Speaking about drones: MSL lands successfully.

msl20110602_PIA14175-fi.jpg?width=275NASA's most expensive "drone" lands successfully.

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/nasatv/ (Live video)

I'm sitting here in the Pasadena convention center, JPL mission control received telemetry as expected, sensors nominal for landing. Then, after 7 minutes of descent (and a telemetry blackout), the parachute signal was received. Shortly after that, 4 thumbnails from the dust camera and 2 engineering images were sent, one showing the shadow of the vehicle.

Images will be posted on the MSL website as well as news outlets shortly.

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  • Yes it was an Awesome achievement ! 10 years + they are suppose to have a mission in 2018 where they bring rocks back to Earth maby Curiosity can hook up? You guys have a great day!

  • Actually, they want to stay away from the crane.  Hydrazine is bad stuff and the rover's scientific package of sensors could get poisoned which would jeopardize the main mission.  It's romantic to want everything neat and tidy with no violent end to anything which took time and effort, but the crane did its job and that's the end of it.  The pictures and discoveries which will follow should make it easy to forget the crane. 

    They proved the landing concept.  Maybe next time they can afford(in terms of risk)a multipurpose lander/crane. 

  • Yes, it is a bit difficult for us to see a Skycrane being tossed away like that, but it makes sense. Keeping electronics working on Mars require heaters, and energy. Adding that would have ment adding solarpanels, adding weight. Even landing it elsewhere would have cost money to design and program. And btw, Curiosity has a RTG powersource that can last for 10+ years.

    I think landing a rover this size was an awesome achievement, and I for one can live with the Skycrane sacrifice.

  • KISS philosophy also runs parallel with Paranoia and Doom and Gloom and has a way of killing Creativity. ( Oh Dear?) Obviously my first comment wasn't read all the way through  ."If they were down to empty tanks save the rover at all costs. I could see drop the rover and get out of there and let it crash".

    I have been following Mars events for years . and the single most and saddest thing is when the battery finally dies on the Rover . the Sky crane didn't need landing gear . It could have just hoovered over a ways and set itself down. It was quite capable of doing that . Two years from now when Curiosity is finally running out of steam. It could have "Mozied"on over to the sky crane loaded on a fresh battery and kept going another 2 years. hind sight is 20/20

  • I agree Harry, KISS philosophy ;)

  • Why add complexity to an already complex plan?  The thing didnt even have landing gear, so ditch it, get it as far away as quckly as possible before something does go wrong.  It'd be a shame to have it fail and go careening into the rover.  They'd have to explain why they worked to save the spent crane when the mission is wrapped in the rover. 

  • Jack pointed out the sky crane  still had 140 kg fuel left it was capable of sensing the ground  hoovering and letting the rover go it would not of taken much to make it veer off 500 feet or so and land itself the tec is there. If they were down to empty tanks save the rover at all costs  I could see drop the rover and get out of there and let it crash

  • I believe the sky crane was to veer safely away from the rover drop site to a nearby crash area.

    That sounds like littering to me. Maybe there will be some urban outdoor martians to scavenge the wreckage

  • Moderator

    Great Work Cliff :)

  • Now we need to land an ardurover using an arducopter deployed from an ardurocket

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