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(AP)   Mars Rover kicks it into six-wheel drive, and moves two inches   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 75
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21346 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 May 2005 at 5:39 PM (9 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2005-05-17 03:38:37 PM  
Should've just launched a Land Cruiser.

/I keed.
//Loves NASA
2005-05-17 03:39:24 PM  
"What's all wheel drive?" asks 10,000 Hummer owners.
2005-05-17 03:41:54 PM  
Come on girl... you can do it.

You can make it on your own.
2005-05-17 03:42:50 PM  
Man, those things have been going forever. They were expected to fail last June I think.
2005-05-17 03:51:32 PM  
OlafTheBent: You can make it on your own.

Sometimes you can't make it on your own.

2005-05-17 03:53:01 PM  
Update to the story:

Florida drivers complain to the JPL that the rovers are driving way too fast.

\shutting up sir
2005-05-17 03:53:14 PM  

"You can DO iiit!"
2005-05-17 03:53:18 PM  
Steve Squyers, the principle investigator for the MER missions, has some good updates on his blog.
2005-05-17 03:56:35 PM  
2005-05-17 03:57:10 PM  
Still waiting for this moment....

2005-05-17 04:00:05 PM  
2" may not seem like a lot, but it's still better than the Viking landers did.
2005-05-17 04:02:11 PM  
Pale_Green_Pants_With_Nobody_Inside_Them: They were expected to fail last June I think.

"Expected" is a bit of a strong work. The minimum success was 90 sols (90 martian days). That was a rather conservatative goal, but then Mars missions are rather difficult.

They've survived the martian winter without any major problems, which wasn't a sure thing. [In particular, the MiniTES wasn't expected to survive the cold.] The most surprising thing so far is just how few serious/permanent problems have been encountered. Spirit has a balky wheel (which has since mostly resolved itself), and Opportunity recently appears to have lost a wheel actuator (right-front wheel can't turn). There have been a few instrument glitches and other things, but they're still working well.

As I understand it, the two things most likely to end the mission are:

1) Inevitable random hardware/electrical failure

2) Rechargable batteries have a limited lifetime. Last I read they were talking about problems around Sol 1000.
2005-05-17 04:04:48 PM  
Fnord- THANK YOU for the link. I can't get enough of the rovers.
2005-05-17 04:05:14 PM  
CommTHOR: 2" may not seem like a lot, but it's still better than the Viking landers did.

2" is NEVER a lot in my books
2005-05-17 04:10:07 PM  
CommTHOR: 2" may not seem like a lot, but it's still better than the Viking landers did.

Ha! How true. But then, Viking 1 lasted 7 years. MER A/B almost certainly won't.
2005-05-17 04:26:30 PM  
I got yer 2" right here!
2005-05-17 04:29:40 PM  
2" is NEVER a lot in my books

The water was cold! I swear!
2005-05-17 04:30:31 PM THANK YOU for the link. I can't get enough of the rovers.

FWIW, here's the good stuff I read...

* NASA's Mission Page has (roughly) weekly status updates, daily raw image updates, and Flight Director Update videos at random intervals.

* Steve Squyres' blog (as linked above) has been updated regularly for the last month, after being inactive since around landing time.

* This blog has a bit of good info now and then, although it's overwhelmed with crackpots. Still, it's amusing to read stuff from delusional people.

* This forum has a better signal-to-noise ratio, although it's not as active.

And if you're really hardcore, check out the MER Analyst's Notebook. It has lots (all?) of the data from the rovers, including stuff beyond just raw images. Of particular interest are the daily internal updates. Note that most of this stuff is embargoed for 6 months [so project researchers get first crack], so the newest stuff isn't there yet. It's interesting to read through the internal stuff around the time Spirit had the serious computer/flash issue shortly after landing.

NASA TV used to be a good source, when they had live press briefings early in the mission. Lots of little details didn't make it into the regular media articles. Unfortunately, they don't seem to do these anymore.
2005-05-17 04:40:24 PM  
Wait a minute. This thing is bogged down in a 1 foot sand pile? What if the whole surface was nothing but sand? Why didn't they make it with monster wheels?

/rtfa but dnrtfb
2005-05-17 05:21:54 PM  
Couldn't get over a one foot sand dune? Was it an H2?
2005-05-17 05:41:51 PM  
I made a two inch movement just a few minutes ago.
2005-05-17 05:50:07 PM  
From the headline:
Mars Rover kicks it into 6-wheel-drive...

