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Houston, we have a problem. With the MSL.

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posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 08:12 AM
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The Mars Science Laboratory rover currently on it's way to Mars may be in trouble.

On December 1, NASA reported that it's navigation computer crashed and rebooted on Nov. 29, 2011:


The spacecraft experienced a computer reset on Tuesday apparently related to star-identifying software in the attitude control system. The reset put the spacecraft briefly into a precautionary safe mode. Engineers restored it to normal operational status for functions other than attitude control while planning resumption of star-guided attitude control.


If the probe cannot orient itself properly by using star navigation, it could be well, lost in space.

NASA was unable to identify the fault with the twin spacecraft/rover on earth.

On January 6th, NASA released the following:


Diagnostic work continues in response to the reset triggered by use of star-identifying software on the spacecraft on Nov. 29.



The spacecraft itself has redundant main computers. While the spacecraft is operating on the "A side" computer, engineers are beginning test runs of the star-identifying software on the redundant "B side" computer to check whether it is susceptible to the same reset behavior.


So if the redundant B side computer also fails what then? NASA says it would then have to resort to inertial navigation:


The inertial measurement unit is used as an alternative to the spacecraft's onboard celestial navigation system due to an earlier computer reset.


Tomorrow, on January 11th, the MSL will perform a burn or trajectory maneuver to put it into a correct course to Mars.

Hopefully the backup computer or inertial computer will work and the MSL will be okay. But crashing navigation computers got me worried. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov...

marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov...




posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 08:35 AM
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make our tax founded merchandise disappear by faking a malfunction, and then use it to some exploration of something they would like to keep to themselves.

just like Phobos 2 space probe and The Mars Observer in 1994



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 08:42 AM
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reply to post by Vandalour
 


The MSL cost 2.5 billion dollars. It will be a bad year for Mars exploration if this money is wasted. Will NASA even get funding for another Mars mission anytime soon?



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 08:51 AM
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Hmmmm....

Phobos/Grunt and now Curiosity.....

Seems that Mars is a forbidden planet for us.... (At least publicly...)


edit on 10-1-2012 by Arken because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 08:54 AM
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Originally posted by Vandalour
make our tax founded merchandise disappear by faking a malfunction, and then use it to some exploration of something they would like to keep to themselves.

just like Phobos 2 space probe and The Mars Observer in 1994
I agree with you, It's easier to fake it getting lost than it is spending all the time and effort to blur, pixelate and otherwise obfuscate photos.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 09:09 AM
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Bump.

I find it hard to believe you folks would accuse a fine, upstanding agency such as NASA of living up to its nickname.
It is a rather curious incident though, given their past record.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 09:11 AM
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Although hitting mars with a probe has a bad track record, this is the 4th straight failure for Russia. The USA has not done too bad so I do often wonder if they plan some of these missions to go dark and become a black-ops mission.

Look at Phobos-grunt (There is a monolith on that moon)
Polar Lander (Some evidence of liquid water and possibly life).

Now the MSL purpose to find life...well let's be honest to analyze the life that is there.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 09:15 AM
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Originally posted by abeverage
Although hitting mars with a probe has a bad track record, this is the 4th straight failure for Russia. The USA has not done too bad so I do often wonder if they plan some of these missions to go dark and become a black-ops mission.

Look at Phobos-grunt (There is a monolith on that moon)
Polar Lander (Some evidence of liquid water and possibly life).

Now the MSL purpose to find life...well let's be honest to analyze the life that is there.


BANG!

Totally agree!



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 09:16 AM
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I am sure Richard Hoagland will have an answer for this on Coast to Coast in the next couple of days. He will probably say it in fact is not lost but on an intercept course to re-capture ELENIN and bring it back so it can hit us properly this time.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 09:51 AM
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To clarify; the A side computer has not failed. The safe mode reset was momentary and the computer is operating normally.

One computer on Earth has duplicated the error, another has not. It is not yet known if the backup onboard computer will do so. It is now being tested while the A side computer is used.

Diagnostic work continues in response to the reset triggered by use of star-identifying software on the spacecraft on Nov. 29. In tests at JPL, that behavior has been reproduced a few times out of thousands of test runs on a duplicate of the spacecraft's computer, but no resets were triggered during similar testing on another duplicate.


marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov...

edit on 1/10/2012 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 09:59 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Still, a computer reset (i.e. crash) is not a good thing. It looks like they have enough redundancy in the spacecraft to do the burn correctly. We should know in a couple of days.

