3 For Mars

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Re: 3 For Mars

#161 Post by PHXPhlyer » Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:57 am

Why the Perseverance rover couldn't collect its first Martian sample

https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/11/world/pe ... index.html

(CNN)The Perseverance rover attempted to collect its first sample of Mars last week, but it seems the red planet wasn't ready to cooperate.

In the wee hours of August 6, more than 90 engineers and scientists awaited the first data from Perseverance's drilling attempt. The information sent back to Earth by the rover showed the rover's corer drilled 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) into the rock. Perseverance also sent back an image of the material around the borehole produced by drilling.
All of this was a good sign. The team tried to get some rest before the next data set came down six hours later, according to Louise Jandura, chief engineer for sampling and caching at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Perseverance rover's first attempt to collect Martian sample didn't go as planned
The next download from Perseverance confirmed that the sample tube had been sealed and safely stored on the rover, and the team was thrilled by the success of this maneuver.
Their elation was short-lived, however, because when the rover sent back the volume measurement of the tube as well as an image of the tube, it was empty. That's when the team went into "investigation mode," Jandura wrote.
After two days of going through all of the data, the team determined that the drilling went as planned. But there is no evidence of an intact core, or pieces of the core, on the Martian surface.

Measurements and images "lead us to believe that the coring activity in this unusual rock resulted only in powder/small fragments which were not retained due to their size and the lack of any significant chunk of a core. It appears that the rock was not robust enough to produce a core," Jandura wrote.
While there is material visible in the bottom of the cored hole, as well as in the pile of cuttings around the hole, it's difficult to distinguish which material is from the actual core. The rock was likely too dry and crumbly to produce an intact core as Perseverance drilled into it, creating powder instead.
"Both the science and engineering teams believe that the uniqueness of this rock and its material properties are the dominant contributor to the difficulty in extracting a core from it," Jandura wrote.
But Perseverance and her team aren't giving up. The rover is moving to a new sampling location where the team expects to find sedimentary rocks, like the ones they tested drilling on Earth ahead of launch.
The Ingenuity helicopter has been and will continue to conduct aerial scouting in his region to help the team determine the next best sample collection site. The rover will make its next attempt in early September.

Although Perseverance wasn't able to collect a sample on its first outing, the team was encouraged that the rover "achieved the first complete autonomous sequence of our sampling system on Mars within the time constraints of a single Sol," which is a day on Mars.
"The hardware performed as commanded but the rock did not cooperate this time," Jandura wrote. "It reminds me yet again of the nature of exploration. A specific result is never guaranteed no matter how much you prepare."

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Re: 3 For Mars

#162 Post by Woody » Thu Aug 12, 2021 9:28 am

The Martians stole the sample back :D
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Re: 3 For Mars

#163 Post by llondel » Thu Aug 12, 2021 8:29 pm

Let's hope that the Martian gods are not as protective of their rocks as the Hawaiian ones.

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Re: 3 For Mars

#164 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:04 am

llondel wrote:
Thu Aug 12, 2021 8:29 pm
Let's hope that the Martian gods are not as protective of their rocks as the Hawaiian ones.
We should appease the Martian Gods by throwing a virgin down a volcano! :)

Meanwhile the sedimentary rock is too crumbly for sample analysis, meanwhile Ingenuity is riding high on Mars...
The little helicopter, Ingenuity, meanwhile, is still wowing its team. It has completed 11 test flights, the latest one lasting more than two minutes, and even conducted aerial surveys of Jezero Crater. That is the ancient river delta where Perseverance and its hitchhiking chopper landed in February, following a nearly seven-month flight from Earth
https://www.independent.co.uk/space/nas ... 01497.html
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Re: 3 For Mars

#165 Post by Boac » Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:13 am

We should appease the Martian Gods by throwing a virgin down a volcano
Well, speak for yersel - I wouldn't waste one if I could find one... :))

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Re: 3 For Mars

#166 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:28 am

Boac wrote:
Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:13 am
We should appease the Martian Gods by throwing a virgin down a volcano
Well, speak for yersel - I wouldn't waste one if I could find one... :))
Yes, I see my problem there. I am becoming wasteful in my old age. ;)))
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Re: 3 For Mars

#167 Post by Boac » Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:29 am

You are obviously not short of a few, then - any chance......?

