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Giving thanks for MGS
djellison
post Nov 23 2006, 09:07 PM
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Here in the UK we don't do Thanksgiving - the closest thing we have is Christmas really - however given that most of what we discuss here has a US origin, it's certainly right to mark what I think is a one of the more sensible national holidays in the world.

So - given the not so great new recently, and the fairly dim outlook - I though it appropriate to give thanks for the people and the talent behind, and the results from Mars Global Surveyor.

When Mars Observer was very first planned.....there was no plan for a camera on it...and eventually a manager said "You CAN'T send a spacecraft to Mars without a camera...." and that is when MOC was selected.

HiRISE owes its existance to MOC - because without MOC we would not have learnt, so very obviously, that much much higher resolution teaches you much much more. That may seem obvious now - but back in the late '80s and early '90s - it wasn't. It truely was a proof of purpose in getting high res pics. It's perhaps fitting that MGS has survived long enough to pass the baton on to it's decendant MRO, the 4th Orbiter sent to Mars since MGS, but the first to carry a camera of higher resolution than MOC.

MGS took us to Meridiani, it showed that Gusev was a safe place to go, it helped Odyssey and MRO in their aerobraking, it gave us - for a while - a better elevation map of Mars than we had of Earth. It was the first to image another Martian spacecraft, the first to use aerobraking at Mars, It mapped the progress of global dust storms as well as seing tiny dust devil tracks on the ground - it was Weather Satellite, Spy Satellite, Communications Satellite, and, most of all, a Global Surveying Satellite - the first part of the modern Mars Exploration program which has brought us to where we are today - Three working orbiters, two working rovers, a lander in final assembly and a long range rover on the drawing board.

It was the Viking Orbiter of the Internet generation, and bridged the gap, fed the science, gave us the data we needed when things went wrong in '99, and took the torch forward beyond any reasonable expectations.

It taught us of the Mars we know today, and for that, today, I am thankfull.

Doug
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Guest_Myran_*
post Nov 23 2006, 09:35 PM
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One epitaph for MGS? But thank you, nice reading.

Perhaps you already know, but the reason they didnt plan for a camera were that Mars Global Surveyor was one of the follow up missions to conduct the studies that Mars Observer should have done if it had been sucessful.

Instead of sending a complete replacement, NASA decided not to 'put all eggs in a basket' and this time there wasnt supposed to be any camera since the orbiter would have other instruments onboard to carry out studies orginally planned for Mars observer.

But yes, the images from MGS did put the Mars exploration into one even higher gear.
Before Mars Observer there hadnt been any US mission at Mars since Viking!
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ustrax
post Nov 23 2006, 11:38 PM
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I don't have the silghtest idea of what Thanksgiving is about but reading Doug giving thanks to something is worthful... wink.gif
Thankful to MGS, thankful to MRO, thankful to Mariners...Thankful to all those soviet failed missions...
Yes...MGS unfolded a whole new Mars for us...But we must think ahead...HiRiSe is there, the rovers are STILL there...Phoenix is near and MSL will be on it's way...
Then us...
MGS...Like Bartolomeu Dias before Cabral...
I like that idea... smile.gif


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odave
post Nov 24 2006, 01:22 AM
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For ustrax and other non-US members who may be interested, our Thanksgiving holiday is a commemoration of the "first harvest" feast held in 1621 by the Pilgrims who founded the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. This harvest came after surviving their first hard year after arriving in the New World. The modern celebration has since been broadened into a day of expressing thankfulness for anything important in our lives. And we eat a lot. Ugggh - food coma coming on.....zzzzzzzzz smile.gif

Canada also celebrates a Thanksgiving holdiay, but it falls in October and I don't think it's related to the Pilgrims.

You can read more here


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nprev
post Nov 24 2006, 01:36 AM
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A worthy tribute to MGS, Doug. She certainly did give us much to be thankful for...actually, she'll probably be best remembered as the pioneer that launched the second great wave of Mars exploration, which will hopefully cumulate with a permanent manned presence.

Thanks, MGS, and especially thanks to all the great people who worked so hard to make this seminal mission happen! smile.gif


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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 Nov 24 2006, 02:03 AM
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I'm not sure, but I think the Canadian Thanksgiving is a mutated version of the British traditional Harvest Festival - not a holiday but a church service to give thanks for the harvest. Here it probably grew out of agricultural fairs into a holiday to match the US version. We have to have it earlier to avoid the frost, which was nipping at my pumpkins as I biked to work this morning.

(oh - uh - thanks for MGS, FSM)

Phil


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mcaplinger
post Nov 24 2006, 02:17 AM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Nov 23 2006, 01:07 PM) *
So - given the not so great news recently, and the fairly dim outlook - I though it appropriate to give thanks for the people and the talent behind, and the results from Mars Global Surveyor.

