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"Fireworks Over Mars: The Spirit of 76 Pyrotechnics"

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posted on Jul, 4 2012 @ 10:29 AM
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Here's a 4th of July (U.S. Independence Day) themed thread. It's to discuss an one-line article about all of the pyrotechnics on the Spacecraft carrying the Curiosity Rover to Mars.

NASA's latest Mars rover -- the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), named "Curiosity" -- lands on Mars on August 5 (in about one month from this writing), and as part of that landing procedure, there are 76 individual pyrotechnic explosions that must fire in relative precision to allow for the Rover to land properly. These explosions are required to move, cut, and eject crucial parts of the spacecraft during the entry and landing procedure.


Some pyrotechnics will be as small as the energy released by a box of matches. One packs the same oomph as a stick of TNT. Whether they be large or small, on the evening of August 5th (Pacific time), all 76 must work on cue as NASA's next Mars rover, Curiosity, carried by the Mars Science Laboratory, streaks through the Red Planet's atmosphere on its way to a landing at Gale Crater.



Seventeen minutes before landing, the first 10 of 76 pyros will fire within five milliseconds of each other, releasing the cruise stage that provided the entry capsule (and its cocooned descent vehicle and the Curiosity rover) with power, communications and thermal control support during its 254-day journey to Mars.

"We have essentially three miniature guillotines onboard that, when the pyros fire, cut cabling and metal tubing that run between the cruise stage and the entry capsule," said Luke Dubord, avionics engineer for Mars Science Laboratory at JPL. "Then a retraction pyro pulls them out of the way. Along with that, we've got six pyrotechnic separation nuts, which when fired, will actually accomplish the separation."



The single largest explosion on the spacecraft during this process is the pyro that is required to deploy the parachute. It's a sizable explosion, by anyone's definition:


"The Mars Science Lab parachute is the largest used on a planetary mission," said Dubord. "When folded up and in its canister, it's still as big as a trashcan. We have to get that folded-up chute out of its canister and unfolding in a hurry. The best way to do that is get it quickly away from spacecraft and out into the freestream using a mortar."

The best way to do that, the engineers at JPL decided, was to include a pyrotechnic charge equivalent to a stick of TNT.


Link to Source Article


edit on 7/4/2012 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 4 2012 @ 11:03 AM
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For the life of me I can't get the link to work.

Just loads half and starts over and over.

edit on 7/4/2012 by theduke269 because: spelling.



posted on Jul, 4 2012 @ 11:03 AM
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Considering how many craft that are sent to Mars actualy fail those involved in this must be biting their nails


If the explosions and pyrotec fails I am going to shout "it was an inside martion job"



posted on Jul, 4 2012 @ 01:11 PM
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Originally posted by theduke269
For the life of me I can't get the link to work.

Just loads half and starts over and over.

edit on 7/4/2012 by theduke269 because: spelling.


It works for me, but try this one. It's another link to the same information (same article, but on the NASA website as opposed to the JPL website):

Fireworks Over Mars - The Spirit of 76 Pyrotechnics



edit on 7/4/2012 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 5 2012 @ 05:11 AM
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reply to post by Soylent Green Is People
 


That one worked prefect. Thanks.

Very interesting article. Star for you on that one.




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