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The Ongoing Mars Explorer Thread


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253 replies to this topic

#1 of 254 Peter Kline

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Posted December 23 2003 - 05:51 AM

Posted Image

Quote:
On Thursday, Mars will have something in common with many families on Earth: It will have a visitor for Christmas.

That's when the European Space Agency's Beagle 2 lander — a British-made spacecraft designed to search for signs of past and present life — will touch down on the Red Planet. Charles Darwin developed many of his ideas about evolution while on a voyage on HMS Beagle


Complete story here.

#2 of 254 Jack Briggs

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Posted December 23 2003 - 07:36 AM

Not only that, there's going to be a good, old-fashioned holiday traffic jam at Mars in January, when MER-1 and MER-2 arrive and dispatch their rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) from the orbiters. No wonder JulieK has been scarce.

Too bad about the Japanese spacecraft, though.

So, already in Martian orbit are the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft and the Mars Global Surveyor.

MER-1 and MER-2 will remain in Martian orbit, as will the Mars Express (the Beagle's "mothership"). And on the surface, one immobile lander (the Beagle) and the two NASA rovers.

And let's hope the public gets caught up in the glorious excitement of it all.

#3 of 254 Peter Kline

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Posted December 23 2003 - 07:52 AM

Jack,

It should be a teriffic time. Let's celebrate by buying a Mars bar!

Peter

#4 of 254 MikeM

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Posted December 23 2003 - 02:18 PM

...or rent Spike Lee's "She's Gotta Have It."

#5 of 254 BrianShort

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Posted December 23 2003 - 08:02 PM

Jack: Do the MER's have orbital portions? I thought they were just rovers.

Brian

#6 of 254 CharlesD

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Posted December 24 2003 - 01:55 AM

There are no orbiters for MER-1 and MER-2 (MER stands for Mars Exploration Rover). They are both direct shots like the Pathfinder mission, i.e. they are aimed directly at Mars and do not go into orbit before landing.

Hopefully tomorrow we can say "the Beagle has landed" Posted Image

#7 of 254 Peter Kline

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Posted December 24 2003 - 02:14 AM

Ruff!

#8 of 254 Jack Briggs

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Posted December 24 2003 - 03:51 AM

Woops, typed too hastily and without thinking. Correct: MERs 1 and 2 are landers only. And either Global Surveyor or Odyssey (forget which one) is being repositioned in orbit to serve as a relay station for the three landers.

Yes, I too hope we hear the words "the Beagle has landed" in a few hours.

#9 of 254 Danny Tse

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Posted December 24 2003 - 04:22 AM

The Martians are going to think we're launching some kind of invasion and will take countermeasures.

Listen to me now and believe me later "Run for your life!!" Posted Image

After its landing on Mars, I am hoping the British Beagle will send back the message "Shaken, but not stirred".
SACD not listed at sa-cd.net (updated 8/26/2009)

#10 of 254 BrianShort

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Posted December 24 2003 - 04:51 AM

What time is the Beagle 2 supposed to be landing? When can we expect to hear from it?

Brian

#11 of 254 Jack Briggs

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Posted December 24 2003 - 05:00 AM

It's scheduled to land at 6:54 p.m. PST this evening. And then it will take another two hours to confirm whether or not the spacecraft landed successfully. Fingers crossed, heart pounding...

#12 of 254 BrianB

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Posted December 24 2003 - 05:35 AM

Are any of the US news channels expected to have decent (or even semi-decent) coverage of this? When the US mars probe landed a few years ago, there was really good coverage on the BBC back in the UK...
high resolution ipod featuring dlp hd programming is the best, almost as good as playstation 2 with wega windows media on a super cd! ps2 and tivo do dolby tv with broadband hdtv!

#13 of 254 BrianShort

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Posted December 24 2003 - 05:50 AM

Jack: Thanks! I've been following all the latest probes, but didn't see a specific time mentioned as to when it was going to land.

Who wants to bet that Mr. Richard C. Hoagland will see alien structures in the photos this lander returns? Posted Image

Looking forward to seeing the results, and I have my fingers crossed. This lander is using an airbag method similar to Pathfinder, is it not? I always wonder who the guy was who first thought of the airbag idea, and if he was laughed out of the planning meeting because of it... it seems like a lucicrous idea, but I guess it works!

Brian B: It will be nice if we do get coverage, but since it's Christmas Eve, I bet we'll be seeing reports about the Pope giving the mass, or something else. The internet should have good coverage, I would hope.

