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Mars NASA Science

NASA Satellite Looks For Response From Dead Mars Craft 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-dead-jim dept.
coondoggie writes "NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter will next week make a number of passes over the presumed dead Phoenix Mars Lander on the surface of the planet and listen for what the space agency called possible, though improbable, radio transmissions. Odyssey will pass over the Phoenix landing site about 10 times this month and two longer listening tries in February and March trying to determine if the craft survived Martian winter and try to lock onto a signal and gain information about the lander’s status."
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NASA Satellite Looks For Response From Dead Mars Craft

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  • by lopgok (871111) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @01:14PM (#30739406)
    Actually, if we would have funded Project Orion, we would have gone to Saturn in the early 1960's. See http://www.ted.com/talks/george_dyson_on_project_orion.html [ted.com] among other references.
  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @02:11PM (#30740314)

    No, the mission was designed to last 90 days (and probably more for budgetary reasons than anything else). The rovers were designed to last as long as possible while still fulfilling the mission goals and staying below the weight and size limits. If you need a high cost, high risk, extreme environment piece of equipment to last 90 days, you design it to last for decades. I'm not saying 7 years on Mars isn't impressive, but the idea that engineers expected the rovers to drop dead after 90 days is inaccurate.

    As for the military not being as efficient, the space program uses one off engineering projects to solve unique challenges. Each rover and lander is designed specifically for the exact environment they will be placed in and is engineered nearly from the ground up. It produces amazing results but it is not economically efficient. The difference is, compared to the cost of getting a rover to mars, the cost of the rover itself is almost negligible so you may as well over engineer it and make sure the money you paid for the flight out there was worth it.

    I'd love to see what the space program would do with twice or three times its current budget, it's a crying shame the way it's pushed to the back burner the way it is now. When was the last time a genuinely revolutionary space concept was flown by NASA? The first shuttle launch? Lots of people have ideas that can be made to work, ideas that could make space travel as cheap and common as Arthur C Clark ever envisioned it, we just haven't put the R&D into turning ideas into technology.

  • by tokul (682258) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @03:25PM (#30741474)

    tanks from WWII would still be in service.

    War was not won by producing state of art equipment. It was won by producing lost of it in fast and cheap way. T34 and Shermans were not the best tanks in WWII. State of art was Tiger 2 and Germans lost.

  • by haydensdaddy (1719524) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @10:10PM (#30746104)
    Not to debate your desire to remain without kids, nor the instantaneous to short-term inconveniences of child rearing, but I doubt those studies can gauge the long-term satisfaction of watching your child evolve into a fully-functioning human. Many business owners don't make significantly more money or have more time than they would if they were doling out 40 hours per week for someone else. But the satisfaction of what they've accomplished makes the extra blood, sweat, and tears worth it.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus

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