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Thread: 1000 Sols?

  1. #1
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    1000 Sols?

    SF Chronicle: Scientists push to keep scouting Mars Rovers' 90-day mission, now in its 15th month, could last 1,000 days if NASA agrees

    "We were good to go for 90 sols when we landed," said Jacob Matijevic, the mission's team chief for engineering, "but at this stage it looks like 1, 000 sols -- that's our goal. Engineering-wise, we're in terrific shape."
    "The RAT on each rover was designed to work for only three grindings, and on Spirit we've used it for 15 grinds already, so no wonder it's balky," he said. "It's hard to tell whether all the diamonds are worn away, or whether some are left, so we're keeping it for only the next high-priority targets.
    "We don't really know what that etched terrain is," Squyres said, "but we think it's some kind of sulfate-rich rock. Up to now, all the rocks we've seen have been exposed by ancient impacts -- and that's like putting the rocks in a blender." After millions of years of violent sandblasting, they're hard to read.
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    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

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    After 1000 sols the recharge capacity of the Li-Ion batteries begins to degrade. It is probably the most likely limiting factor at this stage of the mission.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cugel
    After 1000 sols the recharge capacity of the Li-Ion batteries begins to degrade. It is probably the most likely limiting factor at this stage of the mission.
    And the theory of probability really starts coming into play. With every bump, with every stressful temperature conditions, with dust, etc. there is some probability that some vital piece of equipment will degrade or break.
    I have a hard time believing that something will not happen by that kind of time frame.

    But then again lets hope for the best. They should use those rovers until they forever lose radio communications.

    If it is the batteries to cause the end of the mission, is it likely to be a gradual death like some device becoming slugges as the batteries become less charged, or will they appear fine one moment and cease to function the next.

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    I have a hard time believing that something will not happen by that kind of time frame.
    of all things it seems that the earth-to-mars communication link may
    become the limiting factor now as apparently there have been problems
    with Mars Odysee preventing data downlink ... no new images since
    April 2

    here is the news I got from the other forum:
    I just heard that Odyssey went into safe mode on Saturday. I haven't seen any official announcement yet.
    Now that's bad news. I suppose they could bring MGS back into a relay role, but it would take about as long to write and uplink the commands for that as it will to fix odyssey

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    2005 April 6 NASA Press Release: Durable Mars Rovers Sent into Third Overtime Period

    NASA has approved up to 18 more months of operations for Spirit and Opportunity, the twin Mars rovers that have already surprised engineers and scientists by continuing active exploration for more than 14 months.

    "The rovers have proven their value with major discoveries about ancient watery environments on Mars that might have harbored life," said Dr. Ghassem Asrar, deputy associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "We are extending their mission through September 2006 to take advantage of having such capable resources still healthy and in excellent position to continue their adventures."
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    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

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    =D> =D> =D>

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    =D> =D> for the funding! Can Mars Exress be used for telecom for the rovers? Any news on Odyssey's problems?
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    After all these bad news on Hubble and Voyager (any updates?), this is really good news. It would be a shame to abandon them while still in working condition. IIRC, the Viking landers also only had a primary mission of one or two months and actually survied some years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kucharek
    After all these bad news on Hubble and Voyager (any updates?), this is really good news. It would be a shame to abandon them while still in working condition. IIRC, the Viking landers also only had a primary mission of one or two months and actually survied some years.
    Vikings survived up to 3 years.
    The latest I read on Hubble is the decision to drop it in the ocean. I've heard no news on the voyagers.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    The Viking 1 lander actually operated for six years, and would have undoubtedly worked longer (they had originally planned to keep it going through 1995, believe it or not), if it hadn't been for a bad command that was sent to the lander that caused it to lose lock on Earth.

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    Let's say Spirit spends another 200 sols around Columbia Hills, taking us to 650 sols. That leaves us with 350 sols out of the 1000 sol target. If upon leaving Columbia Hills Spirit is able to average 30m/day, it could potentially cover a distance 10.5 km. Not too shabby!!

    My vote is to head southeast to the flow-mesa contact south of Thira crater. A long, long shot, but Hail Mary passes do come through now and then

    http://www.marsgeo.com/Photos/Orbiters/GusevInterp.jpg

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    It probably depends on whether they keep finding more good stuff around the Columbia Hills. So far the hills have been much more interesting to the geologists than the crater basin.

