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Mars Space Science

Mars Winds Clean Spirit's Solar Panels Again 269

Posted by timothy
from the like-mom-making-the-bed dept.
Titoxd writes "In a blast from the past, NASA reports that Spirit's solar panels have received a much-needed cleaning courtesy of the Red Planet. The report states, 'The cleaning boosts Spirit's daily energy supply by about 30 watt-hours, to about 240 watt-hours from 210 watt-hours. The rover uses about 180 watt-hours per day for basic survival and communications, so this increase roughly doubles the amount of discretionary power for activities such as driving and using instruments.'"
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Mars Winds Clean Spirit's Solar Panels Again

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  • by OhHellWithIt (756826) * on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @04:14PM (#26906353) Journal
    . . . don't forget to pack the broom.
  • by macxcool (1370409) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @04:14PM (#26906357)
    That's much better than NASA's alternative plan of sending a Squeegee Kid to do the job.
  • by Rob Kaper (5960) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @04:21PM (#26906451) Homepage

    NASA probably has a good idea. Published estimates were likely wrong on purpose from the start to give them the opportunity for more media coverage and subsequently budget opportunities.

    Kirk: âoeHow long to re-fit?â
    Scotty: âoeEight weeks. But you donâ(TM)t have eight weeks, so Iâ(TM)ll do it for you in two.â
    Kirk: âoeDo you always multiply your repair estimates by a factor of four?â
    Scotty: âoeHow else to maintain my reputation as a miracle worker?â

  • by GargamelSpaceman (992546) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @04:23PM (#26906481) Homepage Journal
    It was a martian. You see about a billion years ago, the Martian civilization discovered the secret of consiousness. Eventually the robots they created displaced them, and then when the planet's resources were depleted, they left for the stars leaving behind some curators. These curators are not really consious, their robotic creators ensured this so that they would be reliable in their task of preserving their martian heritage, but sometimes they do act in ways that are, almost uncannily lifelike.

    This was the case here. The Martian curator bots find the rovers interesting, or rather, they find their controllers interesting. They periodically dust the solar panels so that they will be able to keep roving. They are curious as to what they are doing, maybe even appreciative that someone has visited to appreciate what they have devoted the past eon to preserving. For them, watching us look is most gratifying. They really ache to communicate with us and show us all the Martian history in their underground vaults, but because of their programming to remain inconspicuous, they can't. Still, they are helpful when they can be and not give themselves away.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:4, Funny)

    by Chabo (880571) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @04:30PM (#26906617) Homepage Journal

    My computer uses nearly that much power under full load, and it doesn't even have to move!

  • by Chabo (880571) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @04:33PM (#26906657) Homepage Journal

    And of course, the scene from the TNG episode "Relics":

    "Starship captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way. The secret is to give them what they need, not what they want."

    "I told the Captain I would have this diagnostic done in an hour."
    "And how long will it really take you?"
    "An hour!"
    "Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would really take, did you?"
    "Of course I did."
    "Oh, laddie, you have a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker."

  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @04:49PM (#26906919) Homepage

    ... there are no homeless people on Mars.

  • by JCSoRocks (1142053) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @04:50PM (#26906929)
    if only NASA had sent a homeless fellow with some newspaper...
  • Re:Amazing (Score:3, Funny)

    by cavtroop (859432) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @04:51PM (#26906955)

    because I don't want to pay $456,784 for a lightbulb :)

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @04:57PM (#26907053) Journal
    What I really want to see is a glider, or a ballon/lander combo survive that long. Something of that nature would be really useful if it could pop all over.
  • by The Great Pretender (975978) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:18PM (#26907409)
    Actually it was a Mexican. You didn't realize that we had made it that far did ya! To hell with finding water on Mars, we already have a Taco truck with the best horchata in the solar system there waiting for NASA.
  • by NerveGas (168686) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:29PM (#26907583)

    How dare you inject a useful, explanatory article into the armchair quarterbacking? I don't know where you think you are, but this is [i]Slashdot[/i], kid. Take that stuff somewhere else.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:30PM (#26907603)

    Your post advocates a

    (X) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

    approach to Rover problems. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

    (X) It requires too much power
    ( ) It may make situation worse
    ( ) It doesn't solve the problem
    (X) It works here on Earth but not on Mars
    (X) It will work for two weeks and then it might get stuck
    (X) It does not account for the climate of Mars
    (X) Marvin the Martian will not put up with it

    Specifically, your plan fails to account for

    (X) Weight limitations on mission payload
    (X) Space limitations on mission payload
    (X) Extreme cold of Mars
    (X) Atmosphere of Mars
    ( ) Difference between Mars gravity and Earth gravity
    ( ) Materials don't exist yet
    (X) Survivability of materials on Mars
    ( ) Distance between Mars and Earth
    ( ) NASA bureaucacy
    (X) Technically illiterate politicians
    (X) Marvin the Martian
    (X) Democrats
    (X) Republicans
    (X) Ralph Nader

    and the following objections may also apply:

    (X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
    (X) Solution is beyond mission scope
    ( ) Solution solves the wrong problem
    ( ) Only delays the inevitable
    ( ) Cost limitations
    (X) Requires redesign
    (X) Scientific instruments may have to be excluded
    ( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem

    Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

    (X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
    ( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
    ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

  • by thenickdude (1481249) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:52PM (#26907929)

    Two astronauts, one faceplate?

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:13PM (#26908359)

    They decided that a windshield wiper didn't have a good benefit/cost (in both money and weight) ratio. Especially for a 90-day mission. I understand that the best they could get the wipers to do was smear the dust around (something about static cling keeping it from coming off), so it wasn't going to do much good, anyways.

    Okay, so they needed to include a windshield wiper AND a bottle of 409.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:43PM (#26908903) Homepage

    Thank you for responding to the first half of my post with a simplified version of the second half of my post. That was very informative.

  • by IICV (652597) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @07:06PM (#26909247)

    I don't know where you think you are, but this is [i]Slashdot[/i], kid. Take that stuff somewhere else.

    Exactly! This is Slashdot, so leave the BBCode to the forums and use HTML like a real nerd!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @10:03PM (#26911411)
    For proving there's nothing a good blowjob can't fix! I'll have to e-mail this link to my wife....
  • by AmigaMMC (1103025) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @10:04PM (#26911419)
    I understand that the best they could get the wipers to do was smear the dust around (something about static cling keeping it from coming off)

    They could have coated the panels with a layer of Snuggle :)

  • by apostrophesemicolon (816454) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @12:03AM (#26912343) Journal
    enough kids...

    now WHO gave these two too much candy??

One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word. -- Robert Heinlein

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