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Martyo does the Curiousity Mars Landing at Tidbinbilla

By johnboy - 6 August 2012 27

the big dish

Today NASA accomplished the most complicated thing humanity has done since the moon landings by putting a 1 tonne laser wielding nuclear tank onto the surface of Mars via a hypersonic parachute and a rocket powered sky crane.

The boys and girls out at Tidbinbilla were in the hot seat for the landing and the immensely talented MartyO was in attendance to record it.

packed crowd

three ways

it's been raining lately

happy ambo

What’s Your opinion?


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27 Responses to
Martyo does the Curiousity Mars Landing at Tidbinbilla
1
Snarky 11:27 am
07 Aug 12
#

I gave myself the afternoon off to watch this over the web. Unbelievable feat! They managed to land Curiosity – a nearly 1 tonne 6 wheeled robot car with lasers on its head – within 2m(!) of its target after a. flying it nearly 8 1/2 months from Earth to Mars; b. bringing the capsule into the Martian atmosphere at 20,000 km/hr; deploying a parachute to slow it down further then dropping a rocket-propelled skycrane to lower Curosity itself the last 20m or so to the surface of Mars. From atmosphere entry to landing was 7 minutes, and was a deceleration roughly equivalent travelling at 100km to dead stop in 2 seconds. Already the first pics are coming back as Curiosity unpacks itself after the journey. Extraordinary!

The Canberra connection is that all communications with the capsule were via Tidbinbilla up to the point the two Odyssey orbiters already at Mars took over.

It’s achievements like this that give me a faint glimmer of hope for us as a species. Weeks and months have been pissed away on RA over plastic bag debates, Greenpeace moronity, political prevarication and coverups and the godawful endless arguments that keep coming up again and again and again. But, for the moment, THIS! GO NASA, YOU ROCK!

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2
farnarkler 12:06 pm
07 Aug 12
#

How much did it cost and how much better would it have been if the US had put that money into, say, public hospitals. While those at NASA and Tidbinbilla are breaking out the champagne, the uninsured residents of Detroit do without a public hospital. Disgusting.

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3
darkmilk 12:30 pm
07 Aug 12
#

farnarkler said :

How much did it cost and how much better would it have been if the US had put that money into, say, public hospitals. While those at NASA and Tidbinbilla are breaking out the champagne, the uninsured residents of Detroit do without a public hospital. Disgusting.

Common sentiment, but incorrect due to an enormous error of scale: “whereupon the entire fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog” no wait, wrong story. The entire NASA budget for these things is a fraction of a percent of what would be needed to fix up something like the US health system.

The several hundred million dollars spent for these robotic missions would only fund a few beds in hospitals for a few years – which would make near enough to no difference, vs permanently expanding the human race’s knowledge. No brainer really.

For human spaceflight, redirecting those billions of dollars might make a small difference for a while – but still offset by the fact that the technology and medical research which comes from that research flows back into making everyone’s lives better here on earth, permanently.

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4
farnarkler 12:48 pm
07 Aug 12
#

darkmilk you read that script perfectly. What do you really think Curiosity is going to find. Traces of water thousands or millions of years ago? Great, I hope it does. How does that permanently expand the human race’s knowledge???

You and Snarky should sign up for the Scientologists.

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5
VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:03 pm
07 Aug 12
#

farnarkler said :

How much did it cost and how much better would it have been if the US had put that money into, say, public hospitals. While those at NASA and Tidbinbilla are breaking out the champagne, the uninsured residents of Detroit do without a public hospital. Disgusting.

Are you kidding? They could have built an AWESOME dragstrip with that money!

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6
Gungahlin Al 1:15 pm
07 Aug 12
#

farnarkler said :

How much did it cost and how much better would it have been if the US had put that money into, say, public hospitals. While those at NASA and Tidbinbilla are breaking out the champagne, the uninsured residents of Detroit do without a public hospital. Disgusting.

Seriously? For less than $7 per American taxpayer, they got a bargain. And the science hasn’t even started yet. And remember – every one of those dollars was spent back in that same country, in turn generating more spending and tax revenue.