Unavailable for comment:
2005-05-17 05:57:21 PM  
I am suprised there is no picture of a H2 stuck in a 1ft snow bank yet.........
2005-05-17 05:57:21 PM  
Has anyone seen the Heineken commercial with a mars lander looking for alien life? At first there's the german team responsible for the landing. Next, the dutch team is shown in the control room, and the guy in control hits a button and the lander turns into a little heineken bar, with bar light and everything, and says: "Now we wait." That commercial kicks ass.
2005-05-17 05:59:09 PM  
Oh oh oh! Please tell me I got here in time for the "Why are we spending billions on useless space exploration when people are starving on earth?" flame war! Those are some of my favorites.
2005-05-17 05:59:39 PM  
You want to get a vehicle unstuck, you don't go to Pasadena. Find someone from Chicago or Minneapolis or Buffalo who's rocked subcompact cars out of snowbanks every year since they were 16.

/thought the first Viking landing was in Newfoundland
//where they partied like it was 999
2005-05-17 06:01:18 PM  
Damnit! Why are we spending billions on useless space exploration when people are starving on earth! Huh! Somebody explain that to me!

/I aim to please
2005-05-17 06:02:39 PM  
Good work Planet of Plork.

Now we play the waiting game...
2005-05-17 06:03:59 PM  
How much did this cost us again?
2005-05-17 06:05:40 PM  

/thought the first Viking landing was in Newfoundland
//where they partied like it was 999

Please send check or money order for $19 for a new keyboard!
2005-05-17 06:07:12 PM  
From Wikipedia

"The total cost of building, launching, landing and operating the rovers on the surface for the initial 90 day primary mission was about US $820 million. An additional US $15 million was provided on April 8, 2004 when mission operations were funded for extension through September. Furthermore, a US $2.8 million per month extension to the mission was approved on September 21, 2004 for six more months of operation. The primary mission price was equivalent to roughly every US citizen paying $2.75."
2005-05-17 06:07:36 PM  
I never thought I'd be here defending a government program, but I applaud the progress. You try driving a remote control car that you can't see, from millions of miles away....
2005-05-17 06:20:28 PM  
all the little rover kids keep yelling "are we there yet? are we there yet?"
2005-05-17 06:21:48 PM  
I'd rather spend money on this than undeclared wars in certain countries.
2005-05-17 06:25:26 PM  

"And most unfortunately, my good man, the hyperthermic charger was out of commission, rendering it immobile -- but it went WOO WOO!"
2005-05-17 06:28:16 PM  
Why doesn't somebody just walk over and pick it up and move it out of the sand? Duh! Did anybody ever think of doing that? I thought NASA types were smart.
2005-05-17 06:30:20 PM  
xolik: How much did this cost us again?

$820 million, and worth every penny. These rovers have been sending back a lot of information that, combined with the Mars orbiters, will help us set up future habitation. As a side benefit, it's encouraging kids to enter science fields, which America desperately needs, as well as providing a nice boost to science news outlets, which provide a public good by keeping the American people scientifically literate after they leave school.

/feeding the flamewar that really doesn't exist
2005-05-17 06:33:28 PM  
Anyone gonna post the cartoon of the Aliens standing around the Viking probe with one of them saying "We'll tell them its a weather balloon"
2005-05-17 06:35:42 PM  
I love space exploration. I have since I was a kid. I want nothing more than to understand the mysteries of the universe. But if some starving kid from a third-world nation were to knock on my door and ask why I paid for this rather than to keep him alive, I'd be at a loss for words.
2005-05-17 06:36:30 PM  
I wonder if they banned this article in Alabama?

2005-05-17 06:36:31 PM  
2005-05-17 06:37:11 PM  
I wonder, would it be best to put the rover in a low power mode, wait a month or so, and then try again, once the soil conditions have been changed by wind erosion? Or will conditions be more likely to make it worse?
2005-05-17 06:45:25 PM  
I want nothing more than to understand the mysteries of the universe

2005-05-17 06:49:45 PM  
it needs to fire the grill mounted grappling hook around the nearest tree so it can haul itself out of there

2005-05-17 06:52:21 PM  

How about "If we feed you, you will just have 8 more kids, and this will repeat until all of our resources are spent, but knowledge of the universe will help all of mankind"
2005-05-17 07:00:10 PM  
bersl2: then try again, once the soil conditions have been changed by wind erosion?

You'd have to wait a very long time. Although there's some thin surface dust movement, most of those dunes have likely been in place for thousands or millions of years.
2005-05-17 07:03:51 PM  
DIdn't the scientists think of this situation?

I mean didn't they ever think of sending these things in pairs, tied together? That way, one could pull the other out of trouble.

Didn't they think of putting movable arms on them? That way they could dig themselves out.

I've seen better backup systems on Junkyard Wars.
2005-05-17 07:14:05 PM  
Fun. for the cost of less than one shuttle explosion ^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h launch, we get a little rover thingie that just doesn't know when to quit...

Screw manned missions. A few more of these things and we won't get ANYTHING from going to mars. Unless they find REAL signs of life....
2005-05-17 07:32:12 PM  
They need to let some off roaders design the next Mars probe....
2005-05-17 07:32:41 PM  

"Yeah it's good stuff, worth every billion."
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