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Waspie_Dwarf

Huge Dust Storm Hits Opportunity Mars Rover

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Waspie_Dwarf

Opportunity Hunkers Down During Dust Storm

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NASA Mars Exploration Rover Status Report

Science operations for NASA's Opportunity rover have been temporarily suspended as it waits out a growing dust storm on Mars.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter first detected the storm on Friday, June 1. As soon as the orbiter team saw how close the storm was to Opportunity, they notified the rover's team to begin preparing contingency plans.

In a matter of days, the storm had ballooned. It now spans more than 7 million square miles (18 million square kilometers) -- an area greater than North America -- and includes Opportunity's current location at Perseverance Valley.

arrow3.gif  Read More: NASA/JPL

 

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Waspie_Dwarf
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NASA Mars Exploration Rover Status Report

Updated at 4:30 p.m. PDT on June 10, 2018

NASA engineers received a transmission from Opportunity on Sunday morning - a positive sign despite the worsening dust storm. Data from the transmission let engineers know the rover still has enough battery charge to communicate with ground controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Science operations remain suspended.

Sunday's transmission was especially good news considering the dust storm has intensified in the past several days. A dark, perpetual night has settled over the rover's location in Mars' Perseverance Valley.

arrow3.gif  Read More: NASA/JPL

 

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Skulduggery

I'm hoping for the best!

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pallidin

What, there is no simple blower mechanism to clear the panels from dust? Shame.

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ChrLzs
20 minutes ago, pallidin said:

What, there is no simple blower mechanism to clear the panels from dust? Shame.

Shame?

1. Every addition to the Rover means added weight and significant added costs, plus whatever system, be it blower or scraper or whatever, would have to be tested 'blindly' without being there on Mars to get a feel for how it would work.  Eg, the very thin atmosphere, how the different Martian soils/dusts might 'stick', whether electrostatics are involved, etc, etc.  A blower might not be the best way to do it.

2. The rover was designed to last only 90 days, but it's lasted over 15 years.....  Large dust storms are rare, and in fact other wind events tend to clean the stuff off anyway.  So maybe rather than be worthy of shame, the NASA engineers actually seem to have made a good decision.

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pallidin
Posted (edited)

BS. There is absolutely no reason for a blower to not be included; even a "fan blade" option on the multi-option extensible arm (with the drill bit and 3 other rotating instruments) would have been very appropriate.

And for info, the solar cells are specially coated and hardened, so even blowing Mars dust to clear the panels would work as per the above fan-blade option.

Additional cost less than $50,000

Additional weight: 48 grams for the 2 or three titanium propellers on a drill spindle.

Edited by pallidin
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pallidin

Maybe the rovers should go RTG all the way.

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Waspie_Dwarf
On 12/06/2018 at 6:53 AM, pallidin said:

Maybe the rovers should go RTG all the way.

Curiosity and Mars 2020 are.

RTG would have been inappropriate on a small lander designed to last only 90 days.

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qxcontinuum

Meh relax . It has an atomic battery. It will last more years.

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qxcontinuum

Wait . I see new photos sent by the rover. This means that the storm is obviously gone. !

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Waspie_Dwarf
3 hours ago, qxcontinuum said:

Meh relax . It has an atomic battery. It will last more years.

You are confusing Curiosity, which is nuclear powered, but which hasn't been hit by the storm with Opportunity, which is solar powered and has been hit by the storm.

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Waspie_Dwarf
3 hours ago, qxcontinuum said:

Wait . I see new photos sent by the rover. This means that the storm is obviously gone. !

See my previous reply.

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Waspie_Dwarf
On 12/06/2018 at 6:40 AM, pallidin said:

BS. There is absolutely no reason for a blower to not be included;

There is a very good reason why a fan blower shouldn't be included... simple logic.

A fan blower would need power.

A fan blower would be needed when the solar panels are covered in dust.

Now ask yourself this question, when is it that the solar panels stop generating power?

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Waspie_Dwarf
Quote

NASA Mars Exploration Rover Status Report

Updated at 6:30 p.m. PDT on June 12, 2018

NASA engineers attempted to contact the Opportunity rover today but did not hear back from the nearly 15-year old rover. The team is now operating under the assumption that the charge in Opportunity’s batteries has dipped below 24 volts and the rover has entered low power fault mode, a condition where all subsystems, except a mission clock, are turned off. The rover’s mission clock is programmed to wake the computer so it can check power levels.

arrow3.gif  Read More: NASA/JPL

 

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geraldnewfie

i smell bull****, all those years and only now this happens? im betting they found something that we aint allowed to see or they want it to keep going without us knowing....i mean it is the US gov they cover up everything

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Waspie_Dwarf
5 hours ago, geraldnewfie said:

i smell bull****, all those years and only now this happens? im betting they found something that we aint allowed to see or they want it to keep going without us knowing....i mean it is the US gov they cover up everything

I also smell bull**** but only since reading your post.

Apart from anything else, this is not the first time this has happened "in all those years". Opportunity survived a similar, but less intense storm in 2007.

In fact huge dust storms have been observed on Mars since long before any rovers landed there. Dust storms of this magnitude can be observed from Earth using telescopes... which makes it totally impossible for the US (or any other) government to fake them.

