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Space Science

Explore Mars with Maestro 180

The Maestro Team writes "NASA has released Maestro, a public version of the primary software tool used by scientists to operate the Mars Exploration Rovers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Anyone can download Maestro for free from mars.telascience.org and use it to follow along with the rovers' progress during the mission. You can use Maestro to view pictures from Mars in 2D and 3D and create simplified rover activity plans. During the mission, updates will be released for Maestro containing the latest images from Mars."
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Explore Mars with Maestro

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  • I wonder how much notice they'll take of suggested plans though? Might be cool to watch though and see what Mars looks like, though.
  • by ruprechtjones ( 545762 ) <ruprechtjones@@@gmail...com> on Saturday January 03, 2004 @04:33PM (#7868588) Homepage
    I think we just /.ed Mars...
  • by Silverkm ( 562018 ) * on Saturday January 03, 2004 @04:36PM (#7868605)
    When creating the activity plans, is it miles or kilometers? Wouldn't want to crash into anything

    Overall Looks like an interesting idea, they should look into putting it in schools. Could be a very educational "toy" to play with.

    • When creating the activity plans, is it miles or kilometers? Wouldn't want to crash into anything All distances are in meters. (UYnless marked otherwise). All angles are externally in degrees, internally in radians.

      Rotations are quaternions I believe.

      Science Activity Planner / Maestro Support Staff
      Mars Exploration Rovers
  • Neat idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by obey13 ( 731453 ) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @04:36PM (#7868609)
    Maybe this is just the uber geek in me speaking, but am the only one that thinks this is a remarkably neat idea. Not to meantion that it might win the space agency a couple of P.R. points.
  • Is the site's web server running on the lander, or the orbiter?

    And could someone post a torrent file?

  • by the man with the pla ( 710711 ) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @04:38PM (#7868617)
    The problem is that NASA doesn't have the same backing as it did back in the 60's. We went to the moon because it was a priority, and a lot of money and effort was thrown at it. Now NASA is constantly struggling to make as much as they can out of a diminishing budget. I believe that this, more than anything else caused the accident.

    If you are an administrator at NASA and you are told that their might be a problem with the age of the fleet and you know the odds of getting funding for a new project are near zero, do you keep that fleet flying? Of course. That's hardly the safest thing to do, but it's either that or close up shop and go work the chinese space program.

    NASA puts safety as first as it can afford to. You can argue that NASA is an inefficent bureaucracy, but we seem to have no trouble financing the inefficent military bureaucracy. It's the nature of government, cope.
  • time zones (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EpsCylonB ( 307640 ) <(eps) (at) (epscylonb.com)> on Saturday January 03, 2004 @04:38PM (#7868619) Homepage
    so when does it land GMT, 8:35 PST is 8 hours behind right ?
  • by Eberlin ( 570874 ) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @04:39PM (#7868625) Homepage
    All I needed to do was ssh to mars.rover.org and I can see a curses version of the 3D mars landscape. Fuel packs are depicted as % symbols. The rover is depicted as an @ sign.

    No, wait, come to think of it, that's nethack. A very good program to take up if you're one of the folks working with the Beagle2.
  • Simulation (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @04:40PM (#7868626)
    Anyone can download Maestro for free from mars.telascience.org and use it to follow along with the rovers' progress during the mission.

    Thanks to Slashdot, downloading Maestro also provides a vividly real simulation of the long months of space travel between Earth and Mars.
    • Thanks to Slashdot, downloading Maestro also provides a vividly real simulation of the long months of space travel between Earth and Mars.

      Actually, the site is now a semi-accurate representation of data rates between mars orbital/lander hardware and earth. Depending on which transmitter/antenna combinations are in use at any given time, the data rates vary from 3500 baud to 128kb, with occaisional data void periods of 8 to 16 hours due to lack of signal.

      But, like any well thought out mission, the web

      • But, like any well thought out mission, the website had a backup plan, and now they have a minimal plain text home page showing, with just links to the download files. Dunno if they had this already mapped out as a contingency for /., or if they adapted on the fly, either way, shows they are on top of the situation...

        That was totally a decision made on the fly... the freecaching, the text only page, and the bittorrents were all added as soon as the webserver started flaming at the ports :)

        Should be ba
    • 0314 GMT (10:14 p.m. EST)

      The Canberra tracking station in Australia is locked on to the spacecraft's signal, which is 10 bits per second.

      Yep, 1 Kb/s is about right ;)

  • Torrent? (Score:2, Informative)

    The site is sluggish already (darn subscribers), any chance of getting a torrent? I've already grabbed the files, I'll be glad to send them to anybody with a static IP willing to set up a tracker.

