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monitorlizard
The whole thing is a bit confusing to me. Europe needed U.S. involvement in ExoMars because it didn't have enough money to do the complete mission on its own. A U.S. launcher helps quite a bit. But where does ESA find the money for instruments to put on the American Mars Science Orbiter if it didn't have enough for all of ExoMars? I guess I can understand it a bit if international cooperation is the main reason for the arrangement, and not just completing ExoMars.

It might be helpful costwise if some non-U.S./non-ESA instruments were on the Mars Science Orbiter, but I haven't heard of any such arrangements.
djellison
QUOTE (monitorlizard @ Jun 25 2009, 09:41 AM) *
But where does ESA find the money for instruments to put on the American Mars Science Orbiter if it didn't have enough for all of ExoMars?


Instruments don't tend to be centrally funded at ESA. Furthermore, as long as the instruments are cheaper than the LV - then ESA is 'up' on the deal.
SFJCody
I'm sure most people have already seen this article, but just in case you haven't:
Joint Mars plan on talks agenda
vjkane
QUOTE (AndyG @ Jun 17 2009, 07:56 AM) *
The future seismology side of things is covered in the BBC article.
...bit of a no-brainer, but I suppose once the ESA have successfully proved a system that can deliver packages to the Martian surface, it will eventually follow.

Don't be too sure it's a no-brainer. Mars network missions have been seriously proposed to 30 years and I've read at least a dozen proposals. Only mars sample return has been jilted more times.
vjkane
QUOTE (monitorlizard @ Jun 24 2009, 09:29 PM) *
An interesting article, but I don't quite see how the arrangement they describe is possible. The U.S. Mars Science Orbiter's projected funding is already so tight that a HiRISE-class imager has been dropped from the baseline payload. Carrying ExoMars in the same launch means a larger, more expensive rocket. It's a nice idea, but this would cost the U.S. more money, not save money (by combining U.S. and European missions) as I have previously read.

NASA claims that it has about $700m for the 2016 opportunity (I don't see where they get that much and still meet other commitments, but that's another story). That was assumed to me enough for an orbiter that follows up on the methane discovery, possibly enough for meteorological studies, but not for a hi-rise class instrument and the ultrastable orbiter needed to use it. Adding the exomars orbiter will bump up the launcher cost by $100m(?) but adding hi-rise beefing up the orbiter which I think is about $300m.

I'm traveling so don't have access to all my data so the specific numbers are probably wrong but the ballpark is probably right.
Mariner9
I had read that there was a lot of concern about going too long between landed missions, for fear of loosing experience and skillsets that had built up during MER / MSL. This arrangement with ESA pushes out any future NASA lander by at least 2 years (which was probably going to happen anyway).

Has there been any talk about NASA/JPL having involvment in the ESA part of the mission, even in a technical advisary role, to help mitigate that problem?
SteveM
Does anyone know what these two bullet points on the last page of NASA's Mars Exploration Program Status briefing imply for ExoMars?

– Accommodation of 1200kg ExoMars Decent Module Composite
represents an unacceptable level of technical risk for both Agencies

– Architecture options of acceptable risk are beyond either agency’s
budgets

They look pessimistic to me, but what do I know?

Steve M
imipak
BBC: Europe's Mars rover slips to 2018.


(Edit: So the plan now seems to be:

2016: European orbiter, small static lander.
2018: ExoMars, plus "a slightly smaller rover in the class of the US Spirit and Opportunity vehicles"
2020: "a network of instrumented static landers." )
Paolo
QUOTE (imipak @ Jul 25 2009, 07:56 PM) *


if confirmed, that would be 9 years after the original 2009 target!
climber
wacko.gif Let's remove all ExoMars topics from the data base mad.gif
Enceladus75
I think, at this stage, that it looks doubtful if ExoMars will ever get off the ground, as its schedule is slipping unacceptably and costs mushroom. sad.gif

What sort of static lander did ESA plan for Mars? Is this still going ahead?
Fran Ontanaya
It makes sense that they wait for a methane map and a skycrane if ExoMars is suited for a 'follow the chemistry' mission. If they launched in 2016 without pinpointing a methane source, she could end spending two years roving to reach it.

Methane is such a game changer that not rethinking the next missions would be a risky strategy, I think.
monitorlizard
There is a MEPAG meeting next week (starting July 29), which will have both U.S. and ESA presentations. Hopefully, several things will be clarified about current plans for future missions.

