Home Mail MemberMap Chat (0) Wallpapers
Go Back   ChiefsPlanet > The GET IN MAH BELLY! Lounge

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-31-2012, 02:32 PM  
Donger Donger is offline
"Think BOOM!"
 
Donger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: 33.675° N 106.475° W
Casino cash: $1786
With Mars mission and rover Curiosity, NASA hunts building blocks of life

http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation...ALX_story.html

The last time the United States landed a mission on Mars to look for extraterrestrial life or its building blocks, Gerald Ford was president and the nation had just finished celebrating its 1976 bicentennial.

Next week, the long-delayed second attempt will try to deposit a rover on the planet’s surface.

The descent and landing in the early hours of Aug. 6 will be the most complex and hair-raising in planetary history. The destination is a deep crater with a three-mile-tall mountain that NASA could only dream about using as a landing site until very recently.

It’s the most ambitious, the most costly ($2.5 billion) and the most high-stakes mission ever to another planet. It was also described last week by the agency’s top scientist, former astronaut John M. Grunsfeld, as “the most important NASA mission of the decade.”

“There is no doubt that this is a risky mission, and that is coming from a human-spacecraft guy,” Grunsfeld said. “It’s hard to get something this big and complex to the surface of Mars, and then to get it to start roving. Thousands of people around the world working on it will be feeling their lives are riding on the mission landing successfully. We’ll all know soon if the risk was worth it.”

What the Mars Science Laboratory mission and its rover named Curiosity bring to Mars is a capacity to analyze the planet with much more sophistication than before, and to do it over a sizable and scientifically rich expanse.

The goal is not to find Martian life per se but rather to ferret out carbon-based organic compounds that are building blocks of life, and then to determine whether the Gale Crater landing site was ever suitable for creatures. Both are integral parts of the science of astrobiology — the search for life beyond Earth.

A fully loaded SUV

At 10 feet long and seven feet high at the top of its camera mast, Curiosity is the size of an SUV and weighs almost a ton, about three times more than the Spirit and Opportunity rovers sent to Mars in 2003 on a primarily geological mission. Its robotic arm for digging soil and drilling rock is seven feet long, almost three times longer than previous rover arms. This tool will provide more and better samples for the lab’s instruments, which will do their analysis on Mars and send back the results to scientists here.

Curiosity will have numerous ovens to bake soil and rocks up to 1,800 degrees and analyze what comes out; it will have a laser zapper to free up potentially important targets in rocks; it will have cameras with unprecedented capabilities, including one that will take video of the last several minutes of the high-drama landing, now dubbed “seven minutes of terror” by NASA.

Getting to Mars, and especially landing on it, is difficult. Forty-four missions — flybys, orbits and landings — have been sent to the planet by NASA, the former Soviet Union, Russia, the European Space Agency, Japan and China, and about one-third have made it. All six successful landings were flown by NASA. (A Soviet capsule made a soft landing in 1971 but then sent back only 14 seconds of data, so it is not considered to have succeeded.)

Curiosity’s descent — after a voyage that began last Nov. 25 and covered 354 million miles — will be particularly stressful because the weight of the spacecraft required a new landing technique. The capsule containing Curiosity will enter the atmosphere at 13,200 mph and have less than seven minutes to slow down enough to drop the rover gently onto the surface of the planet.

Much of the technology is new or being used in a novel way and, while the component parts have been tested and retested, the landing as a complete sequence has never been tried. “Actually, the landing will be our first test that the systems can work,” said the project’s chief engineer, Robert Manning.



But the risk goes beyond the difficulty of the landing and the complexity of Curiosity’s 10 major instruments. That’s because Curiosity will land just as Congress and the administration debate a plan to slash NASA’s Mars and planetary programs significantly. NASA officials and Mars aficionados hope the rover will make discoveries that will limit the cuts, while knowing that a crash landing or failed instruments could further curtail the programs.

“I think a major discovery by Curiosity, such as finding the building blocks of life or any other indication of life, would certainly lead us to reconsider our science approach at Mars,” said James Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Sciences Division. “Why? Because if there is, or was, life on Mars, then we’d have to assume life is everywhere in the galaxies. We would have to rethink our place in the universe.”

