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Mars NASA Science

New Mars Rover Rolls For the First Time 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the keep-them-doggies-rollin dept.
wooferhound writes "Like proud parents savoring their baby's very first steps, mission team members gathered in a gallery above a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to watch the Mars Curiosity rover roll for the first time. Engineers and technicians wore bunny suits while guiding Curiosity through its first steps, or more precisely, its first roll on the clean room floor. The rover moved forward and backward about 1 meter (3.3 feet). Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) is scheduled to launch in fall 2011 and land on the Red Planet in August 2012. Curiosity is the largest rover ever sent to Mars. It will carry 10 instruments that will help search an intriguing region of the Red Planet for two things: environments where life might have existed, and the capacity of those environments to preserve evidence of past life."
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New Mars Rover Rolls For the First Time

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  • Wheels (Score:4, Interesting)

    by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:05PM (#33087112) Journal
    I've always wondered why the rovers aren't designed with bigger wheels and bubble-ish tires (not saying they have to be inflated) like on a truck outfitted for work in a swamp. Every time we read that one of the existing rovers got stuck and the folks at JPL were working on getting it unstuck, I'd think the same thing.
  • Re:red planet (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Script Cat (832717) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:32PM (#33087536)
    No you're thinking of an incident from the viking mission where the opposite happened.
    Viking video images were miscalibrated to display the sky as blue.
    But there is always a calibration target on the lander with known colors that is used for proper calibration.
    Disappointment ensued when it was corrected as per the know target and the sky was pink.
  • Not even an issue. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:33PM (#33087564)

    http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/mission/rover/energy/

    "The Mars Science Laboratory rover will carry a radioisotope power system that generates electricity from the heat of plutonium's radioactive decay. This power source gives the mission an operating lifespan on Mars' surface of at least a full Martian year (687 Earth days) or more while also providing significantly greater mobility and operational flexibility, enhanced science payload capability, and exploration of a much larger range of latitudes and altitudes than was possible on previous missions to Mars."

  • Re:Overweaning care (Score:3, Interesting)

    by al0ha (1262684) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:45PM (#33087796) Journal
    I know it costs roughly $80,000 to land an object on the moon, Mars must be a bit more.

    Lets say a Hum-V was built that runs perfectly on 100% solar power and weighs about the same as a standard Hum-V, we know it would cost roughly $480,000,000 to lift that Hum-V to the moon. Hard to see how that would be any cheaper...
  • Re:Overweaning care (Score:3, Interesting)

    by al0ha (1262684) on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:47PM (#33087836) Journal
    Ah sorry, amend my previous figure of $80,000 above to $80,000/pound..
  • Re:Overweaning care (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 2010 @02:51PM (#33087920)

    Mars gravity is about 1/3 Earth's. If the structure is 3x stronger than it needs to be to support itself on Mars, it's just barely strong enough to support itself on Earth.

  • Re:Wheels (Score:3, Interesting)

    by barzok (26681) on Friday July 30, 2010 @03:35PM (#33088826)

    Take a look at the wheels designed for the lunar rover [wikipedia.org]. They seemed to work out pretty well.

  • by Larson2042 (1640785) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:37PM (#33089816)
    Though a vehicle may be designed to work in 0.38 earth gravity, that doesn't mean it will collapse or otherwise not work in standard earth conditions. Most often the structural driver for spacecraft, rovers, etc is the launch vehicle environment. Curiosity will be going up on an Atlas V, which will subject the rover to 5-6 G and a strenuous acoustic, shock, and vibration environment. In addition to the launch loads, it also has to survive the sky-crane landing on the surface of Mars. So it really isn't too surprising that it can support its own weight on earth.

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