back to article Old-timer Odyssey to babysit Curiosity's Mars landing

NASA has managed to nudge veteran spacecraft Odyssey, which has been orbiting Mars since October 2001 – into a better position to pick up communications from rover Curiosity as it lands on Mars on 5 August. NASA's Mars orbiter Odyssey Mars orbiter Odyssey . Credit: NASA/JPL The space agency had been a tad concerned that it …

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Say what you like about NASA --

and there's plenty to say! -- they still have some of the best engineers on any planet we know about.

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Alien

Is there an alien comms links ...... for interplanetary chatter/IP XSSXXXXChange?

Sounds like a good plan ..... nice and simply complex.

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Alien

arrival at 06.31 BST on 6 August (22.31 PDT 5 August).

What's that in local time?

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Re: arrival at 06.31 BST on 6 August (22.31 PDT 5 August).

Depends which Martian time zone you live in, I guess

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Anonymous Coward

CST

Cydonia Standard Time is the usual one...

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Black Helicopters

Re: CST

I would have suggested Syria Planum, but then you'd know I was located at the secret Psi Corps base...

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Alien

Re: arrival at 06.31 BST on 6 August (22.31 PDT 5 August).

They've only gone and closed all the canali in the region so I can't get to the shops or anything!

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Thumb Down

Re: arrival at 06.31 BST on 6 August (22.31 PDT 5 August).

> Depends which Martian time zone you live in, I guess

Well, no. It depends on which Martian timezone Curiosity will be landing in. That's why I asked.

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TRT
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Alien

Wait a minute. What's that?

A green flare... some sort of mist.

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Re: Wait a minute. What's that?

What are the chances of that, eh?

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Re: Wait a minute. What's that?

About a million to one......

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Re: Wait a minute. What's that?

... which has about 9/10 chance of actually occurring, according to the laws of narrative causality.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wait a minute. What's that?

Colin, the correct answer was:-

".... But still they come!"

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Re: Wait a minute. What's that?

The top of the cylinder unscrewed slowly and a creature, the size of a bear but beset with tentacles emerged. A quivering, unearthly hiss emanated from it's leathery lips "Phear us, Earthmen, for we have returned and this time we have Penicillin; mwahahahaha!"

I turned and ran, as fast as I could, at first not knowing where I was going, just allowing myself to be swept along by the stampeding mass of humanity. The,n my senses returning, I fought my way sideways through the press of fleeing man, my destination clear; the hospital at Maidstone where I knew I would find a weapon capable of eliminating the alien horror that had descended.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wait a minute. What's that?

And I found the weapon, a nurse's vibrator of eye watering proportions. Unleashing its might, I laid low each alien in turn, with the Revenge of the Anal Probe...

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Coat

Re: About a million to one......

That's what *they* said...

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Re: About a million to one......

Actually, I was going for MRSA, but you can play with your vibrator if you want.

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Joke

Re: About a million to one......

You can kill them with anagrams of the homeworld? Let's hope they don't say HEART to us.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: About a million to one......

Yes, had guess that (or c diff - much more difficult to sterilise without resorting to chlorine releasing stuff, etc). But then vibrators & nurses are a lot more fun to joke about...

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Go

Not Talk, Listen.

JPL won't be talking to Curiosity as she attempts to land, what Odyssey will do is use a bent pipe relay to send the event tones TO Earth as the landing occurs fully automatically.

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Alien

Re: Bent pipe...event tones?

OOOOOOOLaaaaaaaaa!

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When I consider the human race

Too often the human race is all too simian: brutish, cruel, thinking only of stuffing ourselves and fighting for territory or a higher rung on the ladder, superstitious, eager to be stupid, and I think: let us die out. And then we reach delicately across vast empty spaces to turn and drop our frail little constructed bits of metal onto a place that, to our eyes, is a small dot in the night sky, and I think how wonderful, how marvellous our brains are, how glorious is rationality and curiosity. Much can be forgiven such a species.

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Alert

Re: When I consider the human race

Who are you, really?

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Pint

Re: Who are you, really?

Hopefully, the future.

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Pint

Re: Who are you, really?

"Herman Hollerith (February 29, 1860 – November 17, 1929) was an American statistician who developed a mechanical tabulator based on punched cards to rapidly tabulate statistics from millions of pieces of data. He was the founder of one of the companies that later merged and became IBM."

Well you asked.

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the skeptic in me

Reads this as 'we're damn lucky we still have this old brick flying around, and we're damn lucky we got it back in order. Otherwise we would really be in the dark...'

Forgot the sequence in events - was ussing odyssey as a relay always part of the plan? Wasn't there some course change applied to the lander so that it would land inside the crater / closer to the crater?

Ah well, still thumbs up to Nasa for pulling this off.

7 minutes of terror, relay satellite almost broken, what else can go wrong now ;-)

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Trollface

Does oddyssey have a camera?

How else are we gonna get a picture of the mushroom cloud that starts an interstellar war as our "sky crane" lander goes titsup?

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martian space junk?

I know there are huge numbers of man-made items orbiting Earth, I wonder how much space junk we've put into martian orbit so far? (Not trying to detract from technical achievements, just curious)

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Anonymous Coward

I never passed maths at high school

I'm so glad someone did.

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Re: I never passed maths at high school

Maths passed me but I would have stayed with GMT and got the thing there earlier.

Would have saved a shed load of fuel for the future.

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Anonymous Coward

what? has no one else groked the first problem?

so why did odyssey enter safe mode in the first place? and furthermore, why/how did the thrust boost bring it back online from safe mode?? was this just a darkness problem??

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Joke

Re: what? has no one else groked the first problem?

Someone on earth sent CTRL-ALT-DEL and windows 2000 home premium rebooted itself , the booster shock wiggled the ram chips and reseated them

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Re: what? has no one else groked the first problem?

It did an unusually short burn for orbit correction (1.5 secs) and one of the reaction wheels wasn't happy with trying to maintain attitude, so Odyssey entered safe mode as precaution. This correction was 6 secs and it was able to maintain attitude successfully, so I presume it is OK now.

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Re: what? has no one else groked the first problem?

Given how long Odyssey has been out there I suspect it was Windows ME, which would explain the safe mode.

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"...on 11 July, NASA stalwart Odyssey entered safe mode..."

...so the first pictures it relays back will be stepped down to 8-bit VGA."

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