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Nasa announces new rover mission to Mars in 2020
Drkskywxlt
post Dec 8 2012, 04:42 PM
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Emily, I think the caching technology is reasonably well-advanced. I'm not sure about the TRL of the system, but I'm disconcerted that caching wasn't explicitly included in the announcement. A caching "instrument" shouldn't have to compete with other instruments on this mission. Plain and simple, if the rover doesn't cache, it shouldn't fly.
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vjkane
post Dec 8 2012, 04:44 PM
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Do you know the technology readiness level?


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pospa
post Dec 8 2012, 04:59 PM
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QUOTE (vjkane @ Dec 8 2012, 06:44 PM) *
Do you know the technology readiness level?

Not sure how far they are these days but in June 2010 A Sample Handling, Encapsulation, and Containerization Subsystem Concept for Mars Sample Caching Missions looked like this:
http://www.planetaryprobe.eu/IPPW7/proceed...ion7A/pr502.pdf
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mcaplinger
post Dec 8 2012, 05:29 PM
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QUOTE (Drkskywxlt @ Dec 8 2012, 09:42 AM) *
Plain and simple, if the rover doesn't cache, it shouldn't fly.

I am just a lowly engineer and I build what scientists tell me they need, but I don't see how this follows. It's not like the Decadal Survey has to be inviolate. We all have to adapt to fiscal and political realities.

I have yet to see a science rationale for what returned samples will be used for and how they should be selected with enough detail to inform engineering. Caching without return is clearly a waste.


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Disclaimer: This post is based on public information only. Any opinions are my own.
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Drkskywxlt
post Dec 8 2012, 07:07 PM
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QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Dec 8 2012, 12:29 PM) *
I am just a lowly engineer and I build what scientists tell me they need, but I don't see how this follows. It's not like the Decadal Survey has to be inviolate. We all have to adapt to fiscal and political realities.

You're right, the government has no obligation to follow the Decadal Survey. But, the scientific community was very clear. There are guidelines in the Decadal on their recommendations would be adapted to different budget situations. And in this case, if someone on high is unwilling to commit to sample return, then Europa is the next priority. The Europa folks have done their homework to develop a compelling scientific mission for ~$2B.

QUOTE
I have yet to see a science rationale for what returned samples will be used for and how they should be selected with enough detail to inform engineering. Caching without return is clearly a waste.

As far as can be understood, the samples can be cached on Mars' surface waiting for a MAV/ERV indefinitely. The scientific rationale for sample return is spelled out in the Decadal and a variety of MEPAG documents. I'm not saying Mars isn't scientifically compelling unless we do sample return, but I am saying it's less scientifically compelling relative to any of the other recommended flagship missions in this budget environment.
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MahFL
post Dec 8 2012, 07:13 PM
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QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Dec 7 2012, 03:24 PM) *
There's no technical or schedule reason we couldn't have better imaging on InSight. As to cost, how much is it worth?


My understanding was the small team was not setup to do a lot of imaging, the system will record the earthquakes, if any, and send the data to Earth once every month or so. They only need a Navcam mosaic to record the local area, and help deploy the 2 experiments.
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vjkane
post Dec 8 2012, 08:12 PM
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QUOTE (Drkskywxlt @ Dec 8 2012, 11:07 AM) *
You're right, the government has no obligation to follow the Decadal Survey.

Without naming branches of government, the Surveys are chartered by the government with the expectation that they will be followed. They were set up to avoid the previous situation where groups of scientists lobbied for their favorite mission.


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djellison
post Dec 8 2012, 08:17 PM
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QUOTE (Drkskywxlt @ Dec 8 2012, 08:42 AM) *
A caching "instrument" shouldn't have to compete with other instruments on this mission. Plain and simple, if the rover doesn't cache, it shouldn't fly.


The planetary science community produced the Decedal survey

The planetary science community will choose the 2020 payload

If the motivation to do caching was in the Decadal, it should end up on the rover by the same means. Peer review and community consensus opinion.

