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Full Version: Was the Columbia astronauts memorial plaque imaged by MER-B?
Unmanned Spaceflight.com > Mars & Missions > MER > Opportunity
RoverDriver
Most of you are aware that on the rear side of the High Gain Antenna mounted on both rovers there is a plaque commemorating the astronauts who died on the STS107 flight. This plaque was imaged by the rover Spirit on Sol 2 (NAVCAM)
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all...00P1505L0M1.JPG

The question is, was it ever imaged by Opportunity as well? If so, can you point me to the Sol#?

Thanks!

Paolo
Tesheiner
I did a query on the pancam database searching for images with the same approximate pointing. There were actually some shots taken, for example during sols 005 and 013, but I found none with the HGA turned backwards.
RoverDriver
QUOTE (Tesheiner @ Apr 21 2009, 12:27 PM) *
I did a query on the pancam database searching for images with the same approximate pointing. There were actually some shots taken, for example during sols 005 and 013, but I found none with the HGA turned backwards.


I updated my query, the MERA image was from NAVCAM.

Paolo
Tesheiner
Oh, just a clarification: the "pancam database" contains information about all engineering and science cameras. I did the query on both navcam and pancam pictures.
djellison
I remember when Spirit landed and we saw a picture of it there, thinking "Hmm - I wonder if they'll avoid taking a picture of the one on Opportunity"

And unless I missed it (and I really don't think I would have) - I don't remember thinking "Oh - NOW they've taken a picture"

Obviously, it's an unusual orientation for the HGA to be in, so it would have to be done on purpose - but after a while, I was beginning to think that was intentional - something that I've since learnt isn't true.

So - fwiw - just from memory - I'm 99% sure that Opportunity has never imaged her Columbia plaque.

This is Dan Crotty's Calib version of Spirits Pancam observation of her HGA on Sol 2.
PaulM
I have often wondered why the HGA was not turned to give another view of the the aluminium plaque. I always assumed that turning the HGA without good reason was not a good idea because it introduces a risk of the rover loosing contact with Earth. Perhaps a rover could be turned at the end of a drive so that the HGA naturally pointed away from the pancam mast when it tried to find Earth.

Perhaps the excuse to photograph this plaque could be to study the effects of long term exposure to the Martian environment on the plaque.

One thing that has always interested me about Spirit's SOL 2 picture is that the back of the HGA included a second plaque bearing the word "jpl" when it was imaged on Earth:

http://spaceflightnow.com/mars/mera/040106columbia.html

EDIT: I changed references to "plastic stickers" to references to "aluminium plaques" when I read the article in "spaceflightnow.com".
djellison
The HGA only points to the earth sometimes -it's not earth pointed all the time. However, to get this picture, the HGA has to point at the ground - something they don't tend to do very often and certainly not something that could be done whilst conducting downlink or uplink via HGA.

Your 'plastic stickers' comment (now edited to say Plaque rather than non space qualified plastic sticker) is a bit short of the mark. It's a plaque, not just stickers. And the fact that you see it on Mars now means that it HAS been flight qualified. It would not have been put on that vehicle without going thru a swathe of flight-readiness environmental tests.
marsophile
Is it certain that there was a Columbia plaque on Opportunity? The Opportunity landing site was meant to commemorate Challenger versus the Spirit site memorializing Columbia. I did see an announcement by O'Keefe that it was planned to put the Columbia plaque on both rovers, but maybe the announcement was an error and maybe it was only put on Spirit? What eveidence do we have that the Columbia plaque was actually placed on both rovers?
djellison
QUOTE (marsophile @ Apr 22 2009, 04:27 PM) *
What eveidence do we have that the Columbia plaque was actually placed on both rovers?


An actual rover driver telling us there is one?

Building two MER's was an act of adding redundancy - and that redundancy extended to carrying a dedication to the sad loss of Columbia and her crew.

The Columbia/Challenger landing sites were names after they got there. Had Spirit not landed successfully, I strongly suspect Opportunity would have been the Columbia Memorial Station.
mhoward
Kind of explains why it might not be photographed, though, if it was a backup memorial. I always assumed Opportunity's was different, not knowing any better.
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