Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by micropage7, Aug 7, 2012.
From the moment the rover hits the Martian atmosphere it will start taking data. Studded in 14 locations around the probe’s heat shield are devices known as the Mars Science Laboratory Entry Descent and Landing Instrument (MEDLI). This equipment will provide information about Mars’ atmosphere and the dynamics of the rover’s descent, analyzing Curiosity’s trip to the surface and providing information helpful in designing future Mars missions.
Additionally, a special camera, the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) will be watching the view as the ground rushes up at Curiosity. By taking high-resolution color video during the probe’s landing sequence, MARDI will provide an overview of the landscape during descent and allow geologists back on Earth to determine exactly where Curiosity lands.
Possibly the coolest Curiosity instrument is the ChemCam, which uses a laser beam to shoot rocks (and maybe a Martian or two) in order to vaporize a small sample. A spectrograph will then analyze the vapor, determining the composition and chemistry of the rocks. Situated on Curiosity’s head, ChemCam can shoot up to 23 feet and should provide unprecedented detail about minerals on the Martian surface.
The Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument will look at various minerals on the Martian surface. Specific minerals form in the presence or in the absence of water, revealing the history of an area and helping scientists to understand whether or not liquid existed there. Curiosity will drill into rocks to obtain samples for CheMin, pulverizing the material and transporting it into the instrument’s chamber. CheMin will then bombard the sample with X-rays to determine its composition.
The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) will be Curiosity’s weatherman, providing data about daily atmospheric pressure, wind speed, humidity, ultraviolet radiation, and air temperature. REMS will sit on Curiosity’s neck and also help assess long-term seasonal variation in Mars’ climate.
The Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) sits the end of Curiosity’s arm, allowing the rover to place it right up against rocks and soil. It will then shoot X-rays and alpha particles (essentially Helium nuclei) at the materials to identify how they formed.
The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) is one of the most important instruments and the reason that Curiosity can be called a mobile laboratory. Taking up more than half of the rover’s body, SAM contains equipment found in top-notch labs on Earth: a mass spectrometer to separate materials and identify elements, a gas chromatograph to vaporize soil and rocks and analyze them, and a laser spectrometer to measure the abundances of certain light elements such as carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen – chemicals typically associated with life. SAM will also look for organic compounds and methane, which may indicate life past or present on Mars.
The other experiment important in Curiosity’s search for Martian habitability is the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument, which will look for water in or under the Martian surface. Water, both liquid and frozen, absorbs neutrons differently than other materials. DAN will be able to detect layers of water up to six feet below the surface and be sensitive to water content as low as one-tenth of a percent in Martian minerals.
Curiosity has plenty of eyes to take in the view on the ground. Perched atop its head is the MastCam, two cameras capable of taking color images and video, as well as stitching pictures together into larger panoramas. One of these two cameras has a high-resolution lens, allowing Curiosity to study the distant landscape in detail.
The Mars Hand Lens Images (MAHLI) instrument will provide close-up views of rocks and soil samples near the rover. MAHLI sits at the end of Curiosity’s long, flexible arm, and can image details down to about 12.5 micrometers, roughly half the diameter of a human hair. The instrument will also be able to see in ultraviolet light, which will come in handy during night exploration and funky psychedelic parties.
Rounding out Curiosity’s cameras are the hazard-avoidance Hazcams and navigation Navcams. The Hazcams will watch underneath the rover to prevent it from crashing into any large objects while the Navcams will be mounted on the rover’s mast to help it steer. Both camera sets will be capable of taking stereoscopic 3D images.
Future Mars missions may rely on data from the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD). The first instrument that Curiosity fires up when it lands on Mars, RAD will measure radiation at the Martian surface, determining how plausible it is that microbes exist there. One of RAD’s main selling points is its ability to assess how safe or dangerous the Martian surface would be to future human explorers, calculating the radiation dose future astronauts may receive
Curiosity Rover Captures Martian Eclipse
NASA’s Curiosity rover snapped an elegant sequence of images showing Mars’ moon, Phobos, passing in front of the sun on Sept. 13. Because the tiny moon moves so fast through the Martian sky, the alien eclipse lasted only a few seconds.
The images were taken with Curiosity’s MastCams, which were positioned to watch Phobos zoom in front of the sun.
In contrast to its blazing glory in Earth’s daytime skies, the sun is a tiny dime-sized circle as seen from Mars. Phobos is even smaller and can never completely engulf the sun, merely taking a nibble in this animation. Our moon, on the other hand, happens to be just the right size and distance away from Earth that when it passes in front of the sun, it completely blocks out its light.
Phobos is really more of an asteroid than a moon — the small potato-shaped object is only 16 miles across at its widest. Because it travels around Mars in a speedy 7.6 hours, it has a high probability of aligning with the sun, and eclipses like this happen somewhere on Mars almost any day of the year. Most landers on Mars have captured at least one Phobos transit. From space, satellites have captured images of Phobos’ shadow racing across the Martian surface.
