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Thread: NASA to launch a new mission to Mars in 2016 - inSight!

  1. #1
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    NASA to launch a new mission to Mars in 2016 - inSight!

    Congrats.

    We got a new mission.

    Too bad it won't have a color camera ...

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    I NEED to see how they are going to drill 30ft into the ground.

    story http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation...e9c_story.html

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    Look up the PLUTO tool from Beagle 2 (and it's 5m, more like 15ft)

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    you know, i was just thinking about the mole from beagle 2 - japanese dentists came up with it if i remember right

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    Quote Originally Posted by djellison View Post
    Look up the PLUTO tool from Beagle 2 (and it's 5m, more like 15ft)
    NICE!!!

    I was a huge fan of Beagle 2, great to see some hardware from it back in action

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    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyeng View Post
    you know, i was just thinking about the mole from beagle 2 - japanese dentists came up with it if i remember right
    No - the dentist dude worked on the corer/grinder. PLUTO is different.

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    ah right - well it was a long time ago now aye.
    I do remember the mole though - everyone was talking about that darn mole.
    btw, the Washington post story i linked now been edited from 30ft to 16ft - they conspiring to make me look silly

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    I am a little surprised that they would do this before sending a trace gass orbiter though- unless of course, there is one of those on the way too
    it might be they just more skeptical about Methane evidence perhaps

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    MAVEN launches next winter - that's studying the atmosphere.

    This new mission has nothing to do with gasses - it doesn't have a payload for studying them (MSL does)

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    The Next Mars Lander: InSight

    New Insight on Mars Expected from New NASA Mission

    On Aug. 20, NASA announced the selection of InSight, a new Discovery-class mission that will probe Mars at new depths by looking into the deep interior of Mars.

    "We are certainly excited, but our veterans on this team know the drill," said Tom Hoffman, project manager for InSight from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Which is fortunate, because one of the great things we'll get to do on Mars is drill below the surface."

    Drilling underneath the red Martian topsoil will be courtesy of InSight's HP3, or Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package - one of the four instruments the Mars lander will carry. Made by the German Aerospace Center, or DLR, HP3 will get below Mars' skin by literally pounding it into submission with a 14-inch (35-centimeter), hollowed-out, electromechanically-festooned stake called the Tractor Mole.

    "The Tractor Mole has an internal hammer that rises and falls, moving the stake down in the soil and dragging a tether along behind it," said Sue Smrekar, deputy project scientist for InSight from JPL. "We're essentially doing the same thing any Boy or Girl Scout would do on a campout, but we're putting our stake down on Mars."

    The German-built mole will descend up to 16 feet (five meters) below the surface, where its temperature sensors will record how much heat is coming from Mars' interior, which reveals the planet's thermal history.

    "Getting well below the surface gets us away from the sun's influence and allows us to measure heat coming from the interior," said Smrekar. "InSight is going take heartbeat and vital signs of the Red Planet for an entire Martian year, two Earth years. We are really going to have an opportunity to understand the processes that control the early planetary formation."
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I've merged the two threads
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

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    This sounds like another Phoenix type of mission to me.
    And again I have to wonder if the data returned is worth the money spent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by samkent View Post
    This sounds like another Phoenix type of mission to me.
    And again I have to wonder if the data returned is worth the money spent.

    It's using the phoenix (and indeed polar lander) basic spacecraft design. That's all they have in common.

    But InSight is nothing like Phoenix. Phoenix was about ice, scraping the surface. InSight is about geophysics, the interior of Mars, its ancient history. They are two utterly different missions. To say it's 'another Phoenix type of mission' is utterly untrue.

    Moreover, Phoenix lasted just 154 sols. InSight will last at least a martian year, probably significantly longer.
    Last edited by djellison; 2012-Aug-21 at 02:41 PM.

