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First 2009 MSL Landing Site Workshop
Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 24 2006, 07:05 PM
Post #16





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QUOTE (edstrick @ Jan 24 2006, 10:03 AM)
I'd really like to see a retrospective on the MER site selection. They had Meridiani dead on, but in retrospect, Gusev was a bad pick, turned lucky only by the total luck of the rover's long life and relative closeness of the hills.

Some of the geologists proposing sites were saying "I TOLD YOU SO" after the lakebed turned out to have impenetrable armor of some tens (probably) of meters of basalt. I'd like a good idea how the "it's not lakebed, it's basalt" arguements lost during the selection process.
*

Frankly, I think that's an oversimplification of what really happened. I don't think it's fair (let alone accurate) to imply that all those who favored Gusev Crater be described as positing "it's a lakebed, not basalt," which is the corollary to your descriptor above of the "I TOLD YOU SO" crowd. Most scientists knew going in that Gusev had been mantled by massive deposits of aeolian and volcanic sediments; the hope was that buried lacustrine sediments would be accessible at the surface, most likely in crater ejecta blankets. And the lousy landing ellipse didn't help, either mad.gif

This post has been edited by AlexBlackwell: Jan 24 2006, 07:26 PM
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 24 2006, 07:18 PM
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QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Jan 24 2006, 01:47 PM)
I find it hard to imagine that MSL will not go to one of the layered outcrop areas.

I wouldn't be surprised if that turned out to be the case. I also think everyone should bear in mind that MSL is primarily a geological mission, with one of the goals to search for paleo-habitats; it is not per se an astrobiological mission. The landing site that is selected undoubtedly will reflect this.

EDIT: Given the stated MSL science objectives, I probably should have been more precise above, so I'll substitute "geoscientific" for "geological."

This post has been edited by AlexBlackwell: Jan 24 2006, 09:40 PM
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Jan 24 2006, 10:06 PM
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Of course, one reason they went for Gusev is that more scientifically attractive sites (the bottom of Valles Marineris, Athabasca) turned out to be unacceptable for engineering safety reasons. By the time of the final selection, the only possible choice was between Gusev and a low-wind but scientifically less interesting site in Elysium. As far as I'm concerned, they did the right thing -- as Alex says, while a lot of Gusev's floor was known to be lava-flow covered, there was considerable hope that they could get close enough to some other kind of more interesting exposed surface (maybe through crater ejecta), and in the end, thanks to the rover's staying power, they did just that. The Columbia Hills seem to be providing us with a typical portrayal of what the surface of Noachian Mars was like, as opposed to the unusual Meridiani environment.

But this also proves again that we urgently need a better landing system -- both much smaller ellipses (which would have opened up a tremendous number of nice alternatives for the MERs), and a more durable final landing system. The sooner we develop these, the better -- and if we have to actually delay some landing missions in order to acquire these technologies, we should.

As for MSL: it is indeed definitely premature to peg the clay deposits as probable landing sites -- especially given the huge amount of information MRO should provide us -- but I'd definitely agree that they are the front-runners at the moment. The OMEGA team has emphasized that these were far more hospitable locations for the appearance of microbial life than the acid-deposited sulfate beds like Meridiani; and one thing that was emphasized repeatedly at last January's meeting of the Mars Strategic Roadmap group was that MSL's most important purpose is to locate a place that's rich in trace organics that may be biological fossils. If MSL finds such a place, it might be advisable to cut to the chase by eliminating any 2016 rover and pouring its money directly into accelerated development of a sample-return mission to the same place. If MSL does not find trace organics, I think it's virtually mandatory to fly some kind of mission in 2016 to look elsewhere -- whether it's the AFL, a second MSL, two small MER-class rovers with organic detection capability (if this is possible), or a stationary Deep Drill lander.

In this connection, by the way, the new MEPAG report contains one alarming eyebrow-raiser about a possible serious show-stopper in the search for Martian organics which I have never heard a word about before -- and which I'll describe in this site's thread on the MEPAG report.
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Feb 14 2006, 05:00 PM
Post #19





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Registration for the workshop is now (apparently) open. Click here or here to register and/or submit an abstract(s). The only problem, though, at least for me, is that the features (which use Java scripts) don't seem to work at the moment.
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Mar 8 2006, 07:39 PM
Post #20





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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
SECOND ANNOUNCEMENT SECOND ANNOUNCEMENT
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

FIRST LANDING SITE WORKSHOP FOR THE
2009 MARS SCIENCE LABORATORY
May 31st-June 2, 2006
Pasadena, CA

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
SECOND ANNOUNCEMENT SECOND ANNOUNCEMENT
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to remind you that abstracts for the First Landing Site Workshop for the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory mission (MSL) are due on March 28, 2006 (no exceptions!). The workshop will be held May 31 through June 2, 2006, at the Pasadena Conference/Convention Center in Old town Pasadena, CA. Information on local hotels can be found at http://www.pasadenacal.com/hotelmotel.htm. Web sites describing MSL landing site selection activities are http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/ and the USGS PIGWAD site http://webgis.wr.usgs.gov/msl.