If exploration and research stopped every time the gamblers in the finance markets backed the wrong horse, we’d still be communicating these sentiments via letters to the editor to a newspaper. Note: Letters – by snail mail.

Instead, we got pictures from Mars within minutes of landing, a picture from a satellite around Mars of the landing actually *in progress* and all at the same time as we get live broadcasts of the Olympics from the other side of this planet – all made possible because of space exploration.

Curiosity will lay the groundwork for opening up another planet for us to live on one day. I think that’s a worthwhile venture, and was proud to be at Tidbinbilla yesterday to witness Australia’s role in the project. The shift superviser in the control room told me that the DSN43 dish managed to track the craft directly almost all the way to the ground, without actually needing the feed via Odyssey. That’s an outstanding feat.

I’ll blog my interview with him over the next day or two, plus another with Mike Dinn, who was the tracking station boss during the Apollo era. (And another guy Milton Cottee who was there and was a fighter plane test pilot – just for fun.)

To put it into perspective, one US election costs enough to run the entire Mars Curiosity mission 2.5 times. And for that, they’ve re-inspired their nation, plus a good chunk of the rest of the world to boot, in a way that hasn’t really happened since the Apollo era. But clearly not you.

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7
VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:27 pm
07 Aug 12
#

Gungahlin Al said :

Instead, we got pictures from Mars within minutes of landing, a picture from a satellite around Mars of the landing actually *in progress* and all at the same time as we get live broadcasts of the Olympics from the other side of this planet – all made possible because of space exploration.

Images like this really are nothing short of incredible. Later this week there will be high resolution images available.

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8
davo101 1:29 pm
07 Aug 12
#

farnarkler said :

How much did it cost and how much better would it have been if the US had put that money into, say, public hospitals. While those at NASA and Tidbinbilla are breaking out the champagne, the uninsured residents of Detroit do without a public hospital. Disgusting.

It cost about the same amount as the US spends on defence every 21 hours.

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9
poetix 1:36 pm
07 Aug 12
#

farnarkler said :

How mucha did it cost and how much better would it have been if the US had put that money into, say, public hospitals. While those at NASA and Tidbinbilla are breaking out the champagne, the uninsured residents of Detroit do without a public hospital. Disgusting.

I disagree. What price do you put on wonder?

Wars cost far more. Cut back on them.

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10
Skidbladnir 1:55 pm
07 Aug 12
#

farnarkler said :

How much did it cost and how much better would it have been if the US had put that money into, say, public hospitals.

2.5 billion dollars. So about 10 hours worth of total US Healthcare expenditure (federal state private), or 12 hours of their military budget.

US Healthcare needs about 1.5 trillion dollars injected into it for the sake of rolling out a more sustainable system; the NASA budget is a pittance compared to almost any other budget allocation.

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11
johnboy 2:02 pm
07 Aug 12
#

The NASA budget is less than the cost of the airconditioning for the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan circa 2010.

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12
HenryBG 2:05 pm
07 Aug 12
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farnarkler said :

How much did it cost and how much better would it have been if the US had put that money into, say, public hospitals.

The US could shave off a tiny fraction of its defence budget and fix the US healthcare system.

Getting this rover to Mars is a brilliant way to spend money.

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13
damien haas 2:11 pm
07 Aug 12
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One thing that amazed me was that the processor the Curiosity has as its main CPU is a G3 PowerPC chip – the same chip found in early iMacs. Its a 200 mhz version.

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14
johnboy 2:16 pm
07 Aug 12
#

radiation hardened and vaccum rated microchips tend to lag the state of the art for understandable reasons.

and you pretty much need to freeze the processor at the start of the design process.

the scary bit is they’re going to try and upgrade the OS now it’s landed. No potential for a cockup there!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/08/07/curiosity_software_upgrade/

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15
Wraith 2:28 pm
07 Aug 12
#

farnarkler said :

darkmilk you read that script perfectly. What do you really think Curiosity is going to find. Traces of water thousands or millions of years ago? Great, I hope it does. How does that permanently expand the human race’s knowledge???

You and Snarky should sign up for the Scientologists.

Ooooh, membership drive?? Will there be lamingtons and pork ribs? I hear there some pig to be had lately……

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