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View Full Version : MER press conference, 2004 April 28



ToSeek
2004-Apr-28, 06:00 PM
Okay, we've waited two weeks for this one, so I expect it to be worthwhile. This means some major discoveries, some cool visuals, up-to-date information, and some serious science babes on the panel.

ToSeek
2004-Apr-28, 06:03 PM
Sol 114 for Spirit, 93 for Opportunity. Both successfully completed primary mission.


Panel:

Matt Wallace - Opportunity mission manager
Scott McLennan - scientist, SUNY Stony Brook
Dave Des Marais - scientist, Ames

Bunch of old guys. :x

carolyn
2004-Apr-28, 06:07 PM
Sol 114 for Spirit, 93 for Opportunity. Both successfully completed primary mission.


Panel:

Matt Wallace - Opportunity mission manager
Scott McLennan - scientist, SUNY Stony Brook
Dave Des Marais - scientist, Ames

Bunch of old guys. :x

ha ha :D

serves you right :wink: [-X

ps (are they cute old guys? 8) )

ToSeek
2004-Apr-28, 06:13 PM
Matt Wallace:

Opportunity first rover to be built, showing photo of it under construction (2 years ago). One year ago: completed, functional testing at KSC. April 24, 2004: simulated photo of Opportunity with Endurance crater in background.

Opportunity's "90 sols in 90 seconds" movie: off lander, outcrop, Bounce Rock, Anatolia.

811.57 meters traveled in 90 sols, 140.99 meters record for one day. 12,149 images. 15 gigabits of data.

Last week or two: finished up science activities at Fram, headed out onto plains, getting ready to approach Endurance crater. Expect to get within 75 meters today, get to rim by sol 95. Assess traversability - see if can get into crater or, more importantly, get out of crater.

First invocation of "deep sleep" in about 7 days - minimize energy lost to instrument arm heater.

Spirit: Columbia Hills now about 2 km away, Spirit now past Missoula. Goal is to get as much mileage on vehicle as possible. R9 software load has helped tremendous - 3x improvement over what was previously possible. Set a record today by going 88.5 meters. Total distance 1315 meters. Have gone farther in April than in entire rest of mission.

Have met all goals for full mission success.

ToSeek
2004-Apr-28, 06:19 PM
Scott: Opportunity science.

Highlights since Anatolia: ne/sw trending fractures. Outcrop samples similar to Eagle. Dug trench near Anatolia: surface hematite-rich with lots of spherules. Underneath soil is mostly basaltic.

Fram: hoped to find outcrop but was very disrupted. More recent impact than Eagle. Detailed look at rock called "Pilber" (?). Did a RAT on it, deepest ever so far. Chemistry/materials very similar to Eagle outcrop. "Hammersley" rock on edge of crater a little different - decided not to go in and investigate, but if don't find similar rocks elsewhere, may consider coming back.

"Rorshach" image of Endurance: some people see bedding, some see erosion. Will need to decide if worthwhile to go into crater.

ToSeek
2004-Apr-28, 06:28 PM
Dave: Spirit science.

Columbia Hills 2 km to the east. Older deposits than what's been seen so far. What role has water played?

Evidence from orbit that Hills have structure. Objective is to traverse plains enroute but also to do science on the way. Slide showing Spirit's route and schedule, shooting for mid-June arrival (sol 160). Slide shows little tick marks for each day's expected progress. False-color image shows quantity of rocks in each area by how quickly each area cools off at night (more rocks, less cooling). Spirit will compare these estimates from orbit with reality to establish ground truth.

Quartet of sols: rotate through all instruments over four sols. Put arm down to do characterization of soil every four days. Take panorama every four days, etc. Characterize seasonal changes. Should have at least 10 sets of observations by the time Spirit gets to the Hills.

Where Spirit is now: as of Sol 112 (already 100+ meters ago), well past Missoula - almost as far from Missoula as Missoula is from Bonneville.

Pan of Missoula. Missoula older crater than Bonneville. Similar deposits and overall characteristics to Bonneville.

Finding interesting rocks away from Bonneville: spongelike rock from congealed lava. Regional trends, different geologic province.

Question time.

ToSeek
2004-Apr-28, 06:43 PM
Do you see everything that you go by in a day's drive?

Favoring remote-sensing, on-the-fly observations instead of arm work. Do a reasonable job of characterizing each location by spacing out arm observations.

White dots in background in panorama of Endurance crater?

Not sure what he's talking about, could be Endurance ejecta. Will keep an eye out for that sort of thing.

Any physical problems with spacecraft? Are you surprised that they've both passed their warranty dates?

No new engineering issues. Continuing to deal with Opportunity heater. Vehicles are "both very healthy." New estimates regarding dust accumulation and power degradation, a little steeper than originally thought. Surprised? - vehicles very well engineered but also complex, probably going to be an issue eventually.

Plains very flat? Have to dig to find outcrop?

Plains are very flat, do usually have to have hollows or craters to find outcrops but maybe not always - some bright areas seen from orbit may be outcrop, can't tell yet.

Any luck with dust devil surveys? Confident that Opportunity will wake up after "deep sleep" mode?

Mode has been practiced extensively on testbeds nearly identical to flight vehicles, have tried different configurations, anomalies, etc. Confident that capability has been well wrung out.

Have not yet observed dust devils. They are definitely out there. Spirit will look for dust devils every four sols as part of traverse science.

How are you dealing with working an Earth schedule while rovers are on Mars time?

"It's a wonderful thing" to be on Earth time again. Feel like you've come from Mars back to Earth again. Schedule is working out pretty well. Rovers twelve hours apart, so always something going on. Have been able to compress planning activities from 20-24 hours down to 6-10 hours. Science team members have gotten very efficient at formulating plans. Less of an issue for people out of area and away from families - we're already away from home, why not go all the way to Mars? Could not have done this at beginning of mission, have found efficiencies.

How to deal with shifting times?

Every day you come in and plan the next day, regardless. Four-day template provides structure.

Next news briefing May 6 at noon PDT, 3 pm EDT. Only a week away!

ToSeek
2004-Apr-28, 06:45 PM
ps (are they cute old guys? 8) )

Maybe if you like balding guys with glasses and a moustache. ;)

StarStuff
2004-Apr-28, 07:48 PM
Next news briefing May 6 at noon PDT, 3 pm EDT. Only a week away!

=D> That's great! I had assumed we'd have to wait another two weeks, considering what they said in the last news conference.

Thanks for covering this; I rushed home to catch this conference online, and had MAJOR connection problems - no audio at all. :evil: Hopefully c-span will have it soon.

Swift
2004-Apr-28, 09:30 PM
ToSeek - thanks again for the updates =D>

ToSeek
2004-Apr-29, 01:27 AM
ToSeek - thanks again for the updates =D>

Glad to be of help, even if I wasn't able to gaze adoringly at Jennifer or Bethany. ;)

ToSeek
2004-Apr-29, 01:49 AM
Press conference images are here. (http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/spirit/20040428a.html)

Kullat Nunu
2004-Apr-29, 10:45 AM
It is already available at Space.TV (http://www.space.tv/).

slinted
2004-Apr-29, 08:41 PM
It is already available at Space.TV (http://www.space.tv/).

also available from JPL itself here (http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/MER_Video_Archive.html)