‘Our place in the universe’

One reason that NASA has not sent a life-detecting mission to Mars in so long is that the first one came back with very disappointing results. The twin Viking landers touched down in 1976 with great anticipation that not only the building blocks of life but also life itself would probably be found.

Instead, the Viking mission found a cold, desert planet that came to be seen as virtually incapable of supporting life. While one life-detection experiment using nutrients brought to Mars and tagged with radioactive carbon did show positive results several times, NASA officials and other scientists concluded that those findings were most likely in error. More disheartening, the instrument designed to identify organic molecules came back with a finding of “no organics.” Without organics, virtually all scientists say, there can be no life.

But in the past decade, NASA scientists and others have produced evidence that the planet was once much warmer and wetter. They know, for instance, that the Gale Crater site was once covered in water, and they know that it has minerals and clays that can be formed only in the presence of water.

In addition, NASA astrobiologist Michael Mumma reported in 2009 finding plumes of methane gas erupting at specific spots and at predictable times on Mars. More than 90 percent of methane on Earth is formed as a byproduct of biology, from cows’ digestive systems and rotting trees to the life cycle of tiny microbes. It remains unknown whether some of the methane on Mars also comes from biological sources.

And finally, a paper in May from Andrew Steele of the Carnegie Institution of Washington identified organic material in meteorites known to have fallen to Earth from Mars. An expert in the contamination of rocks that fall to Earth from space, Steele concluded that some of the organic material he found was clearly not from Earth, and so it either came from Mars or was picked up by the meteorite as it flew through space.

Climbing the mountain

Combining the promising new science about Mars with the capabilities of Curiosity, NASA science chief Grunsfeld said he considers it likely that organic materials will be found this time. Gale Crater is a much more promising site than the plains where the Viking landers did their work, and Curiosity has more than 35 years of improved technology and know-how.

The rover will also be the first to approach, analyze and then partially climb a Martian mountain. The layered outcrops of what has been named Mount Sharp will provide a geological history of the crater and perhaps the planet, and so are an integral part of the Curiosity mission.

Geologists will be looking at those layers to determine when water was present in the crater, whether it moved like a river or was like a lake, what elements and compounds were in the soil and air, and even what temperatures and other atmospheric conditions existed. The lead scientist for the rover is John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology, and he is a geologist.

“We have never had an opportunity even close to this on Mars before,” he said, referring to the exposed and “readable” cliffs of Mount Sharp. “We’re just waiting with bated breath.”

An additional Curiosity goal is to learn more about how to protect astronauts who may someday fly to Mars. The landing of a large vehicle is part of that learning curve, but so too is Curiosity’s radiation assessment detector, a toaster-size instrument that will measure and identify high-energy and potentially harmful radiation on the Martian surface, such as protons, energetic variations of common elements, neutrons and gamma rays.

The Curiosity mission is scheduled to last for another two years, but it could continue much longer if funding becomes available. The rover’s power source is a nuclear battery that, if all goes according to plan, could move the rover and keep it warm for years longer.

There is precedent for prolonged rover missions: The Spirit and Opportunity rovers were designed to operate on Mars for 13 weeks, but Spirit sent back information until 2009, and Opportunity is still traveling. So if the landing succeeds and the rover and instruments work as planned, Curiosity might be telling us about Mars for years to come.
Posts: 74,817
Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2012, 11:21 AM   #421
Huffmeister Huffmeister is offline
Veteran
 

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Kansas City, MO
Casino cash: $52081
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger View Post
Belly Check for Curiosity
Johnny 5 alive!
Posts: 1,157
Huffmeister would the whole thing.Huffmeister would the whole thing.Huffmeister would the whole thing.Huffmeister would the whole thing.Huffmeister would the whole thing.Huffmeister would the whole thing.Huffmeister would the whole thing.Huffmeister would the whole thing.Huffmeister would the whole thing.Huffmeister would the whole thing.Huffmeister would the whole thing.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2012, 06:35 PM   #422
Fish Fish is offline
Missing Dick Curl
 
Fish's Avatar
 

Join Date: Sep 2005
Casino cash: $2118919
Wow.... I've watched this like 3 times in a row...

