Questions tagged [curiosity]

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

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18
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3answers
2k views

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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1answer
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What problems led to the use of the Sky Crane system used by Curiosity?

We all know about the fancy 'sky crane' system used on NASA's Curiosity rover. The rockets slow the descent to 1 ½ mph and power a sideways parry to avoid the faster falling chute. As Sky Crane ...
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3answers
885 views

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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565 views

Has the Curiosity rover ever communicated directly with Earth via its high-gain antenna? Signal strength & data rate?

In the question How does Curiosity know how to point and move it's high gain antenna in real time? I show an image of the hexagonal, articulated high gain antenna on the curiosity rover, as well as ...
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Curiosity: Why did they “reinvent the wheel” instead of using pressure tires?

Curiosity rover's wheels seem a bit tired and show signs of wear and tear, as reported for example in this Discovery News article from May 22, 2013. This damage only increased since then and wheels ...
5
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1answer
478 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 mostly for higher data rates to spacecraft orbiting Mars, ...
5
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1answer
479 views

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 Red Planet ...
2
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1answer
151 views

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 the level ...
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2answers
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What's the coin on the Curiosity rover?

The image above was taken from the Curiosity rover (I hope). There appears to be a coin in the image. Is that really a coin or some kind of button? Is it really present on the rover? If it is ...
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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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1answer
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Why is Curiosity not heading for Peace Vallis?

For over 5 years Curiosity has been successfully searching for many signs that water was once present at Gale crater. Its geology is notable for containing both clays and sulfate minerals that may ...
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Curiosity wheel damage

The surface of Curiosity's wheels have picked up quite a lot of damage with significant holes beyond the "JPL" holes that were designed in. By contrast the surface of Opportunity wheels have held up ...
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Why does Curiosity use an RTG rather than solar (as Spirit and Opportunity do) for power?

Why did Curiosity choose to go with nuclear power? While solar panels have issues with Martian dust, this was a known factor before the 2004 Spirit and Opportunity mission. Why then did the 2004 ...
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1answer
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Why not a “live” visual connection with Curiosity on Mars all the time?

Note: Got the idea for this question by @uhoh's question: "Has anything close to video ("live" or otherwise) been shot in space from beyond the Moon ? To have the "feeling" of a "live" connection ...
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Does the Curiosity rover really have a chance of driving to the top of Mt. Sharp?

This great answer suggests the limiting high altitude to which the Curiosity rover on Mars could drive would be the top of Mt. Sharp (Aeolis Mons) - in the center of Gale crater. I'm wondering, is ...
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1answer
292 views

Rock flipping operation

After the recent announcement of complex organics being found on Mars within the curiosity rover's meager 5cm drill depth, I had an idea about artificially increasing it: Is curiosity rover's arm ...
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1answer
523 views

Why did the Earth based observations of methane on Mars go wrong?

ScienceNews states that: Scientists had previously identified methane on Mars using Earth-based telescopes and spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet. In 2003, researchers detected a ...
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2answers
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Why are Curiosity's wheels aluminum rather than titanium?

I was just reading this article on how Curiosity's aluminum wheels are getting pretty dinged up. Usually titanium alloy is considered an upgrade from aluminum alloys in most applications, from ...
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498 views

How much elevation has Mars Curiosity climbed so far from the bottom of Gale crater?

Recently, I came across information that Curiosity is currently at -4220 m of altitude. I have three questions: Since there is no sea level on Mars, what is the level of reference for altitude ...
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Is it possible for Curiosity to broadcast live HD television from Mars to Earth?

Current Mars rovers collect large amounts of data and image sequences on Mars and store them in memory, and usually they then transfer the data to a spacecraft in Mars orbit for rebroadcast to Earth ...
5
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Are there “rover-friendly region maps” for Mars?

Rover missions are hard - you need to put them down somewhere where they can safely drive around and measure (hopefully a variety of) interesting things. Future rovers may have legs as discussed in ...
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Do Curiosity's reported measurements of Mars' surface gravity (~3.717 m/s^2) include centrifugal effects?

