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Curiosity Engineer / Scientist Team Q&A (Reddit)

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posted on Aug, 30 2012 @ 12:40 AM
After seeing someone posting about the B. Obama Reddit "AMA", I thought the Science Forum would love to know that there was a Curiosity Engineer / Scientists Q&A.

The Engineers and Scientists responding to the questions are:

Bobak Ferdowsi aka “Mohawk Guy” - Flight Director
Steve Collins aka “Hippy NASA Guy” - Cruise Attitude Control/System engineer
Aaron Stehura - EDL Systems Engineer
Jonny Grinblat aka “Pre-celebration Guy” - Avionics System Engineer
Brian Schratz - EDL telecommunications lead
Keri Bean - Mastcam uplink lead/environmental science theme group lead
Rob Zimmerman - Power/Pyro Systems Engineer
Steve Sell - Deputy Operations Lead for EDL
Scott McCloskey -­ Turret Rover Planner
Magdy Bareh - Fault Protection
Eric Blood - Surface systems
Beth Dewell - Surface tactical uplinking

I have picked out a few questions and answers that I found interesting for a quick overview.

Of course this is the MOST important question that everyone wants to know the answer to.

Q: Are there any protocols if you find alien life / bacteria / fossils?

A: very science hypothesis is vetted among the team, and we would want to make sure we were absolutely certain it was life/fossils/etc. before releasing it to the public. But we absolutely would release this information, once we had sufficient evidence and it was agreed upon among the science teams! We follow this procedure for all of our interesting finds.

Q: Are we close to being able to explore the oceans of Europa? What major challenges must be overcome?

A: Getting into into the ocean is one tricky part. I think some folks have done some experiments with ROV's that melt their way down through ice, but we've got some work to do. Jupiter also has a pretty challenging radiation environment and we'll have to come up with some way to relay information from the Earth to the ROV. None of these issues seems to be insurmountable. smc

Q: What are your thoughts on the quote by Carl Sagan: "If there is life on Mars, I believe we should do nothing with Mars. Mars then belongs to the Martians, even if the Martians are only microbes."
If we found Martian microbes, would we declare the planet a 'nature preserve'? Would that mean no more missions there at all, or only scientific missions?

A: We abide by a set of planetary protection guidelines that you can read more about here..

Q: Does Curiosity get wake-up songs every morning like the other Mars rovers got? If so, what have some of the songs been so far?

A: Yup! She tends to be less cranky with a good wakeup song.

Sol 2: "Good Morning Good Morning" Beatles, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club
Sol 3: "Good morning, good morning" from Singing in the Rain.
Sol 5: Wagner "The ride of the valkyries" R10 Victory Song: Theme from "Mission Impossible"
Sol 6: "Got the Time" by Anthrax, and "Echelon" by 30 Seconds to Mars
Sol 7: The Doors - "Break on Through", and George Harrison - "Got My Mind Set on You"
Sol 8: Theme from Star Wars by John Williams
Sol 9: Wake Up Little Susie by Simon and Garfunkel
Sol 10: Frank Sinatra "Come Fly with me"

Q: Why no microphone?

A: We took a microphone on the Phoenix Mars Lander, and we turned it on but essentially heard nothing (white noise) so it was never released. We don't really need it for any experiments.

We do have the landing signal sound as it sounded from one of the orbiters.

Here's a little more info on the Phoenix microphone. It was essentially a hitch-hiker. It was built into another instrument taken off the shelf for the the lander, but it was never intended for the mission. There was no science team or budget connected to it. Since it was not intended for use it was never tested before launch and never entered into the power budget for the lander. Only after Phoenix successfully completed it's mission, 5 months after landing in the polar region, was the mission somewhat willing to test it. They couldn't do it earlier because they couldn't risk the prime goals of the mission if anything went wrong. The project manager was fairly certain it wouldn't work and was against trying it because he didn't want to raise expectations. His mind changed when we got a tweet to the @MarsPhoenix account from a man who said he was blind and how much he wished he could hear Mars because he couldn't see the pictures. A couple days later, they sent the signal to Phoenix to turn it on but we got.. well.. nothing. Empty files. If we had received anything, it would have been released. The team figured the mic was frozen solid and decided to give it a second try by leaving it on longer to warm up. Unfortunately, the Phoenix mission lost its last bit of power (as expected) before it got the second instruction. -vm

Q: Are there any things on the rover to protect itself from, you know, things?

A: I have a laser on my head. 'Nuff said. -vm

There are is more to the Q&A, like I said, I just picked out questions I found interesting.

posted on Aug, 30 2012 @ 12:48 AM
On my head

posted on Aug, 30 2012 @ 09:44 AM
It surprises me that absolutely no one gives a ____.

eh, I tried.

posted on Aug, 30 2012 @ 02:20 PM

Originally posted by gostr
It surprises me that absolutely no one gives a ____.

eh, I tried.
Not everyone. Thanks for the info and update. I would love to hear from several other team members instead of the team leads.

posted on Aug, 30 2012 @ 04:33 PM
Thanks dude. Good read that.
I love mars stuff, but haven't got hours to wade through, to get to the good stuff. Excellent.

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