite according to Mr Squyres at JPL in a news conference. Consisting of nickel and iron .

DavidH
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posted 01-20-2005 10:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space.com has a new gallery of the best images from the MER missions.

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"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

Philip
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posted 01-20-2005 12:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's a superb rock, but I don't see any proves in the sandy surface that would suggest a 'recent' crash onto the surface?

Scott
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posted 01-20-2005 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New color image.

Novaspace
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posted 01-20-2005 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Novaspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The find is analagous (to a point) to finding meteorites in Antarctica. A rock on a surface with no others around sticks out.

Kim Poor

spaceuk
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posted 02-10-2005 07:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spirit has almost arrived at the target site called 'Larry's Lookout' on its climb up Husband Hill. JPL estimating around Spirit sol 394. Some images being currently displayed on web site seem to show the 'enclosed valley' that it will peer over into . I understand no decision has yet been made as to whether they will descend into this valley area at a later stage in mission.

JPL'ers appear upbeatabout keeping the two MER's going past March 05 budgeted 'deadline'. The message seems to be that as long as the MER's are rolling they will try and keep them operating.

Phill
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DavidH
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posted 02-22-2005 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceref has posted recent self-portraits taken by the two Mars rovers.

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"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

tegwilym
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posted 02-23-2005 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's intersting to compare the two images, you can definately see the difference in dust on the panels between the two. But they just keep going!

spaceuk
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posted 03-11-2005 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The MER Spirit rover has been fantastically lucky in being able to spot and image a Martian dust devil whirling its way across the flat plain from its vantage point on slopes of Husband Hill.

Incredible luck!

They have - in fact - spotted and imaged two seperate ones though the second is much much harder to spot in images.

And, in addition, the power output is now as good as when first landed since it appears that whirling winds have cleared the solar cells.

And, gets even better, the 'winds' have cleaned the hazcam lens - which was giving pretty spotty images of late.

Phill Parker
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spaceuk
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posted 03-12-2005 10:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the image with the second dust devil that has been imaged by Spirit.

It is to the upper left of image over the ridge on the plain. It kinda "leans" to the left as it sweeps along.

Phill
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spaceuk
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posted 03-12-2005 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a better image of that 2nd dust devil.

Phill
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Philip
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posted 03-22-2005 03:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After one year of operation, the Top 10 MER images is finally online.

spaceuk
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posted 03-29-2005 09:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking at some of the images coming down from Opportunity rover on Mars near the 'Vostok' crater I got to wondering about the near parallel ridges that dominate the scenes.

If - and only if - the ridges had been made by flowing water - like you see at the seaside on the sand after the sea has receded at low tide - could we deduce the height of water needed to make those ridges - taking account of the smaller gravitational attraction at Mars?

Any sedimentologists amongst us? Or oceanographers?

Phill
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LCDR Scott Schneeweis
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posted 03-29-2005 11:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are a number of hydrological processes independent of wave action which could account for such ridge development....for example, deposition of sedimentary material, as a result of being within proximity to an ancient estuary/drainage outlet(s).

However if it can be definitely established that wave action is the progenitor of the ridges it may be possible to extrapolate the geomorphilogical conditions which triggered them... wave period and wave height are tricky to deduce however because the formation of the ridges would have a counter-effect of altering the water column and wave heights (wave height is partially a function of bottom topology and depth - as the bottom is modified, interaction with the ridges changes the wave pattern, period and heights).

R/Scott

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Rodina
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posted 04-11-2005 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina   Click Here to Email Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Engineer's dream job lands award for descents to Mars

Here's a nice article about one of the Mars rover scientists.

MiliputMan
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posted 04-27-2005 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MiliputMan   Click Here to Email MiliputMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I sit at my computer, part of my morning routine is to check the MER raw images downloaded during the night.

This morning was different, the images from Opportunity shows that the robot could be in big trouble. It looks like it's well sink into soft sandy material. I've been following this mission since day one and this is the first time I felt like an obstacle got the better of a MER robot.

Look at these two pictures from the front and back Hazcam.

It looks like the last traverse was done backward and the last few meters were soft sandy material where the rover was slipping a lot. You can see in the Front-Hazcam picture the change in the rover's tracks. It goes from the normal pattern (little to no slippage and the wheels/lander interface marking at every wheel turn) to a slippage pattern with the disturbed loose dirt (the kind we see when the rover dig a trench). The front and back wheels are now 50% to 80% in the ground. The middle wheels can't be seen (unless they do some cool new move with the MicroImager) but I suspect they are a bad as the others. Even the threads on the wheels are completely packed with material making the wheels surface very slick (not a lot off gripping power there).

