Questions tagged [curiosity]

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

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22
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3answers
7k views

Can Curiosity pay InSight a visit?

InSight landed “just” 600 kilometers from Curiosity’s landing site. Can Curiosity make its way there for a rendezvous? Are there any plans for this?
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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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238 views

How many times has Curiosity switched between its two redundant computers? ("brain switch")

While not as dramatic as "cross-circuiting to A" in the video, The NASA JPL news item Curiosity Rover to Temporarily Switch 'Brains' indicates that Curiousity has been switched back to "...
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1answer
4k views

Why is Curiosity so light compared to Opportunity?

Look at that: ...and now tell me how comes Opportunity weighs 530kg and Curiosity 900kg. It looks, like by volume, Curiosity is good 4x larger, if not more. Plus it contains heavyweight RTGs, its ...
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1answer
236 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. ...
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2answers
536 views

Which potential landing sites were identified at the MSL Landing Site workshops?

In the Wikipedia article Timeline of Mars Science Laboratory it is mentioned that at the first MSL Landing Site workshop, 33 potential landing sites were identified, and that by the second workshop in ...
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1answer
306 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
1k views

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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1answer
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What would happen if the Curiosity rover "flipped over"?

Just wondering if they have contingency plans for "flipping" or if the thought process was "nobody will jeopardize the mission by climbing a steep cliff". Given the massive size of the rover, I doubt ...
6
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1answer
232 views

Curiosity and Mars 2020 power supply during cruise phase

1) Is the rover itself powered on during the cruise to Mars? 2) If so, does that power come from the MMRTG on the rover, or is power supplied to the rover by the cruise stage? 3) If not, would the ...
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1answer
484 views

Radioisotope thermoelectric generator vs Solar? [duplicate]

What circumstance would a radioisotope thermoelectric generator is better to use than solar cells in space probes and rovers?
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1answer
870 views

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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1answer
377 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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1answer
79 views

How (if possible) can we assess the isotope variations on martian soils?

I'm personally interested in the biological implications of different isotope variations on biology. This can be tested on earth by separating them and just observing, but determining the isotope ...
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2answers
573 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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1answer
368 views

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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Planetary rovers - six wheels vs four?

Just wondering, why are unmanned rovers almost always using six wheels (adding more weight) as opposed to four wheels? Is it for added traction, redundancy, balance, or a combination of these factors?
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1answer
250 views

How did Curiosity's SAM "sing" to itself?

According to the Wikipedia page for the song "Happy Birthday To You", the Mars rover Curiosity sang to itself on its birthday in 2013, using its SAM as a musical instrument. The page for the SAM ...
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2answers
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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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2answers
1k views

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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2answers
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Does Curiosity pose a radiation hazard for would be colonists?

I understand Curiosity is powered by plutonium decay. I was wondering if that kind of battery leaks. If humans ever go to Mars, and they want to meet with Curiosity, would they need to take extra ...
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455 views

What happens to spare rovers?

I found a picture on Wikipedia that seems suggest that NASA is keeping rovers from previous missions for testing and flight spares. Do they have full set of science instruments or are they stripped ...
31
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1answer
6k views

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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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 ...
12
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1answer
269 views

Can the rovers on Mars see the comet flyby?

Within a few days Comet ISON is going to make a close flyby of Mars. Will the rovers on Mars have a chance to take a look at the comet as it approaches Mars?
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How to calculate Coordinated Mars Time (MTC)?

I'm trying to figure out how to calculate Coordinated Mars Time (MTC). Can it be calculated directly from Earths current time/date, or calculated from the current Mars Sol Date (MSD)? From this wiki ...
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2answers
630 views

How large are the Curiosity rover's FPGAs which enable "dream mode"?

I read this article about "dream mode" in the Curiosity rover. In the article they mention: ... implemented on about 1.2 million logic gates ... How large would the avionics hardware need to be in ...
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1answer
366 views

Who decides where Curiosity goes?

I've been wondering for a while who gets to decide where Curiosity goes. I'm not wondering so much about who gets to actually give it the commands (that seems fairly easy to find), but who decides its ...
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1answer
424 views

Is this photo of Mars in color?

This recently released terrain of Mars as taken by the Curiosity Rover looks like it was done in black and white. Is this really how it looks like to the naked eye? From here.
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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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What is the purpose of these marks on Curiosity? [duplicate]

On several devices on the Curiosity rover there are marks (see red ellipses in the image below). I thought that they are used in order for machine vision to determine the angle at which a particular ...
18
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1answer
482 views

How will Curiosity manage its power when its nuclear power starts to run low?

As we've already determined, Curiosity should last about 14 years on its nuclear power. What happens near that timeframe? Will NASA start to manage the rover's use of power by shutting down unused ...
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2answers
188 views

Would the MSL rover copy work on the Moon?

In order to save development costs, Mars2020 will basically be the same rover as MSL Curiosity, but with another set of instruments. NASA's next big Mars ambition seems to be sample return. But after ...
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1answer
261 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 ...
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Could Curiosity dig itself a burrow?

Technically speaking, given enough mission time and operator attention... Could Curiosity dig itself a burrow? How long would that take? What would be the technique for that? Has it already seen a ...
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2answers
2k views

How long might the Curiosity Mars rover last, and what would be the most likely cause to end its mission capability? [closed]

Given the life expectancies of all its components (mechanical, electrical, electronic, etc.), how long could the Curiosity rover reasonably be expected to continue performing useful science in an ...
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1answer
538 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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1answer
4k views

What software language was used to program the martian rovers Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity?

What software language was used to program the martian rovers Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity? Also, how many engineers were involved in writing the software for the rovers?
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Curiosity's powered descent stage test

The landing procedure of Curiosity on Mars has been described as a real challenge in part because of the powered descent stage and sky crane. Indeed the separation of Curiosity with the backshell + ...
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1answer
273 views

How does Curiosity find its own way to selected destination?

What kind of technique does the Curiosity rover employ to find the safest (probably not the fastest) way to its destination that was given to it by NASA from the Earth?
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1answer
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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
444 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
819 views

Why was Curiosity rover's landing site an ellipse?

According to this article, the landing site of the Curiosity rover was elliptical. Why an ellipse? Would all planetary landers have elliptical landing sites?
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1answer
781 views

Curiosity: Rockets kick up more dust than a sandstorm?

I was reading the NASA page about Curiosity's crazy landing scheme, and I ran across this sentence: With a payload this size, the rockets could kick up enough dust to compromise the rover and its ...
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0answers
57 views

Curiosity with caterpillars? [duplicate]

Why doesn't curiosity (or other) use caterpillar tracks (like tanks) instead of wheels? It would be good for rough terrain and slow speed, and this is exactly the situation. Regards
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2answers
2k views

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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1answer
2k views

Why do the Mars rovers move so cautiously?

All the Mars rovers tend to move very slowly. For example, Curiosity moves at an average speed of 30 metres per hour and a maximum speed of 90 metres per hour. Why is this so? Is it because of safety ...
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2answers
3k views

Why would NASA include a speaker on Curiosity?

Curiosity celebrated it's first birthday by playing, on Mars, Happy Birthday. How was this accomplished, and why would this capability even be included on Mars?
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1answer
1k views

Does NASA have any plans for future Mars rovers after Curiosity?

Curiosity should last a very long time - up to around 14 years. My question is whether NASA has any plans for a Mars rovers after Curiosity. If so, are any specifics known?

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