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Old 06-23-2012, 07:24 AM   #1
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7 Minutes of Terror


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How does it work?

When I read that the UFO-looking Mars Science Laboratory's aeroshell would use a floating crane—called Sky Crane by NASA—to softly land the rover on Mars, I couldn't believe it.

It's the most awesome idea I can possibly imagine for a landing of a rover. In fact, looking at the video and NASA's hyperrealistic simulation showing how the mechanism actually floats, lowers the rover, and then flies away, I still can't believe it. Hell, even the engineers seem to have their moments of "WTF did we do?"

Just think about the process:

1. First, the rockets of the aeroshell—a protective armor that will protect the MSL and guide it through its descent—will fire to steer the capsule towards the desired angle.

2. When this is achieved, a long parachute will open to slow down the Mars Science Laboratory as it zooms down the Martian atmosphere.

3. Then, as soon as the capsule slows down, the heat shield will eject, leaving the rover exposed inside the aeroshell, attached to the floating crane mechanism.

4. That's when the whole landing process gets cray cray: The floating crane's rockets will fire up, further slowing the descent.

5. The top part of the aeroshell will then detach completely, leaving the sky crane alone holding the MSL rover, slowly descending towards the planet's surface.

6. A few hundred meters above the terrain, the floating sky crane will start lowering the rover down using "a trio of bridles and one umbilical cord" until it touches down.

7. At that time, the sky crane will detach from the rover and fly away to crash far from the landing site.

If you really think about it, seven minutes of terror is an understatement.
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Old 06-23-2012, 02:14 PM   #2
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:mindblown:

That's a freakin' neat idea. Perhaps a little too complex for necessity sake, but awesome nonetheless.

I think the music made it even better though...
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Old 06-23-2012, 02:48 PM   #3
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Well they highlighted the technical difficulties they had to overcome.. it might seem extravagant but how else could they do it? In previous rover missions they'd used a gigantic tumbling inflating pillows, but they needed higher accuracy this time and the rover is the size of a car, so the tumbling pillow idea might not have been feasible. Either way, some incredible engineering to actually pull all of it off.
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Old 06-23-2012, 02:51 PM   #4
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The precision of this project is completely astonishing. I was extremely surprised at the temperate the heat shield was able to withstand, I wonder what was used to forge such a thing.
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Old 06-23-2012, 02:51 PM   #5
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Awesome. Will find out August 5th if it works.
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:00 PM   #6
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That's when the whole landing process gets cray cray
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:10 PM   #7
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The precision of this project is completely astonishing. I was extremely surprised at the temperate the heat shield was able to withstand, I wonder what was used to forge such a thing.
1600F which is about 871C

Space Shuttle thermal protection system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:10 PM   #8
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They successfully pulled off the landing to this thing.

NASA rover Curiosity lands on Mars, beams back images - Technology & Science - CBC News
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:38 AM   #9
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With all the shit that is happening right now, shootings, violence, etcetera, it's good to see humans actually pulling together to accomplish such amazing things. There are times I have little faith in mankind, but shit like this keeps me thinking it's going to be OK. We need more Zefrem Chochranes of the world.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:02 AM   #10
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With all the shit that is happening right now, shootings, violence, etcetera, it's good to see humans actually pulling together to accomplish such amazing things. There are times I have little faith in mankind, but shit like this keeps me thinking it's going to be OK. We need more Zefrem Chochranes of the world.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:04 AM   #11
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:05 AM   #12
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inb4 everyone in JPL is now hungover
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:30 PM   #13
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so besides the new landing approach...does this new rover have much more advanced tools/tech than previous mars rovers that landed successfully?
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:17 PM   #14
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so besides the new landing approach...does this new rover have much more advanced tools/tech than previous mars rovers that landed successfully?
Yes. The old rovers were sized like shopping carts. This one is as large as a car.

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Old 08-06-2012, 04:32 PM   #15
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Definitely "thinking out of the box" design. Corner wheels not just dual articulating, but nice suspension as well. I wonder how the joints are designed and what lubrication they use. Lots of heat, but little to no water on Mars. Thanks for the info, LiquidTurbo. Cool technology for sure.
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:04 PM   #16
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Picture of Curiosity landing taken from nearby satellite


First Image from Curiosity
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:12 PM   #17
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That's awesome and all, but can you imagine if this thing snaps a picture of extra terrestrial life?!
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:21 PM   #18
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lol movie sucked so bad that it was good
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:30 PM   #19
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lol movie sucked so bad that it was good
i remember watching that when i was like 4 or 5
fuckin terrifying
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:35 PM   #20
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Apparently, it did scare the shit out of kids. I laughed pretty hard during the movie. Tom Jones, FTW!
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:17 PM   #21
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Quote:
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Picture of Curiosity landing taken from nearby satellite
This reminds me of a recent story about the US flags the Apollo missions planted on the moon. All but one are still standing. How do they know this?

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been taking pictures of the moon's surface, and they have been over all the landing sites. They've spotted the landers, flags, equipment and even trails left by the astronauts that show the path they took.

I think it's funny because I know that just like the nutjobs who claim the moon landings were faked, there are idiots out there thinking some desert studio is where all of Curiosity's "pictures" are being taken.


Good job, NASA.
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:56 AM   #22
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360 view of Mars from Curiosity point of view

Curiosity rover: Martian solar day 2
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:12 PM   #23
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That's awesome and all, but can you imagine if this thing snaps a picture of extra terrestrial life?!

we would never see the pictures even if that did happen.
So who knows maybe they did.

Unless it was maybe very primitive life forms
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:23 PM   #24
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thanks for putting it into perspective, liquidturbo

everytime i think of a nasa rover i think it's like the one outta Armageddon
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:00 PM   #25
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On a related note, a thoughtful reply to the justification of space exploration instead of using the funds to help starving kids.

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In 1970, a Zambia-based nun named Sister Mary Jucunda wrote to Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, then-associate director of science at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, in response to his ongoing research into a piloted mission to Mars. Specifically, she asked how he could suggest spending billions of dollars on such a project at a time when so many children were starving on Earth.

Stuhlinger soon sent the following letter of explanation to Sister Jucunda, along with a copy of "Earthrise," the iconic photograph of Earth taken in 1968 by astronaut William Anders, from the Moon (also embedded in the transcript). His thoughtful reply was later published by NASA, and titled, "Why Explore Space?"
Letters of Note: Why Explore Space?
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