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Mars rover says: 'good evening gale crater!'

W1zzard

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#26
just to clarify, the power source is not a nuclear reactor in the sense of a commercial power plant.

curiosity uses the heat from (quickly decaying) radioactive stuff to generate electricity using thermocouples. there are no moving parts, no cooling loop, no material is consumed or exhaust.

it produces just 125 W
 
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#27
just to clarify, the power source is not a nuclear reactor in the sense of a commercial power plant.

curiosity uses the heat from (quickly decaying) radioactive stuff to generate electricity using thermocouples. there are no moving parts, no cooling loop, no material is consumed or exhaust.

it produces just 125 W
The flux capacitor powers the turbo nabulator Tesla engine to be precise.


Anyway......I'm assuming Uranium or is that to slow a decay? I have read ZERO on this.
 

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#28
It uses plutonium-238 which has a half-life of 87.7 years. It loses 0.787% power output every year.

If your 125w figure is correct, everything I see says it will produce about 100w in 14 years. 100w is the minimum required to operate, apparently.
 
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#29
According to NASA, the images needed to be reduced by a factor of eight in order for them to be sent back to Earth quickly. Higher resolution images (1600 by 1200) will be beamed to Earth in the coming months.
Gotta wait ...
 

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#30
Yeah, because of the distance, they have to use low-bandwidth tranmission signals. It will take a long time for them to send and they can probably only do that when it isn't sending information needed to operate it.

Black and white pictures take 1/3rd the bandwidth to transmit.
 
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#31
Will the XBand comm transmit the Hi-RES shots or will it relay off the orbiting ones like the current pictures?

Just ripped this about the main camera(1 of 17 btw):

Mast Camera (MastCam)


The two cameras of the MastCamera system
The MastCam, MAHLI, and MARDI cameras were developed by Malin Space Science Systems and they all share common design components, such as on-board electronic imaging processing boxes, 1600×1200 CCDs, and a RGB Bayer pattern filter.[40][41][42][43][44][45] The MastCam system provides multiple spectra and true color imaging with two cameras.[41] The cameras can take true color images at 1600×1200 pixels and up to 10 frames per second hardware-compressed, high-definition video at 720p (1280×720). One camera is the Medium Angle Camera (MAC), which has a 34 mm focal length, a 15-degree field of view, and can yield 22 cm/pixel scale at 1 km. The other camera is the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC), which has a 100 mm focal length, a 5.1-degree field of view, and can yield 7.4 cm/pixel scale at 1 km.[41] Malin also developed a pair of Mastcams with zoom lenses,[46] but these were not included in the final design because of the time required to test the new hardware and the looming November 2011 launch date.[47] Each camera has 8 GB of flash memory, which is capable of storing over 5,500 raw images, and can apply real time lossless or JPEG compression.[41] The cameras have an autofocus capability that allows them to focus on objects from 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in) to infinity.[44] In addition to the fixed RGGB Bayer pattern filter, each camera has an 8-position filter wheel. While the Bayer filter reduces visible light throughput, all three colors are mostly transparent at wavelengths longer than 700 nm, and have minimal effect on such infrared observations.[41] In comparison to the 1024×1024 black and white panoramic cameras used on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER), the MAC MastCam has 1.25× higher spatial resolution and the NAC MastCam has 3.67× higher spatial resolution.[44]
 
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#32
It uses plutonium-238 which has a half-life of 87.7 years. It loses 0.787% power output every year.

If your 125w figure is correct, everything I see says it will produce about 100w in 14 years. 100w is the minimum required to operate, apparently.
Plutonium? Really? No cooling?
 
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#33
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#34
It is -200 to +86F over there, read the wiki homeboy
86F ambient temp for Plutonium is high. If it was -200 consistently ok. But its not. The amount of Plutonium in that thing must be the size of a green pea. :laugh:

Maybe its partly depleted?
 
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#35
I know it is immposible to get color pic of Mars from mars but B/W is not cool and i cannot see anything clear.
 
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#36

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#37
86F ambient temp for Plutonium is high. If it was -200 consistently ok. But its not. The amount of Plutonium in that thing must be the size of a green pea. :laugh:

Maybe its partly depleted?
It has 32 pellets about the size of a marshmellow each. It operates on the heat produces by radioactive decay, not by a nuclear chain reaction like nuclear power plants do.


I know it is immposible to get color pic of Mars from mars but B/W is not cool and i cannot see anything clear.
It has color cameras but it will take a long time for the photos to be sent.
 
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#38
It has 32 pellets about the size of a marshmellow each. It operates on the heat produces by radioactive decay, not by a nuclear chain reaction like nuclear power plants do.



It has color cameras but it will take a long time for the photos to be sent.
lol yeah I know. But "hot" plutonium produces a lot of heat. These things have to be slightly deleted.
 
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#39
lol yeah I know. But "hot" plutonium produces a lot of heat. These things have to be slightly deleted.
This thing is going to burn out MARS.:twitch:
 

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#40
lol yeah I know. But "hot" plutonium produces a lot of heat. These things have to be slightly deleted.
It likely has a cooling loop which redirects the heat to heatsinks on the rover if it is getting too hot. Even if it doesn't, they've accounted for it in the design of the rover (likely allowing it to hit peak temperature and sustain it).
 
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#41
This thing is going to burn out MARS.:twitch:
Yes. Plutonium marshmallow's are going to burn out Mars.

It likely has a cooling loop which redirects the heat to heatsinks on the rover if it is getting too hot.
I would love to see that thing up close. Its days like this I wish I would have never dropped out of Aeronautical Engineering. By now I might have been involved in this thing. So cool.
 

