Space

August 18, 2012

Curiosity Mars Rover getting checked out

Tags:
by Raphael Jaffe
staff writer

This color image from NASA’s Curiosity rover shows an area excavated by the blast of the Mars Science Laboratory’s descent stage rocket engines. This is part of a larger, high-resolution color mosaic made from images obtained by Curiosity’s Mast Camera.

An overhead view of Curiosity’s landing and work site, taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter camera

At an Aug. 14 press conference, Jet Propulsion Lab researchers reported that all is going well as Curiosity activates its instruments and is being prepared for its first driving maneuvers.

In about a week, Curiosity will be commanded to drive about a yard forward and then backwards, and dramatic full color images are arriving.

Michael Watkins, Mars Science Lab mission manager, reported that the surface exploration program has been successfully up-linked and installed in both the primary and backup computers. It has replaced thousands of lines of code that were needed for the flight from earth to Mars, and Mars entry, descent and landing but are now unneeded. Both the back-up computer and the primary computer have been used to control operations. The primary computer is now being used. The program now in use is called R10.

The Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons experiment neutron detectors have been turned on, to determine the noise level without neutrons being introduced. DAN will determine the water content of Martian soil. It is a Russian instrument.

Other instruments are being turned on and electrical checkouts are being conducted.

This color image from NASA’s Curiosity rover shows an area excavated by the blast of the Mars Science Laboratory’s descent stage rocket engines. This is part of a larger, high-resolution color mosaic made from images obtained by Curiosity’s Mast Camera.

This color image from NASA’s Curiosity rover shows an area excavated by the blast of the Mars Science Laboratory’s descent stage rocket engines. This is part of a larger, high-resolution color mosaic made from images obtained by Curiosity’s Mast Camera.

Ashwin Vasavada, MSL deputy project scientist, reported that Curiosity is about halfway down its check list on the way to turning operations over to the science team. Science operations is starting to plan the route to be taken to Mount Sharp. This journey will take the better part of year.

It still seems that Curiosity landed within about a mile and a half of its target point. The science team is grateful that engineering brought it in so precisely. Observations so far are that this vicinity of Mars seems to be much like the deserts of the southwestern US.

This mosaic image shows part of the left side of NASA’s Curiosity rover and two blast marks from the descent stage’s rocket engines. The images that were used to make the mosaic were obtained by the rover’s Navigation cameras Aug. 7, PDT. The rim of Gale Crater is the lighter colored band across the horizon. The back of the rover is to the left.

This mosaic image shows part of the left side of NASA’s Curiosity rover and two blast marks from the descent stage’s rocket engines. The images that were used to make the mosaic were obtained by the rover’s Navigation cameras Aug. 7, PDT. The rim of Gale Crater is the lighter colored band across the horizon. The back of the rover is to the left.

This image from NASA’s Curiosity rover looks south of the rover’s landing site on Mars towards Mount Sharp. This is part of a larger,high-resolution color mosaic made from images obtained by Curiosity’s Mast Camera.

This image from NASA’s Curiosity rover looks south of the rover’s landing site on Mars towards Mount Sharp. This is part of a larger,high-resolution color mosaic made from images obtained by Curiosity’s Mast Camera.

Color photos of Curiosity on Mars have been taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter camera.

Alfred McEwen Principal Investigator, [Univ. of Arizona, Tucson] of the High Resolution Image Science Experiment (HiRISE) discussed those photos. The natural light on Mars has a red or yellow tint. Most of the photos have been processed so they appear as they would if illuminated by white light.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
lm-orion3

Orion spacecraft transfers To launch abort system facility

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j68mszdhTmY NASA and Lockheed Martin have finished fueling the Orion spacecraft with ammonia, hydrazine and high pressure helium at Kennedy Space Center’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facili...
 
 

NASA telescopes find clear skies, water vapor on exoplanet

Astronomers using data from three of NASA’s space telescopes – Hubble, Spitzer and Kepler – have discovered clear skies and steamy water vapor on a gaseous planet outside our solar system. The planet is about the size of Neptune, making it the smallest planet from which molecules of any kind have been detected. “This discovery...
 
 
NASA photograph by Aubrey Gemignani

New crew launches to space station to continue scientific research

NASA photgoraph Three crew members are heading to the International Space Station after launching in a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:25 p.m., EDT, Sept. 25. Three crew members representing the...
 

 

NASA expands commercial space program, requests proposals for IS resupply

On the heels of awarding groundbreaking contracts to U.S. commercial space companies to ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station, NASA has released a request for proposals for the next round of contracts for private-sector companies to deliver experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory. Under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 RFP, NASA intends...
 
 

ATK offers solid solution to U.S. Air Force’s RD-180 replacement request

ATK has provided the U.S. Air Force an American-made commercial solid rocket solution as a replacement for the RD-180 Russian-made, first-stage engine of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V launch vehicle. “ATK’s solid rocket propulsion solution provides a cost-effective, reliable solution based on advanced technology,” said Blake Larson, president of ATK’s Aerospace ...
 
 

SpaceX breaks ground on Texas rocket launch site

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The commercial rocket launches that could begin as early as 2016 in the southernmost tip of Texas will be a critical step toward one day establishing a human presence on Mars, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said Sept 22. With waves from the Gulf of Mexico crashing just over the dunes...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>