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.


 
 

 

Headlines September 19, 2014

News: McKeon on broader military authorization: Anything can ‘fail or pass’ - Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said if Congress returns after the midterm elections to weigh a broader military authorization for the battle against Islamic State, it might not pass. Defense contractor gets 7 years for giving secrets...
 
 

News Briefs September 19, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,203 As of Sept. 16, 2014, at least 2,203 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,823 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 

Pratt & Whitney, U.S. Air Force complete qualification for F135 engine testing

Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. , together with its U.S. Air Force partner at the F135 Heavy Maintenance Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., celebrated another significant milestone qualification for F135 engine testing at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. OC-ALC which in addition to engine testing is also qualified to perform...
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton has first cross-country flight from Palmdale

Northrop Grumman photograph The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System takes off from Northrop Grummanís Palmdale, Calif., facility Sept. 17 for its first cross-country flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent, River, Md. PALMDALE,...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AFRL commander describes Air Force’s technology vision

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello takes a question from an audience member after discussing Air Force Research Laboratory breakthrough technologies during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air ...
 




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>