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elakdawalla
Leonard David reports that "the Phoenix lander team is going forward with turning on the spacecraft’s microphone."

I'm working on finding out more details. (For instance, I want to know if this also means they'll get to use the camera itself, maybe get a different perspective on Holy Cow, if the camera's pointing the right way.) In the meantime, enjoy hearing what Bill Nye and others would sound like on Mars before they asphyxiated.

Yay!

Emily
Stu
That's fantastic news! Being able to play kids the sound of the wind blowing on Mars would be brilliant! As you so eloquently put it, "Yay!" smile.gif

Having said that... and without wanting to blow on anyone's chips here ... is this a sign that the Phoenix team is maybe sensing that the sand is really rushing through the hourglass now, and the time has come to start trying cool and unusual things..?
ugordan
QUOTE (Stu @ Sep 18 2008, 05:56 PM) *
is this a sign that the Phoenix team is maybe sensing that the sand is really rushing through the hourglass now, and the time has come to start trying cool and unusual things..?

It's probably the realization that at this point, turning MARDI on can't jeopardize the success of the mission anymore so they might as well do it. I don't see it as running against the clock. I'm glad they decided to turn it on, was hoping it would happen sometime during the extended mission.
fredk
I wonder if it will be sensitive enough to hear wind directly? Maybe some cavity somewhere on Phoenix will resonate in the wind and make a whistle or hum? Maybe the sound of the solar arrays flapping in the wind would be easier to hear, if it could carry directly through the body of Phoenix?
elakdawalla
It's hard to know what, if anything, it'll hear; it was intended to listen to descent noises (whoosh and all that), so is probably pretty insensitive to the level of sound that currently prevails at the landing site -- but we'll see. We also have to see if it still works or not. So -- hope, but don't expect, to hear anything!

--Emily
ElkGroveDan
It would be great if they could acquire audio during soil sampling and ice scraping.
ugordan
The motors in the robotic arm should produce a buzzing sound when operated, right?
elakdawalla
OK, here's a challenge for someone(s) with a facility for 3D visualization. The question is, what would MARDI be looking at if it took an image right now? More specifically, could it see any of the ice patches in Holy Cow? Attached is an image of the underside of the lander, in which you can see MARDI (it's the thing covered with a blue cover, actually a glove, just like the glove the technician is wearing!) I've tried to puzzle it out but am afraid of errors and am hoping a couple of people here can try to figure it out independently. Also relevant: its FOV is 66 degrees.

--Emily
Astro0
Perhaps we'll hear this... rolleyes.gif
Click to view attachment

Sorry...couldn't resist. laugh.gif
djellison
OK - If Phoenix is like a clock...

Solar Panels are at 2.30 and 8.30
The arm is mounted at about 1.30
MARDI looks to be at about 7 - sort of behind where the elbow of the arm was when folded flat.

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/14819.gif
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/14845.jpg

I would GUESS - the area marked green...possibly getting a corner of one bit of the exposed stuff - but with MARDI being pointing slight away from straight down, I'm not confident.



PDP8E
doug,


In the second image you posted above ( http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/14845.jpg) it appears the telltale 'cord' has the bend (or similar) that we have seen from the first Sol it was deployed....

cheers
dshaffer
QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 18 2008, 06:01 PM) *
OK - If Phoenix is like a clock...

Solar Panels are at 2.30 and 8.30
The arm is mounted at about 1.30
MARDI looks to be at about 7 - sort of behind where the elbow of the arm was when folded flat.

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/14819.gif
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/14845.jpg

I would GUESS - the area marked green...possibly getting a corner of one bit of the exposed stuff - but with MARDI being pointing slight away from straight down, I'm not confident.


Doug - I had thought that MARDI was fixed-focus (probably at Infinity) - so anything a few feet away would be out-of-focus, no?
elakdawalla
You would think that, but actually it does pretty well at short distances. See the bottom of this blog entry.

--Emily
dshaffer
QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Sep 18 2008, 09:15 PM) *
You would think that, but actually it does pretty well at short distances. See the bottom of this blog entry.

--Emily



Thanks - I had missed that BLOG entry.

Mardi has an excellent depth of field.
mcaplinger
QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 18 2008, 04:01 PM) *
MARDI looks to be at about 7 - sort of behind where the elbow of the arm was when folded flat.

FWIW, MARDI is just about exactly behind the met mast as seen from the SSI, and it's pointed 22 degrees outward from nadir.
Paul Fjeld
If the camera's 22 degrees pointing out, and slightly away, to the west, from the nearest jet, then I don't think MARDI can see the HolyCow plume effect. I make the centerline of the camera about 18 inches from the nearest jet in the science deck plane (I think X/Y). The camera is below the deck some 5 inches, and that's about 3 feet (?) from the surface. A little trig tells me they'll miss it by half a foot, guessing the size of each "skating rink" to be maybe a foot and a half in diameter(??)

