Spirit Condition Upgraded as Twin Rover Nears Mars


correctly.
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Or the heat shield, or the parachute, or the rigging, or maybe she just landed on a sharp rock. No one will know until we can go look.

correctly.
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Beagle uses the same method of landing?
I did not know that.
Thanks.
wrote:

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That'd not a valid line of thought. Air bags appear work very well for landing zones that are flat and relatively clear of pointy things. If you want to land in a place with more interesting topography, bags may not be the best answer.
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I guess it would be a problem in a canyon, although if we are able to bring the costs down to where we can send numerous rovers, then we could risk having the rover land in a canyon with a relatively wide valley floor.
Another thing, I have seen some incredibly high resolution sat. images and I am sure the CIA folks have even better stuff. Why don't we have that kind of resolution from our orbiting spacecraft there? I know we spend enough money on them to have the best stuff.

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One significant limitation is size. One of our best orbital intelligence assets is the Advanced KH-11 "Crystal" type spysat. It's roughly 50 feet long by 15 feet in diameter, with a dry weight of ten metric tons. Keyhole has a primary mirror that is at least 7.5 feet in diameter with a best guess ground target resolution of 10 to 12 centimeters.
Think of it as a Hubble Space Telescope with a maneuvering rocket stuck on one end. Getting a package the size of Hubble to Mars isn't something we can easily do right now.
Dosco
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Spysats tend to be about the size of a school bus. Much too heavy and large to send to Mars with the launch capablilities and budgets we now have or will have for such things in the forseeable future.
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I see. Sounds like a job for the Russians. I am sure they can put together a robust booster to get it there. Now coming up with the cash to do it would be the hard part. I guess it will always be cheaper to send a rover. I know there was talk of some type of plane to cruise around mars, that would be cool and seeing how advanced UAV's are in the military I would think it is very possible. Of course you would have to use a rocket for the engine.
Jason

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I wonder if Russia still builds the worlds largest microcomputers?
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We aim to please.
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granite...

You aim too, please. :) Carl
-- "Volunteer emergency personel are like toilet paper- no one realizes how valuable they are until they're needed." -- Coalbunny
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snipped-for-privacy@7yahoo.com (Coalbunny) wrote in message

You have to say it's a far hike with a shovel. Especially when we don't even know what goes on on this dungheap. There's an awww...ful lot of people would like to see that money spent on better education (generally). Especially if we're to believe the figures on literacy etc... Which side of the balance has the most prestige? And who foots the bill for it?
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Well, it was things like the Mars rover in '97 and a trips out to the western U.S. that inspired me to major in geology (finished my undergrad in Dec 03). While I might be going in a different direction than what I had originally planned (planetary science) it still gave me motivation to start and finish my education. As for just throwing money at public schools with students who don't care about learning because they have no inspiration...well that to me is a waste of money. Studying other planets does help us learn about our own; runaway greenhouse on Venus, what early Earth may have looked like on Titan.
I agree that we need to spend more on education, but NASA is ~1% of our budget. Perhaps we could scale back our military (especially since it didn't help prevent 9-11 attacks) and free up more money. I guess that's a whole other can of worms though.
Jason
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Well, of course, we differ on a lot of things. It's not surprising that we differ with regard to space exploration as well. Being a mid-aged American, I watched the "space race" as a youngster. Watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, and all the other astronauts that came after, has always been a source of pride and inspiration for me. Aside from the "glory" of space travel, there is much to learn from exploring new and alien worlds. Much of what we have learned has advanced our knowledge of the universe in ways no one could foresee. And in so doing, we have learned a great deal about our ourselves, our own world, and our place in it. Man has always been driven to push the envelope of possibilities. To not do so would be to deny our very nature as curious, inquisitive animals.
But curiosity is not the only reason. Can you think of other reasons, Don, why we should explore space?
As for the money that is spent, I can tell you that it is miniscule compared to the cost of many other human endeavors (i.e., Americans spend more every year on Pizza deliveries than we spend on space), and the return on the investment, in many respects, is far greater than the cost. And that return will continue for the forseeable future. As for who foots the bill, I think it is obvious that if space exploration is to be successful in the long run, and is to benefit all mankind, then the bill should be paid by everyone. Having said that, by and large, the American and Russian people has footed the bulk of the bill. That is not to say that the Europeans, the Japanese, and others are not active.
As someone (I'm not sure where it originated, but I remember it from a Carl Sagan book) once said, if we are alone in the universe, it seems like a terrible waste of space. Who are we? Where did we come from? Are they're other life forms in the universe? Are there others like us? These are no longer idle questions relegated to dusty lecture halls. As a species, we have a yearning to know the answers to these questions, a desire that is unique on our planet. The answers, while seemingly frightening to some, may be vital to our future survival, and to the survival of our world. We are a violent species. Of that, there can be no question. However, by looking outside of ourselves, and our own petty desires and troubles, at the world around us and the greater universe in which we are a part, we expand our knowledge and our horizons, and in doing find solice in our own inner security, or at least a foundation for it. And in finding that inner security, we may find a foundation for a lasting peace for all. Is that not worth the comparatively small cost? Is that not why you became a scientist?
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(Is that not why? ...Nah, it just seemed a good idea at the time...) I guess I was just mainly 'carmudgeonly reminiscing' on the 'well-travelled shovel'. But whilst we're on the point, I think you're being naive if you think the motivation for space exploration is inspirational, or finding peace and security for all... Or even for prestige... (Which returns us to the question of who foots the bill where I was thinking more globally than the per capita cost to the US taxpayer of an R2D2.). But you're right. Amongst scorched earth, most delicate flowers do grow. (I guess I was just thinking they should be nurtured - cultivated even.) Just (when you get there), ...Leave your guns at home George, Don't take your guns to Mars George, Leave your guns at home... (...Who foots the bill.. Mmm?)
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Carl
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Inspiration is a good motivation, but that is not what this is about, dude. It is about discovery.