Any forum members going to attend?
Paolo
I hate to say it, but the Mars architecture with ExoMars in 2018 makes sense...
monitorlizard
The new issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology (July 27, p. 36) has a particularly bleak article about ExoMars.
It's the first time I've seen an ESA official actually say that cancellation was a possibility. Of course, that's a last resort option, and many other things will be considered before it is. As I said before, I'm looking forward to the MEPAG meeting this week for more official news.
monitorlizard
This is the quote from the Aviation Week article about ExoMars that I think will be of the most interest to forum members:

Jean-Jacques Dordain, the ESA director general, acknowledged at the Harwell inauguration that he is still in no position to say what ExoMars will look like or when it will be launched. Moreover, he hinted that if rapid agreement cannot be reached, the mission could be scrapped altogether. "A (final) proposal will be on the table by September, and I need to have a final decision by the end of the year," said Dordain, adding that the agency "can't continue spending money (on ExoMars) forever."
monitorlizard
There are several very interesting downloads of presentations from the current MEPAG meeting available at:

http://mepag.jpl.nasa.gov/meeting/jul-09/index.html

I know some forum readers are curious about the recently mentioned "ESA small lander" for the 2016 Mars orbiter mission. The ESA presentation reveals the following:

--the "small lander" is primarily an entry-descent-landing technology demonstrator designed to help ESA develop experience for later missions
--this will include heatshield instrumentation for critical measurements
--lander (using vented airbags) will only last a few sols on the surface, during which it will relay EDL data and a few atmospheric measurements and images
--weight will be less than 200 kg
--landing site will probably be Meridiani as it is considered the safest place to land on Mars

BTW, there is also a lot of info on the Mid-Range Rover NASA wants to launch on 2018 or 2020. Turns out it is larger than MER (but much smaller than MSL), with up to 40 kg science payload.
stevesliva
Is the small lander more of a stepping stone towards a network science mission? It would seem to have less utility for roving missions.
Phil Stooke
I would guess it's the demonstrator for MetNet, which was to fly on Phobos-Grunt but could not be made ready in time. Or at least a similar mission. Like Mars Pathfinder, as you say it seems most useful for a network mission.

Phil
Paolo
ExoMars news in Nature http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090805/pdf/460675a.pdf
Stu
I thought ExoMars was becoming a Europe/US mission? Sounds like it's now a Europe/Russia mission...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090819/sc_af...ussiaeuropemars

huh.gif
monitorlizard
There is updated information on the ESA/NASA 2016 orbiter/lander and 2018 ExoMars mission in the October 19 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology (you have to be a subscriber to access the article online). Most interesting is that the 2016 lander has grown from 200 kg (see post 267 in this thread) to 600 kg. This would allow a "large battery-powered science payload." ExoMars would basically stay the same as previously envisioned, with NASA supplying the launch vehicle and skycrane EDL system, and ESA supplying everything else. The battery-powered 2016 lander would have to do its science mission pretty quickly. I wonder if that might change to solar power in the next iteration of planning?
djellison
I assume battery powered is just an inappropriate phrase to mean not RTG powered.
Fran Ontanaya
Quoting Wikipedia, newer Li-ion cells can provide up to 130 Wh/kg. If the science beyond the 60th day or so is going to be mostly redundant, they may want to skip all the extras that deployable solar panels require.

djellison
http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:qtGkY...=clnk&gl=uk

We're looking at 140 Watts at 1AU. That's 65-ish-watts at Mars distance - so 1 kg of Solar Array would give you perhaps 360 Whrs PER SOL. (assuming 1 W turns into approx 6 Whrs over a 12 hr day)

I can't imagine any scenario other than a DS2 type mission where you would just take batteries and die when they run flat.

vjkane
The *current* plan is for a battery powered engineering entry-descent-landing demonstration.

While I am the first to want a long-lived station, those instruments come with more complicated data storage, relay, communications, deployment, and probably most expensive of all, testing and validation requirements. Those requirements violate the goal for a minimal cost engineering validation. I presume that those are the issues that are keeping the system battery powered.

djellison
But riding to the ground with 600kg of rover using Skycrane isn't an EDL demo opportunity.
climber
"Sight". I'm wondering if mission design changes will be more than launch date changes or the other way around. "Sight".
vjkane
QUOTE (djellison @ Oct 19 2009, 04:34 PM) *
But riding to the ground with 600kg of rover using Skycrane isn't an EDL demo opportunity.

