Curiosity on Mars

Tanglebones wrote:
Rallick wrote:
MeatMan wrote:
Nevin73 wrote:

What we can achieve when we set our minds to it is amazing.

I hope this starts a new interest in space exploration and science. We've been in a long drought.

+∞

+∞∞

+∞∞∞

IMAGE(http://thetwist03.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/lycia-naff-total-recall-original1.jpg?w=595)

That looks shopped.

Katy wrote:

At this morning's planetarium show, the high school physics teacher who had gotten the chance to tour JPL and talk with some of the engineers was most impressed by CheMin, the X-Ray diffraction module. The technology in that allows for on-site mineral analysis for geophysicists, identification of counterfeit drugs, and other cool stuff.

Finally, we can put an end to the notorious Martian counterfeit drug smuggling ring.

I had to go find this and add this link to the "Humor" list:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/mar...

momgamer wrote:
Rallick wrote:
MeatMan wrote:
Nevin73 wrote:

What we can achieve when we set our minds to it is amazing.

I hope this starts a new interest in space exploration and science. We've been in a long drought.

+∞

+∞∞

+∞∞∞∞

Spaceships should not be going to museums. They should be boldly going.

+∞∞∞∞∞

All of this - I can't wait to see more pictures! Squee!

Today's Google doodle has been updated to add a certain something in the sky.

IMAGE(http://p.twimg.com/AzpR34SCQAAJP6Y.jpg:large)

MeatMan wrote:

Today's Google doodle has been updated to add a certain something in the sky.

So awesome! Thanks for pointing that out. Would have missed it otherwise.

The next press event streaming the latest news and images is live right now at http://www.ustream.tv/NASAJPL

Montalban wrote:

If Neil DeGrasse Tyson's enthusiasm and NASA landing a Volkswagon on Mars aren't enough to get people excited, maybe we've crossed some threshold where virtual reality at home is more appealing than the real, risky thing? Or maybe Spirit and Opportunity have just been so successful that people just take Mars for granted now.

I'm glad this thread shows that the excitement for a lot of us isn't gone yet.

I think many people just take everything for granted now; plentiful food, advanced medicine, fast cars, faster computers, and the 24/7 bombardment of media.

I took a screen grab of a new image during the currently streaming press event, showing Curiosity's wheels, a nice shadow of the rover itself and a great view of Mount Sharp in the distance.

IMAGE(http://s10.postimage.org/eidx7qsw9/image.png)

[edit]

A slightly better version of the image was also just uploaded by @MarsCuriosity on Twitter.

Breaking! Heat shield spotted while still falling in parachute photo: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/08/06/curiosity-update-heat-shield-spotted

Video (essentially an animated gif) of Curiosity's descent:

And then this is what comes next:
IMAGE(http://www.wayoftherodent.com/wilbur/clip_image017_0002.jpg)

I'm late to the party, but I'm glad to hear the landing went smoothly. This is all super exciting!

Bear wrote:
Katy wrote:

And then this is what comes next:
IMAGE(http://www.wayoftherodent.com/wilbur/clip_image017_0002.jpg)

While I didn't expect a giant green lizard on the screen I did have a brief thought last night. What would the reaction be if Curiosity happens to find, oh I don't know, a pile of bones or something that clearly isn't of earth origin?

Prior to the landing, SETI had an interesting hangout, where they were talking about the possibility (extremely slim) of finding stromatolites, if Martian bacteria had existed in large quantities at some point in the past.

Katy wrote:

And then this is what comes next:
IMAGE(http://www.wayoftherodent.com/wilbur/clip_image017_0002.jpg)

While I didn't expect a giant green lizard on the screen I did have a brief thought last night. What would the reaction be if Curiosity happens to find, oh I don't know, a pile of bones or something that clearly isn't of earth origin?

My son commented last night that the narrator for NASA was like the worlds greatest raid leader!

It was interesting in the pre-landing YouTube feed to watch the subtle push and pull between the SETI camp and those close to the actual project.

I can't remember how many times the phrase 'this is not a search for life mission' was repeated. You could tell everyone wanted it to be though.

Video of composed of stills shot from the moment of heat shield separation until touchdown.

More martian goodness:
IMAGE(http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/674083main_PIA15691-full_full.jpg)

Things are gonna great real crazy once the cameras' dust covers are removed and the high-gain antenna is raised. Hold on tight!

I cant wait to see some HD photos and possibly some clear videos!

TempestBlayze wrote:

I cant wait to see some HD photos and possibly some clear videos!

From what I read, a video of the decent will be made using thumbnails (which appears to be what OG_slinger posted). Then, once the high-gain is up, they'll be able to send the actual 720p video. Nuts.

Text from NASA's MSL Press Kit (61p. PDF)

NASA's Press Kit wrote:

The video will also give fans worldwide an unprecedented sense of riding a spacecraft to a landing on Mars. MARDI will record the video on its own 8-gigabyte flash memory at about four frames per second and close to 1,600 by 1,200 pixels per frame. Thumbnails and a few samples of full-resolution frames will be transmitted to Earth in the first few days after landing. The nested set of images from higher altitude to ground level will enable pinpointing of Curiosity’s location. The pace of sending the rest of the frames for full-resolution video will depend on sharing priority with data from the rover’s other investigations.

