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MysticalRockets

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As everybody here knows, the Mars rover Spirit is stuck. Well, Nasa has conceded defeat and says it will not move again. (link below)

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/20100126/nasa-concedes-defeat-effort-free-rover.htm

I read on alot of the tech sites, like Slashdot, etc... and the common theme is that NASA has failed.

Ok, somebody tell me how this is? Yes, the rover is stuck. 5 years and 9 months beyond the time it was expected to die. And its not dead yet. It will be come a stationary platform, doing experiments only a stationary one could do.

The Rover program has succeeded beyond NASA's wildest dreams, and its still being called a failure.

Some people are just plain ignorant and stupid, I guess.
 

troj

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How anyone could call Spirit or Opportunity a failure is beyond me.

-Kevin
 

dave carver

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One of the latest reports is that they got Spirit to move quite a bit here lately and there's real hope that they can extract the rover from it's hole.

Maybe it's getting cold enough the sand is freezing:cyclops:
 

RocketsNorth

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IMHO this is nothing more than a case of "Nothing succeeds like success".
By that I mean, NASA exceeded their (and everyone else's) expectations with the rover and to "lose it" due to a navigational mistake that gets it stuck seems/feels to many like a failure, not withstanding the galactic success of the mission and rover itself has been.
I'm not trying to start an argument and I certainly am not impugning anyone's feelings or options, it's just my :2:
 

sylvie369

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I'll see one of the Spirit scientists in a couple of months (April, I believe: I work with her a couple of times per year), and I'll let her know you said this. She'll appreciate it.

Planetary science has, over my lifetime, been an absolutely astonishing success. Photos from the surface of Titan? Are you kidding me?
 

mjennings

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It is just peanut gallery mouthing off. I think a lot of people just started to assume that Spirit and Opportunity were going to keep going forever. It'll be a sad day when each of them stops sending back data. If they can keep Spirit warm enough through the winter, some of the science they have outlined as for Spirit as it switches to a stationary mode sounds pretty cool.
 

Fred22

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This rover mission is an incredible success. Sometimes NASA receives critisism of a fair anf accurate nature a lot of the time its simply driven. By a political agenda. This stuff is not that I thinks its just sensationalist stupidity or just plain dumb.
Cheers
Fred
 

bobkrech

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Where's the mission failure?

The Rovers were designed for a 90 day primary mission lifetime, and they are on their 5th mission extension. They have beat their initial mission lifetime only by a factor of 24 which IMO makes the program extremely successful.

Bob
 

luke strawwalker

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As everybody here knows, the Mars rover Spirit is stuck. Well, Nasa has conceded defeat and says it will not move again. (link below)

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/20100126/nasa-concedes-defeat-effort-free-rover.htm

I read on alot of the tech sites, like Slashdot, etc... and the common theme is that NASA has failed.

Ok, somebody tell me how this is? Yes, the rover is stuck. 5 years and 9 months beyond the time it was expected to die. And its not dead yet. It will be come a stationary platform, doing experiments only a stationary one could do.

The Rover program has succeeded beyond NASA's wildest dreams, and its still being called a failure.

Some people are just plain ignorant and stupid, I guess.
Good call... The things were only supposed to last 90 days if that-- to still be going nearly 6 years later...

Too bad GM can't make a vehicle that exceeds expectations to a similar degree!

At any rate, a lot of people don't realize the thing has had a stuck wheel for a long time already-- try driving your car with one of the wheels locked up and refusing to turn! Now try doing that in LOOSE SAND and see how far you get! Now try controlling this thing by driving it BACKWARDS (so you're PULLING the locked up wheel instead of PUSHING it, so it slides easier) and driving backwards from 36 million miles away, going backwards, driving on loose sand, and with a locked up wheel...

