Questions tagged [curiosity]

Questions regarding the Curiosity rover launched by NASA for the purpose of Mars exploration.

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Rover wheel placement

Why are the center wheels of the Curiosity rover not in line with the chassis? I understand when turning, one side is in line with an arc it will make. Would the other side's wheels not be on the same ...
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7 votes
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Is there any chance that Opportunity survived, but NASA kept pinging it at the wrong time?

In 2018, NASA's beloved little Opportunity (oppy) was declared dead after a dust storm "killed" it. It may still be OK, but when NASA began recovery effort, they pinged oppy when it was ...
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Is my calculation of the current day/sol of current Mars month accurate?

I'm working on providing Mars related data for a project. I'm using 2 points of data that are available to me from Rover Environmental Monitoring Station at the Centro de Astrobiologia. The 2 data ...
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Why did Curiosity perform TCMs?

Why did Curiosity perform TCM (Trajectory Correction Maneuver)s 1 through 5? 6 makes sense since it needed to adjust course to actually once in the SOI, but the others don't. I understand that this ...
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Could and should not the search for the location(s) of the Martian methane spikes become the main scientific objective for the Curiosity rover?

In Nature Geoscience's article Independent confirmation of a methane spike on Mars and a source region east of Gale Crater is announced that the reported methane spike on sol 305 by the Tunable Laser ...
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Do Curiosity and Perseverance have gyrocompasses? Has any rover had one? If so, what kind and how do they work?

There is discussion of a gyrocompass in comments on the page How does Curiosity know how to point and move it's high gain antenna in real time? but so far I don't think there is a hard "Yes&...
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Are there any selfies of Curiosity or Perseverance with their high gain antenna deployed and "looking up"?

The Curiosity and Perseverance rovers have high gain antenna arrays on a mechanical arm that can rise up and point towards Earth and communicate directly. Has the Curiosity rover ever communicated ...
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How many watts of electricity are available for systems during a Mars transit?

The 40+ year old Voyager probes have three Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) currently producing 249 watts, losing around 4 watts per year. They began with 470 Watts. The Curiosity Rover's ...
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What is MAHLI's theoretical or expected best optical resolution? How was it defined? Was it verified on Mars?

The block quote in this answer to Has Curiosity ever taken a good hard look at the dirt covering its top surface? Can it? Have individual particles been sized? says that at a focus distance of 2.5 ...
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Does Perseverance have a SAM-like instrument? [duplicate]

Curiosity had an instrument called SAM onboard that did gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Do any of the instruments on Perseverance include these capabilities? If not, why were they deemed ...
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What are the maximum data capacities of the active rovers on Mars?

Many rovers have been sent to Mars and, as now, some are still working there. Does anyone know the maximum data capacity of each active rover? Curiosity Perseverance Zhurong
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After nine years on Mars, has anything on Curiosity broken yet?

As per Wikipedia's Curiosity (rover), it landed nine years ago today at 6 August 2012, 05:17:57 UTC. This is yet another testament to NASA spacecraft reliability. Since landing, has anything actually ...
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How does the Dragonfly helicopter for Titan compare to Perseverance, Ingenuity and a human in terms of size, mass, weight and daily range?

It wasn't until Are Perseverance's wheels really this big? that I realized just how big Curiosity and Perseverance probably are. Writing What is the pop-up circular disk with spiral pattern in ...
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Does curiosity's RTG generate neutrons as this NASA CheMin X-ray detection system webpage suggests? If so, how?

mars.nasa.gov's CheMin for Scientists (found here) says (about half-way down): Detection of X­-ray Photons by the CCD CheMin will use a 600 × 600 E2V CCD-224 frame transfer imager operated with a 600 ...
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How does Curiosity's X-ray diffractometer work? Does it measure only one angle at a time or does it have an area detector?

Per this answer to Are quasicrystals common on the Moon and Mars?, Curiosity has an X-ray diffractometer. X-ray diffraction from 3D crystals can (begin to) be understood by embracing Bragg's law. A 3D ...
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Have any Mars surface spacecraft had downward-pointing radiometers to measure the surface temperature? (not air temperature)

NASA's Insight; Weather gives us regular weather updates from Insight's location on Mars, an example is shown below. Temperature is of the air around the lander. Question: But does or has Insight or ...
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Has Curiosity ever taken a good hard look at the dirt covering its top surface? Can it? Have individual particles been sized?

A reasonable answer to any one of the three enumerated parts gets the bounty! I added some dirty pictures of Curiosity to Curiosity is still dirty! after August 9, 2018 (Sol 2137), and in this March ...
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6 votes
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White crack infill on the surface of Mars in the Gale Crater

The following picture, taken by the Curiosity rover in the Gale Crater on Mars in 2016 shows what appears to be a cracked Martian surface, with the Egg Rock nickel-iron meteorite. Ignoring the ...
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Why did the engineers at NASA's JPL put a Morse code on the wheels of Curiosity?

The Engineers at NASA's JPL made Curiosity's tires have a morse code imprint on them so that it would spell out JPL in the Martian soil. However, it has led to many cracks and deformations in the ...
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How cold do Curiosity's & Perseverance's appendages get at night with all those sensitive cameras and lasers?

cropped from PIA19920: Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Big Sky' Drilling Site MastCam-Z, ChemCam/SuperCam and MAHLI are optical systems and ChemCam includes a telescope and a pulsed laser, but the ...
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Are there still no mission updates for Perseverance like there are for Curiosity?

Mission updates for the Mars Curiosity rover in the first months of the mission starting in August 2012 happened almost every day with detailed information about drive planning, the use of the ...
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Are the Perseverance rover's "drivers" working on Martian sols or Earth days right now?

Business Insider's What is it like to drive the Perseverance rover remotely? A NASA engineer explains the challenges of piloting the vehicle's journey across Mars. includes the following discussion of ...
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What eventually happened to the Curiosity/Perseverence cruise stages?

The first event to occur when Curiosity or Perseverance arrived at Mars was the separation of the cruise stage. What were the ultimate destinations of the cruise stages? Continuing on in space? (...
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When the Mars 2020 and Mars Science Laboratory missions were in deep space, what antennas did they have available to communicate with Earth?

This thorough answer to Did the Curiosity and Perseverance rover brains do the driving from Earth to Mars? explains that during deep space flight the rovers' computers were doing most of the thinking ...
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Did the Curiosity and Perseverance rover brains do the driving from Earth to Mars?

This interesting answer to Why did NASA intentionally crash-land the Curiosity and Perseverance sky cranes on Mars? leads me to wonder if the Curiosity and Perseverance rover computers were in charge ...
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Could the flyaway of the Curiosity/Perseverance skycrane be aimed in a particular direction?

The Perseverance rover is collecting samples of Martian rocks and soil, which will be picked up and returned to Earth on a future mission. In this comment to another question, I note that the sample ...
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Did the Mars 2020 Mission do any science that wasn't done by Perseverance proper?

Per answers to What is the equivalent of Curiosity's "MSL" in the context of Perseverance? What's the official name of the mission? Are the distinctions similar? Where does MSL end ...
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8 votes
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Sending Mars rover to the Moon

What would happen if a Mars rover (let it be Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity or Perseverance) would be sent to the Moon instead of the Mars? Let's not deal with the landing and let's ...
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How heavy were Perseverance's balance masses?

Perseverance ejected two 70 kg "cruise balance masses" just before it became an airplane, to move its center of mass off axis and increase its angle of attack from 0° to about 16° to make it ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Are there fluid disconnects that sever just before the Curiosity or Perseverance rovers separate from their cruise stages or landers?

In this comment under an answer to Heating Perseverance components prior to deployment I wrote: I think (but can not find a source yet) that there is even a loop of "hot water plumbing" ...
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6 votes
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Perseverance drove for the first time on Mars ! (on Sol 14) Can I find somewhere how much and in what direction?

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. The image was acquired on March 6, 2021. (Sol 15) Click on the image, and then again, for a closer view. Is there an (interactive) map that shows the route the ...
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Why did Curiosity not have a camera on board to record the landing?

So we've had a question asking why Perseverance had a camera to record the landing and one asking if Curiosity did, but I can't find any information about why Curiosity did not have a camera on board ...
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18 votes
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Did the Perseverance and Curiosity skycranes land gently, or did they crash?

I don't think I found any references as to further fate of the skycranes after detaching the rovers other than them "flying away" from the rover. Does NASA make any minimal effort to land ...
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6 votes
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How long will the "Send Your Name to Mars" chips aboard the Mars Landers and Rovers last?

I'm talking about the Chips NASA has placed on Curiosity, InSight and Perseverance: You could enter you name on https://mars.nasa.gov/participate/send-your-name/future and NASA etched your name on ...
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28 votes
7 answers
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Curiosity and Perseverance landing - with so much dust blown everywhere, what's the point of the skycrane?

Curiosity and Perseverance were landed using the rather complex skycrane system because it would prevent the rockets from contaminating the landing site. But the video shows a great deal of dust being ...
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Why did NASA intentionally crash-land the Curiosity and Perseverance sky cranes on Mars?

The sky cranes for both the Curiosity and Perseverance landing systems were both intentionally crashed into Mars. According to this answer regarding intentional crash-landing of spacecraft in general, ...
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How far will Curiosty be removed from Perseverance?

I'd like to know the distance between the Curiosity rover on Mars (currently at Mount Sharp, I believe) and the landing site of the Perseverance rover (the Jezero crater). Is there an application or ...
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3 votes
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Sources for Mars rover sensor data

Is it possible to get sensor data from past or present martian rovers sent by NASA? Specifically, I'm looking for accelerometer and wheel torque data from the rovers. I've searched their "...
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Why doesn't the Perseverance rover have markers on its wheels like Curiosity?

The wheels of the Curiosity rover have hole patterns spelling J-P-L in Morse code. The reason why these existed in the first place was to help vision-based odometry and distance measurements, ...
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Why is NASA sending wavy grousers to Mars?

In this answer to What are the lines on the wheels of the Perseverance rover called? Are they different than Curiosity's? and in sources linked therein we've learned that the lines across the business ...
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Do aeroshells really get hotter than the surface of the sun?

This answer to How to design heatshield bluntness? says: Curiosity reentry dumped about 98% of its entry energy into the atmosphere, the aeroshell can still get to be temps greater than the surface ...
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What is the baseline for carbon isotope ratios?

In the Martian atmosphere, the ratio between concentrations of carbon-13 to carbon-12 has been measured, for example reported in Mahaffy, Paul R., et al. "Abundance and isotopic composition of ...
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What is hot shoe and cold shoe in MMRTG?

As I was going through the book 'The Design and Engineering of Curiosity' by Emily Lakdawalla, I stumbled on these two words. Are they hot and cold section of thermocouple? What actually they do? The ...
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Why exactly does Curiosity's RTG make more electricity on cold days?

There is a fascinating factoid in this answer to MMRTG- thermal and electrical output: The electric power of the thermocouples depends on cooling influenced by the environment. On a cold day on Mars ...
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Has ChemCam been used to characterize the martian atmosphere?

Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) can be used to measure the composition of a solid, a liquid or a gas. LIBS is the technology used in ChemCam of the Curiosity rover and in the SuperCam of ...
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Did the Mars Science Laboratory do any science that wasn't done by Curiosity proper?

This answer to What is the equivalent of Curiosity's “MSL” in the context of Perseverance? What's the official name of the mission? Are the distinctions similar? got me thinking that answers to Where ...
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What is the equivalent of Curiosity's "MSL" in the context of Perseverance? What's the official name of the mission? Are the distinctions similar?

Answers to Where does MSL end and Curiosity begin? explain the difference. There was much fanfare for the naming contest for the Perseverance rover, but I don't know what the mission is called. ...
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At what inclined grade would Curiosity or Perseverance require twice the electrical power to drive compared to driving on flat terrain?

Motors have losses and friction, and compaction of soil by a rovers wheels are lossy as well. Driving over bumps/topography requires extra work going up that isn't recovered when going back down. The ...
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5 votes
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How are the Curiosity rover's batteries doing after all these years (and all these cycles)? Have they degraded significantly?

Curiosity has spent 2820 sols on Mars and this answer to About how long will Curiosity last on its nuclear power? points out that its batteries may wear out faster than its RTG. Question: How are ...
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How much altitude will curiosity gain by its climb now from the clay-bearing unit to the sulfate-bearing unit?

According to Space.com's NASA's Curiosity rover starts Red Planet road trip up Martian mountain: Curiosity's last stop from 2019 to this year was the "clay-bearing unit", another ...
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