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Thread: Curiosity Surface Operations

  1. #61
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    Boy, Curiosity sure kicked up lots of dust. Can't wait till they "clean up" the descent video.

    As far as what will be done, and when..."Curiosity's middle name should be patience."

    In other words, they're not going to "rush" doing anything.



    Next update, tomorrow morning, 10 AM pacific time.

  2. #62
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    Yeah, that lady is quite forceful, huh?

    Anyway, yes, even that tiny "stop-motion" low-res bad framerate high compression descent movie was pretty cool. The full movie will be awesome and unique.

    A first full-res image will likely come down in the next 24 hours. They have a total of 660 images, though a lot of those are post-landing. Malin hopes that they can use MARDI to create a "drive movie", looking down while the rover drives, though it will be complicated to synch the camera and the drive.

    Several HazCam full-res images are in, and one clearly shows Mt. Sharp in the distance as well as the dark dune field in front, very impressive, the rover is pointed almost straight at its final goal.

    I'm still rather incredulous that they want to climb that, it's close to 30 klicks away!!

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Alexander View Post
    I'm still rather incredulous that they want to climb that, it's close to 30 klicks away!!
    After "pulling off" that landing, I have every confidence in JPL to do whatever needs to be done.

  4. #64
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    Posted a link to the descent video in the EDL thread.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  5. #65
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    It looks very much like Gusev Crater

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Alexander View Post

    I'm still rather incredulous that they want to climb that, it's close to 30 klicks away!!
    It's only 6 - and the foot of Mt Sharp has been the science target from the day we launched.

  7. #67
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    Press Conference, 1 pm EDT Tuesday.

    Mike Watkins - Mission Manager
    Ken Edgett - MAHLI PI
    Sarah Milkovich - HiRISE Scientist

    Watkins: Busy day today for Curiosity, asleep right now. Still healthy, in Surface Nominal Mode, good shape. Recent activity: High-gain antenna deployed. Pointing a little off, need to correct bias, will do tomorrow. Deployed RAD, took first measurements. Instrument checkout. First MAHLI image. Took dark images (images with no external light to calibrate CCD sensors). REMS checkout did not work correctly, think it's just table parameters because sensor diagnostic was fine.

    Tomorrow: Establish direct communications to Earth. Deploy remote sensing mast. Up high - "couldn't look this in the eye unless you're an NBA player." Look back at own deck, panorama, calibration target with Navcam.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  8. #68
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    Edgett: MAHLI on end of two-meter boom, can position it wherever we want. Currently pointed directly north. Focusable color camera. Getting emotional: "Waited a long time for this to come back." Does it still focus after all it's been through? Yes. Dithered over whether or not to open dust cover, decided against for now. Hazcam covers will stay off, MAHLI's will go on and off as needed. Sun angle makes first image look even dustier than it really is. Can see rocks in the foreground.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  9. #69
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    Milkovich: "Another fabulous image of Curiosity on the surface." For this image we had to rotate 41 degrees from nadir - don't normally go more than 30. Rover, Sky crane, backshell, parachute, heat shield all marked. 39 meters cm/pixel. [Sky crane indeed due northwest of rover, so could be plume photographed right after landing.]

    MRO confirms orientation of Curiosity.

    Closeup of parachute and backshell to southwest. Closeup of heat shield, to southeast. Skycrane closeup, made quite a splat - long line of dust extending to northwest.

    Image taken 1:30 am EDT.

    Rover to heat shield 1200 meters. Rover to backshell 615 meters. To sky crane 650 meters.

    Next image five days from now, will target actual landing site, this one targeted center of landing ellipse.
    Last edited by ToSeek; 2012-Aug-07 at 06:18 PM.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  10. #70
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    @djellison: Well, I meant to the actual peak.

    @ToSeek: It's 39 cm/pixel, not 39 m/pixel.

    Guy fromNature: Where do all the walnuts come from?

    Ken Edgett: SQUIRRELS!
    Last edited by Don Alexander; 2012-Aug-07 at 05:47 PM.

  11. #71
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    Irish TV - Times on major events?

    Will provide.

    Ask Edgett to comment on geology?

    Curiosity on smoother surface, heat shield on surface with small craters. Different-colored bit to northeast. "If I were in charge, I'd go to where these three come together."

    ?? - Visit any of these?

    No.

    Nature - What could be responsible for walnut-sized pieces of rock?

    Edgett: "Squirrels! Walnuts, got to be squirrels." Doesn't want to come to any conclusions without a better, wider-ranging look.