Brian

#14 of 254 Danny Tse

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Posted December 24 2003 - 05:58 AM

From the BBC News website

http://news.bbc.co.u...ure/3344693.stm


Quote:
If all goes to plan, Beagle 2 will send back a stream of data headed by a call sign composed by the British rock band Blur.

SACD not listed at sa-cd.net (updated 8/26/2009)

#15 of 254 Jack Briggs

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Posted December 24 2003 - 06:05 AM

Are any of the US news channels expected to have decent (or even semi-decent) coverage of this?


Both Brians: We haven't had "decent" coverage of any space-related news in the U.S. since Project Apollo (really, the coverage started slacking off dramatically before the end of Apollo). Don't expect live coverage in the U.S.

Speaking of poor space reporting: Just this morning, the Los Angeles Times, in a review of all previous missions to Mars (Soviet, U.S.), the reporter said that the Viking 1 and Viking 2 landers touched down on the Red Planet in 1975.

That would be 1976.

In the heady days of Apollo, we had technologically literate correspondents and reporters who truly did their homework (and were, more often than not, enthusiastic about their assignments) and coverage of these events was superb. All the major news-gathering organizations had at least one correspondent each assigned to NASA full-time.

No more. Not one news organization has a reporter assigned to NASA (or to space coverage) full time. Nor do the writers feel it necessary to learn about the science, the program, and its history. And it bloody shows.

Space reporting these days is utterly pathetic.

#16 of 254 BrianShort

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Posted December 24 2003 - 06:33 AM

Jack: That's probably all true... I do remember back during Pathfinder that CNN seemed to cover it fairly well, at least IMO. That might have been back when John Holliman was still alive. He had enthusiasm for space stuff, and it showed. RIP Posted Image And I definitely remember a lot of live coverage of the first Hubble servicing mission, the one that corrected the faulty mirror, and gave us all the beautiful images we see today.

Brian

#17 of 254 Peter Kline

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Posted December 24 2003 - 09:57 AM

Here is the official site.

#18 of 254 BrianShort

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Posted December 24 2003 - 02:05 PM

I guess Beagle 2 should be on the surface of Mars now. We won't know if it landed successfully for another 4 hours or so, I think (if I have the times right Posted Image)

Brian

#19 of 254 BrianShort

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Posted December 24 2003 - 05:52 PM

Supposedly JPL should be receiving the first signal from Beagle 2, via the Mars Odyssey, right about now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

**update**
Beagle 2 Latest News
Quote:
Beagle keeps scientists waiting
25-Dec-03 06:29 GMT
.................................................. .

Summary

No telemetry from Beagle 2 was received during this morning's passage of NASA's Mars Odyssey over the Isidis Planitia landing site.
.................................................. .

Full story

Professor Colin Pillinger, lead scientist for the Beagle 2 project, commented that this certainly does not mean that the probe had been damaged during its descent. There were a number of possible explanations, the most likely being that the Beagle 2 antenna was not pointing in the direction of Mars Odyssey.

The next opportunity to communicate with Beagle 2 will be late this evening (between 10pm and midnight GMT) when the Jodrell Bank Observatory will listen out for a signal from the lander.

I sure hope they get something during the next opportunity. It will be a real shame if this lander fails too Posted Image

Brian

#20 of 254 Peter Kline

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Posted December 25 2003 - 12:05 AM

Based on past attempted landings, things don't look so good. They're putting the best spin they can at the moment. Here's more info:
Quote:
Mars probe's fate still unknown
DARMSTADT, Germany (AP) — An initial bid to contact Europe's first Mars lander failed Thursday, but the probe's companion ship swung into orbit around the Red Planet and flight controllers were still optimistic about finding the tiny craft.

European Space Agency scientists had hoped that an American satellite orbiting Mars, the Mars Odyssey, would pick up a signal from the Beagle 2. It registered nothing, but space officials had warned that contact could be delayed if the probe landed at an angle or needed more time to unfold.

"This is not the end of the story — this was the first opportunity," the European Space Agency's director of science, David Southwood, said at mission control in Darmstadt, Germany. "Getting signals back from Mars is not a straightforward operation."

The next chance to contact the Beagle 2 falls to Britain's Jodrell Bank Observatory, which will try to pick up the lander's signal at 5:45 p.m. ET on Christmas Day.

"We're sure Beagle is down on the surface, and we just need to hear from it," Southwood said.



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