Now, take three robots. One is wheeled, one flies by rotors, and another is rocket powered. Put them on a rocket, fly to another planet, and land them autonomously without wrecking anything. As a hobbyist I'd be beyond myself to just do ONE of those. On Earth. Let alone millions of miles away on a distant planet.
And to get video of it just days later, bounced across multiple orbiters? Mind blowing.
We sent 3 separate spacecraft to Mars during the most recent launch window. We’ll see how we do next time around.
Either way, this is seriously the coolest video I think I've ever seen. I cannot wait for more.
And this is one of the coolest videos I've ever seen. I had a huge smile watching all of it. I can't even fathom how elated the whole JPL team must have been as these videos came in.
Have a little wind to make ripples in the water and your job as a pilot is much easier.
"the first open source linux box running on the surface of Mars"
"thank you to the open source community for allowing us to use your amazing software"
Per their press conference today, in the Q&A section.
“ I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready”
I think it’s more than a hobby now...
What was the model? The recording was garbled, and all I could hear was "...we're using a commercial computer, an Intel ???? PC. It's running Linux...
> The DSU is an off-the-shelf computer-on-module (CoM) from CompuLab Ltd with an Intel Atom processor and solid-state memory. The DSU runs the Linux operating system, along with additional software to communicate with the EDLCAM sensors, perform the EDL data collection sequence, manage the data storage and compress the collected data files. The DSU uses a high-density connector to provide connectivity to the high-speed USB3, USB2, gigabit ethernet and SATA interfaces.
> The main DSU is located inside the rover body. A second DSU, the descent stage DSU, is located on the descent stage. In both DSUs the CoM is connected to a custom electronics board that provides connectivity for all the USB devices. The two DSUs are almost identical to each other and communicate with each other through a gigabit ethernet link. The rover DSU includes a 480 GB solid-state flash memory drive (SSD) for data storage, provides a gigabit Ethernet link between both DSUs, and implements the high-speed serial communication protocol to communicate to the rover computer.
You can feel it in this video, e.g when you see the crane fly away after accomplishing the mission.
If we don't have a name for this emotion yet, I hope the japanese or the germans invent one. :)
And we’re out of beta, we’re releasing on time
So if you wanted to stream video from a GoPro on a Mars orbiter you could do so with current technology, you'd just need to build some big-ass antennas on Earth and then build and launch the Mars orbiters. Besides being technically difficult (because rocket science) it would be really expensive.
So to establish a link comparable to the Earth-MRO link which has 35m dish here on Earth and 3m antenna at Mars, you could have a 11m antenna at both ends. The hard part is lofting that 11m antenna into Earth orbit in the first place (shipping it to Mars from Earth orbit is easy in comparison).
As an example you could cut the 11m antenna into two pieces, each being a half of a circle with 5.5m radius. That would easily fit into the SpaceX Starship cargo hold. Loft that into orbit, assemble it in orbit, then send it on its way to Mars. The only technical challenges there are flying a spaceship which hasn't reached orbit yet, and performing orbital assembly of a spacecraft (which hasn't been done yet).
Then for completeness put two more of those relay satellites at the leading and trailing Lagrange points for Mars so that we have communication with Mars even when it's on the other side of the Sun.
1. Starlink satellites have Ku and Ka transceivers for uplink and downlink. They simply aren't capable of talking to any Mars probes using X band radios for Earth communications which is all of the current and near future ones.
2. A phased array can use beam forming to "aim" and to use aggregate receivers for resolution but they're seeing limited. Tiny receivers on Starlink satellites (even arrayed) would be no good for Mars probes even if they covered the right bands.
3. Every element involved in the question is in motion relative to every other element. Starlink satellites have orbital periods of about 90 minutes. Each satellite would only have Mars visible for at best half its orbit. With Mars effectively a point source any Starlink satellites arrayed to receive signals from Mars would need to rotate in sync to keep Mars in view. That necessitates pointing all a satellite's other antennas away from each other and Earth since they're all bus mounted. This means they can't simultaneously do Starlink and Mars relay tasks and you'd need a lot of Starlink sats to even begin to effectively receive Mars transmissions.