    Reuters - When do dust covers come off MAHLI? Do they come on and off?

    MAHLI dust cover is totally transparent, dust only obscuration. Dust cover on a hinge, will open and close whenever we want. Closed most of time. On turret with brush and drill, so want to keep cover on.

    How deep into soil did discarded elements go?

    Didn't try to model because depends on what you hit.

    SPACE.com - Talk about emotions among team members as transitioning from euphoria of landing to day-to-day operations.

    Surface team pretty excited still. Start of their mission, waiting for years to do this. First few images are the best because so new. "The adrenalin will last for a while." "These are the days that people worked five and ten years for."

    Washington Post/National Geographic - How far from Mount Sharp? Where in crater?

    North wall of Gale in the MAHLI image. Rover facing ESE, MAHLI facing off to the side. 20-25 kilometers to wall. 12 kilometers from Curiosity to base of Mount Sharp (where expected to start climbing).

    ?? - What going to first get from MASTCam? When first panorama? What's current work shift?

    First is calibration target, here on Sol 2. Navcam panorama: looking down all the way around, then not so down all the way around. Also Sol 2. Actually staffed nearly around the clock. Prime start for us is when rover day ends, currently 3-4 pm. Rover tells us what it did today, sends it to Earth, team looks at it. Right now that part starting around midnight, moving 40 minutes later per day to keep up with Mars time.

    Mexico - Something to do to clean dust from instruments?

    MAHLI okay, will open and be clean. Hazcams dust covers are off. Cameras on mast will point down when not in use so dust doesn't accumulate.

    Houston TV - Significance of color pictures?

    Work for small company that built 4 of these cameras, now know two of them are working. Getting emotional again.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  12. #72
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    Astrobiology Magazine - Relative data rates of high-gain antenna, Odyssey, MRO?

    Direct-to-Earth not primary way because data rates so low. Right now 8k Odyssey, 32k MRO. But can up to 2 meg for MRO, will activate later on. Keeping signal-to-noise ratio high right now. About to get 4-5 times more per day than getting now.

    Got more dust than expected? Sky crane was supposed to prevent?

    Remains to be seen how much we've gotten. Rover designed to be largely tolerant of dust, solar panels not an issue. Self-inspection images coming soon will tell us a lot.

    LA Times - Could see sky crane crashing in background of image? More about REMS test that didn't quite work?

    Rear hazcams indeed pointing in right direction for sky crane. "We have to mull that over a bit more." Can't rule it out.

    REMS: first checkout worked fine. First file used as basis of observations didn't look right. Seen similar problems before, usually just parameters.

    Sky & Telescope - RGB filters on MAHLI same as MASTCam?

    MAHLI, MASTCam, MARDI all have same CCD, yes. "And it will all work great!"

    Brazil - Will cameras in mast be high enough to spot sky crane, etc.?

    Think so, depends on topography. Should be able to see them if it's mostly flat.

    Emily - How windy do you expect site to be?

    Dunes are known to move based on HiRISE images. "That's a windy place." Remains to be seen what we'll see with dust removal.

    Aviation Week - When clear picture from something?

    Tomorrow. [Do these people not listen to the rest of the conference?]
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  13. #73
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    Be useful if someone could take the current curiosity position and relate that to where the route into and up Mnt sharp will take it

  14. #74
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    Did things land where they expected to land?

    EDL team says yes.

    AmericaSpace - Would winds be enough to billow parachute?

    Don't know, imagining taking video with MASTCam. Rob Manning: Parachutes on other landers didn't move under pretty high winds, Mars atmosphere only 1% of Earth's.

    Nature - Where base of Mount Sharp, said 6.5 km yesterday?

    Depends on where you're defining the base. 6.5 km straight, but hard to define base. Very first start of Mount Sharp.

    Space.com - Minimal focus distance? How will camera work with sampling?

    2.1 cm to infinity. Max resolution 14 microns/pixel. Will document where drill, where scoop, will dump stuff into observation tray for MAHLI and APXS. Peek into hole for sample to see if clogged. Has LEDs so can take pictures at night.

    Washington Post - Any surprises so far?

    No surprises from engineering perspective. "Fantastic. From an engineering perspective that's how we like it."

    Florida Today/USA Today - What is MASTCam calibration target? When shoot ChemCam laser?

    Flight spare from MERs. Decorations slightly different, magnets added.

    According to script, on Sol 11 or 12 after flight software transitions to new version for surface operations.

