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Space News: NASA's Next Mars Rover 'Curiosity' to Land at Gale Crater

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posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 07:37 PM
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Hi All,


Just thought i'd share some news about NASA's latest Mars rover for all those like myself that have an interest in Mars.

NASA has finally decided on the landing spot of their newest addition to the rover team on Mars in the search for any signs of life in the distant past and for it's 2.3 billion dollar price tag, lets hope the mission has some positive results.

Although the mission itself has many other goals which include gathering more information for the planned manned missions to Mars in the future.






NASA's Next Mars Rover to Land at Gale Crater






PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's next Mars rover will land at the foot of a layered mountain inside the planet's Gale crater.

The car-sized Mars Science Laboratory, or Curiosity, is scheduled to launch late this year and land in August 2012. The target crater spans 96 miles (154 kilometers) in diameter and holds a mountain rising higher from the crater floor than Mount Rainier rises above Seattle. Gale is about the combined area of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Layering in the mound suggests it is the surviving remnant of an extensive sequence of deposits. The crater is named for Australian astronomer Walter F. Gale.




"Mars is firmly in our sights," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Curiosity not only will return a wealth of important science data, but it will serve as a precursor mission for human exploration to the Red Planet."

Full Article - Nasa.gov

MSL 'Curiosity' Fact Sheet

Mission Homepage - Nasa.gov






For anyone that would like to check out the landing site on Google Mars, here are the coordinates -

5°44'16.02"S, 137°50'33.06"E

I can't wait for the mission to go ahead and for the rover to land, it's always interesting to check out the surface images from Mars




I think i'm off to check out the landing site and related images for anomolies



edit on 24-7-2011 by Havick007 because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 07:39 PM
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cool man, thanks.



posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 07:44 PM
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Looks like they picked a good spot. Here's a link with some good pics of the area. MSL Landing Site Images



posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 07:56 PM
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reply to post by Havick007
 


This one rover is fairly impressive. It's much larger and more sophisticated than the two previous rovers. I wonder whats the reasoning behind sending a newer and much larger design than the others?
edit on 24-7-2011 by SLAYER69 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 08:09 PM
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Thank you for the info.

I found this picture reading the links.



This photograph of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, was taken during mobility testing on June 3, 2011. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20110613.html

I like it



posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 08:11 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Yeah i was just checking out some of the specs, it is very impressive and almost as big as a car


The camera's are much better than previous versions as well -





Two digital color cameras riding high on the mast of NASA's next Mars rover will complement each other in showing the surface of Mars in exquisite detail.

The telephoto Mastcam, called "Mastcam 100" for its 100-millimeter focal-length lens, provides enough resolution to distinguish a basketball from a football at a distance of seven football fields, or to read "ONE CENT" on a penny on the ground beside the rover. Its images cover an area about six degrees wide by five degrees tall.

Both cameras are also capable of recording high-definition video at about eight frames per second. Combining information from the two eyes can yield 3-D views of the telephoto part of the scene.


NASA Article

 


Advanced NASA Instrument Gets Close-up on Mars Rocks

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, will carry a next generation, onboard "chemical element reader" to measure the chemical ingredients in Martian rocks and soil. The instrument is one of 10 that will help the rover in its upcoming mission to determine the past and present habitability of a specific area on the Red Planet. Launch is scheduled between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18, 2011, with landing in August 2012.

The Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument, designed by physics professor Ralf Gellert of the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, uses the power of alpha particles, or helium nuclei, and X-rays to bombard a target, causing the target to give off its own characteristic alpha particles and X-ray radiation. This radiation is "read by" an X-ray detector inside the sensor head, which reveals which elements and how much of each are in the rock or soil.


NASA Article




I guess for 2.3 billion you want some cool gadgets



posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 08:19 PM
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Here's a animated video of what it will do while there and it is big the robot arm alone weighs five times the weight of the previous rovers.

edit on 24-7-2011 by buster2010 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 08:19 PM
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reply to post by Havick007
 


Why don't they send the rover out to all the Alien Bases that are on Mars. Or the System of tubes.







I had no idea the rovers were that big, impressive. I was imagining something the size of coffee table before.




posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 08:22 PM
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reply to post by boncho
 


Ha yes they always seem to avoid those area's



Yeah Spirit and Opportunity were much smaller but this one is a big upgrade



posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 08:39 PM
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Originally posted by boncho
reply to post by Havick007
 


Why don't they send the rover out to all the Alien Bases that are on Mars. Or the System of tubes.




You don't actually want the rover to find something of any real value do you?





I had no idea the rovers were that big, impressive. I was imagining something the size of coffee table before.



Spirit and Opportunity were small about the size of a small coffee table this bad boy is about the size of a car.



posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 08:46 PM
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Why would they land in a crater?

Wouldn't that contaminate any samples taken considering the crater must have been formed by a foreign body??



posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 08:48 PM
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reply to post by boncho
 


Although Opportunity Rover is on it's way to Edeavour Crater and i have posted a past thread about something i found in Endeavour, actually i think it was my first ever thread.

Armap has since debunked it.. sort of. I am still undecided about the obect/structure. The MOC image and HiRise images are different quality of course and if you look at the area from the MOC image it looks alot different.