The full video — available first from the thumbnails in YouTube-like resolution and later in full detail — will begin with a glimpse of the heat shield falling away from beneath the rover. The first views of the ground will cover an area several kilometers (a few miles) across. Successive frames taken as the vehicle descends will close in and cover successively smaller areas. The video will likely nod up and down to fairly large angles owing to parachute-induced oscillations. Its roll clockwise and counterclockwise will be smaller, as thrusters on the descent stage control that motion. When the parachute is jettisoned, the video will show large angular motions as the descent vehicle maneuvers to avoid re-contacting the back shell and parachute. Rocket engine vibration may also be seen. A few seconds before landing, the rover will be lowered on tethers beneath the descent stage, and the video will show the relatively slow approach to the surface. The final frames, after landing, will cover a bath-towel-size patch of ground under the frontleft corner of the rover

Forgive my skimming, but is there some technical reason why all the pics so far are in black & white?

Aaron D. wrote:

Forgive my skimming, but is there some technical reason why all the pics so far are in black & white?

I'd guess speed/format involved in transmission times?

m0nk3yboy wrote:
Aaron D. wrote:

Forgive my skimming, but is there some technical reason why all the pics so far are in black & white?

I'd guess speed/format involved in transmission?

The thing is loaded with cameras/imagers of a bunch of different types. The only ones open initially are the simple/cheap ones that don't need to be as heavily protected during entry, and don't need as much power and signal strength to broadcast their data. The nicer cameras and high-gain antenna should be uncovered soon. Low-rez/B&W pics come in a lot faster and more frequently, making the time to respond to problems faster, too. Not sure what the current lag is between us and mars, but probably somewhere between 8 and 20 minutes.

EDIT: According to the JPL ephemeris web app, the one-way light time to mars is currently ~ 13.87 minutes. Now that's a high-ping-bastard!

13.87 minutes. Whoa. That's how long it use to take pron images to load on my pc.

Yeah, I figured it had something to do with distance vs. transmission speed.

Looking forward to some sexy, high-quality color pics (though the current batch look great too).

For those who can watch, they're live streaming updates in daily press events at 1 pm EDT/10 am PDT all this week at http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl. Today's live stream just started a few minutes ago.

[edit]

A new image has been released.

IMAGE(http://s17.postimage.org/liizsy4pr/image.png)

For perspective, they gave some distances. From Curiosity to the back shell is about 600 meters. From Curiosity to the sky crane is about 650 meters. From Curiosity to the heat shield is about 1200 meters.

That's pretty sweet! That has to be the most expensive wreckage on another celestial body. I wonder if any of it still has active sensors that are broadcasting.

Aaron D. wrote:

Forgive my skimming, but is there some technical reason why all the pics so far are in black & white?

IIRC, during the last minutes of the landing the Curiosity Rover wasn't in direct sight of Earth. All communication was being routed through Odyssey, which was only overhead briefly. I imagine JPL simply wanted immediate visual confirmation that the rover was down and safe and the quickest and least data intensive way to do that was to send tiny black and white photos.

I also imagine that Curiosity wasn't exactly operating at 100% after spending nine months in the deep dark. I know they're going to spend the next week or so simply running systems checks, so I doubt they were maxing out their Electra UHF radio straight out of the gate.

From the Curiosity Rover Wiki page:

Curiosity can communicate with Earth directly in speeds up to 32 kbit/s, but the bulk of the data transfer should be relayed through the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Odyssey orbiter, which are much more powerful and have better antennas, thus being able to communicate faster with Earth. Data transfer speeds between Curiosity and each orbiter may reach 2 Mbit/s and 256 kbit/s, respectively, but each orbiter is only able to communicate with Curiosity for about eight minutes per day.

At landing, telemetry was monitored by three orbiters, depending on their dynamic location: the Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA's Mars Express satellite.

OG_slinger wrote:
Aaron D. wrote:

Forgive my skimming, but is there some technical reason why all the pics so far are in black & white?

IIRC, during the last minutes of the landing the Curiosity Rover wasn't in direct sight of Earth. All communication was being routed through Odyssey, which was only overhead briefly. I imagine JPL simply wanted immediate visual confirmation that the rover was down and safe and the quickest and least data intensive way to do that was to send tiny black and white photos.

I also imagine that Curiosity wasn't exactly operating at 100% after spending nine months in the deep dark. I know they're going to spend the next week or so simply running systems checks, so I doubt they were maxing out their Electra UHF radio straight out of the gate.

From the Curiosity Rover Wiki page:

Curiosity can communicate with Earth directly in speeds up to 32 kbit/s, but the bulk of the data transfer should be relayed through the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Odyssey orbiter, which are much more powerful and have better antennas, thus being able to communicate faster with Earth. Data transfer speeds between Curiosity and each orbiter may reach 2 Mbit/s and 256 kbit/s, respectively, but each orbiter is only able to communicate with Curiosity for about eight minutes per day.

At landing, telemetry was monitored by three orbiters, depending on their dynamic location: the Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA's Mars Express satellite.

It's a physical camera thing as well. Right after landing only the smaller, less advanced collision avoidance cameras were on (which I believe are identical to ones used on earlier orbiters). The nicer cameras aren't going to be unfolded and set up. I'm not sure of all of the reasons for that, but part of what is going on is that on sol 5 (Martian day five) they are switching the firmware over from flight mode to exploration mode. In order to save space and mass it was the Rover computer controlling the landing routine, this is the main reason that the sky crane had to crash land and not land gently off in the distance, it had plenty of fuel mass left.