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Paolo
the GEMS Discovery finalist has been renamed InSight and now has its own website: http://insight.jpl.nasa.gov/
Greg Hullender
I was going to say I was amazed that we've reached the point where a Mars lander can be attempted on a Discovery budget. Then I found out that Pathfinder did it too: http://www.marsnews.com/missions/pathfinder/ That got me to wondering how much progress we've made in 20 years. I note that InSight should weigh about 350 kg--almost exactly the same as Pathfinder did.

A side-by-side comparison is a little tough, since InSight is about studying the interior of Mars while Pathfinder was focused on the surface. Also, the info on Insight is a little sketchy (from what I could find). A lot of it's derived from Phoenix, so that's a start I guess.

--Greg
vjkane
QUOTE (Greg Hullender @ Jan 7 2012, 01:33 PM) *
I was going to say I was amazed that we've reached the point where a Mars lander can be attempted on a Discovery budget.

Phoenix could fit into a Discovery budget only because the lander and instruments were mostly built. It turned out that the development team had to do a lot of testing and modification to the original design, but they had a solid starting place.

With the Phoenix lander a proven design, InSight can reuse it and hopefully fit within a Discovery budget.
nprev
Hmm. I read through the site & the poster, and saw no mention at all of any sort of cameras.
Greg Hullender
Oh I definitely love the idea of building new probes on proven platforms. I'm just wondering how much more advanced the instruments are now. I realize that's hard to quantify. Maybe just stats like GHz, megabytes, and bits-per-second would be enough. It just seemed that we're putting the same amount of mass on Mars as we did 20 years ago, but I'll bet we're getting 100x the data.

--Greg
vjkane
QUOTE (nprev @ Jan 7 2012, 05:47 PM) *
I read through the site & the poster, and saw no mention at all of any sort of cameras.

I believe the only camera is on the arm that deploys two of the instruments. It might also be able to be used for a panorama, but its primary use is to examine the area within reach and to determine where to place the seismometer and heat probe. This is a stripped down mission carrying only the instruments essential to the geophysical questions.

If they were to do an added capability for outreach, my vote would be to carry the duplicate of the Sojourner rover (with new CCDs for the cameras).
Fran Ontanaya
Is there a big difference between this mission and the canceled payload for the Exomars lander?
djellison
QUOTE (vjkane @ Jan 7 2012, 11:07 PM) *
If they were to do an added capability for outreach, my vote would be to carry the duplicate of the Sojourner rover (with new CCDs for the cameras).


New CCD's means new backend electronics, new storage, new CPU, new radios.....basically, a new rover. It would cost a fortune. I adore Marie Curie - but bolting it onto InSight and deploying it 2001 style would be a bad idea. Moreover - without a stereo camera onboard InSight itself - you don't have the 3D terrain data on which to plan the driving.
Phil Stooke
One additional point about cameras... it is essential to know the exact location of a lander - the interpretation of seismic and heat flow data will be very much tied in with knowing what it landed on. Phoenix was located with HiRISE images but we can't guarantee the availability of images with that resolution in 2016. So precise location will depend, at least as a back-up, on locating the lander with respect to horizon features. So some degree of ability to survey the site will be necessary to guarantee the quality of the science. For Phoenix, the RAC camera on the arm was not used as a site-mapping instrument (except underneath the lander), but it could have been, if necessary.

Phil

vjkane
QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 8 2012, 09:11 AM) *
I adore Marie Curie - but bolting it onto InSight and deploying it 2001 style would be a bad idea.

And there would be the cost of requalifying now 'ancient' parts for flight for which spares may be hard to find. So I mentioned it as a what if day dream, not as a realistic proposal.

Also, I've heard that the goal is to put the lander down in flat, boring landscape to ensure a safe landing, so there is likely to be relatively little to see or for a small rover to poke around in. Still, it would have been nice for Marie Curie to eventually make it to Mars.

As for the question of how InSight compares to the cancelled ExoMars geophysical station, a quick search on Google didn't bring up the latter's instrument list. However, as I remember, it was fairly extensive, more so than InSight. InSight is a tightly focused proposal that does less than most proposals for Mars geophysical stations/networks. That focus gives probably gives it a better shot at flying than previous proposals, none of which flew.
vjkane
QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Jan 8 2012, 09:32 AM) *
One additional point about cameras... it is essential to know the exact location of a lander - the interpretation of seismic and heat flow data will be very much tied in with knowing what it landed on.

I haven't seen this discussed, but they may have a descent camera to meet this need. Phoenix carried a descent camera that wasn't used because, if memory serves me correctly, software issues discovered in flight. The InSight mission could make the necessary changes.
Greg Hullender
Here's a completely different question: to get earthquake locations, don't you need three, separated seismic stations? Without location, you don't really have magnitude, do you? What will InSight be able to tell us?

