Good to hear it has landed safely, fingers crossed all the rest of the mission goes well.
Pint- because they deserve it.
The landing of a "one ton automobile-sized piece of America" also known as the Curiosity rover on Mars today could clear the way for Man's arrival within the next 20 years. NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden said that the Curiosity mission, the sixth successful shot at the Red Planet by his organisation, could lead to human …
assumed all the patriotism was budget/funding inspired. In one case a speaker said explicitly that he was not going to name any of the other countries involved in the rover's instruments. OK, maybe it is almost entirely a US project (and hooray for them), but that did sound a little off to me.
When I saw the Horizon program last week I gave up trying to count the number of ways this could go wrong, so well done to them for getting Curiosity onto the surface intact and the right way up!
As for a manned landing, I'd love to be a fly on the wall when they tell the boffins they need to learn to abseil! :o)
I think you'll find that the reactor is a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (pedantic). While it may generate a fair bit of heat, its not going to go critical. However if you pour a little Martian water on the Lithium batteries and short them out while cracking open the reactor you should have a nice little dirty bomb to scatter your competition :-P
The Martians won't be impressed.
The other nations' units don't need to be caught by the Canadarm. Cargo - Dragon C2 took about 1/10th of what the ESA ATV usually takes up to it, 1//8th of the Japanese HII, and about 1/5th what Soyuz usually take monthly. I am sure the food was welcome, but might need a couple of years before it is ready for people.
I am very happy that the dragon capsule was a success, but to put Soyuz down is bad form since the dragon being man rated is years away, and even then it has to be docked by an arm!!!
The rest of the world is ahead of NASA & US private industry when it comes to space launch technology, the ESA, Japan & Russia all have automated cargo pods superior to dragon in technology, i.e. they are fully automated...
Russia & China are the only two countries currently able to put astronauts into space..
Nasa refused a place for China on the ISS program, I think they were embarrassed about relying on Russia...
I think this is a great achievement, but NASA needs to acknowledge the non-US contributions to this mission a bit more openly and be more willing to co-operate.
some of the replies are disappointing. With the US having to use Soyuz to get to LEO and co-operating on the ISS there was that small chance we might not carry our petty nationalistic rivalries to the stars. Idealistic I know, but we could but hope.... shame to marr such a great achievement.
This is a fantastic achievement, and to wrap it up in nationalistic terms an easy win for a country that goes to the polls in three months. The nationalism -- as always -- is for the home crowd, not the rest of us.
I agree nationalism is pants, but there are far too many stupid people out there who think it's great.
Alright, this is actually something I deal with on a fairly regular basis, so lets see if I can help you make sense of some of Uncle Sam's terminology. They're engineered to last longer than what the Agency expects out of them and much longer than what its budgeted for. It may be confusing to anyone who doesn't work for the Government in one of its science, engineering, intelligence or military agencies because it IS confusing.
But Its a pretty common thing to encounter in the US Government, especially in agencies related to or descended from the Army, of which the Air Force and NASA are the two big ones.
For instance, lets say I was issued three sets of Army Combat Uniforms a couple of years ago with a wear date of 17 Dec 2013. In a pinch they could last a couple of years longer (getting to a Clothing Issue Point during deployment can be near impossible, something the Army knows and realizes). On 17 Dec 2013 though, the uniforms would hit the end of their working/design lifespan and have already lasted much longer than their budget lifespan by a measure of years, however they will more than likely still be in one piece and within regulations, so they could still be used if I had no way of turning them in to get issued new ones.
If you want to put an IT spin on it, the best way I can think of describing it would be the lifespan of a traditional mechanical Hard Disk Drive, in general they're engineered to last longer than the manufacturer expects, certifies and/or will warrant them to last, generally also by a measure of years.
Yes its confusing and makes no sense, which are two things that my employer, The Government of the United States in general, excels at.
And you get in your car and you drive real far
And you drive all night and then you see a light
And it comes right down and lands on the ground
And out comes a man from Mars
And you try to run but he's got a gun
And he shoots you dead and he eats your head
And then you're in the man from Mars
You go out at night, eatin' cars
NASA should be worried.
He's spouting typical Republican propaganda. So I threw it back at him with three of my "favorite" Republican politicians.
Just for reference about the time the Navy killed Usama Bin Laden there was a bunch of crap that went around on the social networks and internally on Army Knowledge Online that "Obama didn't kill Bin Laden, SEAL Team Six did", which is precisely what he's referencing.
It's a shame they had to crash it at all. With 140kg of fuel left after dropping off the rover, it could have taken a bit of a flying tour around the crater looking for good places for the rover to visit - if it had been fitted with its own camera that is. Failing that, just performing a soft landing like the Vikings did, would have gained some data which could be useful to future (manned) missions.
... unfortunately that would have to be decided in the interplanetary cruise phase as it would've run out of fuel hanging around for 28+minutes waiting to be told to go and land somewhere, even drastically lightened after the rover had been dropped off.
I agree though - if they'd chosen to move away and at least attempt a soft landing then if a manned mission is really so near they could have a source of usable parts just parked up in a known location. Include some sort of deployable weather shield if needed to keep the dust off and they could keep it fairly clean too.
