back to article NASA sets the date for Martian robot drilling rig to lift off

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 …

  1. harmjschoonhoven
    Thumb Up

    InSight Mission Summary

    See public lecture by Bruce Banerdt, InSight Principal Investigator, 1h25m15s.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You rock!

    On a related note, I'm somewhat surprised to find so little (my read) on the solar cell dust issue.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Opportunity

      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?

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Opportunity

        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...

        1. weegie38

          Re: Opportunity

          A changing sound pattern, eh? How about a concept album featuring various guitars, some high (and low) pitched electronica, a full orchestra, and various human voices. Say, David Essex, Julie Covington, Justin Haywayd, Phil Lynott and Richard Burton. That'll do, eh?

      2. cray74

        Re: Opportunity

        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.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Opportunity

      still going strong years past it's EOL target ...and I bet the engineers got to take crap about that from beancounters and consultards because they have 'overengineered' it...

    3. el_oscuro

      Re: Opportunity

      Obligatory XKCD:

  3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Marsquakes... bus yes, how else would you call it?

  4. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    "A vacuum leak during low temperature testing ..."

    Wouldn't this not be 'damage sustained' but "testing failure" which is the whole point of the low temperature testing?

    1. John Mangan

      Re: "A vacuum leak during low temperature testing ..."

      Presumably it depends on the 'failure mode' - explosive/implosive?

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: "A vacuum leak during low temperature testing ..."

      Might have been a problem with the test rig doing something that's not part of the test. Or Fargo pressed the wrong button again.

  5. cray74

    $150 meeeellion dollars?

    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?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019