>The minimum safe lower limit for the partial pressures of oxygen in a gas mixture is 0.16 bars (16 kPa) absolute.
If it was 20% that would be survivable with just an oxygen mask fwiw. Humans can go down to 16% atm pressure safely if they breathe 100% oxygen. The rest of the body can easily handle the pressure difference (1 full atm of pressure is equivalent to being 10meters underwater as a guide, human orifices have no issue with it contrary to pop sci beliefs).
So yes it's not 20% and it would be nice if it was.
It’s an additional atmosphere. On top of...the one we live in at sea level.
Also 100% O2 anything past about 4 msw will kill you. The MOD of pure o2 is 13 feet. Which is about 3.9 msw
There's a myth that at low atm of pressures you pop and such. This is not true. You may need to breathe in/out to adjust but pretty much every part of the body can handle 1atm of pressure difference just fine. The 10meters below was intended as a reverse example but the point holds.
Its why in SCUBA you have to calculate MOD for nitrox. Because the partial pressures of oxygen will kill you. We only breath about 21% oxygen in air. And after rec depths, you often using different mixtures and take on decompression obligations, trimix, heliox etc. At certain pressures, things like HPNS will also have an effect.
You definately cant survive in a vacuum either with just a mask. Its why pressure suits are a thing.
The inflation of the parachute is spectacular, and knowing how hard it is, and how hard it is to test on earth - its just incredible.
And the skycrane was flawless - just so impressive how well it works. Too bad it flies off to crash and can't land gently somewhere to maybe be able to use it for its own purpose.
I do feel a bit sorry for the crane as well though :)
Tradeoff of course is if you skimp on the mass too much you'll get an unreliable sky crane and the whole thing is a dud.
Let's put it this way - if SpaceX didn't exist, I am sure Mars 2020 program would have had high resolution cameras and videos of the landing, along with all the excitement from the public. It's just inevitable as technology progresses. Keep in mind that social media wasn't a thing back then.
NASA/JPL and the Perseverence program isn't following anyone's footsteps here.
I'm looking for the link, but the NASA TV feed had it.
Edit: no video I can find; I'd just find satisfying to watch it hit the ground, in real time.
I wonder if they have the time/it's in their plan to send the bot over to record where it landed, the state that it's in, etc. If they want to simulate assess the damage, it would be cheaper to make heat shield 50 of them on Earth and drop them from 10-15km. I assume that every minute is gold and they already got a X-days meter-by-meter plan on what to do with little room for free exploration.
I was thinking the same, but more for the fact that surely the impact has made a hole of some description that could be interesting to look into. Take advantage of the already expended energy to penetrate the surface layers.
Did the memory write speeds increase, more sensitive CCD sensors, easier to send data back to Earth?
I'm sure there must be some technological reason this wasn't done before because it's simply stunning...
I think the new rovers still have these specialty cameras, but now that there are decently good mass-market cameras from the cellphone/consumer-electronics industry that cost $5 apiece and weigh a couple of grams, it seems like there's no reason not to throw a few of those onboard as well.
I would speculate, also, that video compression might be part of the story. Processors on these vehicles tend to be specialized radiation-hardened chips that are modified versions of several-generations-old general-purpose processors. I think Curiosity's was a rad-hardened 200MHz PowerPC chip, for example. I would bet that those chips just weren't up to the task of compressing high-quality video enough to make it practical to send, given the bandwidth constraints of transmitting from Mars to Earth.
The entire stack has improved. I suspect everything from radiation hardening, semiconductor manufacturing, CCD reliability and costs, image processors, colorometry, radio transmission, relay tech and orbiters, and not to mention the importance of great PR.
While they don't have much scientific value, they have an extreme amount of value in a related field: marketing.
I mean, if you want more money for your hot new space rover mission nothing sells it better than high resolution quality videos of it landing on the surface of another planet.