--Greg
djellison
You don't need a descent imager to exactly locate a spacecraft on the surface of Mars. We have HiRISE for that.
Phil Stooke
But we may not have it in 2016. Almost certainly it will land in an area of HiRISE coverage, but surface images may still be needed, as a backup if there is no working HiRISE, to match the site with the orbital images. Without images the best we can expect to locate it would be within 1 or 2 km, but it's still useful to know if you are on a small crater's ejecta deposit, or on one side or the other of a terrain boundary or sediment deposit.

I wondered about a descent camera as well. That would be useful, indeed. I seem to recall the problem last time was about moving the descent camera data into the spacecraft computer during a critical time. Hopefully the next descent camera will have its own memory to make that data transfer unnecessary.

Phil
Drkskywxlt
QUOTE (Greg Hullender @ Jan 8 2012, 01:59 PM) *
Here's a completely different question: to get earthquake locations, don't you need three, separated seismic stations? Without location, you don't really have magnitude, do you? What will InSight be able to tell us?

--Greg


All of the previous Mars network mission concepts, which are focused on interior structure as well, rely on multiple stations so they can triangulate locations in the interior and get a better 3-D picture of the structure. From what I've been told and heard at conferences, InSight will STRONGLY rely on modeling to validate it's measurements. InSight seems to have the inside track as the low-risk option of the 3 finalists, but they need to make the case that their results will be robust when they're depending on modeling to interpret their signal.
hendric
I think they're some work you can do with direct vs reflected signals to determine distance and range. Also, P and S waves travel at different velocities, assuming their seismograph is sensitive enough, they could roughly determine distance that way. This would, however, not let them determine depth of the hypocenter, unless there's some other aspect they can model.

It really is a shame this will probably be a one-off. Too bad a pair of DS2 seismographs couldn't be dropped off the deck as is falls, even if they land just a few km away they could help with triangulation.

#include <doug_rant_on_tradeoffs.h>

ElkGroveDan
QUOTE (Greg Hullender @ Jan 8 2012, 10:59 AM) *
Without location, you don't really have magnitude, do you?

Actually you do. Because earthquakes generate three distinct types of waves that travel at different rates a lone seismometer can be used to calculate absolute distance to the focus (or center) of the event and magnitude as well. The only problem is direction. However if you have TWO sufficiently sensitive devices you can calculate the location by first identifying the two intersecting nodes, and then using secondary reflected events to isolate one of the two nodes as the event location. In fact the Viking landers had seismometers for this very purpose, however one of them malfunctioned (forget which right now).
stewjack
Warning I am not a geologist.

My impression, when I read a short explanation of the mission, was that they were only trying to measure the planets seismic energy. You don't need direction and maybe not even distance for that. Mars doesn't have plate tectonics, as far as I have heard, and I guess the level of seismic energy will say something about the planets core.

Jack
antipode
QUOTE
Too bad a pair of DS2 seismographs couldn't be dropped off the deck as is falls


Exactly what I was thinking! Its too bad that penetrator technology seems to have gone nowhere since then, and Im not just talking about for Mars.

Still, here we all are musing about bolting stuff onto a Discovery class proposal, stuff that wouldnt make it a Discovery class proposal any more. That cap is why I love TiME so much, assuming they CAN actually fly the thing under the cap...

P
PaulM
I assume that there is a mission assumption is that the solar panels will continue to suppy power for much more than 90 days. I understand that the Pathfinder lander only lasted 90 days because of a complete lack of cleaning winds. The question that I want to ask is how common are cleaning winds on Mars? Perhaps the only safe landing site for the InSight mission is the Opportunity landing elipse? At least there cleaning winds are guaranteed.

I also wonder how much of its potential payload mass this mission is using? Would it really cost anything for the odd Phoenix instrument to be reflown? I would like to see Lidar reflown to a landing site where it could operate for longer than a very limited 150 days.

Obviously the most important missing instrument is a camera to scan the horizon. Would a pair of black and white Navcams cost much to fly? I guess that Navcams are two a penny given the number of spare Navcams that are flying on MSL.
Drkskywxlt
I'm guessing the mission is more cost-limited than mass-limited. To fit the Discovery cost cap, they can't fly any more instruments. Even if an instrument was donated by a foreign agency or NASA wanted to fly a camera for purely PR purposes, there are mission financial costs associated with that that could be counted against InSight's cost cap.
djellison
QUOTE (PaulM @ Jan 10 2012, 07:34 AM) *
. I understand that the Pathfinder lander only lasted 90 days because of a complete lack of cleaning winds.