I saw an idiot yesterday in Houston with a flat on their Yukon-- they pulled off the freeway so they didn't get the "mandatory $300 tow" for breaking down on the freeway that you get in Houston, but they parked halfway down the ramp where the exiting traffic was trying to merge on the feeder so you had to dodge this idiot's vehicle while trying to see around it and merge with oncoming traffic from behind. Goofus couldn't have limped the vehicle down the street about 100 yards to a church parking lot and changed the flat or called for someone to come change it... NOoooooo.

The more people I meet, the better I like my dog... OL JR :)
 

thomcat00

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Seeing as NASA got Spirit on the surface more or less intact, that alone gives them check marks on the positive side of the ledger, given that a previous Mars mission failed. That the mission is still ongoing tells me NASA got it right and Spirit is a success. That or they waaay over$pent on engineering reliability measures and backup systems costing the taxpayers untold millions more than should have gone into the eqipment placed in the field...:bangpan:
 

RangerStl

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That or they waaay over$pent on engineering reliability measures and backup systems costing the taxpayers untold millions more than should have gone into the eqipment placed in the field...:bangpan:
Oh, now that's a little harsh, no? ;) I think it's pretty safe to say if you want something tough enough to last 90 days on Mars plus the trip out there and the trip down to the surface, it's probably going to be tough enough to last a lot longer by default (as illustrated).

N
 

cjl

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Seeing as NASA got Spirit on the surface more or less intact, that alone gives them check marks on the positive side of the ledger, given that a previous Mars mission failed. That the mission is still ongoing tells me NASA got it right and Spirit is a success. That or they waaay over$pent on engineering reliability measures and backup systems costing the taxpayers untold millions more than should have gone into the eqipment placed in the field...:bangpan:
Untold millions? They put a pair of rovers on the surface of mars and operated them for 6 years for less than a billion dollars. This means that for less than the per-launch cost of the Space Shuttle (including development costs averaged over the number of launches, not just incremental costs), they put two fairly large rovers on mars that lasted 6 years. This is by no means a waste, and should be praised.

Besides, as RangerStl pointed out, just by making them tough enough to withstand the journey, they were probably tough enough to last longer than their original expected mission.
 

Adrian A

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I was part of the design, testing, and operations teams for MER, from 2000 to 2004. If there was wasted money, it was because we had to pursue parallel development paths in some cases because we didn't know which one would pan out, and the fixed planetary launch window didn't provide enough time to try them out one at a time. But the rovers needed every bit of engineering that they had, plus some luck, to even get through the primary mission.

There were quite a few skin-of-our-teeth moments, like the parachute and airbag failures that were discovered and fixed late in development, the horizontal landing velocity problem that was fixed by turning the science-oriented descent imager into a horizontal velocity sensor, the fix to the pyro software late in cruise, etc. People forget that a few weeks after Spirit first landed, a flash file system corruption problem problem prevented the lander from turning itself off at night, and we ran the batteries all the way down to the point they had to be disconnected from the bus. Then the rovers were just sitting there, totally inert with 0 volts on the bus, until the sun came up the next morning to provide enough power to jump-start the system so the batteries could start getting charged again. I remember our ATLO test manager telling me "that will never happen" when I argued to include a test of that capability before we launched. Then when the power came back on, fortunately the software folks had gone a little bit farther than the requirements and had already implemented an alternate, flash-free means of booting up the system so that the rover could be recovered.

So from my point of view, this was one of the lucky missions in which we did just enough things right to pull off a spectacular success. It's been the highlight of my career so far, and it's going to be pretty hard to top. I've also been on missions (Mars '98) in which what could have been a success was turned into a spectacular failure because of one or two things that weren't done well enough, where a little bit more money would have gone a long way. People should know that there's less difference between success and failure than is often assumed.
 

thomcat00

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...That or they waaay over$pent on engineering reliability measures and backup systems costing the taxpayers untold millions more than should have gone into the eqipment placed in the field...:bangpan:
Sorry, this was a poorly veiled joke. As stated I'm glad the rovers are still running half a decade later than expected. Has NASA been really cheap, Spirit would've crapped out on time and we'd be without all the data it, and Opportunity, had been gathering since their initial missions ended.