There will not be a registration fee for the workshop, but interested individuals wishing to attend should indicate their intent to do so via http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/ by April 1, 2006, so that we can ensure adequate meeting space.

SUMMARY OF WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES:

As noted in the first announcement, the purpose of the first MSL Landing Site workshop is to identify and evaluate potential landing sites best suited to achieving stated mission science objectives within the constraints imposed by engineering requirements, planetary protection requirements, and the necessity of ensuring a safe landing. A NASA-appointed Landing Site Steering Committee and the Mars Science Laboratory Project will use the results of the workshop as the basis for prioritizing and subsequently narrowing the list of potential landing sites under consideration. Community consensus with respect to high priority sites will also be solicited. In addition, the workshop will provide a means for identifying potential landing sites as targets for imaging by the MGS, Odyssey, MRO, and perhaps other orbital assets. Note: The number of potential landing sites is enormous because MSL entry, descent, and landing capabilities enable a small landing error ellipse, high elevation (<2 km), and wide latitudes (60) relative to prior Mars missions.

ABSTRACT SUBMISSION:

As the deadline for abstract submission approaches, we would like to remind you that a series of relevant documents have been posted on the two websites: http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/ and http://webgis.wr.usgs.gov/msl. These include a "Users Guide" describing the engineering constraints imposed on potential landing sites, a package on the MSL mission, science objectives, and instruments, and the governing document on planetary protection. It is anticipated that most presentations will be oral, though there may be some additional space for poster presentations. All persons interested in participating in the workshop must review these constraints carefully to ensure that proposed sites can be considered.

Individuals wishing to advocate the overall types of sites or a particular site or sites at the workshop are required to submit an abstract electronically via http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/. Individual abstracts can include multiple proposed sites, but are limited to one page in length in LPSC abstract style. Abstracts must be electronically submitted in either PDF (strongly preferred) or in Word (DOC) file format. Detailed instructions on abstract submission are also posted at this web site.

The First Announcement includes summaries of the science objectives, engineering and planetary protection constraints, and the types of papers being sought. The program for the workshop will be constructed from the abstract submissions and will be sent around with the Third Announcement in April 2006.

All members of the scientific community are encouraged to participate in this important activity. Input from the science community is critical to the identification of optimal landing sites for the MSL. We look forward to your involvement in these activities!

Regards,

John Grant
Matt Golombek
Co-Chairs, Mars Landing Site Steering Committee
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Mar 10 2006, 08:43 PM
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QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Mar 8 2006, 07:39 PM) *
Web sites describing MSL landing site selection activities are http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/ and the USGS PIGWAD site http://webgis.wr.usgs.gov/msl.

Did anyone notice the new MSL-related documentation (see either website above) that came out with the second announcement? There are a couple of engineering constraints-related documents and one (a letter from PPO John Rummel) related to planetary protection.
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Phil Stooke
post Apr 20 2006, 01:53 AM
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Abstracts are up on the Ames site:

http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/...op/program.html

Phil


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RNeuhaus
post Apr 20 2006, 02:24 AM
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Preliminary atmospheric hazard assessment for MSL EDL

Interesting article. This article says that the northern hemisphere has softer maximum wind speed in general than the southern hemisphere ones. The average maximum wind speed increases from the north to south of hemipshere except to inside of Hellas basin. The strongest wind are around the tharsis mountains. The sites of Meridani Planum and Gusev craters are in the maximum wind speed average

The maximum in southern middle latitudes is a product of the polar jet, which is strongest during the winter. There is also a modest correlation of wind speeds with topography; the highest terrain has the strongest winds.

Hence, the southern hemisphere is not a good landing zone for MSL since the restriction for landing is that the wind won't be over than 30 m/sec from 10 km to surface. But, there is more investigation since the wind speed varies according to the windows of time of day.

Rodolfo
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RNeuhaus
post Apr 23 2006, 03:30 AM
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A target for future mission. Probably, the next mission, MSL will be the next turn.

If Martian life ever did exist, it could probably have only survived during the first era, the team reports. And evidence for that life is most likely to be found in the Syrtis Major volcanic plateau, in Nili Fossae and in the Marwth Vallis Regions, two regions rich in the clay minerals abundant during Mars' youth. The researchers added that these areas would make compelling targets for future lander missions.