Do I worry for nothing or is this a potential showstopper?

Phillipe

Philip
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posted 04-27-2005 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It surely looks like Opportunity is in a Sahara-like desert of Meridiani Planum! Interesting to follow this but there hasn't been a press-release yet.

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posted 04-27-2005 11:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MiliputMan   Click Here to Email MiliputMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phillip,

I'm very disappointed with NASA (and other's like JPL) when looking for fresh news. The last update on NASA's MER website is almost always a week old. At least the RAW images pages are updated very often (within hours of the actual data dump from Mars, or so I looks). So the only "live" data is the RAWs.

Anyway, I'm still there every day getting the pictures and the news from last week.

Back to Opportunity. This is not good. I was looking forward for the Victoria Crater's pictures. Now is the time for those guys with bulletproof glasses working in the back rooms of JPL to come up with some crazy-cool idea to get that rover back on the road.

As far as I know Opportunity was the healthiest one of the two rovers, Spirit having problems with is front right wheel. So it would be a shame to loose Opportunity.

The other Phillipe

tegwilym
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posted 04-27-2005 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From this report (from yesterday April 26) they don't mention anything about being stuck. It does say that the right front steering motor is having problems. That's the wheel in the photo that was posted in the message above. Maybe it's still just dragging it's foot along?

I'm one of those few that looks at the Mars site almost every day also. I think the general public has almost totally forgotten about the rovers up there.

Tom

MiliputMan
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posted 04-27-2005 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MiliputMan   Click Here to Email MiliputMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom,

Let's hope you're right and wait for the next report. Maybe they were just trying to test that steering motor. I'm still not confident that this is normal. I don't remember seeing all the wheels that deep in the ground before. What really makes me nervous about this situation is that this is on a relatively flat surface so there's no going downhill to help unstuck the rover.

Of course this is all hypothetical, since it may not be stuck at all.

Phillipe

MiliputMan
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posted 04-27-2005 02:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MiliputMan   Click Here to Email MiliputMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom,

I forgot to add this to my reply. The last report (26 of April) covers the sols 438 to 442. The picture I'm referring to was taken on sol 446.

Phillipe

tegwilym
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posted 04-27-2005 04:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MiliputMan:
I forgot to add this to my reply. The last report (26 of April) covers the sols 438 to 442. The picture I'm referring to was taken on sol 446.
Oh. I guess I better watch Martian time rather than local earth time!

Fingers crossed that we're not stuck...

Tom

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posted 04-28-2005 07:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MiliputMan   Click Here to Email MiliputMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sol 447

No movement since yesterday. The front and back Hazcams pictures on sol 447 shows the same situation has on sol 446.

A big clue about the being-stuck-theory is that yesterday (sol 447) NASA took very detailed pictures of the last meters traversed by the rover using the PanCam.

You can actually see a cool transition between normal rolling and increasing slippage.

My bet is that we wont see any big movement for a while. They will probably do small movements and wait for the results (pictures) between every command. The worst thing to do when you're stuck in sand is to spin the wheels.

Phillipe

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-28-2005 08:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Steve Squyres
April 26, 2005

Over on the other side of the planet, Opportunity is having a tougher time of it. Last week we got slowed down a little by some unexpected software issues. Those are cleared up now, and as of yesterday Opportunity was on the move again. But now we've got a new situation. After yestersol's drive, all six wheels we're dug pretty deeply into a large ripple. We've gotten dug in before and gotten out just fine, so this isn't cause for immediate concern. But we're likely to be here a little while, taking our time to get our wheels back on top of the soil again, and also taking some time to figure out what's different about this soil and how to keep this from happening again as we continue to work our way toward Erebus.

MiliputMan
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posted 04-28-2005 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MiliputMan   Click Here to Email MiliputMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert,

Thanks for the update. I'll be checking the "Mission Update by Steve Squyres" on athena more often.

Phillipe

Philip
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posted 04-28-2005 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Worth a look.

tegwilym
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posted 04-28-2005 11:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Philip:
Worth a look.
Ugh! That doesn't look good. It appears that the tread on the wheel is full of packed-in soil too. Well, Steve S. sounds conifident, let's just hope those rover-drivers can get out of that situation.

MiliputMan
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posted 04-28-2005 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MiliputMan   Click Here to Email MiliputMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On this one, you can see that the inside threads are still not completely packed yet.


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