    ?? - Get some help interpreting HiRISE image after press conference.

    Sure.

    ?? - Started thinking about where to send rover?

    First check out rover, make sure ready and safe to operate. Then we hand over the keys. Science team meeting every day to decide what high-priority targets are. That's a couple of weeks away.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  15. #75
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    @ToSeek: The guy asking for help on the HiRISE images was the Irish TV guy, I think (beefy & bald).

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Alexander View Post
    @ToSeek: The guy asking for help on the HiRISE images was the Irish TV guy, I think (beefy & bald).
    Sounds right. On the fly I couldn't remember.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  17. #77
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    I don't know if it's due to the fisheye lens, but the photo showing the faraway rim of Gale Crater makes it look like Curiosity is sitting (standing) in the bottom a small crater. It looks like there is a smooth incline for several meters, which then stops well short of Gale Crater's rim. Ideas?
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  18. #78
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    It looks like there is an exposed layer of bedrock with all sorts of interesting features in it just 100m or so from the rover.

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    Nature - What could be responsible for walnut-sized pieces of rock?

    Edgett: "Squirrels! Walnuts, got to be squirrels." Doesn't want to come to any conclusions without a better, wider-ranging look.
    Based upon this information, NASA has already started to design the next "Rover".
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    I don't know if it's due to the fisheye lens, but the photo showing the faraway rim of Gale Crater makes it look like Curiosity is sitting (standing) in the bottom a small crater. It looks like there is a smooth incline for several meters, which then stops well short of Gale Crater's rim. Ideas?
    That question was raised in yesterday's press conference, and it was suggested that we could be seeing the horizon, with the elevated crater rim rising behind.

  21. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hal37214 View Post
    That question was raised in yesterday's press conference, and it was suggested that we could be seeing the horizon, with the elevated crater rim rising behind.
    Thanks, Hal. Now open the pod bay doors, would you?
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  22. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Alexander View Post
    @ToSeek: The guy asking for help on the HiRISE images was the Irish TV guy, I think (beefy & bald).
    Leo Enright.

  23. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    Closeup of parachute and backshell to southwest. Closeup of heat shield, to southeast. Skycrane closeup, made quite a splat - long line of dust extending to northwest.
    Does the big splat imply an explosion with the sky crane? Apparently it had a lot of fuel left over, about 140kg if I read that correctly.

    ETA: A link to the MRO image: http://www.scientificamerican.com/me...C8EB587869.jpg

  24. #84
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    The dark is the underlying surface under the dust, uncovered by the impact, just like the heat shield did in the far lower right. I don't think there's enough oxygen to allow an explosion, although there's probably a lot of fuel contaminating the place, which is why they likely won't venture over there.

  25. #85
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    Kind of a bummer that us humans are littering and poluting up another planet so soon into our visits there ! Just saying

  26. #86
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    Yes, after I posted I did a bit of digging and saw the comments in Nancy's UT blog about the disturbed dust. The lack of oxygen is why I was wondering if the hydrazine could have exploded or just burned.

    The long "tail" markings makes me wonder if they were caused by the cables dragging on the ground.

  27. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhaedas View Post
    The dark is the underlying surface under the dust, uncovered by the impact, just like the heat shield did in the far lower right. I don't think there's enough oxygen to allow an explosion, although there's probably a lot of fuel contaminating the place, which is why they likely won't venture over there.
    It's hydrazine monopropellant...it can decompose spontaneously if exposed to shock or high temperatures. Presumably it's stabilized (a few percent of MMH, a hydrazine derivative used in some hypergolic bipropellant engines, is apparently enough to make it much less explosive), but Mars is covered in stuff that could catalyze decomposition (the list includes things calcium oxide, iron oxide, etc). I wouldn't bet on the stabilizers keeping a tank leaking onto catalytically-active soil from bursting due to rising temperature and pressure, or leaking into the ground and forming a mixture that's stable due to cold but can be set off by friction or shock.

    It probably won't explode (the cold should make it pretty safe pretty quickly), but it's a good reason not to drive over there.

  28. #88
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    So when will the next pictures come down?

  29. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eadfrith View Post
    So when will the next pictures come down?
    As far as I know Curiosity is still sleeping for the night. Next sol is mast camera erection perhaps some panoramic images incoming?

  30. #90
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    So what do any geologists here make of this pic of the landing site? The light area looks like an old lake to me.
    http://www.uahirise.org/images/2012/..._annotated.jpg

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