10-bit encoding via the three rings of colored panels; spells out "DARE MIGHTY THINGS".
> To date, no proof has been found of past or present life on Mars.
I wonder how long it takes until we get the first confirmation of some sort of life on Mars (e.g. something like bacteria or so).
Is this realistic already in the coming days?
> The rover's goals include looking for past Martian environments capable of supporting life, seeking out possible microbial life in those environments, ...
Also see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_on_Mars
Open source bits and shout out:
- The rover has an Intel-based PC running Linux.
- The video is compressed using FFmpeg.
- 30GB of data. 23 000 images
- 1 of 3 cameras failed when the mortar/parachute fired.
- Some other items were damaged/disrupted during the firing as well – not desired, but expected
- When packed, the parachute has the same density “as oak”.
- it trails at about 150 feet.
- The parachute pattern detail is intentional – sections to assist tracking different portions, etc.
- There appears to be some sort of secret message encoded in the parachute: “sometimes we leave messages in our work for others to find…give it a shot and show your work”
- see also https://twitter.com/lqqkout/status/1363982243010473986
- They did not get audio from the port-side EDL mic on descent due to a analog-to-digital comms malfunction
- specifically stated that it was not a hardware issue.
- The heatshield is aeodynamically stable and does not tumble/spin on ejection.
- No plumes from the ‘sky crane’ because the exhaust products of hydrazine are hydrogen and nitrogen.
- The only hint that the rockets are firing are the slight colour change due to the heat (pink tint).
- The photos/videos are the first views of the sky crane in action because it’s not something that can be tested on earth.
- The photos/videos from the sky crane looking down at the rover at transmitted to the rover via an ‘umbilical cable’
- The High-gain antenna has only now been deployed. That’s the one that allows the high speed 2mbps rover-to-orbiter link.
- The data rate changes depending on the different orbiter being used.
- “return 500-900 megabits per pass” and 2-3 overflights per night.
- And some of the biggest data relays were via European/ESA Trace Gas orbiter.
- There’s a shot of all the pieces and their landing/crash sites as taken from orbit. Heat shield, perseverance, back shell, descent stage/sky crane, parachute.
- There are two mics. One captured some audio on the surface. A gust of wind. (more interesting to me was the hum of the rover). It would be cool if the audio from the mics could be used to pair with the panoramic view to create spatial audio.
- Because the EDL mic is ‘off-the-shelf’ it is expected to fail quickly in the Mars environment. They have no immediate plans to use it for any kind of diagnostics during its lifetime.
- The cameras used are off-the-shelf commercial hardware with some modifications. Purchased from Point Grey Research (which was acquired by FLIR Systems).
- Most interesting mod: they had to replace some materials that could off-gas in space/vacuum and potentially deposit on the detectors.
IIRC, a downward facing camera is useful for precisely locating the landing location, but I'm having trouble seeing a purpose for the upward facing camera besides getting cool sky-crane video.
This is a brilliant engineering feat but I don't agree with the premise of that statement.
This is NASA's own mission statement:
"The goal of the Mars Exploration Program is to explore Mars and to provide a continuous flow of scientific information and discovery through a carefully selected series of robotic orbiters, landers and mobile laboratories interconnected by a high-bandwidth Mars/Earth communications network."
For some reason I find it unlikely we will find life, and I'm probably wrong. But I also get the feeling from the missions that unless there have been life, there is no reason to go to Mars. I mean there are so many reasons to go there even if we never find signs of life.
Sky cranes on Mars, HD and 360video, microphones on an suv sized rover.... man... I love living in the future!
I'm now sitting here wondering where it decided to crash land.
You want to use the other two to slow down as much as possible so you're not hauling extra fuel all the way to Mars. Ideally you'd be using ISRU units to generate your return fuel too.
We have to be prepared to 'die on Mars'.
A human with a rock/hammer could have accomplished the same thing in an hour, conservatively a day at most.