__________________
Posts: 25,285
Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2012, 06:47 PM   #423
Molitoth Molitoth is offline
Chiefs Rubberneck
 
Molitoth's Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2004
Casino cash: $100845
Wow that video is amazing.
Posts: 11,098
Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2012, 06:53 PM   #424
MIAdragon MIAdragon is offline
Someone pass the antifreeze
 
MIAdragon's Avatar
 

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Miami (North Cuba)
Casino cash: $78062
I keep waiting to see one of these guys fly buy.

__________________
Posts: 12,604
MIAdragon has parlayed a career as a truck driver into debt free trailer and jon boat ownership.MIAdragon has parlayed a career as a truck driver into debt free trailer and jon boat ownership.MIAdragon has parlayed a career as a truck driver into debt free trailer and jon boat ownership.MIAdragon has parlayed a career as a truck driver into debt free trailer and jon boat ownership.MIAdragon has parlayed a career as a truck driver into debt free trailer and jon boat ownership.MIAdragon has parlayed a career as a truck driver into debt free trailer and jon boat ownership.MIAdragon has parlayed a career as a truck driver into debt free trailer and jon boat ownership.MIAdragon has parlayed a career as a truck driver into debt free trailer and jon boat ownership.MIAdragon has parlayed a career as a truck driver into debt free trailer and jon boat ownership.MIAdragon has parlayed a career as a truck driver into debt free trailer and jon boat ownership.MIAdragon has parlayed a career as a truck driver into debt free trailer and jon boat ownership.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2012, 07:03 PM   #425
DaFace DaFace is offline
Version 3.0
 
DaFace's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Donkey Land
Casino cash: $656606
Quote:
Originally Posted by KC Fish View Post
Wow.... I've watched this like 3 times in a row...

That's incredible. I didn't realize they had an HD version out, nor did I realize they had audio with it. Awesome.
Posts: 27,677
DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2012, 07:19 PM   #426
-King- -King- is online now
▓▓▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▓▓
 
-King-'s Avatar
 

Join Date: Jan 2009
Casino cash: $108014
The whole "I'm watching video from another planet" thing is still ****ing incredible to me.
__________________
43-8
Posts: 38,086
-King- is obviously part of the inner Circle.-King- is obviously part of the inner Circle.-King- is obviously part of the inner Circle.-King- is obviously part of the inner Circle.-King- is obviously part of the inner Circle.-King- is obviously part of the inner Circle.-King- is obviously part of the inner Circle.-King- is obviously part of the inner Circle.-King- is obviously part of the inner Circle.-King- is obviously part of the inner Circle.-King- is obviously part of the inner Circle.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2012, 07:22 PM   #427
BigMeatballDave BigMeatballDave is offline
That's a spicy meatball!
 
BigMeatballDave's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: My Kenworth
Casino cash: $5084
Quote:
Originally Posted by -King- View Post
The whole "I'm watching video from another planet" thing is still ****ing incredible to me.
Yep.

And all this does is piss me off further.

NASA can receive HD video and images from Mars, but I have a hard time getting a pic to send to my son in Florida.
Posts: 50,208
BigMeatballDave has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.BigMeatballDave has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.BigMeatballDave has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.BigMeatballDave has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.BigMeatballDave has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.BigMeatballDave has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.BigMeatballDave has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.BigMeatballDave has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.BigMeatballDave has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.BigMeatballDave has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.BigMeatballDave has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2012, 07:22 PM   #428
DaFace DaFace is offline
Version 3.0
 
DaFace's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Donkey Land
Casino cash: $656606
Quote:
Originally Posted by -King- View Post
The whole "I'm watching video from another planet" thing is still ****ing incredible to me.
In HD.
Posts: 27,677
DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.DaFace is obviously part of the inner Circle.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2012, 07:49 PM   #429
Fish Fish is offline
Missing Dick Curl
 
Fish's Avatar
 

Join Date: Sep 2005
Casino cash: $2118919
Amazing how far we have come.....

__________________
Posts: 25,285
Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.Fish is obviously part of the inner Circle.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2012, 09:59 AM   #430
Donger Donger is offline
"Think BOOM!"
 
Donger's Avatar
 

Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: 33.675° N 106.475° W
Casino cash: $1786


Curiosity Traverse Map Through Sol 43


This map shows the route driven by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity through the 43rd Martian day, or sol, of the rover's mission on Mars (Sept. 19, 2012).

