Posts tagged rover
At 4pm PT (7pm ET) today, Discovery News and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will team up to bring you the latest news from NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory by the scientists and engineers who drive and care for the Curiosity rover.
Joining DNews’ Trace Dominguez and Ian O’Neill will be:
- Ashwin Vasavada, MSL deputy project scientist (at JPL Mission Control).
- Nagin Cox, MSL tactical uplink lead (JPL Mars Yard). Twitter: @nasa_nagin
- Matt Heverly, MSL rover driver (JPL Mars Yard). Twitter: @Matt_Heverly
- Amy Shira Teitel, space historian and DNews space guest host. Twitter: @astVintageSpace
The Google+ Hangout will also feature live video from the Mars Yard at JPL. We’ll get the low down on Curiosity’s health, the team’s hopes for the future and a look back over it’s biggest discoveries from its first Mars year on the red planet. We will also be taking live questions from our viewers via the G+ event page and on Twitter. Make sure you also keep an eye on @DNews, @NASAJPL and @MarsCuriosity for updates and use the #SpaceOut hashtag if you have any questions for the JPL team.
In May, Discovery News reported the dramatic signs of wear and tear on Mars rover Curiosity’s wheels. The aircraft-grade aluminum material appeared scratched, dented, even punctured. At the time, lead rover driver Matt Heverly said that the damage was to be expected. “The ‘skin’ of the wheel is only 0.75mm thick and we expect dents, dings, and even a few holes due to the wheels interacting with the rocks,” he said via email. Despite the assurances that the holes were just a part of Curiosity’s mission, there seems to be increasing concern for the wheels’ worsening condition after the one-ton robot rolled over some craggy terrain. Read more
Today at 3:35 p.m. EST (4:35 a.m. Sunday, Beijing time), the Chinese Chang’E 3 lander lowered its rover to the moon’s surface. A CCTV television broadcast depicted recorded footage of the rover, called “Yutu” (“Jade Rabbit”), rolling off the lander’s sleds, trundling into the lunar dust. Read more
(Awesome GIFs courtesy of VidOrbital!)
Recent photos from Curiosity show dents, scratches and suspect punctures in the wheels’ aluminum skin. Is it a serious problem? Discovery News finds out from Curiosity’s lead rover driver Matt Heverly.
Wow. 9 years ago today, Mars rover Spirit bounced across the Martian landscape, eventually coming to a rolling stop inside Gusev Crater. Sadly, in 2010 the highly successful six-wheeled robot became stuck in a sand trap and stopped transmitting.
Spirit’s sister rover, Opportunity, lives on and still returns incredible science, a feat that mission scientists will continue for some time. “Every day is a gift at this point,” said rover mission principal investigator Steve Squyres, of Cornell University, said last month at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. “We’re just going to push the rover, and push ourselves, as hard as we can.”
Mars Rover Opportunity Finds ‘Rich’ Clay Deposits: "A new study looks at chemicals spotted by a Mars-orbiting spacecraft to conclude that Endeavour Crater, which Opportunity reached in August 2011 after a 1,000-plus day, 13-mile trek across the plains of Meridian, is flush with a variety of clays, which on Earth, form in the presence of water."
BREAKING: NASA Plans ‘Curiosity Twin’ Rover Mission in 2020: The new rover will be a virtual duplicate of Curiosity, a car-sized, nuclear-powered rover that landed on Mars on Aug. 6 to look for habitats that could have supported — or perhaps still supports — microbial life. Using spare equipment and the same designs should allow NASA to shave about $1 billion off the cost of the two-year, $2.5 billion Curiosity mission.
(Billions or Martian microbes just screamed out in chorus: “crap.”)
"This data is gonna be one for the history books. It’s looking really good," — John Grotzinger, lead scientist of the MSL mission.
What’s Grotzinger referring to? Although it’s a guess, it’s an educated guess: Curiosity may have detected organic compounds in the Mars soil.
As we ooh and aah over Curiosity’s plus-sized tire marks in the Mars regolith, it’s time to reminisce about the little rover that started it all in 1997: Sojourner.
To quote Discovery News’ space historian Amy Shira Teitel:
The first picture offering incontrovertible visual evidence that all six wheels were on the surface came shortly thereafter. The camera on the Pathfinder lander snapped the rover a few inches beyond the ramp. For the first time, mission scientists could see the site of remote analysis; the soil underneath the rover was the site of its first spectroscopic measurements. Sojourner looked around it’s new home. It sent images to Earth taken with two cameras so engineers would have a sense of perspective when planning the rover’s path. The little rover didn’t have the sophisticated autonomy of Spirit, Opportunity, or Curiosity so relied almost entirely on its Earthbound driver.
Alien Robots That Left Their Mark on Mars
To any hypothetical Martians on the Red Planet, it may look like an alien invasion is underway — but these aliens come from the Blue Planet and they seem to insist on sending wave after wave of increasingly sophisticated robotic probes that dig, burn, scour and damage their pristine landscape! So, as we watch the incredible Curiosity rover dominate Gale Crater, it’s time to take a step back and contemplate how these surface missions have changed the Martian landscape.
This is what happens to naughty Mars rocks. *pew pew pew*
The rover’s Chemistry and Camera instrument, or ChemCam, blasted a flat, fist-sized rock with a high-powered laser 30 times in 10 seconds, creating plasma sparks that were analyzed by three light-splitting spectrometers to determine their chemical contents.