The 2016 will not use skycrane. It will use a an airbag system. This type of system and scale of lander would be very useful for putting down network science stations.

Only the 2018 ExoMars uses the skycrane. NASA will have invested several hundred million dollars in developing, validating, and flying this system. It will put a rover within a small landing area. Without this, ExoMars would probably be looking at MER sized landing areas, which severely limits the choice of sites.
djellison
So a battery powered EDL tech demo in 2016, followed by an entirely unrelated landing in 2018.

What's the demo for, exactly. What future payloads are planned within the performance envelope of the tech test.

The entire ExoMars project is a mess. It needs properly ripping up and starting from the beginning again.

Since it's conception - it's not just stayed a static distance in the future like most doomed projects - it has accelerated further into the future and now, after 5 years, lies further away than it ever has before. http://twitpic.com/lacef



vjkane
QUOTE (djellison @ Oct 19 2009, 08:11 PM) *
So a battery powered EDL tech demo in 2016, followed by an entirely unrelated landing in 2018.

What's the demo for, exactly. What future payloads are planned within the performance envelope of the tech test.

From what I can gather, the member nations would not improve any plan that did not demonstrating entry and landing.

Doing a full scale system sized for ExoMars would be quite expensive, and would lack the precision landing system being developed for MSL in the skycrane system (there's also a lot of technology for guided entry, too). I believe that the ExoMars rover gains a lot by having a much wider selection of sites available by using the skycrane system.

I'm much less sold on the small EDL demonstration, although it would be useful for a future (2020?) network mission. If they would put a solar panel and a seismometer on the system, then I think it would be a big win. Putting bounds on seismic activity -- even for a few months (single string electronics) -- would be a big help in planning the eventual network mission.
monitorlizard
A few months ago when the baseline was for a 2016 EDL demonstrator at 200 kg with a couple of instruments, it made sense and seemed to be a lowcost add-on to the 2016 orbiter. But now at 600 kg with a large science payload, it seems like a strain on the cost-cap for the 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions. I'm thinking the added mass may be an attempt to put the Humboldt payload (that was eliminated from the ExoMars proper mission) back into the game by placing it on the 2016 lander. The battery power for the lander is confusing, unless quickly taken data is deemed acceptable as a way to keep costs down.
remcook
Aaaargh.! This mission is changing every month for the last few years. It must drive the people involved completely mad. I hope they will actually build something at some point....
mps
I suspect you're right about the Humboldt. Wasn't the ExoMars itself supposed to be mainly a technology demonstrator, before it was overloaded with instruments?

QUOTE (monitorlizard @ Oct 20 2009, 09:18 AM) *
The battery power for the lander is confusing, unless quickly taken data is deemed acceptable as a way to keep costs down.

Sound reasonable, as according to ESA, the lander’s operational life will be “days, or perhaps a couple of weeks, but certainly not months” (http://www.spacenews.com/civil/dordain-win...-with-nasa.html) Just a nice way to avoid those terrible costly mission extensions. rolleyes.gif
djellison
That story says

ESA EDL test 600kg battery only short life lander in 2016 launched on Atlas V.
THEN
ExoMars landed with Skycrane Atlas V launch in 2018

This makes no sense whatsoever to me. None. Exomars will have to be scrapped and started from scratch to justify a skycrane landing (ExoMars was about 200kg. MSL is more than trebble that)

And you could make this 600kg lander LIGHTER by giving it solar arrays and have a longer life. What thought process justified an Atlas V's launch, for a week of 600kg lander?

Furthermore - a 600kg lander is neither a test for a networked lander system (to heavy) nor appropriate for landing the orig Exo Mars.

At this point - I actually want the entire plan scrapped. It's utterly nonsensical. For the mass budget of the 2016 launch - you could do Netlander (which is what ESA should have been building since 2004)

Were 5 years into this plan - and they've just thrown away the two elements that appeared to make a tiny bit of sense and started again.

A complete and utter mess. An embarrassment. I'm clinging on to the hope that there's just a lot of lost-in-translation and bad reporting going on here.
vjkane
QUOTE (djellison @ Oct 20 2009, 07:45 AM) *
This makes no sense whatsoever to me. None. Exomars will have to be scrapped and started from scratch to justify a skycrane landing (ExoMars was about 200kg. MSL is more than trebble that)

. . .

A complete and utter mess. An embarrassment. I'm clinging on to the hope that there's just a lot of lost-in-translation and bad reporting going on here.