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Merc14
On 6/12/2018 at 1:40 AM, pallidin said:

BS. There is absolutely no reason for a blower to not be included; even a "fan blade" option on the multi-option extensible arm (with the drill bit and 3 other rotating instruments) would have been very appropriate.

And for info, the solar cells are specially coated and hardened, so even blowing Mars dust to clear the panels would work as per the above fan-blade option.

Additional cost less than $50,000

Additional weight: 48 grams for the 2 or three titanium propellers on a drill spindle.

pallidin, this rover's mission was slated to last 90 sols so why would you include a blower, or any other device, to clean the solar panel?  When it was designed they expected dust to build up on the solar panels but considered it inconsequential given the mission duration but that 90 sol mission has stretched to 15 earth years and is still going so I think the decision to not waste money and weight on a "blower" was a sound one. 

52 minutes ago, geraldnewfie said:

i smell bull****, all those years and only now this happens? im betting they found something that we aint allowed to see or they want it to keep going without us knowing....i mean it is the US gov they cover up everything

You post a lot of ridiculous things on this forum but this tops them all IMHO.  The rover has been prowling around the planet for 15 earth years even though it was designed to last just 90 sols so I think they got their money's worth don't you?  If the rover comes back on line then great but NASA has been planning on Opportunity fading away for a long time now and no one will be surprised if she goes cold permanently as Spirit did in March 2010 after her 2200 sol mission.

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pallidin

Well, maybe they should include solar panel cleaning mechanisms in the future. Hello#

And, no, the electricity generated by the solar panels are not used directly, it goes through a regulated circuit and special battery.

So, YES, the solar panels CAN be cleaned even if they are covered in dust

I understand the original mission cycle design, but seriously, a simple blower seems like a "Duh" if the mission were for 15-years or 3-months.

 

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Waspie_Dwarf
1 hour ago, pallidin said:

Well, maybe they should include solar panel cleaning mechanisms in the future. Hello#

And, no, the electricity generated by the solar panels are not used directly, it goes through a regulated circuit and special battery.

So, YES, the solar panels CAN be cleaned even if they are covered in dust

I understand the original mission cycle design, but seriously, a simple blower seems like a "Duh" if the mission were for 15-years or 3-months.

 

Yes the solar panels do charge a battery. The battery which is responsible for providing the power to heat the rover and keep it alive when the conditions turn bad and the solar panels are providing little or no charge. The battery which powers the timer so that the rover can safely hibernate during periods of low power but still make regular contact with Earth.

The battery you think it would be a good idea to drain to power a fan which would attempt to clean the solar panels but would kill the rover in doing so.

This rover was designed to last 90 days, it has lasted 15 YEARS. That alone should lead a rational person to conclude that a mechanism for cleaning the solar panels is entirely redundant.

It has been explained to you repeatedly why this is a very VERY bad idea. Nothing you say is going to suddenly make it a good idea (if it was a good idea don't you think that the engineers at NASA and ESA would have considered it... they actually do know a thing or two about Mars and rovers).

As the old saying goes, "when you are at the bottom of a hole stop digging".

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Waspie_Dwarf

NASA Encounters the Perfect Storm for Science

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One of the thickest dust storms ever observed on Mars has been spreading for the past week and a half. The storm has caused NASA's Opportunity rover to suspend science operations, but also offers a window for four other spacecraft to learn from the swirling dust.

NASA has three orbiters circling the Red Planet, each equipped with special cameras and other atmospheric instruments. Additionally, NASA's Curiosity rover has begun to see an increase in dust at its location in Gale Crater.

"This is the ideal storm for Mars science," said Jim Watzin, director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "We have a historic number of spacecraft operating at the Red Planet. Each offers a unique look at how dust storms form and behave -- knowledge that will be essential for future robotic and human missions."

arrow3.gif  Read More: NASA/JPL

 

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kartikg

Those rechargeable batteries last so long. I mean the life cycle 

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Merc14
14 minutes ago, kartikg said:

Those rechargeable batteries last so long. I mean the life cycle 

Believe it or not (it surprised me when I looked it up) the batteries can still hold 85% of their original charge which is remarkable given their age.  https://www.geekwire.com/2018/good-news-nasa-says-opportunity-rover-able-wait-martian-storm/

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Waspie_Dwarf
6 minutes ago, Merc14 said:

Believe it or not (it surprised me when I looked it up) the batteries can still hold 85% of their original charge which is remarkable given their age.

It is one well designed and built little rover.

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kartikg
1 hour ago, Merc14 said:

Believe it or not (it surprised me when I looked it up) the batteries can still hold 85% of their original charge which is remarkable given their age.  https://www.geekwire.com/2018/good-news-nasa-says-opportunity-rover-able-wait-martian-storm/

Compared to my mobile batteries which loose the ability to hold charge after a year or two, these are remarkable. 

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pallidin

There's more than enough "juice" in the batteries to run a simple fan for 5-minutes without jeapordizing energy conservation.

Not only that, the action of clearing debris from the solar panels is a win-win for energy.

Geeze...

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