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Mars rover says: 'good evening gale crater!'

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#51
just to clarify, the power source is not a nuclear reactor in the sense of a commercial power plant.
W1zzard, you seem to know a good bit about this topic. Out of curiosity, where did NASA get the plutonium? Spent nuclear fuel rods?
 
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#53
W1zzard, you seem to know a good bit about this topic. Out of curiosity, where did NASA get the plutonium? Spent nuclear fuel rods?
Department of Energy. DoE likely bought it from Russia. DoE is trying to secure funding from Congress to manufacture Pu-238 in the USA again but their requests have been denied three years in a row.

The most efficient way to get pure Pu-238 is by bombarding U-238 (most common form of uranium on Earth) with deuterons.
 
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#54
Now you can explore a new giant mosaic of Gale Crater, landing site for NASA's Curiosity rover, built mostly using THEMIS images taken before the landing. Use your browser to zoom around the mosaic, which shows details as small as 60 feet across.

You can do this at: http://jmars.mars.asu.edu/maps/gale/gale.html

This page also includes a link to download a .PNG copy of the whole image. (325 MB filesize, 56K users beware rofl :D)

And a couple of new images here
http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2692914&postcount=50
 
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#55

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#56
We should have sent the asimo robot up with the rover! :toast:
 

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#57
The most efficient way to get pure Pu-238 is by bombarding U-238 (most common form of uranium on Earth) with deuterons.
Plutonium can not be mined on earth because it has all decayed due to its relatively short half-life compared to the age of the solar system.

Pu is created as waste product in most nuclear reactors, and can then be separated relatively easy (chemistry). In contrast separating U-235 from U-238 is extremely complicated because both are identical to chemistry, so physics is needed, usually by exploiting the slightly different atomic weight.

Producing Pu was the main reason why the US built nuclear reactors during WW2.
 
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#58
From BBC



http://img.techpowerup.org/120807/rover.jpg

Why would they give it enough juice for 14 years but only fund it for two?
Spirit and Opportunity were funded for a 90 day mission back in 2003. They lost contact with Spirit in 2010 and Opportunity is still rolling around checking shit out to this very day.

If they meet their goal of 2 years, then the mission can be touted as a success, if the mission lasts longer then they will get the funding to extend it.
 

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#59
Plutonium can not be mined on earth because it has all decayed due to its relatively short half-life compared to the age of the solar system.
Um, Pu-238 has a relatively short half-life (87.7 years) but some varients of plutonium, like Pu-244, have a half-life of 80 million years meaning it can be found in nature in trace amounts.


Pu is created as waste product in most nuclear reactors, and can then be separated relatively easy (chemistry). In contrast separating U-235 from U-238 is extremely complicated because both are identical to chemistry, so physics is needed, usually by exploiting the slightly different atomic weight.
No, it cannot. By weight, Pu-238 only makes up between 1-2% of spent nuclear fuel. It is also combined with all the other by products of nuclear fission which compose of varying levels of elements from zinc and up. Spent nuclear fuel is a hodgepodge of elements and very radioactive/dangerous.

Separating U-235 from U-238 is simple, but expensive, using centrifuges. The heavier U-238 ends up on the outside of the centrifuge and the lighter U-235 ends up on the inside. This is why so many countries have been able to get significant enough quantities of U-235 to do something with it--it just takes money and a little ingenuity.


Producing Pu was the main reason why the US built nuclear reactors during WW2.
Hanford B Reactor created Pu-239 that was used in the "Trinty" atomic test and "Fat Man" atomic bomb. It created Pu-239 by bombarding U-238 with neutrons.
 
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#61
What I found most impressive (not that the entire venture isn't, but...) was the landing/deployment sequence this rover had to accomplish in order to safely land. Prior to this, it was essentially a giant marshmallow falling to the ground and rolling to a stop. This was so amazingly designed and executed. I wish they would do an actual real life demo of the deployment on earth so we could truly appreciate it.
 
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#62
... was the landing/deployment sequence this rover had to accomplish in order to safely land.
Martian gravity is 38% of that on Earth and the atmospheric density is 1% of that on Earth, therefore so-called "landing" is much easier there than here. Plus no problems with overheating.
 

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#63
Not to mention the cost of accelerating a large object to tens of thousands of miles per hour. Just watch their computer simulation of the landing. That's the closest you're going to get.
 
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#64
Some unfortunate news from the Mars Rover Curiosity.

In it's effort to find signs of life on the red planet, it actually landed on a Martian cat.

:twitch:
 
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#66

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#67
do you guys know if there are plans for curiosity to drive by the rocketsled and parachute etc and take pics? that would be awesome haha :D

would make sense for nasa to inspect the parts maybe?

PS: im surprised nasa uses passive cooling WITHOUT HEATPIPES on their nuclear battery
ts ts ts... im sure our guys here at CM would have been more than happy to help them out with that... :D
could have helped them to reduce the size and weight of the cooling array a lot...
 

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#68
I think it is too far away. Curiosity is heading the other way to find signs of life. It could go there once it accomplishes its primary mission.

I'm sure NASA has footage of the various components after they were detached/discarded so they can improve upon it in future craft.
 
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#70
Hey man thats how I make my money. I'm the guy who makes those shirts! :laugh:

On a side note doesn't it suck they closed the bulk of NASA down for more useless spending? Look what can be done. RC car to Mars! Thats the kinda money I like to see wasted! Not some pet study to find out why grapes are round so some congressman's nephew who owns a grape farm can get rich.
Then you know this site: http://shotdeadinthehead.com/

They have an awful collection :laugh:
 
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#72
nice now i feel better, cuz i found new place better than my country time to move in
 
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#73
The last image is better then the others
 
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#74
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#75
Actually now I'm waiting for some video game about this. Maybe a simulator or something. I think that'd be a good idea.