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Re: 3 For Mars

#168 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Fri Aug 13, 2021 1:44 pm

Boac wrote:
Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:29 am
You are obviously not short of a few, then - any chance......?
:)) ;)))

I guess we can fish a couple out of the volcano for your Boac, but methinks you might find Mrs Boac's wrath, a very warm palaver indeed!
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Re: 3 For Mars

#169 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Aug 13, 2021 2:41 pm

I would settle for 'gently used'. :ymdevil:

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Re: 3 For Mars

#170 Post by Boac » Fri Aug 13, 2021 3:13 pm

My visiting card used to offer

"Virgins deflowered while you wait"

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Re: 3 For Mars

#171 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Fri Aug 13, 2021 3:59 pm

TheGreenGoblin wrote:
Fri Aug 13, 2021 1:44 pm
Boac wrote:
Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:29 am
You are obviously not short of a few, then - any chance......?
:)) ;)))

I guess we can fish a couple out of the volcano for your <<delectation and delight>> Boac, but methinks you might find Mrs Boac's wrath, a very warm palaver indeed!
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Re: 3 For Mars

#172 Post by PHXPhlyer » Sun Aug 22, 2021 1:48 am

China's Mars rover completes primary mission, continues to explore red planet

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/c ... d-n1277363

China's Mars rover completes primary mission, continues to explore red planet
After the United States, China is the second country to land and sustainably operate a spacecraft on Mars, where days are 40 minutes longer than on Earth.

BEIJING — China’s Zhurong Mars rover is soldiering on after completing its initial program to explore the red planet and search for frozen water that could provide clues as to whether it once supported life.

China’s National Space Administration said on its website Friday that Zhurong completed its 90-day program on Aug. 15 and was in excellent technical condition and fully charged.

It said it would continue to explore the area known as Utopia Planitia where it landed on May 14. Zhurong has been consistently sending back photos and data via the Tianwen-1 orbiter that crosses over it once a day.

After the United States, China is the second country to land and sustainably operate a spacecraft on Mars, where days are 40 minutes longer than on Earth.

At 1.85 meters (6 feet) in height, Zhurong is significantly smaller than the American Perseverance rover, which is exploring the planet with a tiny helicopter. NASA expects its rover to collect its first sample in July for return to Earth as early as 2031.

Concurrently, China is assembling its permanent space station, with three astronauts now aboard the Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, core that was put into orbit on April 29. Two of the astronauts completed their second space walk on Friday. All three are due to return to Earth in September and be replaced by a new crew.

China earlier launched two smaller experimental space stations. It has been excluded from the International Space Station largely at the insistence of the United States, which is wary of the Chinese space program's secrecy and close military links. Congressional approval is also required for any cooperation between NASA and the CNSA.

China also recently brought back lunar samples, the first by any country’s space program since the 1970s, and has landed a probe and rover on the moon’s less explored far side.

China first put an astronaut into orbit in 2003, becoming just the third country to do so.

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Re: 3 For Mars

#173 Post by limeygal » Sun Aug 22, 2021 10:43 am

Hubs and I sent our names to be included on the project. We even received frequent flyer miles. :-bd

Send Your Name to Mars

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What's under the Martian poles?

#174 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Mon Aug 23, 2021 6:43 pm

The frigid Martian poles have long fascinated scientists not just because of their ice caps, but for the potential of what may exist underneath them.

While there are currently no missions dedicated to exploring the poles on Mars, the fleet of orbiters around the red planet have been able to capture images and radar data that provide intriguing peeks beneath the surface.

Data from a radar instrument on the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter suggested in 2018 that there may be deep subsurface lakes beneath the Martian south pole's ice cap.

The search for water on Mars is intrinsically linked with the search for life on another planet. The surface of Mars was once warmer and wetter billions of years ago, but now it's a frozen desert that won't allow for the stable presence of liquid bodies of water.

Subsurface water on Mars may have provided a hub for microbial life in the past -- and now, if it exists. That is why the 2018 result was so appealing.

New research released this year, however, suggests that the bright radar signals from beneath the ice cap weren't a sign of liquid water. Instead, those signals may belong to clays.

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/08/20/worl ... index.html
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Re: 3 For Mars

#175 Post by Boac » Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:32 pm

Perseverance has captured a workable sample of Mars rock.

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Re: 3 For Mars

#176 Post by llondel » Thu Sep 09, 2021 3:29 am

Boac wrote:
Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:32 pm
Perseverance has captured a workable sample of Mars rock.
I was pleased to see that, means our sample recovery work might not be in vain.