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    I can see the science return from MAVEN and Insight combined will be huge in understanding the history of the planet.
    Those of more an astrobiology bent will have to keep their fingers crossed for the Indian or exomars missions, then everybody will be happy - except those that wanted Europa or Titan of course

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    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyeng View Post
    then everybody will be happy - except those that wanted Europa or Titan of course
    I am one of those. :-)

    While this is a worthwhile mission, especially with the seismometer, I would have liked to see the Titan mission funded. Oh well.... at least something got funded! Good luck to them. Hope it is highly successful.

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    Bummer. I wanted to see TiME succeed.

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    I wanted to see all three succeed.

    Sadly - the money isn't there to do it, so we have to put our money where there's the best risk/reward and smallest ammount of uncertainty.

    That's with InSight

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    Pity they couldn't include a mass spectrometer with InSight ..(??)..

    To drill up to 16 feet into the surface, and abandon the temptation to find out exactly how the chemical composition varies with depth, must've been about tough design tradeoff decisions (??)

    Regards

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    might have been easier to give Curiosity a Mole?

    nice JPLnews vid here about the InSight mission
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7U5...ayer_embedded#!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    To drill up to 16 feet into the surface
    It's not a sampling tool. It digs down and then stays there, taking the heatflow probe instrumentation with it.

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    So it's a one shot deal (hole)?

    Ugggh Half a billion for heat flow?
    I have a thing against these stationary landers. It's fine for the first mission to another body.
    But after that the thing needs to move around.
    How much can you tell about the US from a stationary probe? Not much.

    After the media excitement stirred up by Curiosity, this next one will be read as a bore.
    Unfortunately politics plays a big part in NASA funding. If you want more funding do something exciting.
    Nobody raises the pay of librarians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by samkent View Post
    I have a thing against these stationary landers. It's fine for the first mission to another body.
    But after that the thing needs to move around.
    How much can you tell about the US from a stationary probe? Not much.
    Isn't a rover platform less than optimal for a seismic and drilling mission?

    Quote Originally Posted by samkent View Post
    After the media excitement stirred up by Curiosity, this next one will be read as a bore.
    I mean, that is one of the mission objectives - a bore, that is...

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    Quote Originally Posted by samkent View Post
    How much can you tell about the US from a stationary probe?
    Geophysical missions studying seismology and heatflow can't move. They have to stay still. Very Very still. You can learn A HELL of a lot from a stationary mission on Mars. You just need to read up on InSight to see it.

    If you want more funding do something exciting.
    A smartphone app that vibrates in my pocket..I get my phone out...and it tells me we just saw an earthquake. ON ANOTHER PLANET. I find that exciting.

    You have to walk a find line between good science, and outreach.

    Do you think the Cluster mission is exciting? Or Ulysses? GRAIL? THEMIS or any number of other science missions? They're doing awesome science.

    If all you wanted was exciting missions, we would have every launch be another Deep Impact mission.

    What, exactly, does your librarian comment have to do with this? They are a vital conduit between information sources and information users in academia and in public places. I think you'll find their salaries are a little higher now than they were in 1950. Not only is your comment untrue, it also has no relevance to this discussion.

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    My point is if NASA finds the heat flow results are conducive to have had life in the past in that one area, the scientists will shout bravo. But the public tax payers will yawn. And all will ask but what about over there?

    But if a rover stumbles over a trilobite fossil and sends a picture back, you are guaranteed another big mission right then and there.

    Pure dry science is like a red headed step child. I you want more money for more missions you had better excite us. Pictures are required.
    Remember the public’s fondness with Hubble? Hubble gave us wondrous pictures from places that inspire our hearts.

    I predict that if we don’t get a treasure trove of pictures of sun lit vistas from Mars it will turn into another Moon scenario. A 40 year drought on missions.

    If you continue to inspire us we will allow you a hole drilling mission every now and then.