That's back of the envelope, so it's just a guess.
elakdawalla
OK, I've got more details for all of you! Enjoy.

--Emily
djellison
Round up a bit. 66 deg FOV, 22 deg out-from-Nadir pointing.

That means 22 degrees of FOV inside of Nadir from the camera, and 44 degrees outside of Nadir.

Assuming a height of, say, 100 cm...

I make it 40cm of terrain inside a point directly under MARDI and 96 cm of terrain outside it ( Tan Theta = Opposite (the distance on the ground) over Adjacent ( the height of Mardi above the ground ) )




climber
Now that we "know" where Mardi is, can we determine the mike position relative to the incoming (main) wind and weather it'll pick up the wind strait or be shadowed by Mardi itself?
mcaplinger
QUOTE (climber @ Sep 19 2008, 01:53 AM) *
can we determine the mike position relative to the incoming (main) wind...

The microphone is more or less omnidirectional, and pointed in the same direction as the optics. You can see it in photos of the instrument; for example http://www.msss.com/phoenix/mardi/illustra.../phx_mardi2.jpg (you probably knew this already.)

I don't know where the prevailing wind is from.
ustrax
Now...wouldn't it be great to capture another DD sequence with a wooooosh as soundtrack?... smile.gif
Paul Fjeld
QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 19 2008, 02:11 AM) *
Round up a bit. 66 deg FOV, 22 deg out-from-Nadir pointing.

That means 22 degrees of FOV inside of Nadir from the camera, and 44 degrees outside of Nadir.

I think your arithmetic is wrong. The centerline of the camera is moved out 22 degrees. So straight down you get 33 degrees inside and outside of nadir. When you move the centerline out, it's 33 - 22 degrees inside of nadir.
jumpjack
It would be really cool to hear Phoenix digging Mars soli!
I stay tuned for news... Pleas keep us informed! smile.gif
ElkGroveDan
QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Sep 19 2008, 06:33 AM) *
The microphone is more or less omnidirectional, and pointed in the same direction as the optics. You can see it in photos of the instrument; for example http://www.msss.com/phoenix/mardi/illustra.../phx_mardi2.jpg (you probably knew this already.)



Glad to see the Swiss Military were part of the MARDI team.
Decepticon
When can we expect science return?
CosmicRocker
There was a small comment about when the microphone might be turned on in this news release.

QUOTE
The Phoenix mission, originally planned for three months on Mars, now is in its fifth month. However, it faces a decline in solar energy that is expected to curtail and then end the lander's activities before the end of the year. Before power ceases, the Phoenix team will attempt to activate a microphone on the lander to possibly capture sounds on Mars.

It sounds as if this experiment has a rather low priority. Is that because the event might trigger a fault?
centsworth_II
QUOTE (CosmicRocker @ Oct 3 2008, 11:36 PM) *
There was a small comment about when the microphone might be turned on...

Could they be planning to turn the microphone on only after there is insufficient power for digging? I was hoping to hear the sounds of Phoenix scrapping the surface of Mars. I suppose the next most interesting sound would be the solar panels creaking in the wind.
Deimos
SSI and MECA-OM are noisy.

I don't think the microphone is being deliberately delayed. It is just not the highest priority thing to work on--using equipment in a "new" way after months of thermal cycles is something that needs to be approached with care. There is special concern during RA use. That's not to say it won't happen, but I'd be surprised if it happened first.
mcaplinger
Does anyone know where the SSI exposure times might be tabulated? I need them to compute some exposure times for another instrument on the surface that may be operated soon rolleyes.gif
01101001
QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Oct 8 2008, 05:47 PM) *
Does anyone know where the SSI exposure times might be tabulated?


Like this?

QUOTE
Integration time 0-335 s in steps of 5.12 ms


From Texas A&M University Surface Stereo Imager Vital Statistics

From Texas A&M University Phoenix Surface Stereo Imager (SSI)
mcaplinger
QUOTE (1101001 @ Oct 8 2008, 06:00 PM) *
Like this?

No, like what exposure time a specific image was taken with.
elakdawalla
Exposure information can be found in the header for all the JPEG images. Attached is a .csv file (zipped) with the metadata from all the JPEGs available to date, stripped from the headers using Midnight Mars Browser.

--Emily
mcaplinger
QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Oct 8 2008, 06:37 PM) *
Exposure information can be found in the header for all the JPEG images.

