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
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Are there any images of Curiosity during the sky crane operations?

This answer has a nice video of Curiosity's descent to MARS. The images come from the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI), which is mounted on the underside of the rover. Was there any camera mounted on the ...
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Why is this "grainy footage" of a Martian (sky) from Curiosity so grainy? Cloud snaps by Opportunity look great!

A paper from the 2017 meeting Lunar and Planetary Sciences XLVIII describes a systematic observation of the Martian sky, with a sequence of eight taken every day at zenith and near-horizon angles. ...
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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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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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Will Curiosity and the Mars 2020 rover be able to communicate with each other via a Mars orbiter?

Curiosity's UHF antenna on sol 2439 Could Curiosity and the Mars 2020 rover communicate with each other via the MRO orbiter ? And would it have advantages ? (Like: " I just saw a meteorite, and it'...
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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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What likely is the chemical composition of the thin piece of material on the surface of Mars on the image below?

Note: The MAHLI images below were acquired when both the two groups of white light LEDs and the ultraviolet LEDs were off. When looking for the damage on the wheels of Curiosity on the raw images i ...
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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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. ...
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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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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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1answer
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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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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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Why does Curiosity have two images of itself on itself, or is one a QR-code?

The first image in CNN"s New images show Mars as you've never seen it before shows a partial "selfie" by the Curiosity rover which includes what looks like two images on the rover itself. The one on ...
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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 ...