I see no reason in griping about a payload that hasn't even had an AO released yet.
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nprev
post Dec 8 2012, 08:17 PM
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MOD NOTE: Please keep rule 1.2 in mind during this discussion.


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A few will take this knowledge and use this power of a dream realized as a force for change, an impetus for further discovery to make less ancient dreams real.
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Phil Stooke
post Dec 9 2012, 12:39 AM
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I think all this concern is very premature. NASA has simply announced a flight opportunity. The definition of rover goals and equipment is still to come, and it's not NASA's role to decide them in advance. The science team has that role and will almost certainly be guided by the Decadal Survey. Chances are they will request input from the community and get an earful about the Decadal in the process.

Phil



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machi
post Dec 9 2012, 10:50 AM
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Many possible instruments for future rover(s) can be found in International Workshop on Instrumentation for Planetary Missions (IPM 2012) abstracts.
Some of them are capable of detecting heavy organics and even radiometric dating - 1152.pdf and
are feasible in 2018-2022 time frame.


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dmg
post Dec 9 2012, 04:41 PM
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Many concepts and lab experience/testing of prototypes for sample handling and caching were presented at the Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration workshop held at the LPI in June. I watched a number of the presentations and the sessions are all still available on Ustream. I don't remember and have not taken the time to look for exactly which session & which elapsed time are about sample handling & preservation for caching, but they are there if people want to find them. All would require substantial development & testing, but lots of seemingly promising ideas. See: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsconcepts2012/

For what it's worth, though, I agree with those who believe that the complexity is very high for the decisions of responding to the current fiscal and political climate vis a vis following the Decadal Survey's preference for caching & MSR vs. doing an interesting but not MSR-enabling mission [at lowest cost with as many spare parts and proven hardware as possible]. I want ALL of the planetary missions to occur (and physics like eLISA, etc.) -- but almost all of the outer planets missions might return data after I'm dead (I'll be 75 - 80+) anyway which is a very sobering thought. It takes a long time to get to outer planets and the radiation environment at Europa is a huge & costly problem. Anything can be done with enough money, but...... the prospect for THAT is currently low and the future is hard to judge. Mars is reachable every two years; we know how to land highly capable platforms, and like it or not it does engage the public (c.f. the flap over "earthshaking results").

So I say give Dr. Grunsfeld & his crew (and MPPG) some credit for trying to do the best in a very tough situation.
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Drkskywxlt
post Dec 9 2012, 06:31 PM
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I'm not griping about a hypothetical payload, I'm griping that this is a mission that has no declared science goal. The way to operate is define the science that needs to be collected and design a mission around it. This is a mission that is having the science designed around a rover. It's backwards.
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mcaplinger
post Dec 9 2012, 06:48 PM
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QUOTE (Drkskywxlt @ Dec 9 2012, 11:31 AM) *
This is a mission that is having the science designed around a rover. It's backwards.

I can appreciate the sentiment, but the idea that the science comes first in a mission is, in my experience, somewhat idealized. You can't sensibly design a mission without any engineering constraints. Usually there is a mission concept with total cost, rough LV selection and spacecraft total mass, then a science definition team, and then an instrument AO. This doesn't seem a lot different from that.

At any rate, I didn't think that criticizing mission selections was what this forum was about.


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Drkskywxlt
post Dec 9 2012, 06:58 PM
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QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Dec 9 2012, 01:48 PM) *
I can appreciate the sentiment, but the idea that the science comes first in a mission is, in my experience, somewhat idealized. You can't sensibly design a mission without any engineering constraints. Usually there is a mission concept with total cost, rough LV selection and spacecraft total mass, then a science definition team, and then an instrument AO. This doesn't seem a lot different from that.


It is a bit idealized, but look back at previous missions and there is a general driving science goal, e.g., MER was about finding surface evidence of water-altered geology, MSL is about characterizing habitability of past environments. A science traceability matrix is not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for "the 2020 rover will determine suitable samples and cache them for return to Earth on a future mission".
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