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Re: 3 For Mars

#177 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Oct 01, 2021 10:43 pm

This solar event will halt communication with Mars missions for 2 weeks

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/01/world/ma ... index.html

(CNN)Things are about to get a little quiet between NASA and its fleet of robotic Mars explorers. That's because an expected communication breakdown is about to happen, all thanks to the sun.

The Mars solar conjunction takes place between October 2 and 16, and this lapse of check-ins between Earth and Mars occurs for a couple of weeks every two years, when both planets are on opposite sides of the sun.
The NASA teams that manage Mars missions stop sending commands to the orbiters and rovers on the Martian surface until mid-October, but that doesn't mean all exploration on the red planet will grind to a halt.

"Though our Mars missions won't be as active these next few weeks, they'll still let us know their state of health," said Roy Gladden, manager of the Mars Relay Network at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in a statement. "Each mission has been given some homework to do until they hear from us again."
The sun is like a giant roadblock to communications, spewing out hot, energized gas from its outer atmosphere across space. When Mars and Earth are on opposite sides of the sun, this solar gas can interfere with the radio signals that NASA uses to communicate with its Martian robotic explorers.
If engineers attempt to send commands to any of the Martian spacecraft during this time, the messages may get mixed up -- and that gamble isn't worth the risk of rovers or orbiters receiving corrupted communication that could endanger them.
Instead, the robots are getting lists of simple commands ahead of the solar event that will keep them plenty busy. This way, they can cruise on autopilot without the need to await more instructions during the communication blackout. But don't expect the rovers to go for a joyride or for the Ingenuity helicopter to take to the Martian skies.

The two rovers, Perseverance and Curiosity, have found some comfortable places to park. The Ingenuity helicopter is sitting 575 feet (175 meters) away from Perseverance and will send updates on how it's doing to the rover each week. The two can keep each other company on Mars since they won't be talking to their teams on Earth.
Perseverance will use its MEDA instrument, or Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer, to keep tabs on Martian weather, run its RIMFAX radar instrument, listen for sounds with its microphones and use its cameras to look for dust devils. However, the rover won't even be moving its mast -- which is like turning your head -- to do any of these things. Curiosity has a similar set of homework assignments, using slightly different instruments.

The InSight lander, which is already stationary by nature, will use its seismometer to listen out for marsquakes. The three NASA orbiters at Mars, including Odyssey, MAVEN and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, will continue collecting observations of the planet from above while collecting data from the surface missions that can later be sent back to Earth.
The agency expects that a small amount of data will come back to Earth during solar conjunction, but distribution of most data will be saved until after the event is over. So if you enjoy watching the steady stream of raw images that come in from the rovers or InSight each week, you'll need to wait until the sun isn't hanging out between Earth and Mars.

Teams will analyze the information sent back by the Martian spacecraft to Earth using NASA's Deep Space Network of radio antennas before the missions resume their normal operations after the event. This ensures that if any data was corrupted, it can be resent.

"We've already sent Perseverance a set of commands so it can perform science activities without having 'ground in the loop,' meaning that they pose no risk to the rover's safety, and the team won't need to check that they successfully completed each day," wrote Melissa Rice, associate professor of planetary science at Western Washington University and long-term planner for the rover's science team, in an update.
"Solar conjunction is also an opportunity for us (to) step back and reflect. In our day-to-day operations, it's easy to stay deep into the weeds of mission technicalities, and to lose sight of the profundity of operating a robot on an alien world."
Perseverance is currently in the South Séítah region of Jezero Crater, where it will likely make its next sample collection attempt after the conjunction.

The conjunction will give the Ingenuity helicopter a much-needed break. What began as a technology demonstration has turned into an aerial workhorse, completing 13 flights since April — when it was only designed to fly five times.
The Ingenuity team is trying to prepare the helicopter to fly with a higher rotor speed as the seasons change on Mars, causing decreasing atmospheric density. The little chopper successfully performed a high-speed spin test on September 15, but the helicopter aborted its test flight attempt on September 18.

The team is still trying to work out why this occurred, but it could be due to the wear and tear of Ingenuity's active flight schedule since April.
"We have a number of tools available for working through the anomaly and we're optimistic that we'll get past it and back to flying again soon," wrote Jaakko Karras, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter deputy operations lead at JPL, in an update.
The team will check on Ingenuity after the conjunction to start planning for its 14th flight and see how the helicopter handled two weeks of downtime.
In the meantime, here's wishing the mission teams on Earth some rest and fun, unsupervised but responsible vacation time on Mars for the robots.

