Spirit Condition Upgraded as Twin Rover Nears Mars

Guy Webster (818) 354-5011 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Donald Savage (202) 358-1547 NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
New Release: 2004-034 January 24, 2004 Spirit Condition Upgraded as Twin Rover Nears Mars Hours before NASA's Opportunity rover will reach Mars, engineers have found a way to communicate reliably with its twin, Spirit, and to get Spirit's computer out of a cycle of rebooting many times a day. Spirit's responses to commands sent this morning confirm a theory developed overnight that the problem is related to the rover's two "flash" memories or software controlling those memories. "The rover has been upgraded from critical to serious," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager Peter Theisinger at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Significant work is still ahead for restoring Spirit, he predicted. Opportunity is on course for landing in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars. The center of an ellipse covering the area where the spacecraft has a 99 percent chance of landing is just 11 kilometers (7 miles) from the target point. That point was selected months ago. Mission managers chose not to use an option for making a final adjustment to the flight path. Previously, the third and fifth out of five scheduled maneuvers were skipped as unnecessary. " We managed to target Opportunity to the desired atmospheric entry point, which will bring us to the target landing site, in only three maneuvers," said JPL's Dr. Louis D'Amario, navigation team chief for the rovers. Opportunity will reach Mars at 05:05 Sunday, Universal Time (12:05 a.m. Sunday EST or 9:05 p.m. Saturday PST). From the time Opportunity hits the top of Mars' atmosphere at about 5.4 kilometers per second (12,000 miles per hour) to the time it hits the surface 6 minutes later, then bounces, the rover will be going through the riskiest part of its mission. Based on analysis of Spirit's descent and on weather reports about the atmosphere above Meridiani Planum, mission controllers have decided to program Opportunity to open its parachute slightly earlier than Spirit did. Mars is more than 10 percent farther from Earth than it was when Spirit landed. That means radio signals from Opportunity during its descent and after rolling to a stop have a lower chance of being detected on Earth. About four hours after the landing, news from the spacecraft may arrive by relay from NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter. However, that will depend on Opportunity finishing critical activities, such as opening the lander petals and unfolding the rover's solar panels, before Odyssey flies overhead. Spirit has 256 megabytes of flash memory, a type commonly used on gear such as digital cameras for holding data even when the power is off. Engineers confirmed this morning that Spirit's recent symptoms are related to the flash memory when they commanded the rover to boot up and utilize its random-access memory instead of flash memory. The rover then obeyed commands about communicating and going into sleep mode. Spirit communicated successfully at 120 bits per second for nearly an hour. "We have a vehicle that is stable in power and thermal, and we have a working hypothesis we have confirmed," Theisinger said. By commanding Spirit each morning into a mode that avoids using flash memory, engineers plan to get it to communicate at a higher data rate, to diagnose the root cause of the problem and develop ways to restore as much functioning as possible. The work on restoring Spirit is not expected to slow the steps in getting Opportunity ready to roll off its lander platform if Opportunity lands safely. For Spirit, those steps took 12 days. The rovers' main task is to explore their landing sites for evidence in the rocks and soil about whether the sites' past environments were ever watery and possibly suitable for sustaining life. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington. Images and additional information about the project are available from JPL at http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov and from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., at http://athena.cornell.edu/ . -end-
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Please send a word of thanks to all the boys and girls back at JPL and at the other sites involved from all of us that have hiched along on their Mars adventure.
I sure hope that they are just as excited as when they were little kids and got a long-expected present delivered.
I get giddy thinking about those rovers driving around on Mars.
Do you realize that these things are driving around on MARS????
Nice work everybody.
--
- Alan Kilian <alank(at)timelogic.com>
Director of Bioinformatics, TimeLogic Corporation 763-449-7622
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I am really amazed at the engineering and technical feat that the rovers represent as well. Truly amazing!
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Still it does not makes you closer to understanding of Mars Geology ! You are all completely unable to apprehend the simplest fact of the Earthly one, running ahead won't help !
Further believing that such feat opens the path to interplanetary travel within Our Solar System is completely ludicrous ! The day I go to Mars , it won't take me more that 6 hours from TO to landing .... and going for a quick U-turn around the Moon to boost !
I feel like hearing praised being made to Bleriot for crossing La Manche or to the "de Montgolfier" bros for the first hot air balloon flight ! Pathetic !
Nom de dieu, mais c'est pas possible une telle ignorance de notre milieu !
--
Sir Jean-Paul Turcaud
Australian Mining Pioneer
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Earthly
With a rocket stuck up your ass, no doubt.

