QUOTE (Tom Tamlyn @ Aug 9 2012, 09:45 PM)
I agree that it's a little surprising and frustrating that what would seem to be a simple housekeeping question about the mission status isn't readily available. The absence of a formal press release announcing approval of a fifth extension may be due to the shoestring issue mentioned by Emily upthread; it may also be due to the fact NASA's fiscal year 2013 budget currently appears to be pending before Congress.
OTOH, there doesn't seem to any reason to think that Odyssey is going to be shut down on October 1. If you're really interested in the budgetary and bureaucratic minutiae documenting the hand-off from the fourth extension to the fifth extension, it would be etiquette to show that you've dug into the budget and planning materials available from the NASA portal before asking for help. Also, note that one of the forum's strongest policies is ixnay on oliticspay.
I've read the forum guidelines, so I'm aware of the ban on politics. And it strikes me as a very good idea, having seen plenty of interesting discussions get threadjacked in other forums.
I actually did several searches, using terms like "Odyssey extension", "Odyssey fifth extension", "Mars Odyssey 2012 budget", and the like. This has turned up some interesting stuff, like the MEPAG assessment of the next decade of NASA's Mars architecture, but no details on Odyssey.
I realize that as a new poster, I have no track record here. Possibly making my first post a string of questions was a mistake! If so, my bad. But going forward, it seems like it would be a bit tedious to preface every question with a description of failed search efforts. Would a simple statement that "I've tried looking for this, but have been unable to find it" suffice?
The MSL landing press kit, which is featured in the MSL FAQs and USEFUL DOCUMENTS
this the MSL forum
, provides some basic information about Curiosity's telecom link with Odyssey and MRO, along with lots of other detailed information (it's a really useful basic resource). There's also a link to an exceptionally detailed discussion of the MSL's telecommunications system design.
The MSL press kit is indeed a great resource, and one of which I was unaware. Thank you!
The detailed discussion you mention: I assume this is the Descanso article. Clicking through to that, I find on page iii that it's #14 of a series of articles... and that article #6 in the series was"Odyssey Telecommunications" byAndre Makovsky, Andrea Barbieri, and Ramona Tung! Ah ha. And sure enough, here it is
. It's a 2002 article that of course does not mention Curiosity -- but it's darn interesting reading anyhow. (And it shows that NASA was anticipating multiple Mars surface missions well over a decade ago, and designed Odyssey's comm capabilities accordingly.)
Thanks again for your helpful response,