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djellison
I went to Mt Teide twice as a teenager - it's an astonishing, barren, beautiful place - the plateau on the top of Tenerife from which the final tip of the volcano spikes upwards.....

Anyway - I spotted this vid at the BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4767403.stm

Doug
akuo
Teide is a beautiful place. Some areas there really do look like Mars, one so much so that I actually took a "rover point of view" photo when I visited the place in 2003 for some amateur astronomy. As far as I could see from the low quality video clip, the rover testing was being done at that same place.
Click to view attachment
helvick
QUOTE (akuo @ May 13 2006, 12:22 PM) *
As far as I could see from the low quality video clip, the rover testing was being done at that same place.

I saw that clip on the BBC news last night - it definitely looks like the same spot.
Bob Shaw
Slightly altered!

Bob Shaw
MizarKey
I know it's a dog eat dog world out there, but did the MER team give the ESA team any pointers? They have had a couple years experience with driving a rover on another world.

Do you think the ESA team read Squyres book?
djellison
I imagine they've read the book - but seing as the most primitive drawings of the MER design were metaphorically ripped out of my hands by Cal-Tech Lawyers, I very much doubt there could or would be much feed-forward of informationa cross the pond.

Doug
Analyst
Very sad they have to invent the wheel again (not only the rover wheel itself). Is this because of a general closeness of NASA, JPL etc., because of ITAR or both? It is definitely not the best use of recources.

Analyst
djellison
Well - you could look at it 1000 ways, but I have no doubt whatsoever that ITAR would restrict any detailed transfer of information in some way...but there's also another factor

ESA "Hi, we're building a rover, we want some help in the design stage"
JPL "Sure, give us a really big fat chunk of money and we'll show you how to do it"
ESA "Oh- you want money. Umm. Arrr...that's European Tax Payers money and they'd rather we spent that in Europe on European engineers and technology"

Or...

EU Public "Why did they give all that money to pay for American stuff...why can't we build it ourselves here?"

Now of course, you could then argue "hmm - we spent all that money and it didn't work, why didn't we get the JPL guys to help build this thing" retrospectively...

Part legal, part political. I would love the EU just to go to JPL and order one 'off the shelf' for a sensible figure - but to be honest - building the rover isn't the problem.. EDL is.

Doug
climber
They (we) gona need MRO anyway for site selection, don't we? We are so new in Mars rovers concepts that starting nearly from scratch could lead to other viable solutions. Russians always come up with different and simpler solutions. But you're right Doug, EDL is THE issue.
karolp
Coming back to the design of the rover itself: when I sent this news about testing Pasteur (ExoMars rover) to a Polish friend of mine, he asked me if Pasteur is going to go faster or slower than the MERs and are they really going to power it only with solar energy instead of putting a few RTGs into it. I do realize speed is not essential in such missions but that kind of corresponds to overall range and travere times and the RTGs would be important for the total duration of the mission and number of sols covered... I would be terrribly thankful if someone got the answers...
ljk4-1
One of the attractions at the ILA2006 Space Pavilion is the full-scale ExoMars
rover mock-up based on an artist's impression of Europe’s next mission to Mars
and the first robotic mission with the European Space Exploration Programme
Aurora.

Full story:

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Aurora/SEMBR89ATME_0.html
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (karolp @ May 18 2006, 04:46 PM) *
RTGs would be important for the total duration of the mission and number of sols covered... I would be terrribly thankful if someone got the answers...


Karolp:

I don't think there's any ESA member state with RTG technology - SFAIK, only the Soviet Union and the US developed such things. I don't know if the Russian Federation has kept the technology going - and the US seems to have to scrabble around for the radioactives! Seems strange, considering how many nukes there are on Earth, that one of the few not-very-military uses should be so hard to come by...

Bob Shaw
helvick
QUOTE (ljk4-1 @ May 18 2006, 04:55 PM) *
One of the attractions at the ILA2006 Space Pavilion is the full-scale ExoMars
rover mock-up based on an artist's impression of Europe’s next mission to Mars

Interesting - there appears to be quite a lot of solar panel surface area. At a guess from looking at the mockup it looks like there should be enough real estate there for 3-4m^2 of cells.
And the whole panel deck can tilt.
It's no RTG but it should be well able to push out >1kw-hour/sol throughout an entire martian year in near equatorial regions or enable a 2kw/sol ~200 Sol mission at fairly high latitudes (up to around 60 deg).

Does anyone have any more specific info on the planned power requirements for ExoMars?
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (helvick @ May 18 2006, 05:22 PM) *
And the whole panel deck can tilt.



Helvick:

I don't think the panels tilt in the design we're seeing. It's a cute rover design, though!

Do you think a bolt of lightning would do it any good?

Bob Shaw
tty
QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ May 18 2006, 06:15 PM) *
Karolp:

I don't think there's any ESA member state with RTG technology - SFAIK, only the Soviet Union and the US developed such things. I don't know if the Russian Federation has kept the technology going - and the US seems to have to scrabble around for the radiactives! Seems strange, considering how many nukes there are on Earth, that one of the few not-very-military uses should be so hard to come by...

Bob Shaw


Pu 238 is produced by a completely different process (from Np 237) than weapon grade Pu 239 (from U 238) The only link with military nucleonics is that most of the Np 237 probably originally comes as waste from military Pu 239-producing reactors.
I wouldn't recommend the normal run of russian RTG's, they were Sr 90-powered and since Sr 90 produces a lot of gamma radiation, in contrast to Pu 238, they required quite heavy shielding - on the order of 500 kg. But then they were mostly used for powering remote lighthouses and the like.

tty
monitorlizard
QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ May 18 2006, 11:15 AM) *
Karolp:

I don't think there's any ESA member state with RTG technology - SFAIK, only the Soviet Union and the US developed such things. I don't know if the Russian Federation has kept the technology going - and the US seems to have to scrabble around for the radiactives! Seems strange, considering how many nukes there are on Earth, that one of the few not-very-military uses should be so hard to come by...

Bob Shaw

Russian RTG's weigh much more per watt of electric power generated than their U.S. counterparts.
That and component lifetime were the reasons the Soviets never launched an outer planet mission.
A Russian RTG would surely break the mass limits for Exo-Mars rover.
Bob Shaw
Here's that ESA PR shot, but with ExoMars moved to the fourth planet:

Bob Shaw
Bob Shaw
Have a look at the CAD drawing of the proposed Mars Sample Return 2003 lander - recognise the drill?

http://utenti.lycos.it/paoloulivi/nuke.html

Bob Shaw
BruceMoomaw
Oh, yes -- the drill on that thing would have been provided by Italy, along with a package of subsurface scientific sensors fastened to the drill head to examine the walls of the borehole. Quite a detailed document was put out by Italy on that design before the 2003 sample return mission turned out to be another of Dan Goldin's fever dreams (I've recorded it, but don't know if it's still available on the Web). It's not surprising that Italy retained the drill design for ExoMars -- although whether they can actually cram it onto such a small rover is open to serious question.
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