Where do you want to visit? rolleyes.gif

Rodolfo
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edstrick
post Apr 23 2006, 07:06 AM
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The clay-rich areas interpreted as being formed in very early low-acidity "warm-wet" conditions are a very enticing target.

I would be very reluctant to go to an area like the badlands of northeast Meridiani where hundreds of meters of sulfate (presumably) rocks are exposed in intricately eroded deposits, if those are the only dominant type of non-basalt rock.

Similarly, I'd be reluctant to go to an area where the only really interesting "different" type of rock exposed is the clay-bearing deposits.

The highest science value landing sites for MSL will be ones where there is profound geologic diversity with materials of widly varying age and composition within the primary mission driving requirement range of the landing ellipse.

A second requirement should be that the materials be well exposed. If Spirit had landed outside the dust-scoured low albedo region in Gusev (in 2/3 of the landing ellipse!), the surface would have been much more pervasively dusted with geology obscuring redish storm fallout dust. Imagine the difficulty of Spirit doing it's geology in the hills if 90 or 99% of the rock and soil surfaces were more or less uniformly dusted and red.

I have a soft spot in my innards for the Melas Chasma site that was a real candidate for Opportunity before models indicated high down-valley winds would be a hazard to landing. I don't know the current state of OMEGA composition mapping in that area, but the geology of the Valles floor deposits in much of that area appears wildly diverse in structure and apparently composition. It wouldn't hurt that the view from inside the canyon would be bogglaceous.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Apr 23 2006, 09:41 AM
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In that connection, keep in mind that the Mawrth Vallis area which seems to be one of the richest exposed deposits of Noachian phyllosilicates also alternates them with Hesperian flows of unaltered olivine -- and the phyllosilicates are frequently exposed on the upper slopes of giant Hesperian outflow channels.
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edstrick
post Apr 23 2006, 09:54 AM
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The site is certainly a place to take a very close look at... as is (I'd have to check) Aram Chaos. I'm a sucker for scenery, but science has an overwhelming priority. And from what I've seen as I've skim-browsed the abstracts, both regions have serious geologic complexity within fairly short driving distances.
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Guest_Richard Trigaux_*
post Apr 23 2006, 11:42 AM
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Please if somebody had some idea of the rover capacity? The length of path it may do during the entire mission, or in one day, the expected mission duration, wheels diametre, navigation capacity, etc. I think it is important, as probably none site is of "primary science interest", on the countrary they may try to reach a more interesting site and after visit neighbouring sites. (To the countrary of Spirit and Oppy, which were bound to one site only)

To recall, the total surface of Mars is about like Earth's continents, and it takes 10,000kms to go on the other side. This is still far beyond the possibilities of any planned rover, so they need to carefully select their sites.
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Cugel
post Apr 23 2006, 02:19 PM
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http://www.nuclearspace.com/a_2009_Rover.htm
This article talks about 'miles'.

http://space.com/businesstechnology/060118_msl_wheels.html
Is talking about 'hundreds of meters per day'.

Other sources talk about 10 km. during its lifetime of 2 Earth years.

To speculate a bit about really max. performance, if it can do 250 meter drives on average a sol and it would drive on 25% of the sols this would result in: 180 x 0.250 = 45 km. during its lifetime on Mars.
Impressive, but I think we're still talking about a single site mission really. There is no way it would chalk up hundreds of kilometers. Besides being nuclear powered I think the greatest performance increase must come from software development. With all the lessons from MER under the belt it must be possible to build really better autonomous driving programs. I would think.
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Phil Stooke
post Apr 23 2006, 03:24 PM
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We do get mixed messages about daily and total range, probably from sources written at different times as their thinking evolves. I think the MSL workshop website says (somewhere) that 20 km in the primary mission is the current expectation.

Most likely, there would be intensive study of one site with limited driving, then a drive of a few km and intensive study of a second site, and so on. A bit like Opportunity at Eagle, then Endurance, then Erebus. An ideal site will be one with a safe landing point, excellent science at several points within about 10 km for the primary mission, and a good range of targets for an extended mission.

To my mind the key to range will be the nature of the software governing driving. If the site has a fair bit of relief, as I would expect, the ability to plan drives over a few hundred metres will be limited even with MRO data. A longer drive in one day will require automated hazard avoidance capability. But if you detect a hazard, what do you do? If you stop and wait for instructions, driving will be slow. If you can try multiple paths until a safe route is found to the designated target, driving longer distances in a day is more feasible. For instance, we might imaging the planners giving instructions to follow a pre-planned route, but offering alternative routes to the same place based on MRO data. If MSL is stopped by an unexpected hazard, it could search locally for a way round the hazard, or retrace its steps to a branch point and follow the second alternative route, without intervention from the ground. That would be faster. But I don't know anything about the strategy to be followed on MSL.

Phil


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