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 Mars Rovers hit another milestone
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Paulos23
Skeptic Friend

USA
446 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2006 :  10:12:08  Show Profile  Visit Paulos23's Homepage Send Paulos23 a Private Message
The Mars Rovers are still at it, they even had to get a software upgrade to add an extra digit to the field that keeps track of martion days (from 999 to 9999). These little rovers continue to amaze everyone. They have done so much, and yet they have only moved over 3 miles (over 5 miles for one of them) from their landing site. Still alot to explore on Mars.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/09/28/mars.opportunity/index.html

You can go wrong by being too skeptical as readily as by being too trusting. -- Robert A. Heinlein

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2006 :  13:45:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message

Thinking about it, it's pretty amazing that they can upgrade the software from this distance, and considering that the rovers have a lot of mileage on them -- only designed for some 90 days, after all..... When NASA gets it right, they get it really right!

But, of course, the whole thing was faked.... Are you out there bigbrain?




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2006 :  13:57:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
Thinking about it, it's pretty amazing that they can upgrade the software from this distance


Upgrading software from a distance is no different than you updating Windows over the internet. I don't know what kind of software or hardware the rovers had, but I'd imagine it is some operating system less complex than Windows or Unix, since a rover need not do everything that a personal computer can.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Michael Mozina
SFN Regular

1647 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2006 :  17:04:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Michael Mozina's Homepage Send Michael Mozina a Private Message
You have to appreciate the engineers that designed and built this gear. Obviously the warranty on these bad boys has long since expired but they keep chugging right along. Maybe they should be called the engergizer bunnies of Mars. :)
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2006 :  00:54:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
"Mars Rovers hit another milestone"?!?

Those damned machines should be more careful where they are driving! That's not the first time they ran into Martian milestones. We should be conserving such artifacts, not sending vehicles to collide with them.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2006 :  01:15:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by HalfMooner

Those damned machines should be more careful where they are driving! That's not the first time they ran into Martian milestones. We should be conserving such artifacts, not sending vehicles to collide with them.

NASA is trying to destroy all evidence of the Cydonian civilization.

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Paulos23
Skeptic Friend

USA
446 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2006 :  07:54:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Paulos23's Homepage Send Paulos23 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by filthy


Thinking about it, it's pretty amazing that they can upgrade the software from this distance, and considering that the rovers have a lot of mileage on them -- only designed for some 90 days, after all..... When NASA gets it right, they get it really right!



Yup, but what is amazing is that they made it up there at all in the time given to design and build them. Check out Roving Mars by the guy who was the lead investgator for the project. The reason the rovers are still going is because many of the engineers on the project believed in it and put in lots of 'extra' leway in the design. Heck, the number of solar panels on a rover is about twice as many as it needs.

Of course all that extra leway almost cost in time, they almost didn't make the launch window.

You can go wrong by being too skeptical as readily as by being too trusting. -- Robert A. Heinlein

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
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Vegeta
Skeptic Friend

United Kingdom
238 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  07:54:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Vegeta a Private Message
and they still haven't found anything interesting

What are you looking at? Haven't you ever seen a pink shirt before?

"I was asked if I would do a similar sketch but focusing on the shortcomings of Islam rather than Christianity. I said, 'No, no I wouldn't. I may be an atheist but I'm not stupid.'" - Steward Lee
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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  08:26:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Vegeta

and they still haven't found anything interesting



They have found much that is interesting.

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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Vegeta
Skeptic Friend

United Kingdom
238 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  08:44:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Vegeta a Private Message
*haven't

What are you looking at? Haven't you ever seen a pink shirt before?

"I was asked if I would do a similar sketch but focusing on the shortcomings of Islam rather than Christianity. I said, 'No, no I wouldn't. I may be an atheist but I'm not stupid.'" - Steward Lee
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  08:47:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
What passes for interesting to you? Every step these rovers have taken has given us an up close look at another planet. Our understanding of Mars now and ancient Mars has been greatly expanded by this mission. Plus, that information tells us things about our own world and the inner planets in general.

Are you kidding?