The route starts where the rover touched down, a site subsequently named Bradbury Landing. The line extending toward the right (eastward) from Bradbury Landing is the rover's path. Numbering of the dots along the line indicate the distance driven each sol. North is up. The scale bar is 200 meters (656 feet).

By Sol 43, Curiosity had driven at total of about 950 feet (290 meters). The Glenelg area farther east is the mission's first major science destination, selected as likely to offer a good target for Curiosity's first analysis of powder collected by drilling into a rock.

The image used for the map is from an observation of the landing site by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
__________________
I think the young people enjoy it when I "get down," verbally, don't you?
Posts: 74,817
Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2012, 11:09 AM   #431
Donger Donger is offline
"Think BOOM!"
 
Donger's Avatar
 

Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: 33.675° N 106.475° W
Casino cash: $1786


'Bathurst Inlet' Rock on Curiosity's Sol 54, Context View

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity held its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera about 10.5 inches (27 centimeters) away from the top of a rock called "Bathurst Inlet" for a set of eight images combined into this merged-focus view of the rock. This context image covers an area roughly 6.5 inches by 5 inches (16 centimeters by 12 centimeters). Resolution is about 105 microns per pixel.

MAHLI took the component images for this merged-focus view, plus closer-up images of Bathurst Inlet, during Curiosity's 54th Martian day, or sol (Sept. 30, 2012). The instrument's principal investigator had invited Curiosity's science team to "MAHLI it up!" in the selection of Sol 54 targets for inspection with MAHLI and with the other instrument at the end of Curiosity's arm, the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer.

A merged-focus MAHLI view from closer to the rock, providing even finer resolution, is at PIA14763 .

The Bathurst Inlet rock is dark gray and appears to be so fine-grained that MAHLI cannot resolve grains or crystals in it. This means that the grains or crystals, if there are any at all, are smaller than about 80 microns in size. Some windblown sand-sized grains or dust aggregates have accumulated on the surface of the rock but this surface is clean compared to, for example, the pebbly substrate below the rock (upper left and lower right in this context image).

MAHLI can do focus merging onboard. The full-frame versions of the eight separate images that were combined into this view were not even returned to Earth -- just the thumbnail versions. Merging the images onboard reduces the volume of data that needs to be downlinked to Earth.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
__________________
I think the young people enjoy it when I "get down," verbally, don't you?
Posts: 74,817
Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2012, 12:24 PM   #432
Rain Man Rain Man is offline
All posts benefit the infirm.
 
Rain Man's Avatar
 
JezzBall Champion Mahjongg 2 Champion
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: 1.61 KM high city
Casino cash: $62709596
Cool rock.
__________________
In the final seven games of the 2013 season, the Chiefs averaged 34.6 points per game, scored 38 points or more 4 times, and went 2-5. The NFL has ruined the sport.
Posts: 75,413
Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2012, 12:25 PM   #433
mikey23545 mikey23545 is offline
MVP
 
mikey23545's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2000
Casino cash: $117668
These videos and photos from Mars are simply stunning.
Posts: 11,790
mikey23545 has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.mikey23545 has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.mikey23545 has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.mikey23545 has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.mikey23545 has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.mikey23545 has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.mikey23545 has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.mikey23545 has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.mikey23545 has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.mikey23545 has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.mikey23545 has an IQ even higher than Frankie's.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2012, 12:31 PM   #434
Molitoth Molitoth is offline
Chiefs Rubberneck
 
Molitoth's Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2004
Casino cash: $100845
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
Cool rock.
Curiosity should grind it up and snort it to see what happens.
Posts: 11,098
Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.Molitoth is too fat/Omaha.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 07:09 PM   #435
chasedude chasedude is offline
Supporter
 
chasedude's Avatar
 

Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: St. Joe
Casino cash: $2565643
Quote:
Originally Posted by Molitoth View Post
Curiosity should grind it up and snort it to see what happens.
Posts: 36,278
chasedude wants to die in a aids tree fire.chasedude wants to die in a aids tree fire.chasedude wants to die in a aids tree fire.chasedude wants to die in a aids tree fire.chasedude wants to die in a aids tree fire.chasedude wants to die in a aids tree fire.chasedude wants to die in a aids tree fire.chasedude wants to die in a aids tree fire.chasedude wants to die in a aids tree fire.chasedude wants to die in a aids tree fire.chasedude wants to die in a aids tree fire.
  Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.