In this answer I discuss the first results in the 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2016) conference paper First Gravity Traverse on the Martian Surface from the Curiosity Rover and a more ...
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1answer
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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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Color-correcting photos on Mars so that things look like they would on Earth - is it a big correction?

The message at the end of the very cool new NASA JPL video Curiosity at Martian Scenic Overlook says To aid geologists, colors in the image are white balanced so rocks appear the same color as the ...
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Why doesn't MAHLI get to be in Curiosity selfies?

note: Answer(s) to Why is a corner of InSight's selfie cropped like this? don't address this question about Curiosity for several reasons: It doesn't even answer that question properly. Insight is ...
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1answer
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Who took the Curiosity rover's self-portrait photo from the surface of Mars?

Curiosity is missing an arm, can you help us find it? The self-portrait photograph of the Curiosity rover from the Gale Crater is probably one of the most well known ones of this particular rover of ...
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What are the black and white circular patterns on the Curiosity rover?

On the Mars Curiosity rover, there are black and white circular patterns or marks spaced around the rover, as seen here marked in lime green:     What are these? If I had to guess, ...
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1answer
206 views

How does Curiosity analyse Mars' rocks for finding signs of life?

How does the Curiosity rover analyse Mars' rocks to find signs of life? Is it only based on life-supporting chemicals, or is there more involved? What specific tests are performed? We recall the ...
33
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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?
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Mars curiosity rover's Maxon drive motors

I am trying to get information on the maxon drive motors on the Curiosity Rover. Does anyone know know what model of DC brushless motors are used what kind of gear speed reducer is used. Is it a ...
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2answers
425 views

Has Curiosity started driving backwards yet?

I'm curious if curiosity has started to drive backwards, at least occasionally, as part of an effort to reduce the rate of damage to the wheels. This has come up after writing this answer to the ...
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1answer
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Methane on Mars - Can we locate the source?

I know that Methane has been detected on Mars, however there seems to be a lack of specific information about the location and concentration of the Methane. Would it be possible to pinpoint the source ...
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1answer
353 views

What caused Curiosity's electrical trouble?

According to this NASA announcement, there seems to have been some kind of trouble with Curiosity's electrical system: The decision to resume science activities resulted from the success of work to ...
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2answers
4k views

Cost Breakdown for Curiosity Development

Is there a breakdown of the 2.5 Billion USD cost for Curiosity? I am particularly interested in the cost of the software development of the rover.
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1answer
214 views

Is Curiosity allowed to investigate the subsurface of the “clay unit ” near Mount Sharp?

From the bottom image in this article from september 2016 it can be seen that there was a possible path for Curiosity in the direction of Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons). At the end of januari 2018 however ...
4
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1answer
161 views

Have any systems on any Mars rovers failed (even partially) as a result of a dust storm? (besides loss of solar power)

Have any systems on any Mars rovers failed (even partially) as a result of a dust storm? There is the obvious problem of loss of solar power, but the failures there are the result of loss of power. ...
3
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1answer
80 views

Puzzler: help understanding these amazing Curiosity eclipse GIFs

Starting from Curiosity Observes Sunset Eclipse: Sol 2358 I found three images in the sequence PIA23133, PIA23134, and PIA23135 which I thought would mean (but don't know for sure) that they are ...
3
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1answer
58 views

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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1answer
246 views

Do Mars rovers have irises? How do they safely look at the Sun?

This excellent answer by @MarkAdler to the question Opportunity's last tau was 10.8; what does that mean and how is tau defined and measured? explains that Curiosity uses its PanCam to image the Sun's ...
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0answers
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Could the NOMAD instrument on the TGO detect methane at night with sufficient reflected sunlight or artificial light?

Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery (NOMAD) is a 3-channel spectrometer on board the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO). Both the solar occultation (SO), and the limb nadir and occultation (LNO) ...
2
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1answer
291 views

Why doesn't the perchlorate on Mars' surface oxidize metallic meteorites?

"Egg Rock" is a smooth, shiny nickel-iron meteorite found sitting on the surface of Mars on 30-Oct-2016. It is described the next day in Arizona State University's Red Planet Report website: Curiosity:...
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0answers
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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-...