Thanks for the CSV file! Apparently very few extent JPEG viewers can read the EXIF tags for some reason.
elakdawalla
Hmm. If I want to see a header, usually I just open the JPEG file in a text editor. --Emily
Skyrunner
QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Oct 9 2008, 04:46 AM) *
Apparently very few extent JPEG viewers can read the EXIF tags for some reason.


Irfanview works a treat. Just hit the 'image information' button or press 'i' and hit hit the 'comment' button or press 'c'.
Juramike
QUOTE
"Hello...hello...(tap, tap, tap)...is this thing on? I just flew here all the way from Earth, boy are my solar panels tired! (pause for laughter) It's great to be here on the martian arctic plain...Do we have any martians out there tonight?...."


But seriously, when is the microphone going to be activated?

The recordings of Martian sounds would make a dramatic backdrop for every image of Mars ever captured.

I'd hate to have the only sound sent to Earth be a 5-second clip of a solar panel snapping off from frost. mad.gif
[/vent]

mcaplinger
QUOTE (Juramike @ Oct 15 2008, 07:33 AM) *
The recordings of Martian sounds would make a dramatic backdrop for every image of Mars ever captured.

Let me try to lower your expectations. The audio is only digitized at 8 KHz (telephone quality at best), so even if it does work, IMHO it's not going to "make a dramatic backdrop" to anything.
ugordan
Please say it's not 8 bits/sample!
djellison
It's not 8 bits/sample

(you said please)

If it's roughly the same as the '98 one, the ADC is 12bit.

Prepare to be unamazed by the quality. http://www.planetary.org/programs/projects...microphone.html
ugordan
I am indeed unamazed, but at least the sample depth is 12 bit. 8 bits is pretty much useless and very noisy for any appreciable dynamic range.
mcaplinger
QUOTE (djellison @ Oct 15 2008, 10:16 AM) *
If it's roughly the same as the '98 one, the ADC is 12bit.

It's got nothing in common with the Planetary Society microphone, but it's not 8 bits.

"DSP561xx processors are noteworthy because they include a sigma-delta codec on-chip. The sigma-delta codec provides linear, analog I/O with 16-bit resolution over a bandwidth of approximately 4 kHz. Motorola states that the codec has a signal to noise-plus-distortion ratio of greater than 60 dB. "

As always with ADCs, though, caveat emptor about how many of the stated bits are actually significant...

QUOTE
Prepare to be unamazed by the quality.


Indeed.
fredk
Well, I wouldn't say that we exactly need high-fidelity surround-sound here! Do we expect much Martian sound above 8 kHz? Obviously higher signal-to-noise improves our chances of hearing anything at all, but I for one would be thrilled to hear even a sub-telephone-quality recording of the creaking of the solar panels flexing in the wind.
Stu
Sneak preview of the first sounds to be recorded by the mic...

cool.gif
ConyHigh
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/ai....html?series=60

Smith talks about using the microphone.
fredk
From the BBC:
QUOTE
We'll start slowly, just turn it on and make sure it records sound, and we'll try and make some noise to make sure it's working. We'll try scraping ice with our robotic arm blade and we can bang a few pots or something. Then we'll listen just for the Mars sounds by themselves.
MahFL
Bang a few pots....I like it.
Enceladus75
I really hope that they get the microphone up and running before Phoenix kicks the bucket. Even just a few minutes of hearing the whisper of the Martian winds would be pretty cool.
CosmicRocker
QUOTE (fredk @ Oct 21 2008, 11:04 AM) *

Thanks, fredk. I enjoyed that article. This lander's mission was really quite complicated, was it not? Since Phoenix is not a rover, it was interesting to see how the team assigned priorities. Organics, isotopes, ions, and whatever else they hoped to find, this has been a really fascinating planetary adventure. smile.gif I want to see another one. Hearing something will be fun, but it's not the highest priority on my agenda. I am fully prepared to begin banging pots at any time, if that is required.
tedstryk
Does anyone know if they ever got a chance to use the microphone? Also, is it still being considered (although banging with the arm is obviously out of the question?). It seems that when they are back up and running, while the most obvious source of noise is gone, it might be worth giving it a go now (in other words, they don't have nearly as much to lose considering so many of the instruments are out of operation).
01101001
QUOTE (tedstryk @ Oct 31 2008, 01:00 PM) *
Does anyone know if they ever got a chance to use the microphone?


The Twitter feed (October 29) gave an indication or two that it might be tried before too long, but then the storm hit.

QUOTE
The mic may still be turned on. But, it was never intended for use on this mission & it never had a heater- so it may be a longshot


If they had done it I think it would have been reported on Twitter or a news release.
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