No- the battery died. It was a silver-zinc battery, and couldn't withstand the manifold charging cycles that more recent technologies can.
Estimate were between 30 and 100 recharges would be the end of it. It lasted 83 sols (not 90)
Thereafter, the lander couldn't keep itself warm at night, and presumed failures of other components quickly followed.

The Level 1 requirement was a month.
Phil Stooke
A few new details about the mission, from Bruce Banerdt at LPSC.

The spacecraft carries a MER hazcam (maybe 2) fixed on the body to give an overview of the instrument deployment area, and a MER navcam (or a pair, more likely) on the arm elbow area for detailed instrument deployment coverage. After instrument deployment, but during the first 60 days, they will use the navcam(s) to do a full panorama and other things like change detection (which might include clouds, dust devils etc.) . Then they go to reduced operations for the rest of the mission, only monitoring the instruments.

Phil

vikingmars
QUOTE (PaulM @ Jan 10 2012, 04:34 PM) *
I understand that the Pathfinder lander only lasted 90 days because of a complete lack of cleaning winds.

Well. No : mainly because of a main battery failure which changed the time set on the onboard clock... No more energy storage + no more onboard time = no more tasks doable in a proper order = end of telecoms = end of mission !
MERovingian
Happy Day!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/hea...1e9c_story.html


Bravo JPL! cool.gif
Hungry4info
Awesome! Mars! I can't remember the last time we landed there!
Phil Stooke
Good one, Hungry! I would have liked any of them but I'm especially interested in this one.

Phil
Paolo
press release New NASA Mission to Take First Look Deep Inside Mars
Paolo
interesting... the German heat probe "mole" will be based on Beagle 2's PLUTO mole
http://www.dlr.de/irs/en/desktopdefault.as...970_read-25032/
djellison
That's cool - PLUTO was an awesome and cunning little piece of kit.
SFJCody
Does seem like a shame that only one copy of this spacecraft will fit into the Discovery cost envelope. A seismometer network would provide some very interesting data.
Toma B
From Bruce Betts blog on PS...
QUOTE
The lander will have black and white cameras on the robotic arm, one similar to the Navcam on the Mars Exploration Rovers and one similar to their Hazcams. They will be used for context and directing the placement of the seismic and heat flow instruments.


Yeah...those would be some exciting images to show to the press on their first and only press conference. How do they mean to keep the public interest, if the can't snap at least one 360 degrees, Full Color Hi-resolution panorama of landing site.
Maybe this is not final spacecraft design yet? Maybe there is some place for one of these beauties or that Planetary Society's Mars Microphone.

and BTW. Is there a word about where it should be landing?
monty python

and BTW. Is there a word about where it should be landing?
[/quote]

This is a good question. Do you aim at an average safe area of mars, or go for tharsis looking for heat from the interior and quakes?
Gsnorgathon
Given the high elevation at Tharsis, I'd guess you don't go there, especially if you're using Phoenix heritage equipment. That's what the illustration suggests.
Explorer1
Maybe Elysium instead? Oh, what I'd give to finally see a martian volcano from the surface, no matter how distant....

And yes, a color camera should get some serious consideration. I mean Phoenix had one, so why downgrade?
antipode
I was thinking Elysium as well, but Elysium PLANITIA ph34r.gif

I think they are going to go for a nice flat and featureless site (sight?).

They are taking a Phoenix weather package with them I believe, including that telltale that was sich a cute feature of that mission.

P
MahFL
Forget pretty pics, the science is literally underground.

QUOTE (antipode @ Aug 21 2012, 10:09 AM) *
They are taking a Phoenix weather package with them I believe, including that telltale that was sich a cute feature of that mission.

P

You sure about that, no mention of that on the website.
Drkskywxlt
QUOTE (antipode @ Aug 21 2012, 06:09 AM) *
They are taking a Phoenix weather package with them I believe,


Don't think so.
gndonald
QUOTE (SFJCody @ Aug 21 2012, 01:25 PM) *
Does seem like a shame that only one copy of this spacecraft will fit into the Discovery cost envelope. A seismometer network would provide some very interesting data.


I agree, three landings would give them the chance to use earthquakes & impacts to probe the interior of Mars in the same way Apollo allowed us to determine what was underneath the surface of the Moon.

As to the suggestion that they fit something like the weather mast used on Phoenix, they'd also need a camera to monitor it.
MahFL
QUOTE (gndonald @ Aug 21 2012, 11:57 AM) *
I agree, three landings would give them the chance to use earthquakes & impacts to probe the interior of Mars in the same way Apollo allowed us to determine what was underneath the surface of the Moon.