Mars’ other moon, Deimos, is farther from the planet and obscures even less of the sun when it eclipses
Curiosity Rover Prepares to Shoot Mars Rock With Laser and X-Rays
You’re looking at the next rock that NASA’s Curiosity rover will shoot with its powerful laser and X-ray spectrometer as part of its first close-up science investigation on Mars.
The rover has gone about 950 feet from its landing site, roughly halfway to its first target area, Glenelg. During its drive, Curiosity has been looking for a rock to use its ChemCam and APXS instruments on in tandem. ChemCam is the laser shooter on the top of the rover while the APXS is a spectrometer sitting at the end of Curiosity’s arm that bombards a target with X-rays. Both instruments determine a material’s composition but over different scales — ChemCam looks at a very small 0.04-inch area while APXS has a wider 0.6-inch range.
The instruments will be trained on the pyramid-shaped rock seen in the image above, which has been nicknamed Jake Matijevic after a recently deceased engineer who worked on every NASA rover. The rock appears to be basaltic and fairly uniform. In addition to learning about the lonely-looking rock, differences between the measurements from the two instruments will help calibrate them for future use, said Caltech geologist John Grotzinger, Curiosity project scientist, during a NASA press conference today.
“Not to mention it’s just a cool-looking rock,” he said.
Once at Glenelg, Curiosity will have its first truly interesting geology investigation because the area is full of a light-colored material that has a high thermal inertia, meaning it retains heat well. This is somewhat contradictory since bright materials tend to be porous and don’t hold heat well while rocks that do hold heat are often darker lava flows. Satellites have noticed the rocks giving off heat at night but this will be the first time that scientists have an opportunity to explore the strange material from the ground.
The above image, taken with the rover’s MastCam, shows a close-up view of Glenelg, which has already yielded surprises. In addition to the strange, light-colored bands, Curiosity is seeing some thin black bands that appear to be interbedded within the brighter material. Orbiters hadn’t noticed the dark bands, so scientists are eager to explore them further.
Finally, Curiosity has been watching the skies. During the last few days, it captured a series of images (below) as one of Mars’ moons, Phobos, passed in front of the sun. This alien eclipse, in addition to looking cool, could produce some serious scientific information about the Martian interior. Because the tiny moon tugs gravitationally on Mars’ surface, it deforms the planet slightly as it swings overhead. Scientists are hoping that Curiosity will capture some detailed measurements of eclipses, which will put constraints on models of Mars’ interior structure
Another self-shot, Curiosity's belly lol
Taken from space.com Best Space Pictures of the Week - Sept. 22, 2012
nice found, its like Curiosity has a lot of documentation or mars surface
Very interesting indead. Now all they have to do is build a Mars base.
Anyhow, we already had in the past Anti-Gravity Propulsion ships that took people to outer space. It's in the history books. Now we are doing it all over again in a different way.
Is that probe vain?
The biggest question I guess would be, "Could they not have took picture of the robot before they sent it to space?". I guess on a desert like planet with dirt, and rock the robot is the star... But I'd still rather see pictures of Mars.. Not the D@mn robot... hehehe
New pictures of the surface
If you mean "Mars has an atmosphere" then, yes, you are correct.
Might take the body a couple of minutes to adjust to the 95% concentration of CO2 though.
Well if global alarmists are to be believed we should be able pollute Mars with oxygen if we plant enough trees there in a couple hundred years. Problem is water.
Man destroys Earth with Co2. Man destroys Mars with Oxygen. U mad bro?
Humans: Natures Trolls.
Yeah, and the hieroglyphs go on to say that AMD's surpior IGP will drive intel out of business and AMD and NIVIDIA users will live together in peace and harmony.
And so the prophecy hath beheld. Many a fortnight hath intel quandered fortunes. We shall cast them down, deep into the bowels of hell.
For Super XP's sake I hope he doesn't take that stuff for real.
I have never understood those ancient heiroglyphics that depict advanced civilizations. If they are advanced, why would they still be writing on stone with heiroglyphics.
Maybe because those stones last longer than hard/solid drives.
Stupidity seems to out last everything.
You store your data in that?
I store my faith in man in stupidity.
Just saying if there was such an advanced civilization in the past they didn't do a very good job leaving any records.Just saying if there was such an advanced civilization in the past they didn't do a very good job leaving any records or trace. We can find dinosaur dung but no trace of a super race?
Fair enough. However, maybe they just didn't wish to be found.
Maybe the dinosarus were the advanced race.
But our poo slinging ancestors knew enough to carve rocks about them? Sorry but I think these stories are just ancient 4chan stone carvings. Trolls are timeless ya know?
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