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Re: 3 For Mars

#178 Post by PHXPhlyer » Thu Apr 28, 2022 10:45 pm

Ingenuity helicopter takes photos of debris field on Mars

https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/28/world/ma ... index.html

The Ingenuity helicopter has captured a unique bird’s-eye perspective of the gear that helped land the Perseverance rover on Mars.

During its one-year anniversary flight on April 19, the little chopper took photos of the striped parachute used during Perseverance’s landing – often referred to as “7 minutes of terror” because it happens faster than radio signals can reach Earth from Mars – on February 18, 2021. It also spotted the cone-shaped backshell that helped protect the rover and Ingenuity on the trip from Earth to Mars and during its fiery, plunging descent to the Martian surface.

The engineers working on the Mars Sample Return program, an ambitious and multimission process to return Martian samples collected by Perseverance to Earth by the 2030s, asked if Ingenuity could gather these images during its 26th flight.

Studying the components that allowed for a safe landing can help them prepare for future missions to the red planet that will require landing and even launching from the Martian surface for the first time.

“NASA extended Ingenuity flight operations to perform pioneering flights such as this,” said Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity’s team lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in a statement.

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover used its Mastcam-Z camera system to shoot video of Phobos, one of Mars' two moons, eclipsing the Sun. It's the most zoomed-in, highest-frame-rate observation of a Phobos solar eclipse ever taken from the Martian surface.
Perseverance rover watches eclipse of Mars' doomed 'potato' moon
“Every time we’re airborne, Ingenuity covers new ground and offers a perspective no previous planetary mission could achieve. Mars Sample Return’s reconnaissance request is a perfect example of the utility of aerial platforms on Mars.”

During entry, descent and landing, the spacecraft faces scorching temperatures and gravitational forces as it plunges into the Martian atmosphere at almost 12,500 miles per hour (20,000 kilometers per hour).

Previously, we’ve only seen images of the discarded landing gear from a rover’s perspective, like an image taken by Perseverance showing the parachute and backshell from a distance. Aerial images, captured for the first time by Ingenuity from 26 feet (8 meters) in the air, provide more detail.

“Perseverance had the best-documented Mars landing in history, with cameras showing everything from parachute inflation to touchdown,” said Ian Clark, former Perseverance systems engineer and current Mars Sample Return ascent phase lead at JPL, in a statement.

“But Ingenuity’s images offer a different vantage point. If they either reinforce that our systems worked as we think they worked or provide even one dataset of engineering information we can use for Mars Sample Return planning, it will be amazing. And if not, the pictures are still phenomenal and inspiring.”

The backshell can be seen among a debris field it created after hitting the Martian surface while moving at about 78 miles per hour (126 kilometers per hour). But the backshell’s protective coating appears to be intact, as are the 80 suspension lines connecting it to the parachute.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover used its Mast Camera, or Mastcam, to survey these wind-sharpened rocks, called ventifacts, on March 15, 2022, the 3,415th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The team has informally described these patches of ventifacts as "gator-back" rocks because of their scaly appearance.

The orange and white parachute can be seen, covered in dust, but the canopy doesn’t show any damage. It was the biggest parachute used on Mars to date, at 70.5 feet (21.5 meters) wide. The team will continue to analyze the images to determine if the parachute experienced any changes over the next several weeks.

During Ingenuity’s 26th aerial excursion, the chopper flew a total of 1,181 feet (360 meters). So far, it has logged 49 minutes of total flight time and traveled 3.9 miles (6.3 kilometers) over the past year.

“To get the shots we needed, Ingenuity did a lot of maneuvering, but we were confident because there was complicated maneuvering on flights 10, 12, and 13,” said Håvard Grip, chief pilot of Ingenuity at JPL, in a statement. “Our landing spot set us up nicely to image an area of interest for the Perseverance science team on Flight 27, near ‘Séítah’ ridge.”

The helicopter and rover have arrived at an ancient river delta where water once flowed into Jezero Crater millions of years ago.

The imposing delta rises more than 130 feet (40 meters) above the crater floor and is riddled with boulders, pockets of sand and jagged cliffs – and it could be the best place to search for signs of ancient life if it ever existed on Mars.

Ingenuity has the crucial task of surveying two dry river channels to see which one Perseverance should use to climb to the top of the delta. It can also share images of features that could become potential science targets for the rover.