As to the suggestion that they fit something like the weather mast used on Phoenix, they'd also need a camera to monitor it.


New techniques don't require 3 landers, they can do the science with one, thats why they have been given the go ahead for the mission.
cIclops
Good news from NASA's Mars program at last!

InSight mission page

Launch March 8 - March 27, 2016

Seismic package, 5m deep drill, and two cameras!
pospa
QUOTE (cIclops @ Aug 21 2012, 01:35 PM) *
Seismic package, 5m deep drill, and two cameras!

Just a little note: HP3 instrument doesn't have a drill, but so-called electromechanical mole which penetrates through the soil via hammering mechanism.
For more see http://www.dlr.de/irs/en/desktopdefault.as...970_read-25032/
centsworth_II
I don't know if there are other candidates.
Click to view attachment
http://www.uahirise.org/hiwish/view/69980
Phil Stooke
There was a poster on the landing site at LPSC in March. I spoke to Bruce about it at the time.

The site has to be low elevation for EDL and near the equator for good solar power throughout the mission. Matt Golombek and colleagues identified suitable areas in Valles Marineris, the southern Chryse channel areas (well south of Chryse itself), Isidis and Elysium Planitia. Only the last area worked well for their needs, especially latitude. They identified about a dozen ellipses and chose one at the centre of the area as a starting point for the proposal. Now they will do a detailed analysis with HiRISE to pick the best one. One drawback - it's not far from Gale and may have some communication overlap issues (Gale itself was chosen partly to avoid that overlap with Opportunity, as all other MSL sites were near Opportunity's longitude). But that can be dealt with.

And about cameras - I think they plan to use off the shelf spares of MER Hazcam and Navcam to save money. So changes are out unless you fancy doing a Kickstarter for them. And the cameras are only needed for characterization and documentation for instrument deployment - nice flat area for the seismometer and a suitable spot for the drill. After that they will collect a full panorama for outreach and site context, but then (after about 60 days) they are shut off to save money - allowing a smaller team to simply monitor the other data rather than construct data collection sequences all the time. Everything is going to be about keeping costs down.


Phil
Drkskywxlt
QUOTE (cIclops @ Aug 21 2012, 06:35 AM) *


I've seen similar comments swirling around (even by the NASA Administrator), but this is a Discovery mission, NOT part of NASA's separate Mars program. NASA's planetary science division is currently broken down in the following budgetary and organizational lines: Lunar Quest, Mars, Discovery, New Frontiers, Outer Planets, Technology, Research.
JRehling
Mars Geophysical network options with anywhere from 1 to 4 stations have been studied. This passage seems to say it all:

"Although a network of four or more stations would be ideal, fewer stations could still provide much of the necessary information for addressing the science objectives described above. There are many analysis techniques that have been developed for seismology, particularly in the last decade that could extract interior information from seismic measurements at fewer stations, or even a single station. One seismic station could use techniques such as P-S/back-azimuth tracing to provide locations, multiple phase arrivals (P, S, PmP, PcP, PKP, etc.) to derive interior velocities and boundary depths, receiver function and surface wave analysis to delineate crust and upper mantle structure, and Phobos tide measurements and possibly normal mode observations to constrain core size and state. Two stations constitute a substantial improvement in capability, providing correlation capacity for unambiguous identification of seismic events, an improved ability to compute surface wave phase velocity, and noise correlation techniques that can provide planetary structure from background noise analysis while strengthening the interpretation of the single-station techniques described above. A three-station network has the additional advantage that it could provide event locations using conventional P-wave arrival techniques combined with a limited set of a priori assumptions.

For this study a two-station network of seismometers is considered the minimum network size to address the baseline science of MGN for a New Frontiers class mission. However, single station missions were also investigated, as they would provide science value commensurate with Discovery class missions."

Source: http://ia700504.us.archive.org/26/items/Ma...tions-Final.pdf
vjkane
A Universe Today article stated that the landing site will be in Elysium Planitia: “Our planned landing site is in Elysium Planitia,” Banerdt told me. “It was chosen for optimizing engineering safety margins for landing and power.”

In emails with Banerdt, he told me that the lander will carry some meteorology instruments to characterize the effect of wind and temperature on the seismic instrument.
Drkskywxlt
QUOTE (vjkane @ Aug 21 2012, 07:31 PM) *
In emails with Banerdt, he told me that the lander will carry some meteorology instruments to characterize the effect of wind and temperature on the seismic instrument.


Thanks for confirming that. That met data is basically engineering data aka "noise". But, hopefully it can be useful scientifically as well.
NickF
I suppose that (re)flying the Planetary Society's Mars mike is out of the question?
briv1016
Any word on a launch vehicle? An Atlas V seems kind of overkill.
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