Maybe it's the Great Galactic Ghoul having fun again:

www.scienceillustrated.com...



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 10:09 AM
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reply to post by Nicolas Flamel
 

It isn't a crash. Safe mode resets are built into spacecraft software for a reason. At times the reason for the reset isn't clear. Sometimes it's a matter of being oversensitive. But it happens, and the missions continue.

www.physorg.com...
cxc.harvard.edu...
lasp.colorado.edu...



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 10:18 AM
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reply to post by Nicolas Flamel
 


Need some miniture R2D2 type bots to go with launched crafts to do manual fixes in space.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 10:21 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Point taken. But NASA did not use the A computer for navigation functions on Nov. 29th and it doesn't look like they will use it tomorrow:


Engineers restored it to normal operational status for functions other than attitude control while planning resumption of star-guided attitude control.



The Jan. 11 maneuver has been planned to use the spacecraft's inertial measurement unit to measure the spacecraft's orientation and acceleration during the maneuver. A calibration maneuver using the gyroscope-containing inertial measurement unit was completed successfully on Dec. 21. The inertial measurement unit is used as an alternative to the spacecraft's onboard celestial navigation system due to an earlier computer reset.


So it looks like they aren't even going to try to used the celestial navigation system but the gyroscopic inertial unit. This is so V2.

Links in original post.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 10:34 AM
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Originally posted by Ophiuchus 13
reply to post by Nicolas Flamel
 


Need some miniture R2D2 type bots to go with launched crafts to do manual fixes in space.


Better yet, why not have a manned mission to Mars? Astronauts could do repairs and would be more flexible and versatile in their surveying when on the surface. Hopefully these probes are the vanguard of a manned mission.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 12:07 PM
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might easily have been caused by a software bug. It is not unheard of. Many of bugs will only appear once the spacecraft is in flight, or has landed. Normally you have a watchdog to reset the computer(s) if the software goes into hyperspace, and once that happens, you know there is a bug somewhere. It is quite common to upload new software to space probes. Not all possibilities can be tested in software. To take but one example : The early Mars Rover, Sojourner had its own set of computer bugs :




Pathfinder had Software Errors ➜ Symptoms Software did total system resets Symptoms noticed soon after Pathfinder started collecting meteorological data Some data lost each time ➜ Cause 3 Process threads, with bus access via mutual exclusion locks (mutexs): High priority: Information Bus Manager Low priority: Meteorological Data Gathering Task Medium priority: Communications Task Priority Inversion: Low priority task gets mutex to transfer data to the bus High priority task blocked until mutex is released Medium priority task pre-empts low priority task Eventually a watchdog timer notices Bus Manager hasn’t run for some time… ➜ Factors Very hard to diagnose: Hard to reproduce Need full tracing switched on to analyze what happened Was experienced a couple of times in pre-flight testing Never reproduced or explained Hence testers assumed it was a hardware glitch



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 12:20 PM
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reply to post by Hellhound604
 


A software bug is what worries me. The Mars Polar Lander crashed because it's software was designed to shut the engines off when it landed. Unfortunately, when the landers legs deployed the software interpreted this jolt as a landing and shut the engines off while it was still tens of meters off the ground. There was no integration testing done.

The Spirit rover also had software problems when it landed. It's memory buffer kept getting filled with routine data dumps and not cleared so it lost communication with JPL until they told it to stop dumping needless data into it's memory.

I can't believe this $2.5 billion spacecraft/rover has to make a course correction using a gyroscope.
edit on 10-1-2012 by Nicolas Flamel because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 12:24 PM
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reply to post by Nicolas Flamel
 


I am more worried about the complicated landing maneuvre. Lots of things that can go wrong there...



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 01:02 PM
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reply to post by Nicolas Flamel
 

People have a much harder time dealing with long term exposure to radiation than machines do. They also need to carry a lot more weight with them. They also need to come back. It's going to be a while before men walk on Mars I'm afraid.



posted on Jan, 10 2012 @ 01:07 PM
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reply to post by Hellhound604
 

The entry vehicle will not be using the star tracker software. Star tracking is used for cruise stage course adjustments. While not the ideal situation, inertial guidance should be sufficient for that. It's worked so far.




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