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#42
lol yeah I know. But "hot" plutonium produces a lot of heat. These things have to be slightly deleted.
what are you talking about? hot is an arbitrary state of temperature, not a measure of energy or power. is your argument "a red hot piece of metal produces a lot of heat" ?

do you mean "depleted" ? that's not the case. depleted means that the isotopes are stable or have extremely long lifetimes. in that case there would not be much heat for power generation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_Thermoelectric_Generator
good read
 
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#43
Pu-238 can generate temps exceeding 1000C (1832F) on the surface depending on configuration. That's "hot" by pretty much any definition. XD
 
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#44
Pu-238 can generate temps exceeding 1000C (1832F) on the surface depending on configuration. That's "hot" by pretty much any definition. XD
This is what I mean.

Not hot in radioactivity. I mean hotter then a frying pan. :laugh: So yeah they would have to be depleted some or passive cooling wouldn't work in 85F without cooling. You said there is no cooling loop or working parts so whatever plutonium they have in there has to be depleted. That and all they are getting is 125 W. Its depleted or they put the most inefficient generator in space on it.

Thats all I'm saying.

Pu2o gets hot as hell. In space its no big deal. In 85F it can become and issue. There HAS to be something cooling it.
 
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#45
i meant cooling loop in the context of a nuclear reactor (water, pumps, cooling towers)

the heat output on the mars probe is 2000 W, from 4.8 kilograms of Pu-238. the thermocouples are super-inefficient, they generate around 100 W. some secondary heat is used to keep other subsystems warm during night/winter/space.


the assembly has white fins on the outside to dissipate extra heat

Pu2o gets hot as hell
any heat source that can not remove enough heat will get infinitely hot
Just like every 2000W heater, as long as you have 2000 W of cooling, its temperature will not increase. if you remove more than 2000W it will cool down, if you remove less it will heat up.

actually i'm not sure if it's easier to cool in space or on mars. in space you can only radiate it away. on mars you have cooling effects from the (thin) atmosphere, but you lose some radiative cooling potential because you have the ground at higher temperature than space
 
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#46
Why would they give it enough juice for 14 years but only fund it for two?
it's all bureaucracy, it's easier to get money earmarked for a project with a short specific lifespan and defined goals. BUT, IF, within that project they can find ways to make it more effective, last longer, and generally be cooler - they take it. however the initial mission stays the same, because that's what was agreed upon and what they are paid for.

look at it like this, after 2 years mission accomplished. anything we learn after that is just gravy :)
 

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#47
RTG info

what are you talking about? hot is an arbitrary state of temperature, not a measure of energy or power. is your argument "a red hot piece of metal produces a lot of heat" ?

do you mean "depleted" ? that's not the case. depleted means that the isotopes are stable or have extremely long lifetimes. in that case there would not be much heat for power generation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_Thermoelectric_Generator
good read
Excellent read :toast:

IIRC the Plutonium fuel source used for the RTG on this rover was the backup/spare unit for the Cassini probe.... just can't remember where I read it atm....*See Edit*

*EDIT- The spare RTG from Cassini was used for the New Horizons probe that's on its way to Pluto..... I knew it went somewhere :eek:
Link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassini-Huygens#Plutonium_power_source
 
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#48
i meant cooling loop in the context of a nuclear reactor (water, pumps, cooling towers)

the heat output on the mars probe is 2000 W, from 4.8 kilograms of Pu-238. the thermocouples are super-inefficient, they generate around 100 W. some secondary heat is used to keep other subsystems warm during night/winter/space.

http://img.techpowerup.org/120807/Capture1654.jpg
the assembly has white fins on the outside to dissipate extra heat


any heat source that can not remove enough heat will get infinitely hot
Just like every 2000W heater, as long as you have 2000 W of cooling, its temperature will not increase. if you remove more than 2000W it will cool down, if you remove less it will heat up.

actually i'm not sure if it's easier to cool in space or on mars. in space you can only radiate it away. on mars you have cooling effects from the (thin) atmosphere, but you lose some radiative cooling potential because you have the ground at higher temperature than space
I agree cooling in space has its advantages as well as disadvantages. If Mars was sub zero all the time then with the thin atmosphere it would cool better then space AFAIK. Problem is when it goes above 20F is when a "passive" cooling system becomes an issue. This is why we only have a few of these kinda (very similar) generators in Alaska........north Alaska and I believe they have a reserve cooling system for emergency's but don't quote me on that. No matter what its an engineering feat to keep that cool and working on an alien planet. Space is one thing. The temperature is "fixed" for the most part. The variables of a planet is a WHOLE different story. Very cool tech.
 

Norton

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#49
I agree cooling in space has its advantages as well as disadvantages. If Mars was sub zero all the time then with the thin atmosphere it would cool better then space AFAIK. Problem is when it goes above 20F is when a "passive" cooling system becomes an issue. This is why we only have a few of these kinda (very similar) generators in Alaska........north Alaska and I believe they have a reserve cooling system for emergency's but don't quote me on that. No matter what its an engineering feat to keep that cool and working on an alien planet. Space is one thing. The temperature is "fixed" for the most part. The variables of a planet is a WHOLE different story. Very cool tech.
The rovers RTG was active in our atmosphere and didn't overheat. It did run hot enough that it needed to have a large safety cage around it.

See pic/caption:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MMRTG_for_the_MSL.jpg

On Mars it's not an issue... no reason to protect it from people and the cooling system would run better on Mars than Earth.

It will be fine as long as no Martians burn their tentacles on it- then there will be an inter-planetary lawsuit for Judge Judy to preside over :D