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Subject: Mars rover lands this Sunday night rss

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James Webb Space Telescope in 2018!
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"Everything you need to know about the Mars rover Curiosity"
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0801/Everything-you-ne...

Since launching in November 2011, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) has been on a 560 million-kilometer (350 million-mile) journey to the Red Planet, with landing scheduled for late Sunday August 5 or early Monday August 6, depending on where you live on Earth.

This is NASA’s fourth rover mission to Mars, and its goal is to determine the planet’s past — and present — potential for habitability.
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"L'état, c'est moi."
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The landing sequence is truly Rube Goldberg-esque.
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Xander Fulton
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It is going to 'land' on Mars in the same way a Scout Trooper 'dismounts a speederbike onto an Endor tree'.
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Chris Tannhauser
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Yep. Once it hits the atmosphere, Curiosity's got seven minutes to go from 13,000 mph to 0, also known, officially and rightly so, as the SEVEN MINUTES OF TERROR:



- Entry angle?
- Heat shield?
- Jettison balancing weights?
- Deploy chute at Mach 2?
- Jettison heat shield?
- LIDAR finds clear landing site?
- Lander package jettison?
- Lander package engines fire?
- Sky-crane depoly?
- Wheels down?
- Sky-crane separation?

A failure in any one of those means we smack a nuclear reactor into Mars all double-plus hard.

In the game of High Frontier, the quickest way to set a rocket down on Mars is to hazard an aerobrake and sandstorm landing, both of which require you roll a d6... on a "1" you lose the mission.

NASA will be rolling a metric fuck-tonne of dice Sunday night.

Watch it live!
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Eric "Shippy McShipperson" Mowrer
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Here's 5 GG on crash and burn. This way, I win either way.
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Xander Fulton
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ejmowrer wrote:
Here's 5 GG on crash and burn. This way, I win either way.


Sooo...how does it die?

Poll
...so...what does happen?
Why does Curiosity end up smacking into Mars like a Scout Trooper smacks into an Endor tree?
Initial miscalculation on approach causes probe to miss atmospheric entry entirely
Heat shield fails on initial atmosphere entry, and probe is incinerated
Aero maneuvering thrusters fail to properly target the probe during descent, and it crashes somewhere random on the planet
Parachute fails to deploy correctly, and lander cannot be slowed enough in time
Heat shield fails to separate, whole assembly smacks into planet
Radar fails to function and find proper landing site or altitude
Backshell fails to separate, preventing skycrane landing assembly from being able to slow probe enough
Rover fails to descend from Skycrane properly (or gets tangled/trapped in wires), so when it goes to 'fly off', it takes the rover with it to crashy-crashy landing
Skycrane drops rover too high or landing too hard, and wheels break leaving it stuck in place
Shock from part of landing sequence renders multiple instruments damaged or ineffective on landing
      24 answers
Poll created by XanderF
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Mark Hamzy
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The Atlantic: In Focus has 36 photos covering Curiosity.
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Jeff
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Is there an 'eaten by giant sand worms' category??
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hamzy wrote:
The Atlantic: In Focus has 36 photos covering Curiosity.


That seems like a lot of valuable equipment to be slamming against the Martian ground.
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Brian Baird
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That's what makes it fun & interesting
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Question. Since it seems like most talk of mars is dealing with the water ice caps in the poles, why is it we are not landing there? Isn't water the most interesting question we have for mars?
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Chris Tannhauser
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My only thought is that perhaps this mission was set before that data came out... or the next one's got it. Or landing at the poles is crazy-hard.
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Key Locks
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Maybe the poles are inhospitable for the lander. Too cold, or too slick for the wheels to function, or something like that.
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Chris Tannhauser
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Or the Martians told the President:

NEVER AT THE POLES. WE WILL SCRUB YOU.
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Eric "Shippy McShipperson" Mowrer
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HiveGod wrote:
Or the Martians told the President:

NEVER AT THE POLES. WE WILL SCRUB YOU.


Last time we tried to land at the poles, 400,000 head of cattle went missing from Montana. They found the lander in the middle of a field with a probe shoved up it's "exhaust port".
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Xander Fulton
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The running theory is that there is nothing presently alive on Mars.

So while the poles have (frozen) water...well, we "already know" they have (frozen) water. Going to all the trouble of landing a probe there to go "yup, that's water" wouldn't really get us very much - we don't expect to find anything alive anywhere we go on the planet. So the thing to look for is where there might have been evidence that life ever was.

And things like a gently rising mountain with exposed sediment layers all the way up its side would offer a rather uniquely good perspective on the history of the surface of Mars. So, given one probe, that's where we went.

This video talks a little bit about the various landing sites that were being discussed (about 4:50 in):

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It'll have a rough landing and the chute doesn't detach properly upon landing and drags it hundreds of yards. Many tense hours then await as they try to communicate and run tests after which they find the thing works perfectly...


...except that the systems got jangled enough and in overcoming some of its problems, it developed sentience. A psychologist has to be called in to talk with it because it's rather alone.
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I don't see this as some big news event, myself, since we've already landed rovers there previously but it'll be nice to have another one there doing tests and stuff.
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PinkPiggy wrote:
XanderF wrote:
ejmowrer wrote:
Here's 5 GG on crash and burn. This way, I win either way.


Sooo...how does it die?



Martian Heat Ray.


Marvin will break it...
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