or
Yes, it is quite pathetic that you cannot give praise where praise is due, but have to badmouth every scientific achievement like a spoiled brat who didn't get his jello.
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My dear JBeck,
I happen also to have a commercial pilot licence and as well gained Crop Duster Rating... but my flying interests are only subservient of my main True Geologist interest ! I intent to buy myself soon a Bonanza 36TC to start taking photos which will serve to illustrate the book I am writing on the True Geology, and will as well take an option on the Safire Jet.for early 2006 delivery ! I happen too to have made the Mining History of Australia and I am as well the LEGAL OWNER OF THE LARGEST GOLD MINE OF AUSTRALIA INDEED THE TELFER MINE !.
The point I am making is that it is a ridiculous to go exploring Planets in our solar systems with rockets, that is like wanting to go to New Rochelle from here in a paddle boot. One may get there, but that's not the way to go ! ... as well as if wanting to go to Oxford to give a lecture on the True Geology, I would board a canon ball, go in orbit and fall over the Geological dpt in a parachute ! See ?
The main problem is not the one of showing gratitude or recognition to those who have open the road of the Air, and by the way this is Clement Ader from France and not the Wright brothers who were the first ( in case you don't know there again the right history ) I have personally open roads which did not exist in Australia and know all about that, still I have personal recognition to all those who have put me on the path of understanding. The main problem is the one of those brainwashed fools mass-produced by Uuuuniversities of the whole World who have lost the possibility of Synthesis or Global thinking. The main problem is the one of all those brainwashed fools like present Gogologist and Physicists who believe the world is the one as they have been taught ! The main problem is the one chain-produced degrees-loaded Goys , who have lost their free will and free mind !!!
There are indeed other nice ways to apprehend the problem and the key to it is an understanding of the UPL, of which I am the discoverer ! The UPL is the corner stone of the True Geology indeed but for me to out it, there will be some prerequisite conditions to be met ! Indeed ! The Universal Pressure Laws applications not only open Mankind understanding to its True Environment, not only open the Road to the Stars, but as well open the book of Mankind & of Our Earth True History . Estimates TI with UPL based crafts La Rochelle - Mars : 6 hours flying time La Rochelle - Proxima Centuri : approx 8 days
By the way crafts made according to the UPL will have right on Earth a payload if needed, but exceeding millions of tons, and will allow people to live in Africa and commute to NY each day in 1/2 hour.time. Or private lighter craft to commute from La Rochelle to Beijing in less than an hour. We have changed Millennium in case you did not notice !
Any further question ?
--
Sir Jean-Paul Turcaud
Australian Mining Pioneer
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I agree.
And I won't forget you. ;-)
--
- Alan Kilian <alank(at)timelogic.com>
Director of Bioinformatics, TimeLogic Corporation 763-449-7622
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Cars on Mars controlled by NASA bars.
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Congratulations to JPL and the MER EDL team for another inspirational job! Opportunity's on Mars!
--
Michael Anthony
Hear my song "I Want To Be A Mars Explorer" @ http://ma.fihs.net
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So the method they used is 3/3, I say we land everything on Mars that way. Forget those totally rocket controlled descents, this bouncing ball method is proven. I can't wait until we start bring some samples back and maybe doing some seismic stuff.
Jason
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On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 05:45:55 GMT, "Jason Clayton"

3 for 4, if you count Beagle2. Still not bad, so I agree with you.
-- Dr.Postman USPS, MBMC, BsD; "Disgruntled, But Unarmed" Member,Board of Directors of afa-b, SKEP-TI-CULT member #15-51506-253. You can email me at: TuriFake(at)hotmail.com
"Yes, there are thankfully no lights in my head, pest." - Joseph Bartlo
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Was the Beagle2 using that landing method as well? If so did NASA help the ESA or was it all their own design. There was a NOVA program a while back about the design of the rovers and how difficult it was, especially things involving EDL.
Jason
wrote:

way.
method
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On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 08:03:19 GMT, "Jason Clayton"

Someone else would have to answer that for ya.
-- Dr.Postman USPS, MBMC, BsD; "Disgruntled, But Unarmed" Member,Board of Directors of afa-b, SKEP-TI-CULT member #15-51506-253. You can email me at: TuriFake(at)hotmail.com
"Yes, there are thankfully no lights in my head, pest." - Joseph Bartlo
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Yes.
Neither. It was designed and built by the British - not ESA - without help from NASA.
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You'll find basic information there:
http://www.beagle2.com/landing/descent.htm
It's no real secret that the main problem with Beagle 2 is that the budget devoted to it was clearly insufficient from the start. Actually, the failure was almost entirely predictable. But keep in mind that the Beagle 2 was only the "icing on the cake" for this mission, from the european point of view.
Still a pity, though. But more of a politics problem than an engineering one, in my opinion.
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I see, well maybe they should get some notes from the NASA folks on how to do it right (and how not to do it...the polar lander). I don't know why we can't do more of these rovers exactly identical to these (and the previous one) each landing in different areas and with appropriate science instruments. Seems like the r&d costs are behind us (other than finding better flash memory if that is a problem on Spirit). These rovers could even be sold to other agencies/countries. I don't know why we always need to have a different spacecraft for each mission when proven designs work? I guess it is like you said, more politics than anything, using the same design does not result in lucrative contracts to bid on.

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wrote:

way.
method
We've got no idea why Beagle failed. The bags may have worked correctly.
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Dosco Jones wrote:

I can imagine two failure modes that I haven't seen discussed. The air bags are held together with lines of interlocking loops that require the internal pressure of the bags to unzip. If one of the bags got even a tiny puncture, there may not have been enough internal pressure to cause the loops to unzip, leaving the Beagle enshrouded. The other possibility is that the Beagle popped its air bags off, but was over a rocky area, and slid down in a crack between rocks, so that it was unable to open. Is anyone knowledgeable enough about the design to correct me on either of these possibilities?
--
John Popelish

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If the bags worked correctly, perhaps it was the blokes who failed?

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