    They may be reluctant to risk the lengthy crossing over a geological "desert" while they still have more exploring to do in the hills. My best bet is they won't venture far away from the hills before they're done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kucharek
    After all these bad news on Hubble and Voyager (any updates?)
    Not really. At this point I think the "short list" is pretty well doomed, barring Congressional action, so bug your Congresscritters.

    (I may not be recalling correctly...this isn't confidential information, but not really published as such either: Hubble, TRACE, GEOTAIL, POLAR, Ulysses, Voyager, and one of the solar wind satellites--I forget if it was WIND or ACE. JIMO is also so back-burnered it might as well be canned. Voyager's really the biggest loss IMO).

    At least they've got enough sense to keep MER running; maybe there's some hope for a Cassini extended mission, if appropriate.

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    Can Mars Exress be used for telecom for the rovers? Any news on Odyssey's problems?
    seems to be fixed now. Today statement on the JPL site:

    Sol 446:
    Spirit and Opportunity use NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter as their main communications link between Mars and Earth. On April 2, Odyssey entered "safe mode," which is a protective state a spacecraft automatically enters when onboard fault protection software instructs the spacecraft to disregard its onboard sequence of commands and wait for instructions from the ground. As a result, relay communication with the rovers was suspended, and Spirit did not receive any data from sols 444 and 445. With an unknown status of the rover after its drive, the Spirit team restricted rover operations to remote sensing.

    Sol 447:
    The Odyssey flight team scrambled to recover the orbiter, but it remained in a safe state, not yet available to support relay communications. Spirit received very little information from its "direct-to-earth" communications link, so the rover team planned another basic remote sensing sol, which generated little data.

    Sol 448 (April 7, 2005):
    Spirit performed additional remote sensing, including panoramic camera and navigation camera imaging. The Odyssey team brought the orbiter back on-line, the Spirit team received all imaging needed for continuing to drive, and team members are planning to drive on sol 449 with a new appreciation for their orbiting partner! The Odyssey team is investigating the cause behind the fault protection software sending the orbiter into safe mode.


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    =D> =D> up and running again!
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas
    Quote Originally Posted by kucharek
    After all these bad news on Hubble and Voyager (any updates?), this is really good news. It would be a shame to abandon them while still in working condition. IIRC, the Viking landers also only had a primary mission of one or two months and actually survied some years.
    Vikings survived up to 3 years.
    The latest I read on Hubble is the decision to drop it in the ocean. I've heard no news on the voyagers.
    I hope they drop it in the pacific As it fly across australia...

    What a cool photo that would be............

    The last firery steak....

  17. #17
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    Has it really been that long? It seems like yesterday when they landed. There was a programme on BBC a while back called It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time and Beagle 2 was featured. It highlighted the embarassment of how our grandstanding was meeting with failure while it seems that the good old Americans not only succeeded, but exceeded expectations by a factor of 5 and still going.

    Good work!

    Is anyone going to welcome back to this forum? I haven't been here in ages.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickal555
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas
    Quote Originally Posted by kucharek
    After all these bad news on Hubble and Voyager (any updates?), this is really good news. It would be a shame to abandon them while still in working condition. IIRC, the Viking landers also only had a primary mission of one or two months and actually survied some years.
    Vikings survived up to 3 years.
    The latest I read on Hubble is the decision to drop it in the ocean. I've heard no news on the voyagers.
    I hope they drop it in the pacific As it fly across australia...

    What a cool photo that would be............

    The last firery steak....
    All the money they spent and they delays they endured to get the Hubble up there it would seem that they would try to save it. When you have something in place, it should be worth saving! The shuttle was to supply the station and to also "make repairs" on orbiting equiptment. It's not so out-dated that it should be ignored. There's still a lot of universe left to explore.

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    Very true. I think there should be a moratorium on new launches with money going to existing craft and the money saved going into heavy-lift development.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr
    Very true. I think there should be a moratorium on new launches with money going to existing craft and the money saved going into heavy-lift development.
    Looks like someone is starting to use their brains when it comes to the Hubble. What an amazing success this device has been. They are going to repair the big boy! =D> =D> Looks like they are going to rescue the Hubble!

    http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7378

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