Thank you, Doug, but please be advised that we haven't given up on MGS. Still many things left to be tried.

The best public account of the history of the MOC can be found at http://www.space.com/news/spacehistory/mal...rt1_000623.html

And people tend to forget that the instrument on MGS is MOC2, the Mars Observer flight spare. A partial account of the assembly and testing of MOC2 is at
http://www.msss.com/mars/global_surveyor/camera/MOC_2.html


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Disclaimer: This post is based on public information only. Any opinions are my own.
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Rob Pinnegar
post Nov 24 2006, 03:33 AM
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QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Nov 23 2006, 07:03 PM) *
I'm not sure, but I think the Canadian Thanksgiving is a mutated version of the British traditional Harvest Festival...

That could be... so much in Canada is of British origin (or French, of course).

Here in Alberta there are a bunch of mountains named after the Battle of Jutland, for example... Mount Indefatigable, Mount Invincible, Mount Evan-Thomas, and so forth.

As for Canadian Thanksgiving, it's moved over the years... at one time it was the third or fourth Monday in October... now it's usually the second. Regardless of its origins, it's pretty much the same idea as Thansksgiving south of the border.

I like the idea of giving thanks for MGS. It's an original.
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djellison
post Nov 24 2006, 09:25 AM
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QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Nov 24 2006, 02:17 AM) *
we haven't given up on MGS. Still many things left to be tried.


And rightly so - but I think it's when you suddenly find that the thing might be gone you realise that you've taken it for granted and not taken the time to appreciate it's results. As many said during the MERA Sol 18 issue, it's when things go wrong that the reality of just how fine a line it is that connects us to these probes strikes you.

Oh - and great Article MC - I hadn't seen that one.

Doug
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Borek
post Nov 24 2006, 10:35 AM
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QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Nov 24 2006, 03:17 AM) *
The best public account of the history of the MOC can be found at http://www.space.com/news/spacehistory/mal...rt1_000623.html


Unbelievably low quality pictures in that article... must be JPEG at q=0.1

Borek
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Guest_Myran_*
post Nov 24 2006, 02:52 PM
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QUOTE
mcaplinger wrote: And people tend to forget that the instrument on MGS is MOC2, the Mars Observer flight spare.


Thank you mcaplinger, I did have Mars Observer in the back of my head when I posted since I did remember MGS was one Mars Observer replacement. But when writing the post I didnt tend to remember that the camera that took all the images we have marvelled about in fact was the Mars Observer spare. smile.gif

(It was posted 10.35 in the night - here we go again! tongue.gif )
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diane
post Nov 24 2006, 03:17 PM
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While giving thanks for MGS, it's also very important to give thanks to the people who made it happen, from planning through construction, testing, launch, operations, analysis, and distribution of those fabulous photos. Thank you to everyone involved!
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CosmicRocker
post Nov 25 2006, 06:49 AM
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So, this is where everyone is. I was thinking that the inactivity in the MER sections of the forum were due to a tryptophan induced lethargy caused by the massive turkey consumption on this side of the pond...Then I learned that that is a myth. Myth or not, I know I tend to nod off after eating more than my fair share of anything in the afternoon.

I thought Doug's starter was a nice reminder of some of the accomplishments that MGS has added to our growing understanding of the evolution of the inner planets, regardless of the fact that it isn't officially lost, yet. Like EGD, I am also an optimist, and I am glad to learn that the information currently available does not preclude the recovery of this amazing scientific instrument. As noted here and elsewhere in this forum, MGS has revolutionized our knowledge of Mars and it's history. As nprev pointed out, the discoveries of this device launched the next wave. Here is to the third wave...

MRO is "up there" and working, but we have little knowledge of how long or how well our newest Martian gizmo will perform. That's not meant to denigrate our new gizmo, it's just that we don't yet know.

...and yes Diane, we must give thanks to the amazingly talented persons who have taken us to this next level.


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lyford
post Nov 26 2006, 05:46 PM
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QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Nov 23 2006, 06:17 PM) *
A partial account of the assembly and testing of MOC2 is at
http://www.msss.com/mars/global_surveyor/camera/MOC_2.html

Thank you so much for this link - it was wonderful to see the day to day workings of the team.


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dvandorn
post Jan 10 2007, 08:37 PM
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Since it seems all but certain that MGS is lost forever (I simply cannot imagine it being revived at this point, after this amount of time out of contact), I think it's time to have our own memorial.

MGS showed us the real Mars as we never even guessed it could have existed. The detail it has provided has been invaluable in understanding Mars as well as we do today.

Hail MGS! May her data live long and result in still more surprises down the line.

-the other Doug


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