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  08:50:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ricky

quote:
Thinking about it, it's pretty amazing that they can upgrade the software from this distance


Upgrading software from a distance is no different than you updating Windows over the internet. I don't know what kind of software or hardware the rovers had, but I'd imagine it is some operating system less complex than Windows or Unix, since a rover need not do everything that a personal computer can.

They had to upgrade Gallileo's software en route to Jupiter because it's antenna didn't open fully. They gave it a greater ability to compress data because it's bandwidth was severely restricted. AFAIK, long distance software upgrades like this have been SOP for a long time.

EDIT: BTW, the engineering behind Spirit and Opportunity is AMAZING. I never expected those two would be still at it after all this time. But part of their success has been due to conditions on Mars itself. Notably, one death scenario was the expected dust accumulation on the rover's solar panels, which indeed began to severely limit the power they could generate. But dust devils occasional blow by and sweep the dust off the solar cells, restoring their power generation capability. Pretty cool.

-Chaloobi

Edited by - chaloobi on 10/27/2006 08:57:11
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Vegeta
Skeptic Friend

United Kingdom
238 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  08:53:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Vegeta a Private Message
"What passes for interesting to you? "

something that was significantly outside of what was predicted

What are you looking at? Haven't you ever seen a pink shirt before?

"I was asked if I would do a similar sketch but focusing on the shortcomings of Islam rather than Christianity. I said, 'No, no I wouldn't. I may be an atheist but I'm not stupid.'" - Steward Lee
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  09:04:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Vegeta

"What passes for interesting to you? "

something that was significantly outside of what was predicted

I see. You were hoping for something more along the lines of finding a Bat-Rat-Spider Crab. Darn, sometimes science can be such a bore…

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Vegeta
Skeptic Friend

United Kingdom
238 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  09:40:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Vegeta a Private Message
exactly, they found what? A few brown rocks. Yawn

What are you looking at? Haven't you ever seen a pink shirt before?

"I was asked if I would do a similar sketch but focusing on the shortcomings of Islam rather than Christianity. I said, 'No, no I wouldn't. I may be an atheist but I'm not stupid.'" - Steward Lee
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  09:45:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Vegeta

exactly, they found what? A few brown rocks. Yawn

Well, they learned/are learning a hell of a lot that's of interest to planetary scientists and cosmologists. In general, the two rovers have expanded/confirmed human knowledge of Mars by leaps and bounds. But, as you demonstrate, that's not interesting for everyone. By comparision, I have absolutely no interest in Basketball. (Yawn)

EDIT:

Note that when you talk about the value of what the rovers have done, you have to put in in context of what they rovers were intended to do. If you don't care about that, then there's no way to entertain you with their successes.

From the official rover web site:

quote:
NASA's twin robot geologists, the Mars Exploration Rovers, launched toward Mars on June 10 and July 7, 2003, in search of answers about the history of water on Mars. They landed on Mars January 3 and January 24 PST (January 4 and January 25 UTC).

The Mars Exploration Rover mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet.

Primary among the mission's scientific goals is to search for and characterize a wide range of rocks and soils that hold clues to past water activity on Mars. The spacecraft are targeted to sites on opposite sides of Mars that appear to have been affected by liquid water in the past. The landing sites are at Gusev Crater, a possible former lake in a giant impact crater, and Meridiani Planum, where mineral deposits (hematite) suggest Mars had a wet past.

Link:http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/overview/

If you're interested in what they've found out in regards to water, this is a good start.

quote:
The most dramatic findings so far from NASA's twin Mars rovers -- telltale evidence for a wet and possibly habitable environment in the arid planet's past -- passed rigorous scientific scrutiny for publication in a major research journal.

Eleven reports by 122 authors in Friday's issue of the journal Science present results from Opportunity's three-month prime mission, fleshing out headline discoveries revealed earlier.

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20041202a.html

Perusing the press releases on the site is a good way to find out more about what these machines have done besides just look at some brown rocks.

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/

-Chaloobi

Edited by - chaloobi on 10/27/2006 10:35:03
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