    This looks like a lot of fun, though. Big thanks to the folks on the Maestro Team!
    • Re:Torrent? (Score:3, Informative)

      by adpowers ( 153922 )
      Use my tracker: http://andrewhitchcock.org:6969/

      I was downloading the Windows version (since I already saw a Linux version) but the server crashed in the middle of the download.
      • Re:Torrent? (Score:3, Informative)

        Thanks man!

        Linux torrent (since the mirror seems to be bogus) here [uiuc.edu].

      • Re:Torrent? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JPL-Jeff ( 737613 )


        My name is Jeff Norris - I led the development of Maestro. Thank you for offering your Bit Torrent link - it saved us from totally crashing under the ./ load.

        What I want to know is this: can you tell me how many people have downloaded Maestro via your link? We are desperately trying to keep track of the total number of downloads and we have no way to track the traffic going through your bittorrent.

        You can contact me at maestro@telascience.org

        Thanks again!

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @04:44PM (#7868656)

    Fantastic. It's the one in the "1 in 6" to make it, and it's just going to sit there quivering trying to figure out which of 1000 commands to follow!

    ("Back away from the reply button!" It's a joke. And yes, I've had people reply to jokes 'correcting' me and then amazingly get modded 'insightful' for it.)

  • by core plexus ( 599119 ) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @04:50PM (#7868686) Homepage
    I'd have the Ultimate RC Car! Oh, wait, 5 minutes to send the command until it receives it, and wait 5 more minutes to see what happened. Talk about an unacceptable frame rate! And it moves what, 150 feet per day? I do like the 'field geologist' aspect of it. I'm downloading the Linux version of it right now.


    President Bush to Liberate Alaska! [alaska-freegold.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Forget about the science, just have a couple of teams racing across the Martian landscape. We can call it Marscar.
  • Where's the "Kaboom"? There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering "Kaboom". My Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator?! That Earth-creature has stolen the Space Modulator!!!!
  • by Dreadlord ( 671979 ) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @05:03PM (#7868748) Journal
    hold on Beagle 2 team! I'll explore Mars, see what happened to Beagle 2, and fix it ASAP!
  • Oopsie (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Looks like we Beagle2'd(crashed) the server ^_^
  • Demo Only (Score:4, Funny)

    by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @05:18PM (#7868818)
    NASA's business model makes this kind of a rip off. In this space-aged version of "give away the razor, sell the blades", you don't actually get to run your own mission with this freebie software. Instead, all you get to do is watch as NASA calls all the shots for the two demo probes that are being sent to Mars this month. It's like they're handing out game consoles with no input controllers to go with them.

    What they don't tell you up front is that if you actually want to run your own mission, you're going to have to pony up at least $100 million to buy a probe of your own. NASA stands to make a pretty penny if they sucker many people to buy into this scheme.

  • by ClubStew ( 113954 ) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @05:19PM (#7868822)

    What a poor design! They have to update the software in order to get new images? That's got to be the dumbest thing I've heard in a long time. Did they forget that the Internet exists where you can update images and indexes automatically? Sheesh.

    • i hope that the future updates have more bandwidth than the current server does. o_O

      waiting to download...

    • by QuantumFTL ( 197300 ) * <justin.wick@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Sunday January 04, 2004 @01:46AM (#7871147)
      What a poor design! They have to update the software in order to get new images? That's got to be the dumbest thing I've heard in a long time. Did they forget that the Internet exists where you can update images and indexes automatically? Sheesh.

      Disclaimer: I'm a junior member of the Maestro Development team, however most of my work was on the mission version (SAP), not the public version.

      The original specifications for Maestro (originally called WITS) contained an automatic updating client called MECS (Multimission Encrypted Communications System). I worked heavily on this the summer of 2002, and it was really great. It was going to work a bit like CVS in that it used deltas to transfer changes between versions of files, and had intelligent merging of XML content, etc. However due to funding constraints, the plug was pulled on MECS so there are no automatic updates.

      There is a scientist version of SAP for use on personal computers that uses something called SAP-SYNC that automatically updates everything by comparing what's on client with server ahnd using LFTP, however it was theorized that the load on JPL's servers would be far to great to do that for all of our fans out there.

      It was decided because of the massive budget cuts, little funding, and of course the fact that our staff has dropped down to all of three people to keep things simple. Doing things this way makes it possible to bittorrent things (I actually told them to bittorrent this for slashdotting about a year ago, however things have been so hectic here I"m not surprised they didn't!)

      If you're interested in the design of MECS and how it was supposed to function, check out this paper [nasa.gov].

      As for the people complaining about the design, we don't really like it either! Write your congressman, get NASA outreach more funding, and we'll have things to really engage the population!

