InSight Mission Summary
See public lecture by Bruce Banerdt, InSight Principal Investigator, 1h25m15s.
The much-delayed InSight probe's mission is back on, and NASA has set the launch date for May 5, 2018 and will (hopefully) land on the Martian surface on November 26 that year. "The quest to understand the interior of Mars has been a longstanding goal of planetary scientists for decades," said John Grunsfeld, associate …
Yeah, it at least feels like you'll find more on this issue reading 'The Martian' than anywhere else. I wonder if it would be possible to repel dust with a special coating or an electrostatc field - or failing that, setting up some sort of dust trap close to the solar cells in the hope that it would at least reduce the amount of dust settling on the cells. The cutest solution would be a little robot with a little broom and dustpan, of course. Also, I wonder what they use as a Mars dust analogue in testing?
You wouldn't even need a broom, just a speaker - I'm sure you have all seen videos where uniformly sprinkled dust gathers up along fixed lines when a speaker starts shaking the plate; with a bit of smarts one might even devise a changing sound pattern that pushes the accumulation lines closer and closer to the edge like a conveyor belt, until the dust just falls off...
I wonder if it would be possible to repel dust with a special coating or an electrostatc field - or ... little broom and dustpan, of course.
The preference for Opportunity and Spirit was to use the weight for some dust cleaning system on larger solar panels, which trade studies said delivered more power over their expected 3-month lives than a cleaning system.
I don't think electrostatic systems will work. Any electrical charge is going to end up attracting dust. Special coatings - Teflon, molybdenum disulfide, etc. - have limited benefits if you're not going to give the lander a cleaning system.
But a lander with a 2-year life does seem like something that'd be entering the point where a dust cleaner would be weight-effective.
I know aerospace hardware is pricey. But what the heck happened to the seismograph in the low pressure testing, and what was it made of to require a $150 million repair? I mean, Lockheed Martin dropped a satellite (NOAA-19) on a concrete floor and had the whole thing repaired for $135 million.
Oh, wait, was the 2-year delay caused by the seismograph and putting InSight into storage?
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019