    The librarian remark refers to the lack of respect they get. Their work is important but not recognized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by samkent View Post
    The librarian remark refers to the lack of respect they get. Their work is important but not recognized.
    So the challenge here is not that we shouldn't do InSight ( as it is very important, scientifically ) - the challenge here is to explain to the public how and why they should care and find it interesting.

    The problem isn't with InSight, it's with the public perception of it. That can, should (and will) be worked on over the next 4 years.

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    16 feet below the surface maybe the ideal depth for a human habitat on Mars. Let's fund the artificial womb and robot nanies. Neil

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    Quote Originally Posted by samkent View Post
    My point is if NASA finds the heat flow results are conducive to have had life in the past in that one area, the scientists will shout bravo. But the public tax payers will yawn. And all will ask but what about over there?

    But if a rover stumbles over a trilobite fossil and sends a picture back, you are guaranteed another big mission right then and there.

    Pure dry science is like a red headed step child. I you want more money for more missions you had better excite us. Pictures are required.
    Remember the public’s fondness with Hubble? Hubble gave us wondrous pictures from places that inspire our hearts.

    I predict that if we don’t get a treasure trove of pictures of sun lit vistas from Mars it will turn into another Moon scenario. A 40 year drought on missions.

    If you continue to inspire us we will allow you a hole drilling mission every now and then.

    The librarian remark refers to the lack of respect they get. Their work is important but not recognized.
    Fascinating .. (I had a good chuckle at the imagery used in parts of the above … )

    The search for life is a bit like the search for the Holy Grail. Whilst inspiring to some, and as much as we try to convince ourselves we actually know what we're looking for, the reality is that what we're looking for is ill-defined (in the rest of the universe), and we have no idea whether what we've chosen to look for, is out there to be found in the first place !

    The search for 'dry science' is more about retrieving data in support of theory development .. which in turn, is used to communicate amongst ourselves, our view of how we think nature works, and to constrain future searches.

    So searching for life is really up to a pure chance discovery, and gathering dry science data, is about assured returns (provided the probe arrives in a functional state). From an investment perspective, the dry science mission would seem to be a better investment … (even it is boring) ??

    A mixture of 'boring' and 'inspiring' missions, might actually be a sort of winning formula for NASA, eh ?

    Regards

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    Quote Originally Posted by neilzero View Post
    16 feet below the surface maybe the ideal depth for a human habitat on Mars. Let's fund the artificial womb and robot nanies. Neil
    Why ?
    Because it can be said that: 'it might be possible' ?

    (I'd love it if my bank manager would respond to talk of 'what might be possible' ! ??).

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    Excitement is a dicey thing to center a mission around, for a couple of reasons:
    1.) We're looking at Curiosity as exciting from the perspective of it being on the surface for less than a month, having barely driven, not the way it'll look when it's primary mission ends, when it'll be lucky to get a footnote in the major papers. Opportunity was "exciting", once; now it's rarely mentioned aside from the fact that it's still operational and doing science. The public's attention span is short, and each successful mission is only a momentary victory in a battle which, ultimately, bread and butter issues always win.

    2.) Cassini's imagery is, IMO, the best in Solar System at the moment, and the pictures are constant, yet I'm willing to bet that most Americans know little or nothing about it, nor that they are willing to foot the bill for a follow-up of similar complexity, even if exobiologists said there *is* life on Titan or Enceladus, and we just need to double check.

    Back to the OP: Though InSight would not have been my first choice, a dedicated seismic mission is long overdue; one has never been successfully deployed on the surface. The Vikings had them, but VL1's never worked, and wind made VL2's data too noisy to be especially useful. It's too bad we don't have multiple stations to determine the specific location and depth of any Marsquake, but we'll take what we can get. Here's an informative blog post that goes on about the mission in a little more "depth": http://futureplanets.blogspot.com/20...mentation.html

    The Tharsis region seems to be an obvious choice for any seismic mission, but I suspect they'll pick a "quieter" area that'll give them a more realistic figure for the planet's overall seismic and areothermal activity.

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