      Justin Wick
      Science Activity Planner Support Staff
      Mars Exploration Rovers
  • Major Scientific Post regarding Mars, and half the comments are arguing as to whether a link is or is not goatse. WTF happened to slashdot???
  • Help! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JPL-Jeff ( 737613 ) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @05:58PM (#7868994)
    Well, we just discovered how NOT ready we were for Slashdot. Is there any hope of getting ahold of a Slashdot editor and arranging for temporary relief? If we can get an hour or so to put up some mirrors and bittorrent links, then I'll think we'll be ready for you.
  • NO im not kidding, got this trying to dl the software:
    Site Error
    An error was encountered while publishing this resource.


    Sorry, a site error occurred.

    Traceback (innermost last):

    Module ZPublisher.Publish, line 163, in publish_module_standard
    Module Products.PlacelessTranslationService.PatchStringI O , line 44, in new_publish
    Module ZPublisher.Publish, line 127, in publish
    Module Zope.App.startup, line 205, in zpublisher_exception_hook
    Module ZPublisher.Publish, line 100, in publish
    Module ZPublisher.m
  • Back up! (Score:2, Funny)

    by David Prahl ( 737624 )
    The NASA server is back online - guess we'll land after all!
  • I'd love to report what this software does, but my hard drive has been thrashing nonstop for 20 minutes and I've seen little more than gray windows where content should be.

    2 GHz laptop with lots of RAM and HD.

    • I got as far as the bit about the arm slicing up rocks. Then I clicked "Next" and it's been thrashing like Steve Vai, who I hate. I guess they can afford to be inefficient programmers, given their massive computing power (?)
    • Runs perfectly and *fast* (including the 3D stuff) here. Just make sure you get 3D acceleration in your Java3D installation.

      AthonXP 1700+/512MB, Linux 2.4.21, nvidia driver v1.0.4363

      • Well, I installed the latest Java Runtime Environment from Sun and downloaded the Java3D, but still it runs sloooooooowly. And it uses over 400 Megabytes of RAM. I am not sure if it is supposed to be that much!
  • We've got Windows and Linux torrents, but could some kind soul provide the OS X torrent? Or does everyone hate us mac-heads?
  • I finally was able to download the winXP/2k version. Installation is quick and clean. From there on it gets downright cheesy looking - the Java command window stays open, and the interface looks like something we'd make in my High School computer science class. Oh, and it crashes when you try to view 3D images. My home-built hyperthreading P4 (half gig of DDR400, 128 MB DDR video card) crashed twice trying to manipulate the 3D images. The only times it's ever crashed! Yes, we do have to manually download
    • Chill out... this is not commercial software. The guys at JPL are nice enough to let us play with the tool they are using (and likely still working on). If you don't like it, write your own.
  • by JPL-Jeff ( 737613 ) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @07:52PM (#7869643)
    We backed off to a REALLY simple single page site that will allow you to download the software (and that's it). The site seems to be holding up to the traffic, so if you got scared off by a dead server before, come on back! Big thanks to the people who put up BitTorrents for us - this is our first slashdotting and we clearly didn't know what were getting into. We're making arrangements for a bigger pipe and more mirrors, and we'll be back for another Slashdotting when we make the first data release. Jeff Norris Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • by JPL-Jeff ( 737613 ) on Saturday January 03, 2004 @07:56PM (#7869667)
    Come chat with the Maestro developers and other users in #maestro on irc.freenode.net. We're landing in just a few hours - come celebrate with us.

  • "Right, now the spacecraft health is excellent. We have good attitude -- keeping the solar panels pointed at the Sun and the antennas pointed at Earth. We have good power through the solar panels, good communications at 120 bps."

    ok, I swear i won't bitch about 26400 bps again....

  • Buenas Noches,

    Soy estudiante Ingles (Frances e Historia a la universidad de Warwick) y quiero entender el punto de vista oficial de la republica Cuba sobre su existencia y su tratamiento por el mundo occidental, especialmente por los estados unidos. He aprehendido el Espanol por algunos anos pero no suficientes para entenderlo totalmente. Existe un sitio Internet para que los extranjeros que no hablan el espanol puedan estudiar para que exista el estado cubano actual?
  • They got tones back and sounds indicating that the chute has released and it is bouncing across the surface. They've currently lost contact but say thats normal.
  • I know this isn't a "Maestro" help area, but I'll post anyway...

    I've loaded Maestro and tried out "Go to ISIL test facility" with success, but when I go to "Go to "Spirit's Landing Site", I get "you have not yet loaded data from Spirit, return to Maestro website to download ...". What do I do now? Where do I get the data?

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato