Questions tagged [curiosity]

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

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1answer
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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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What is the mysterious “Ball of Mars”?

A recent picture of Curiosity rover depicts a surprisingly accurate sphere on the surface of Mars. What is it, and how is it possible that it is so perfecly spherical? Photo by NASA Mars Science ...
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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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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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842 views

How does Curiosity know how to point and move it's high gain antenna in real time?

The Curiosity rover has a compact X-band high-gain antenna (HGA) that allows for low data rate communication directly with Earth, but is used though for higher data rates it usually uses UHF to ...
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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?

I added some dirty pictures of Curiosity to Curiosity is still dirty! after August 9, 2018 (Sol 2137), and in this March 2021 selfie PIA24543: Curiosity's Selfie at Mont Mercou things still look ...
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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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Who discovered “Egg Rock”? The Curiosity rover or people?

"Egg Rock" is a smooth, shiny nickel-iron meteorite found sitting on the surface of Mars on Curiosity's Sol 1505, or 30-Oct-2016. It is described the next day in Arizona State University's ...
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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 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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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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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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When the Mars 2020 and Mars Science Laboratory missions were in deep space, what antennas did they have 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Can either Opportunity or Curiosity explore the state of Spirit?

If you have a rough map of Mars a picture would help, but how far away are the three big rovers on Mars from each other? Is there any possibility of "roadside assistance" on Mars to "unstick" and ...
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How are Spacecraft Event Times (SETs) managed; to what timescales are they linked?

Spacecraft Event Time explains the importance of remembering just how darn slow light is; it takes minutes, hours, and in a few cases almost a day for light to travel one way between humans and their ...
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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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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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When did Curiosity land in the Martian Darian calendar?

The New York Times' Why Mars Needs Leap Days, Too “I daresay there have been more different proposals for Mars calendars than there are different calendars for the Earth,” said Michael Allison, a ...
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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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Download all Curiosity photos?

I'm interested in downloading all of the Curiosity rover photos. Is there some sort of automated way to do this?
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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 can the Mars rover Curiosity do autonomously, after four years of operation?

I was under the impression (when asking this question) that over the past four years that experience by ground operators and programmers had lead to a configuration where the Mars rover Curiosity ...
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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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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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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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Is it possible that Curiosity Rover measured its own methane or failed doing the spectrometry?

NASA published past June high methane concentrations were measured at Mars. This week, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover found a surprising result: the largest amount of methane ever measured during the ...
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Will the Mars 2020 rover's sensitivity to methane be better than Curiosity's?

The New York Times article NASA Rover on Mars Detects Puff of Gas That Hints at Possibility of Life describes the newest detection of a "whiff" of methane on Mars. The article states that ...
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How does the Mars 2020 rover's suspension and center of gravity compare to Curiosity's?

Gizmodo's NASA Put Wheels on Its Mars 2020 Rover and Holy Crap This Is Actually Happening says: The tube-like legs that support the wheels are constructed from titanium, and they’re similar to high-...
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If Curiosity had lights, could it drive or work in the evening?

If the Mars rover Curiosity had been equipped with lights, would it be able to drive or do other work in the evening? This could be some combination of LED headlights, wheel-lights, and/or a spotlight ...
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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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Where does MSL end and Curiosity begin?

There are tags for mars-science-laboratory and curiosity but I don't really understand how the Mars Science Laboratory begins and the Curiosity Rover begins conceptually, spatially, or chronologically....
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At what incline would curiosity require twice the electrical power to drive compared to a flat grade?

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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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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About how long will Curiosity last on its nuclear power?

Curiosity, we know, has no little nuclear reactor, it has a RTG. Great! But how long will it last? For how many years will our little 1-ton friend be roaming around another planet?