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Thread: Opportunity Update

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Should NASA have installed a broom on an arm for sweeping the dust off the solar panels? Dust devils can't be too dependable.
    This was actually one of several ideas the MER team toyed with during it's construction. Some other ideas they had included one for compressed air to blow the dust off, and another was having clear plastic on rollers covering the solar panals and when the plastic got dirty they could just roll the dirty part away and have clean plastic replace it. All were eventually determined to be too heavy for their mass limit though. And from what I hear the mass limit was TIGHT for these rovers. At one point they were seriously considering throwing away one of their cameras just to save 200 grams of weight, that's how bad it got. And those solar panel ideas were all adding (iirc) 15-20 kilograms of mass to put in. In the end they decided that just having oversized panels for the rover that fold out was the best way to go.

  2. #62
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    And remember: 90 days primary mission...

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave241 View Post
    This was actually one of several ideas the MER team toyed with during it's construction. Some other ideas they had included one for compressed air to blow the dust off, and another was having clear plastic on rollers covering the solar panals and when the plastic got dirty they could just roll the dirty part away and have clean plastic replace it. All were eventually determined to be too heavy for their mass limit though. And from what I hear the mass limit was TIGHT for these rovers. At one point they were seriously considering throwing away one of their cameras just to save 200 grams of weight, that's how bad it got. And those solar panel ideas were all adding (iirc) 15-20 kilograms of mass to put in. In the end they decided that just having oversized panels for the rover that fold out was the best way to go.
    So it looks like a Miller example. Cheap up front leaving them vulnerable to problems down the line, but in the end worth it.

  4. #64
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    My "broom on an arm for sweeping the dust off the solar panels" was a bit of a tongue-in-cheeky comment, and it's been so long that I had forgotten about it being a 90 day mission.

  5. #65
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    As I hope many of the board participants know by now (if you follow the MER mission), is that a "free broom" of sorts has been working on Opportunity (as it did for Spirit) regularly since the start of the mission: dust devils and other winds blowing off excess dust. It might seem unintuitive that a dust devil would clean the panels,but the winds associated with them are wider than the visible dust columns, and the dust density is often lower than what's on the panels, from what I understand.

    These cleaning events have been critical in extending the rovers' lives.

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  6. #66
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  7. #67
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    At least they spotted it
    CBS News
    NASA's long-lived Opportunity Mars rover has been silent since June 11 in the wake of a global dust storm that swept around the red planet, blotting out the sun and preventing the rover's batteries from recharging. Despite clearing skies, the rover has yet to wake up, but it's no longer out of sight.

    In an image released Tuesday, Opportunity shows up as a small dot-like feature in a high-resolution image captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, showing the rover on the slopes of Perseverance Valley 166 miles below. Opportunity was slowly making its way down into the martian valley when the dust storm developed.
    Image is at the linked website.
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  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    At least they spotted it
    Good, not stolen.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by VQkr View Post
    Good, not stolen.

    Though maybe the Martians stole the wheels, the radio, and the battery, and that's why we haven't heard from it.
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  10. #70
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    Meridiani Planum? More like Moss Side Planum.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post

    Though maybe the Martians stole the wheels, the radio, and the battery, and that's why we haven't heard from it.
    I can see the conversation in Mission Control:

    Old Hand: I told the team we shouldn't have parked it on the wrong side of the tracks.
    New Guy: Wait, there are tracks!?

  12. #72
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    The Planetary Society on the latest on rover. No good news yet

    http://www.planetary.org/explore/spa...portunity.html

    As the global storm that wrapped the Red Planet in a cloud of dust since late June finally gave up the ghost in September, the sky continued to clear over Endeavour Crater and the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission initiated the NASA-approved two-step plan to reestablish contact with Opportunity.

    The mission operations team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), home to all of NASA’s Mars spacecraft, launched the first phase of the strategy on September 11th, by increasing attempts to search for Opportunity’s signal from three times a week to multiple times each day and electronically nudge the rover awake. The team also began listening and looking for the rover’s signal over a broader range of times and frequencies recorded by the Deep Space Network’s (DSN’s) most sensitive radio receivers. But the nearly 15-year-old pioneer explorer has not yet phoned home.
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  13. #73
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    APOD pic of Opportunity in Mars.
    Sunlight was up to 25% of norm on September 20, so not too surprising we did not hear from it earlier.

  14. #74
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  15. #75
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    False positive radio signal from Opportunity

    https://www.space.com/42454-mars-rov...lse-alarm.html

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