It wouldn't have had to wait, after dropping off it could either have followed a pre-set path until it ran out of fuel. But looking at the end of the simulation video, I'm not the crane is stable without the load of the lander underneath it, so a crash may have been the only option.
Human astronauts first landed on Mars in 2041. There would be 12 more visits between the years 2044 and 2102, including the construction of an orbitting space station in 2084. But plans to erect a permanent colony on Mars never gained sufficient political traction before the nanoplague catastrophe of 2130 lead to the collapse of human civilization and the extinction of all life on the planet shortly thereafter.
The human legacy on Mars consisted of no less than 4,000 autonomous surface and flying rovers of various designs that remained trawling the martian surface looking for answers to questions that had long since lost relevance and transmitting back to Earth answers that would never be recieved.
In time thanks to a coincidence of design and the lack of forthcoming orders from Earth, one particular rover type initiated a self-replication procedure. Due to inevitable slight replication errors a process of evolution was set into motion which would one billion years later see the rise of an intelligent species.
Holding the 3rd planet in religious awe due to their more primitive forms still instinctively beaming transmissions there, probes were eventually sent out to Earth, a now barren, rocky and lifeless world. The discovery of fossilized biological lifeforms, a form of life that had not even been imagined caused shockwaves.
The Martian civilization survived another 210 years, even colonizing Earth, before itself being wiped out by the development and deployment of nanotechnology. A fate that awaits all intelligent races and ensures the universe remains empty and silent.
To call rapidly self replicating nanobots science fiction really stretches the notion as they're not really scientifically plausible in our current understanding of science.
You want self replicating nanobots that eat anything? Leave a slice of bread out for a month and watch it go mouldy. Mould is severely limited in speed because chemical reactions take time. You can't change the laws of physics and chemistry.
Grey goo style nanotech is a big pile of steaming BS.
"You want self replicating nanobots that eat anything? Leave a slice of bread out for a month and watch it go mouldy. Mould is severely limited in speed because chemical reactions take time. You can't change the laws of physics and chemistry."
Imagine that human beings, animals and crops suddenly had no resistance to mould. How long would it take for everything to die?
... not going to happen
Empirically - nothing like it has evolved in 3.5Gy. Why do more complex organisims exist?
Genetically - if it ever did, organisms would evolve resistance. Even if they did not, by the time everything was grey goo, some nanobots would get a replication advantage by organising themselves into more complex structures. So you would have a grey goo phase, but then it would go away again
Thermodynamically - you can only get stuck with an interminable grey goo future if there is no more energy to go into the system. In which case it is game over anyway, goo or not.
Nah, there would be cheese base lifeforms, which would take over the probes and expand at an exponential throughout the solar system and later the universe. Self replicating unintelligent Nano-tech wouldn't stand a chance.
"and added that the landing would stand as a point of American pride far into the future"
And far into the future you will have those that will claim it never happened and that it was all staged in the desert and a studio and will reinforce their position by arguing about how things don't look right or the dust that was lifted didn't correspond with the conditions on Mars, its atmosphere and gravity and so on and so forth...
Congratulations to the all those that worked hard to make it happen; amidst a torrent of reasons to dislike the US of A these past couple of decades, this one stands triumphantly for!
Actually the biggest surprise was when NASA's rover was stopped at a checkpoint by a larger vehicle with a gun turret and Cyrillic letters spelling Phobos Grunt. After Curiosity showed it's papers, it was permitted to roll around and gather stones and dirt in its little marzipan.
I understand that during the descent they dumped, at just the right intervals, several 25kg blocks of Tungsten. Whilst not wishing to detract from a spectacular science/ engineering achievement, the use of such 'ballast' in order to adjust the crafts position in flight / descent makes me chuckle somewhat and I am reminded of the art of ballooning. Its those simple Newtonian principles of engineering / science and their correct application that make this, as well as the LOHAN project of course, such blooming good fun to follow. Beer all round chaps.
First off, congratulations to NASA. Historically Mars has been a bit of a tough nut to crack, but if this new rover lasts half as long as the previous generation of rovers, with the instrumentation it has on board it should hopefully yield some interesting data.
However I can't help thinking that we should dig ourselves out of the mess we're in before we blow what'll probably amount to tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars on a manned mission that (and I'm completely open to hear anyones ideas to the contrary) probably won't achieve much more beyond a "Look what we can do" feeling.
They should put the money that would be used on this project into science programs for schools and science scholarships for colleges. Recruit the best astronomers, physicists, chemists, metallurgists, stick them in classrooms and lecture halls with state of the art labs and teach the next generation, who in 40 or 50 years will probably be able to do it quicker, smarter, safer and with the probable advances in technology could maybe turn a manned mission into the beginnings of a semi-permanent biosphere, paving the way for what would truly be the next chapter in the human race.
Leadership, yeah. Like dropping Exomars from the budget, then trying to save face by taking $24M from the outer planets budget to "envision an architecture" for a 2018 or, maaaybe 2020 launch.
Yeah, that's leadership. Stand on the funding of your predecessors today, strangle tomorrow in its cradle.
And hope the voters forget yesterday:
"In essence, it is the end of the Mars program," said Phil Christensen, a Mars researcher at Arizona State University. It's like "we've just flown Apollo 10 and now we're going to cancel the Apollo program when we're one step from landing,"
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