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Rovers' 90-day mission, now in its 15th month, could last 1,000 days if NASA agrees

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Mark Holtz, Apr 4, 2005.

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  1. Apr 4, 2005 #1 of 30
    Mark Holtz

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    From SF Gate:

    Rovers' 90-day mission, now in its 15th month, could last 1,000 days if NASA agrees

    Fifteen eventful months after the start of their scheduled three- month mission, the twin Mars rovers are still hard at it, functioning superbly as they wheel across the sands and past the rocks of a Martian landscape where evidence of ancient water seems undeniable.

    FULL ARTICLE HERE
     
  2. Apr 4, 2005 #2 of 30
    RichW

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    Last summer, Spirit challenged the engineers with a really tough and long- lasting problem when its right-front wheel began binding, as if something were obstructing its gear box.

    That's because they took it out of the Safeway parking lot!
     
  3. Apr 4, 2005 #3 of 30
    Bogy

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    It was very nice of that passing Martian to brush the dust off of Spirit's panels.
     
  4. Apr 4, 2005 #4 of 30
    pjmrt

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    Marvin the Martian lives on....:lol:
     
  5. Apr 4, 2005 #5 of 30
    pjmrt

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    Who says they don't build 'em like they used to.

    Mars vehicle, guaranteed for 90 days - lasts years. Chysler vehicles guaranteed to last a few years are sometimes lucky to make it that long. Go figure.

    I guess what will be interesting, is just where they send the rovers next.
     
  6. Apr 5, 2005 #6 of 30
    cdru

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    Apparently getting the rovers there was the hard part. Once we got them there successfully, keeping them running seems to be easy.
     
  7. Apr 5, 2005 #7 of 30
    cdru

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    Close, but not exactly what happen. Here is the real source why their power source boost.
     
  8. Apr 5, 2005 #8 of 30
    SimpleSimon

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    Sadly, NASA seems to be intent on killing the Voyager mission, though. :(

    Sorry, no link handy - heard it on the news today is all.
     
  9. Apr 5, 2005 #9 of 30
    Nick

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    From Day 1, I didn't buy the 90-day plan. I believe NASA was hedging its bets.

    It's the space version of the empty room/full room ploy. You're a stand-up comedian and your promoter offers you two gigs. One venue is a grand concert hall with a capacity of 5,000, but only 500 people are expected. The other is a small club with a capacity of 450, with standing room in the back - in this venue, once again, an audience of about 500 is expected.

    Which gig would you choose?

    NASA did not plan for the rover to hit 90 days, then plop over like Laugh-In's Artie Johnson riding a tricycle and wearing a yellow raincoat. But if the rover went past its 90-day/90 ft. warranty, all the better. Either way, it's a win-win. for NASA.

    One thing I've noticed about NASA -- for them, it's not about the science, it's all about the about the show. NASA has a short attention span and, like a two-year old, loses (not looses) interest quickly. Look at Hubble - astronomers are still using it 25 hours a day to explore the Universe - but a while back, NASA floated the idea of abandoning that amazingly functional piece of hardware in place, thus dooming Hubble to cobwebs, space dust, and ultimately, a fiery death.
     
  10. cdru

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    With the past few fubared Mars missions, NASA despretly needed a "successful" mission. I think that 90 days ended up being the sweet spot number for them. Any less, and the public and politics wouldn't want to support it for it's limited usefulness. Any longer and if the mission didn't last that long, it might be deemed another failure. I don't however believe that they expected it to go this long, let alone possibly 1,000 days.

    I have trouble keeping a set of AA batteries lasting more the a couple of days in some of my kids toys. Yet the NASA engineers have kept things working amazingly well on a baron planet 35 million miles away with extreme tempature shifts. I give them kudos for keeping things going despite a few setbacks that could have limited the mission.

    In recent years NASA's attention span has decreased, but I think that has more to do with politics and funding then anything else. I'm not sure that there are any true engineers or scientists that want to deorbit Hubble or abandon other scientific missions before the absolute end. But the funding to keep everything going just isn't there. Who knows, maybe by freeing up money on one project, another project takes its place and does an even better job. Only the future knows...
     
  11. djlong

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    It's not that. The Hublle's problems started with Columbia disintegrating. Now, they believe it is "too dangerous" to fly to ANY other spot than to the ISS.

    This from the agency that recovered from the Apollo 1 fire in mere months and had a man on the moon 2 1/2 years after their deaths.
     
  12. bavaria72

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    I think you really hit the nail on the head. Space exploration is dangerous business. NASA is so shell shocked over the 2 shuttle disasters they can't seem to break out. Either that or the shuttles are so dangerous they want to minimize the risks by doing only very "safe" missions i.e. supply runs to the ISS. That is one damn expensive freight hauler....
     
  13. ntexasdude

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    Many of our "shuttle missions" have operated under the guise of scientific experimentation. However, I happen to be good friends with a well placed official in one of the largest national defense contractors, he says several of the shuttle missions were done to re-fuel top secret military satellites. He told me once that the Hubble mission to correct it's vision was secondary to the miltary objective.

    I have no way of confirming this. It's just a tidbit that was passed along by an old Air Force buddy that I've known for 20 years. :eek2:
     
  14. Bogy

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    There would probably be less of a tendancy to be about "the show" if their funding didn't hang on the reviews of every "show." I'd hate to have the congregation vote after every sermon on whether to retain me or not, and at what funding level. That makes for paranoia. Which is what I see at NASA.
     
  15. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

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    Agreed.

    To paraphrase the late, great Johnny Cochran, God rest his soul... 'If it doesn't show, it doesn't go!'
     
  16. Bogy

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    Wow, I may have to redo my sig. :lol:
     
  17. djlong

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    Let's give this a "sniff test".

    Cost of a shuttle mission: $1 Billion.

    24 hour coverage on NASA Select. Launches announced months in advance. Last secret launch over 15 years ago.

    Cost of an expendable rocket: $150M-$200M. Can be launched in various facilities with little or no notice.

    Sorry. Doesn't pass the sniff test.
     
  18. Bogy

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    I don't know dj. I have heard the same thing as ntexasdude. Certainly the shuttle would provide a way to retrieve information or an entire satelite without risking a transmission that might be intercepted, encrypted or not.
     
  19. ntexasdude

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    Yeah, I know doesn't seem too likely to me either but still I just can't doubt him. What my friend told me was that they are doing other things while they are up there. Things that the general public isn't privvy to.

    As far my friend goes, he has told me about other fantastic, fairytale projects (hard to believe crap) that have turned out to be true. I can remember several conversations with him about futuristic, Buck Rogers weapons like an M16 mounted FLIR night vision scope (forward looking infra-red) that can see in COMPLETE darkness. He was special ops guy in the AF and visited over 30 countries in 4 years. He told me me about flying in an AC-130 gunship tree top level in Vietnam and truding thru the jungles in Laos. Wait...we don't fly planes over Vietnam do we?
     
  20. Bogy

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    There are days on virtually every flight that are "blacked out". These days few people notice, because most Americans hardly know when the missions are flown.
     
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