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Phoenix Marslander has lost important data - has the coverup begun?

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posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 03:21 PM
The following is a translation of an article put online on the norwegian (Verdens Gang) an hour ago:


A mysterious problem with the space sond Phoenix has caused the loss of important scientific data.

Tuesday the computer systems in NASA's Mars sond Phoenix got serious trouble. A large amount of internal data filled the sond's memory, causing some important scientific data to get lost.

- Not much information has come out at this point. But we know that there has been produced more information about internal circumstances in the sond than usual. It really has nothing to do with scientific tasks, but the system was overloaded, says space expert Erik Tandberg at Norsk Romsenter (Norwegian Space Center).

According to Tandberg information is lost, because it couldn't be transmittid as a result of the computer problems.

- The system couldn't send the planned information home, so these datas are lost. The images can be taken again, but the other information is gone, he says.

At this point it is not known what caused the overload. So NASA can't say anything more about what will be done to solve the problem or if it will occur again.

The well known norwegian space expert can only speculate about why Phoenix' computer system failed.

- These things happen. It could be a programming error, or just some glitch. Sometimes problems occur in computer systems, without any kind of clear explanation, says Tandberg.

The loss of information is supposedly not critical, but it is said that NASA is nervous about the rest of the mission. The transmission of the information has to go as planned.

- It takes 15 minutes to send information from Mars to earth, explains Tandberg."

Link to full article:

Has anyone else here at ATS heard about this? I couldn't find anything about this computer trouble at NASA's website. (I have also done a searched here at ATS for this subject before I started the thread, but couldn't find anything. Please close this thread if the subject has been discussd before.)

I don't know what to think about this. But I can't help feeling a bit suspicious... Could this be some kind of cover up, or am I just being paranoid? I would like to hear your thoughts about this.

Mod note: External Source tags:'

[edit on 19-6-2008 by NGC2736]

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 03:53 PM
I don't think it's the start of a cover-up. Being a computer tech myself, I know how easily a system can bork. If Phoenix is built in the usual government fashion, they cut corners to be done on time and under budget. My guess would be cheap components in the computer are to blame.

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 04:05 PM
reply to post by PsychoHazard

You may be completely right, I freely admit that I don't know much about how computers work. But still, wouldn't it be kind of idiotic to put such a VERY expensive space mission at risk by using cheap computer components to save a few dollars?

[edit on 19-6-2008 by ziggystar60]

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 04:11 PM
There were comm problems initially after the phoenix landed with the orbiter that NASA blamed on a possible gamma ray hit. The timing seems suspect but I guess anything is possible. You would think the phoenix would have some tricked out HD on board to be able to resend data in such an eventuality.

[edit on 6/19/2008 by jpm1602]

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 04:15 PM
reply to post by jpm1602

You said it in one single word: Hm...

And another thing I find strange - why did I read about this in a NORWEGIAN newspaper? Why couldn't I find this info at NASA's own website? (Again, please correct me if I am wrong and NASA actually has made some press release about it.)

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 04:22 PM
A Norwegian news source report on this before our own nasa even comments on this only deepens the mystery.
This is one to follow.
Good find Ziggy!

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 04:23 PM
reply to post by ziggystar60

That's on the Phoenix site also, I have just seen it.

And it may have been some kind of malfunction or bad programming (being a programmer myself I know how easy it is for that to happen

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 04:30 PM
Thanks for the link Artmap. New bookmark for me. Still can't understand why the gurus don't have a system that retains data even on shutdown for martian night. I would have expected more.

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 04:32 PM
reply to post by ArMaP

Thanks, ArMaP for correcting me, I admit that I must have overlooked that paragraph about the lost data. My mistake, and I apologize.

But I am still wondering about this... Important scientific data lost, I can hardly believe it after all the money they have spent on this mission! And you know me, ArMaP - I have some real trust issues with the good old NASA.

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 06:07 PM
reply to post by ziggystar60

I also find a bit strange that something like that happens, mostly because they knew that the time that have for each transmission is not that big, they should have thought of having the means of storing data on the lander and have some kind of redundancy, today that is not something that would affect the weight of lander by much and it would be the cheaper way of guaranteeing the availability of the data gathered.

Imagine that this data was the result of the "baking" of some soil sample that could not be replicated, what would they do if they had lost the only opportunity of analysing it?

There may be something more that they are not telling us (and that I believe NASA does more than lying, omitting is much easier)


posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 07:38 PM
I dunno... this Norwegian site says it was important data however the LPL says it wasn't.

None of that science data was high-priority data. Almost all was imaging that can be retaken, with the exception of images taken of a surface that Phoenix's arm dug into after the images were taken.

I'm inclined to go with the LPL in that this is no big deal.

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 07:40 PM
reply to post by ArMaP

It's not that it can't save data overnight. It's that there was some firmware error that filled up the flash with unnecessary data overnight. They're patching it:

Meanwhile, the spacecraft team at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver is preparing a software patch to send to Phoenix in a few days so scientific data can again be saved onboard overnight when needed. Because of a large amount a duplicative file-maintenance data generated by the spacecraft Tuesday, the team is taking the precaution of not storing science data in Phoenix's flash memory, and instead downlinking it at the end of every day, until the conditions that produced those duplicative data files are corrected.

posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 09:35 PM
Aha. That might as well be greek or hebrew to me but I think I get the gist. Fortunately it was only replaceable photos.

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