On Mars, Curiosity and Spirit, Waiting for Rover 2020. Bob Zimmerman BehindtheBlack.com

C

02-14-2017

(Photo: Proposed Mars 2020 rover payload (10 June 2015).

NASA/JPL-Caltech - http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA19672.jpg

PIA19672: Science Instruments on NASA's Mars 2020 Rover http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA19672 This 2015 diagram shows components of the investigations payload for NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission. Mars 2020 will re-use the basic engineering of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory to send a different rover to Mars, with new objectives and instruments, launching in 2020. The rover will carry seven instruments to conduct its science and exploration technology investigations. They are: Mastcam-Z, an advanced camera system with panoramic and stereoscopic imaging capability and the ability to zoom. The instrument also will determine mineralogy of the Martian surface and assist with rover operations. The principal investigator is James Bell, Arizona State University in Tempe. SuperCam, an instrument that can provide imaging, chemical composition analysis, and mineralogy. The instrument will also be able to detect the presence of organic compounds in rocks and regolith from a distance. The principal investigator is Roger Wiens, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico. This instrument also has a significant contribution from the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (CNES/IRAP) France. Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL), an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer that will also contain an imager with high resolution to determine the fine-scale elemental composition of Martian surface materials. PIXL will provide capabilities that permit more detailed detection and analysis of chemical elements than ever before. The principal investigator is Abigail Allwood, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC), a spectrometer that will provide fine-scale imaging and uses an ultraviolet (UV) laser to determine fine-scale mineralogy and detect organic compounds. SHERLOC will be the first UV Raman spectrometer to fly to the surface of Mars and will provide complementary measurements with other instruments in the payload. SHERLOC includes a high-resolution color camera for microscopic imaging of Mars' surface. The principal investigator is Luther Beegle, JPL. The Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE), an exploration technology investigation that will produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide. The principal investigator is Michael Hecht, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA), a set of sensors that will provide measurements of temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, relative humidity and dust size and shape. The principal investigator is Jose Rodriguez-Manfredi, Centro de Astrobiologia, Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial, Spain. The Radar Imager for Mars' Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX), a ground-penetrating radar that will provide centimeter-scale resolution of the geologic structure of the subsurface. The principal investigator is Svein-Erik Hamran, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, Norway. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages NASA's Mars Exploration Program for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.)

http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/contact

http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/schedules

http://johnbatchelorshow.com/blog

Twitter: @batchelorshow

On Mars, Curiosity and Spirit, Waiting for Rover 2020. Bob Zimmerman BehindtheBlack.com

. After getting some nice closeups as well as scooping up some sand for observation, they have now gone back to Ireson Hill to get another close look at the dark rocks that have rolled off the top of the hill and are now in reach at its base. The image on the left shows the arm positioned above one of those rocks.

The drill remains out of commission, with no word when they will try using it again. In addition, there had been a problem with the ChemCam laser that does spectroscopic analysis, but as of this week it is back in action, and is being used to analysis the small rock above.

Below is an overview of their route so far as well as my annotations on where I think they will be heading in the future.

You can see that the color of the terrain changes in the image’s lower right corner. That is when they will be getting close to the lower foothills shown in the second image of my January update. From this point, Curiosity’s journey will finally be entering the mountainous terrain of Mount Sharp. From then on the view should be quite spectacular, and endlessly changing.

http://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/essays-and-commentaries/mars-rover-update-february-14-2017/

“Scientists have now narrowed to three the candidate landing sites for NASA’s 2020 Mars rover mission.

The three sites include Jezero crater, which was once home to an ancient Martian lake and which could preserve the remains of microbial life, if it ever existed on Mars. “You’ve got a large river bringing water and sediment into a very large lake, comparable to Lake Tahoe,” says Timothy Goudge, a planetary scientist at the University of Texas at Austin. Jezero scored highest on a community vote of scientists attending the workshop.

Other possible targets include Northeast Syrtis, where hot waters once circulated through the crust and could have supported life, and Columbia Hills, the area explored for years by NASA’s Spirit rover.

From the Nature article above as well as this Science article, it sounds like the Columbia Hills choice is unlikely. The Science article pushes Jezero crater, which had the most votes at the workshop and is shown in the image on the right.”

http://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/points-of-information/nasa-narrows-to-three-the-mars-rover-landing-sites-in-2020/

10 days ago
You need to be to post a comment