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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) thread
Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) thread
apenpaapDate: Saturday, 04.08.2012, 18:06 | Message # 1
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As you probably already know, the Mars Science Laboratory is approaching Mars, and going to land on it at 5:31 UTC on 6 August. I thought we could have a little countdown/expectation thread for it, since it's the most advanced rover ever launched. It's at 480000 km from Mars right now, approaching at 3500 m/s for its arrival in 37 hours. Bringing the Shuttle in SE to that distance and speed, here's what Mars looks like from the Mars Science Laboratory right now:



And with the orbits turned on so we can see its moons (as well as Saturn and its gigantic cloud of little moons) better:



(Both these images are at a FOV of 25 degrees, so they're pretty close to realistic if you open them in full view)

I think I'll keep the Shuttle on this course for Mars for the next two days (or at least, as long as my computer can handle running SE), so I can see how far Mars is yet. It's a shame there's no model of Mars science laboratory, nor any other real ships or probes, in SE. I'd mod one in, but having never done anything with models at all I have no idea where to even start.

Finally, a shot of Curiosity's landing site:


Attachments: 9796632.jpg(81Kb) · 0034233.jpg(173Kb) · 2848285.jpg(283Kb)





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Edited by apenpaap - Saturday, 04.08.2012, 18:09
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 04.08.2012, 18:45 | Message # 2
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Quote (apenpaap)
Finally, a shot of Curiosity's landing site:

I remember going into Gale crater at the MSL landing site and taking some screenshots when 0.95 first came out. Seeing the sun set and the Milky Way arch overhead on a dark Martian night was quite a breathtaking sight.

I'm very excited for this mission. Hopefully due to the radioactive power source it will be able to make more in-depth astronomical observations than the MERs did. Also, video capability, descent imaging, telephoto lens, etc, all very exciting things to have on Mars. I can't wait. Hopefully everything goes well smile





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DoctorOfSpaceDate: Saturday, 04.08.2012, 19:54 | Message # 3
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If this thing crashes thats gonna suck.




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matty406Date: Saturday, 04.08.2012, 21:11 | Message # 4
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If this thing crashes thats gonna suck.

I've been thinking just this ever since I learnt it was going to be lowered by a crane, from a hovering platform. It's just insane, but a lot of thought and effort has gone into designing it to I have full faith in Curiosity's wheels landing daintily on Mars.
 
anonymousgamerDate: Saturday, 04.08.2012, 21:58 | Message # 5
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Keep in mind the gravity is lower, so it should survive some drops.




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apenpaapDate: Sunday, 05.08.2012, 11:56 | Message # 6
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Yeah, the crane is a really bizarre idea, but with 38% of Earth gravity, it'll be less ridiculous an idea to pull off. And I suppose inflating a crapload of airbags around it like with several other rovers and making it bounce around is just too dangerous with a rover this size. We'll probably know if it works in 19 hours...

It's getting close to Mars now, at 253000 km. surprised At the moment it's close to midnight at the Gale crater, but it'll be late afternoon there tomorrow at the landing. Some pics from around the landing time:



And shots of Phobos and Deimos as seen from Gale right now:


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Edited by apenpaap - Sunday, 05.08.2012, 11:59
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 05.08.2012, 13:40 | Message # 7
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I've been thinking just this ever since I learnt it was going to be lowered by a crane, from a hovering platform. It's just insane,

It's not so insane as it seems at first. Aspects of this landing procedure have been used in many other Mars landings. From entry to parachute deployment it will be just like any other lander. Then the backshell separates and the retro rockets take over, like with Phoenix. Then the surface payload is extended from beneath it, rather like the Mars Exploration Rovers, though it will be in a more controlled manner. The only tricky thing to me is making sure that the cables cut correctly, and that wind could probably affect this huge rover dangling on a cable beneath a jetpack (this happened with MER-B - Opportunity - but since it was just bouncing on airbags it made no difference except for getting pushed into Eagle Crater smile ).

The landing system seems pretty solid to me, overall it is new, but virtually every element of it has been tried on Mars previously in some fashion, all successfully.





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SpaceEngineerDate: Sunday, 05.08.2012, 15:21 | Message # 8
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All landing stages are explained in this movie (ignore Russian subtites).



I believe airbags are impossible with this rover - look at its size! It is like saving a small car falling from skies smile






 
SolarisDate: Sunday, 05.08.2012, 15:43 | Message # 9
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I hope everything is gonna be fine, the crane scare me too..
Maybe the Hirise cam will take a shot of the descent like this one !

Nice thread and idea apenpaap smile


Edited by Solaris - Sunday, 05.08.2012, 15:46
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 05.08.2012, 16:01 | Message # 10
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Maybe the Hirise cam will take a shot of the descent like this one !

Phoenix Over Heimdall, what a classic picture! I think that MRO will not be in the correct position this time, and only Mars Global Surveyor will be in the right place sad But I may be wrong.

Here's a version of that picture that I colorized one time (have to view in full res to see the lander smile ): http://www.deviantart.com/downloa....eom.jpg





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SolarisDate: Sunday, 05.08.2012, 16:11 | Message # 11
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Hey I like this colorized version ! Nice.

It's seem there is 60% chance to take a similar shot ( source )
 
Persia-GangstaDate: Sunday, 05.08.2012, 19:32 | Message # 12
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Good luck Curiosity victory




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SpaceEngineerDate: Sunday, 05.08.2012, 21:44 | Message # 13
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Video translation is too laggy for me even now, for 9 hours before landing... So sad...




 
DaninAusDate: Sunday, 05.08.2012, 23:03 | Message # 14
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This is a cool event, I wonder if there is any sort of live stream or info on this of any sort.

NASA might not release anything like that until they know that it's landed safely and is fully working though.
 
TalismanDate: Sunday, 05.08.2012, 23:09 | Message # 15
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7 Hours now.

Will we be able to know if it was successful at that time? I will be staying up. cool





 
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