I believe that the ExoMars landing system will have a similar landing footprint a MER (unguided, ballistic entry). None of the landing sites currently under consideration for MSL, if memory serves me right, could be done with the MER landing system (footprints includes lots of nasty terrain). If ExoMars uses the NASA system, then many interesting sites open up for exploration.

Also, if NASA flies its rover in 2018, then the two rovers will land together using the same skycrane. There's a lot of synergy between deep drilling (ExoMars) and surface studies (NASA) that are hard to fit onto a single rover.

As for still doing an ESA lander, I suspect but have no knowledge, that this is a quid pro quo to fund specific companies in specific nations. This would be along the lines of, "I promised to fund my portion of ExoMars if capabilities x and y were developed by companies in my nation." Alternatively, Europe has some deep seated need to have its own entry and landing technology, although they don't have the missions on the roadmap (beyond vague hand waving) right now to justify that.

I'll agree that this is a mess. Politics often produces sausages. Whether or not this sausage is palatable, I leave to the local constituents.
djellison
http://www.marspages.eu/media/archive4/exo...ichtSep2009.pdf

Two rovers delivered to the same place?

I'm at the shaking-head-in-disbelief stage now.
AndyG
Look on the bright side: they could take pictures of each other.

(Reads .pdf and discovers this is #1 on the list of benefits)

blink.gif

Andy
Juramike
Hmm. I don't quite get it. Aside from just the neat-o pictures, the only scientific reason I see is for two rovers in the same spot is for doing subsurface RADAR bounce passes from one rover to another.

Couldn't they just do it from the landing platform to the rover?

(Saves an extra rover)
cndwrld
I've got no inside information on this, but the plan seems reasonable to me. Not from a science perspective, but from a programmatic one. Its nice to dream up the perfect science mission, but without the funding to do it the thing sits in a drawer. Both programs were a bit advanced, with money sunk into them. To reduce costs, both an ESA and NASA goal, combining them might make sense. If you can get them into a single launch vehicle, you save a lot of money. To do that, you can't have two separate landing systems, as the weight and space requirements probably won't let it work. So the easier way is to modify an existing platform to drop both landers. Not optimal for science, perhaps. But it gets two landers on the surface. And what exactly is so terrible about having two at the same location? We've never done it before, and it opens up some intriguing possibilities. When we think about sending manned missions, no one seems to complain about sending two astronauts instead of one. And if the two are not overly complimentary, then we still have two rovers on the surface, two viable missions that didn't get cancelled or descoped due to cost concerns, which can wave 'adeu', and go their own ways. So in an era of tightening resources, I'm happy to see them finding ways to keep us moving forward.
vjkane
QUOTE (djellison @ Oct 21 2009, 12:56 PM) *
http://www.marspages.eu/media/archive4/exo...ichtSep2009.pdf

Two rovers delivered to the same place?

I'm at the shaking-head-in-disbelief stage now.

It's not as dumb as it seems. ExoMars only has a drill for gathering samples, and the Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher (MAX-C) (NASA's proposed mid-class rover) only has an arm. One studies the deep subsurface, and the other the surface.

In theory, you could combine the two, but I think you're pushing the bounds of what even could be put on MSL. The MAX-C also will cache samples for a future sample return, which turns out to require quite a complex (and big and heavy) set of mechanisms. No way you could put an arm, a deep drill, and the cacher (is that a word, yet?) on MSL and still have instruments. There has been some words to the effect that ESA and NASA should look into seeing if MAX-C could receive samples from the ExoMars drill.
vjkane
The presentation that Doug links to has a nice summary of the plan. It does raise the question, "Consider the eventuality of a single rover in 2018, whether US or European. How would the science
mission change then ? How large would the rover need to be ?!"

Here's some speculation. I think that combining a big sample analysis suite a la MSL and ExoMars, a deep drill, an arm with a suite of instruments, and the cacher seems like way too much. However, the MAX-C instruments are all on the arm (and they are quite advanced, even though they are only contact instruments). The simplest idea would be to add the arm and its instruments to ExoMars. This, of course, pushes off the acquisition of samples.

If I were a betting man, my guess is that the roadmap will become trace gas orbiter in 2016, ExoMars enhanced in 2018, NASA's MAX-C in 2020, and perhaps a network mission in 2022.
nprev
QUOTE (vjkane @ Oct 21 2009, 07:31 AM) *
There has been some words to the effect that ESA and NASA should look into seeing if MAX-C could receive samples from the ExoMars drill.