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Re: 3 For Mars

#179 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Fri Apr 29, 2022 3:58 am

PHXPhlyer wrote:
Thu Apr 28, 2022 10:45 pm
Ingenuity helicopter takes photos of debris field on Mars

https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/28/world/ma ... index.html

The Ingenuity helicopter has captured a unique bird’s-eye perspective of the gear that helped land the Perseverance rover on Mars.


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The image of Mars surface shown in the CNN report was somewhat reminiscent of parts of the Richtersveld to me...

Mars
MarsField.JPG

The Richtersveld
Richtersveld.JPG
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Re: 3 For Mars

#180 Post by PHXPhlyer » Wed May 11, 2022 6:38 pm

China’s rover makes surprising water discovery at Mars landing site

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/11/world/ma ... index.html

China’s Zhurong rover has found evidence suggesting that water persisted on Mars for much longer than expected.

Zhurong landed in a large plain in Mars’ northern hemisphere called Utopia Planitia on May 15, 2021 – where NASA’s Viking 2 lander touched down in 1976.

The rover’s primary mission, which lasted for three months, was to search for signs of ancient life. It has investigated the minerals, environment and distribution of water and ice in the plain, which is all part of the largest impact basin in the Martian northern lowlands. The rover continues to explore its landing site and send information back to the Tianwen-1 orbiter circling the planet.

Data returned from the rover’s initial survey of the basin suggests that the Utopia Planitia basin contained water during a time when many scientists believed Mars to be dry and cold.

A study detailing the findings published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

A changing planet
Mars was once warm and wet billions of years ago, but something changed and caused the planet to become the arid, frozen desert it is today. The red planet entered this period during what is called the Amazonian epoch, which began about 3 billion years ago and remains ongoing.

China National Space Administration (CNSA) released images of its Mars mission. This image was taken by a separable camera deployed by the Zhurong rover, showing the rover and the lander on the surface of Mars.
China releases new images of Mars taken by its Zhurong rover
“The most significant and novel thing is that we found hydrated minerals at the landing site which stands on the young Amazonian terrain, and these hydrated minerals are (indicators) for the water activities such as (groundwater) activities,” said lead study author Yang Liu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ State Key Laboratory of Space Weather and the academy’s Center for Excellence in Comparative Planetology.

The researchers analyzed the Zhurong rover’s data about the sediments and minerals found in the basin as well as the analysis performed by several of the rover’s instruments of its surroundings. They found hydrated silica and sulfates, similar to hydrated minerals discovered by other missions studying different regions of the red planet.

The minerals were contained within bright-toned rocks, where colors help showcase their composition. The researchers determined that these rocks at the landing site make up a layer of duricrust. This type of layer can form when a substantial amount of water, either rising groundwater or melting subsurface ice, basically turns the soil into a hard crust once the water evaporates.

'Significant amounts of water' found in Mars' massive version of the Grand Canyon
The discovery of this duricrust layer, which is thicker than duricrust likely formed by atmospheric water vapor found at other Martian landing sites, suggests that Utopia Planitia had a more active water cycle tens of millions of years ago than scientists expected.

This adds to the increasing evidence discovered by Martian missions that the red planet went through cycles of being wet and warm, and dry and cold, rather than making one enduring, dramatic climate shift. These climatic ebbs and flows may have been the result of active volcanoes or impacts from other celestial objects, Yang said.

Fueling exploration
China on Wednesday, May 19, released the first images taken by its Mars rover Zhurong after it landed on Mars Saturday morning. One colorful image taken by the Navigation Camera shows the solar panel and antenna have unfolded normally after landing.
China just became the second country to drive a rover on the surface of Mars
This discovery came as a surprise to researchers because orbiters’ previous observations didn’t uncover the signature of hydrated minerals in the landing site. It is why exploration using the rover was key, Yang said.

Utopia Planitia has been of interest to scientists because some speculate the region once hosted an ocean.

“So the discovery of hydrated minerals (has) significant indications on the geological and water history of the region and the climate evolution of Mars,” Yang said.

Yang said he hopes that the rover could analyze the layers of a crater in the plain to find more insights about the history of water in the region.

The findings also suggest that there could be “considerable stores” of water in the hydrated minerals or even ground ice, which future human explorers could use during crewed missions to Mars.

“One of the most important resources for human explorers is water,” Yang said. “Hydrated minerals, which contain structural water, and ground ice can be used as the important water resource on Mars.”

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