Opportunity’s Long and Winding Road to Endeavour Crater

As the crow flies, Endeavour is about 12 km away from Oppy’s starting point in 2008, Victoria Crater. But while the intrepid rover has already traveled 7 km towards Endeavour, it still has 12 km to go, as the route chosen to avoid potentially hazardous dune fields is more like 19km, as presently charted, said Guy Webster at JPL. You can see an example of Opportunity’s circuitous driving below.

(Endeavour Crater Rim on the Horizon as viewed from Opportunity)

(Lonely Journey)


The original target timing for Opportunity reaching Endeavour was about two years, but since the science team has had the rover spend several weeks stopping at interesting targets of study along the way, the rover will definitely not make it to Endeavour by September 2010. It might take another year, or even two.

Opportunities Journey to Endeavour Crater - Universetoday.com




I wont bother posting the link to my thread as i have since deleted the photo album that contained the images although i will post an image of the area from both MOC and HiRise -


MOC



Full Image (MOC -E0200373)


HiRise




HiRise - Endeavour Crater Eastern Rim


The images are only GIF and Jpeg, there are better quality versions out there such as Jpeg 2000 and.IMQ format but i better not derail my own thread or move it away from the topic.


Actually i will post the thread page that has Armaps images of the area, they are better quality than the ones i just posted, although my Images from the OP are gone as i said.... i shouldnt have deleted that album


Endeavor Crater MOC Thread - Page 9



edit on 24-7-2011 by Havick007 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 09:00 PM
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reply to post by backinblack
 


I think are interested in the mountain area inside the crater more than the crater itself. Although it wont be able to climb the mountain, it will still be able to get to rocks and mountain sides etc.... unless there is a handy martian path leading to the top of the summit



That is a good point though, any sample they do pick up could be put upto alot more scrutiny, as you said any part of that crater could be contaminated with other material.



edit on 24-7-2011 by Havick007 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 10:27 PM
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There are a few interesting replies in a thread started earlier about the Mars Science Laboratory (rover) here.



posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 11:25 PM
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reply to post by Illustronic
 


Thanks for the link, my problem when i searched for related threads was that i used the word 'curiosity' - i keep forgetting the actual name is MSL.

Although i was checking out some of those links on the space.com page, the planned landing of the rover is awesome. Rather than the 'airbag' style landing of Spirt, this one will be landing in style!!


Curiosity landing simulation - Space.com

It is also covered in the youtube clip posted above by Buster.




edit on 24-7-2011 by Havick007 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2011 @ 01:29 AM
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Originally posted by boncho
Why don't they send the rover out to all the Alien Bases that are on Mars. Or the System of tubes.

They can land pretty much anywhere and do that, as this illustration clearly shows, evidence of advanced alien technology is everywhere you look!




I just hope Curiosity has better wheel bearings and lubricant than Spirit did, it's got to be tough to limp around with one stuck wheel like Spirit did for years, though I guess most of that time was beyond the original mission plan. Maybe they should plan for these things to last longer? I didn't see the expected mission life of Curiosity in the NASA article about it.
edit on 25-7-2011 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Jul, 25 2011 @ 03:47 AM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 



Obviously the image you posted has alot of sarcasm in it which i understand given some of the Mars image posts i have seen although... there are some i think are interesting, from Viking right through to Spirit and Opportunity.

Your tempting me to post them in this thread.. hmm

Your right about Spirit though, although in the harsh conditions they are not going to last forever, lets hope the newest addition can outlast it's previous counterparts. At least opportunity is still soldiering on



posted on Jul, 25 2011 @ 07:36 AM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


This one rover is fairly impressive. It's much larger and more sophisticated than the two previous rovers. I wonder whats the reasoning behind sending a newer and much larger design than the others?

The main purpose of the newer and larger rover is pretty simple: newer and larger experiments. The MERs both carried the same equipment. Five cameras and about a half dozen instruments on the arm. The MSL will carry more, higher resolution cameras as well as about the same number of experiments. Despite the same quantity of experiment packages, they were based off a lot of the data collected by the MERs and can be seen as a continuation the science that they performed. To kind of put the size comparison of science packages into perspective: The weight of each MERs' science package was roughly 15 pounds. The weight of the MSL's science packages is around 175 pounds.

Also, the larger size allows for larger wheels. The larger wheels will give a faster transportation speed, mostly due to less time spent maneuvering around pebbles. It also is powered by an RTG, allowing it to work day and night and unhindered by dusty solar panels.



posted on Jul, 25 2011 @ 07:45 AM
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reply to post by backinblack
 


This landing spot was chosen in an attempt to find water within the crater. The orbiters around Mars have detected clay, which is a very good indicator of water, in the Martian soil in parts of this crater. The crater also has several canyons, which look very much like they were caused by erosion. While these canyons may not be a sign of current water on Mars, they could help decipher how wet the planet's past was. The crater has a very large, smooth area where landing can take place, which made it a front runner even a few years ago.

Any samples taken within the crater are not very likely to be contaminated by the impacting body. The crater is estimated to be over 3.5 billion years old.
edit on 7/25/2011 by cmdrkeenkid because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2011 @ 12:15 PM
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I was one of a couple people that worked on building the Transmitter for this big guy. It was alot of fun, the casing for it was 24k gold plated, and the main board was soldered to the inside of the casing. It took a preheater, and four of the Metcal Digital heat control irons with the largest tips to seat some of the parts on the board. It got very very very hot. We had to X-ray it every time we applied heat to make sure we didnt cause any problems with the parts or pcb. I am happy to say that we eventually got it set perfect, and it should work for many many years if the X-ray images didn't miss anything.





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