Don't like to hear that. The last thing needed right now is pressure to add more complexity of any sort.
vjkane
QUOTE (nprev @ Oct 22 2009, 01:31 AM) *
Don't like to hear that. The last thing needed right now is pressure to add more complexity of any sort.

We're talking about a mission that won't fly for another 8 years. It's okay to ask what can be done.
nprev
Mmm...VJ, I must very respectfully disagree. Given the rather turbulent history of this project to date, it seems prudent to me to define (and most of all confine) the mission with a fixed set of objectives & corresponding payload as soon as possible in order to favorably leverage this extra schedule.

Requirement creep has been the death of many, many projects in all disciplines. Locking down the design as early as possible would not only provide a clear budget path but also permit robust testing, thus improving its performance & enhancing mission assurance.

At this point, they really, really need to inspire confidence in their decision-makers, or it's all over.

(Apologies if this is OT, and we can certainly take this discussion elsewhere if needed!)
climber
QUOTE (vjkane @ Oct 22 2009, 05:14 AM) *
We're talking about a mission that won't fly for another 8 years. It's okay to ask what can be done.

Theoriticaly, that leave them enough time to check out for right Titanium
vjkane
QUOTE (nprev @ Oct 22 2009, 04:49 AM) *
Mmm...VJ, I must very respectfully disagree. Given the rather turbulent history of this project to date, it seems prudent to me to define (and most of all confine) the mission with a fixed set of objectives & corresponding payload as soon as possible in order to favorably leverage this extra schedule. ...

At this point, they really, really need to inspire confidence in their decision-makers, or it's all over.

Are we talking about the same mission? MSL needs to be held firmly to a single plan of record to launch within two years.

ExoMars and MAX-C will not launch until 2018, nine years from now. Normal definition, development, testing, and launch of a mission is 4 - 5 years. That suggests that there is more than enough time to revisit the mission.

While the ExoMars project wanted to start cutting metal, they had a fantasy plan because the desired capabilities and the budget did not match. As a result, ExoMars has suffered a four year slip and two major de-scopings. It now will be re-examined to see what makes sense now that there is an equally competent partner (NASA) that will bring several hundred to two billion dollars to the project. (My guess is that this will end up as a ESA rover with a drill with a NASA arm with instruments. Willing to bet beer on this one.)

So I disagree and wish we were co-located so that we can talk about this appropriately over beers.

I'd also be delighted to publish your thoughts on my blog if you care to send them. I'm seldom in doubt but often wrong.
centsworth_II
QUOTE (vjkane @ Oct 22 2009, 12:22 AM) *
....Normal definition, development, testing, and launch of a mission is 4 - 5 years. That suggests that there is more than enough time to revisit the mission....

The MSL (Curiosity) science package was selected five years ago, seven years before launch.
vjkane
QUOTE (centsworth_II @ Oct 22 2009, 05:52 AM) *
The MSL (Curiosity) science package was selected five years ago, seven years before launch.

True, but the instruments were selected five years before the planned launch this year (the additional two years come as a result of a schedule slip). I cannot recall a mission that froze its requirements nine years before the planned launch.

Based on watching missions go through development and experience slips, I think that more complex missions would benefit from longer development times such as four years in phase A for a total of 7 to 8 years in development. MSL definitely would have benefited from this. ExoMars worries me because its capabilities are cutting edge and ambitious and taken on by an organization that has not developed sophisticated entry, landing, and descent systems nor rover systems. (At least that I can recall.)

I think that both NASA and ESA need to look at the lessons of MSL and take a step back in terms of the ambitions of their mid to late 2010s rovers. As I've said in previous posts, I think that ExoMars and MAX-C will merge into a single 2018 rover with both agencies sharing their areas of expertise and flying what their budgets can support. I suspect that the highly complex sample caching system will not fly on that mission. It's big, heavy, and complicated.

nprev
QUOTE (vjkane @ Oct 21 2009, 09:22 PM) *
Are we talking about the same mission? MSL needs to be held firmly to a single plan of record to launch within two years.


I thought we were; I was talking about ExoMars. smile.gif My viewpoint is that an extra 2-3 years above & beyond the normal development time could be a real gift, if managed properly. We seem to disagree on how that time should be used.

QUOTE
I'd also be delighted to publish your thoughts on my blog if you care to send them. I'm seldom in doubt but often wrong.


Sounds good, and thank you for the invitation. I'll buy the first round. laugh.gif
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