You'll be glad to know that I don't own any guns. I figure if someone wants to kill me bad enough, its going to happen no matter what I do. So I don't worry too much about it.
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George wrote:

George,
As you so well pointed out (and as others have added to), there are many good reasons why we should explore space our natural desire to understand the cosmos, the technological spin-offs, the inspiration to young people to pursue technology careers, etc. However, there are even more basic reasons the ultimate survival of the human race, for example. If we don't manage to eliminate ourselves on our own, there are plenty of threats to the long time existence of life on Earth. To name a few: major collisions with asteroids or comets as has happened in the past on many occasions to eliminate most species on Earth, a relatively close supernova (within 30 50 light years unlikely but possible), a gamma ray burst hypernova within 1000 light years, the anticipated next ice age within the next 10000 years or less, a reversal of the magnetic poles of Earth (which has happened every million years or so in the past and may be starting again already) which could leave the Earth with a near zero magnetic field for a period of a hundred years or so and unprotected from the Sun's solar wind and other cosmic rays, the eventual end of life of our sun (in about 5 billion years) when the Earth will likely be consumed by the swollen Red Giant phase of the dying sun, and a number of other comic catastrophes. While the dinosaurs lived on Earth for some 300 million years before being eradicated by an impact with some early solar system debris, we humans have been here less than a million and yet we think we will be here forever. That is not the case. We buy life insurance to protect our immediate families after our deaths and show some concern for our children's futures and even or grandchildren and great-grandchildren but we seldom think much further ahead. Investing in space exploration now is buying life insurance for the entire human race! For it to survive in the long term, we must diverse ourselves from this single planet. If we are the only intelligent life in the cosmos (which I doubt), it would be a shame to see it extinguished due to our own lack of planning for the future.
Jerry -- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- Jerry Petrey -- Senior Principal Systems Engineer - Navigation (GPS/INS), Guidance, & Control
-- Raytheon Missile Systems - Member Team Ada & Team Forth -- NOTE: please remove <NOSPAM> in email address to reply ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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"Jerry Petrey @raytheon.com>" <"jdpetrey<NOSPAM> wrote in message

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Jerry. I have to be honest with you and say that I think that is a cop out. I for one don't expect to live forever, nor do I want to. To use the the idea that we might kill ourselves as a reason for the "conquest" of space leaves us with little incentive to solve our petty differences right here on earth and learn to live together as a global community. After all, if we don't do that, we will never become advanced enough to "conquer" space in the first place. As for the natural catastrophes you mentioned, there is a valid argument that we shouldn't have all our eggs in one basket. But I am of the opinion that our extinction, whenever it does occur, is inevidible, and have no illusions that we will be here for the grand blooming of the sun into a red giant. All of the paleontological evidence is against that notion.
In addition, those asteroid impacts you refer to - I'm not convinced that they were the end all of the extinctions in Earth's past. Be that as it may, who am I to tinker with evolution? After all, if you believe in the asteroid theory (or even if you don't), you have to concede that if the disasters that wiped out so many species in the earth's past hadn't occurred, most likely we'd not be having this conversation, because we likely wouldn't have evolved into our present, confused form. Why are we so arrogant a species that we think we are the omega point in the evolution of the earth? We certainly weren't the alpha, contrary to what some evangelicals might believe.
But there is a reason for going into space that hasn't been touched upon here. If we aren't alone, wouldn't it be a really great thing to know? And why not find out, since we might be able to do so? Some ask why? I ask why not? It is one of the great unanswered questions, is it not? To learn is to know the truth. And the truth will set you free.
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