Having attended a talk that Steve Squyers gave some years ago on the Mars rover mission (Cornell is not far away), I've always been gung-ho on this (and most every) pogram. Were it not going to create huge payroll headaches (among other issues), I'd gladly swap NASA's and DoD's budgets. :D
 

mjennings

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that comic reminds me of a Memo to the Galileo Probe a friend posted at the end of the mission. DaveyFire is that an original or did you grab it from some where?

9/20/03

MEMORANDUM

FROM: NASA
TO: Galileo Spacecraft
RE: Splooey

You're fired.

We appreciate all the stuff with the moons, and Jupiter's atmosphere. And oh, that shot of the asteroid you got was really nice. Oh yeah, the Shoemaker-Levy comet impact thing, that was pretty cool too.

Yeah, the past 14 years have been a hoot, but we're gonna have to let you go. We know that you were planning on just floating around the Jovian system living on your retirement package, but we're afraid we can't let you do that. See, there's a chance that if you accidentally crashed into Europa, a couple of your stowaway single-celled organisms might totally screw up the ecosystem there.

You understand, we're all about Earth organisms colonizing the solar system. We'd just prefer that those organisms be us.

Anyway, thanks for all the pics and the data. We're sending you on a one-way trip into Jupiter's atmosphere at 108,000 miles per hour. On your way in, do you mind snapping a couple quick photos for us?

http://www.beanbagcentral.com/index.php?/ccosas/all/galileo/
 

luke strawwalker

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that comic reminds me of a Memo to the Galileo Probe a friend posted at the end of the mission. DaveyFire is that an original or did you grab it from some where?

9/20/03

MEMORANDUM

FROM: NASA
TO: Galileo Spacecraft
RE: Splooey

You're fired.

We appreciate all the stuff with the moons, and Jupiter's atmosphere. And oh, that shot of the asteroid you got was really nice. Oh yeah, the Shoemaker-Levy comet impact thing, that was pretty cool too.

Yeah, the past 14 years have been a hoot, but we're gonna have to let you go. We know that you were planning on just floating around the Jovian system living on your retirement package, but we're afraid we can't let you do that. See, there's a chance that if you accidentally crashed into Europa, a couple of your stowaway single-celled organisms might totally screw up the ecosystem there.

You understand, we're all about Earth organisms colonizing the solar system. We'd just prefer that those organisms be us.

Anyway, thanks for all the pics and the data. We're sending you on a one-way trip into Jupiter's atmosphere at 108,000 miles per hour. On your way in, do you mind snapping a couple quick photos for us?

http://www.beanbagcentral.com/index.php?/ccosas/all/galileo/
Sounds similar to what some guys did as a joke after Apollo 13, once the guys were safely home. Jim Lovell discussed it in his book.

The LM guys over at Grumman printed up a receipt from a towing company, and sent it to the CSM guys over at Rockwell...

It was an itemized list of everything the LM provided to the astronauts that the CSM was supposed to perform during the mission, including towing charges for bringing the CSM back to reentry at so many $ per mile times 240,000 miles, air, road service charges, etc.

Bill came to something like $252,000 or something like that...

Later! OL JR :)

PS... there's also a memo my Dad brought home from the nuke plant right after that whole "Heaven's Gate" cult suicide thing...

MEMO
From: the Aliens
To: Heaven's Gate Cult Members

Attention! Due to unforeseen headwinds from Comet Kohoutek, the currently scheduled pickup has been delayed until the comet's next return to the vicinity of Earth in 2497.

DO NOT EAT THE PUDDING AT THIS TIME. REPEAT! DO NOT EAT THE PUDDING AT THIS TIME!
 

daveyfire

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that comic reminds me of a Memo to the Galileo Probe a friend posted at the end of the mission. DaveyFire is that an original or did you grab it from some where?
Yup, Chris got it -- taken from and linked to the inimitable XKCD.
 

mjennings

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I hadn't visited XKCD in a few days when that was posted. Thanks
 
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