Questions tagged [curiosity]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
5
votes
1answer
1k views

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
votes
1answer
165 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
469 views

Why is Curiosity remaining on the Vera Rubin Ridge for so long?

Have the MSL mission team members become overwhelmed by the iron-rich rocks on the ridge ? Image from: https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/mission/mars-rover-curiosity-mission-updates/?mu=sol-2018-rock-...
5
votes
1answer
507 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, ...
0
votes
1answer
296 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?
3
votes
1answer
143 views

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....
5
votes
1answer
215 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 ...
19
votes
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
756 views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
470 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
76 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
292 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:...
5
votes
1answer
484 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
10
votes
2answers
503 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
205 views

Surveyor TD-339 engines - used on all US powered robotic landers?

I've read that derivatives of the original Thiokol TD-339 model of vernier engine for the Surveyor program was reused in the Viking program, and seen a hint that MSL was using the same heritage design,...
3
votes
1answer
334 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. ...
5
votes
0answers
252 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
243 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 ...
28
votes
2answers
5k views

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?
18
votes
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
339 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
421 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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Dimensions of the Curiosity Rover?

Does anyone know where I can find more detailed dimensions of the Mars Curiosity rover? For example, what are various dimensions of the boogie rocker system? Or the dimensions of the main body ...
11
votes
1answer
356 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
418 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.
5
votes
0answers
61 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
586 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 ...
28
votes
4answers
7k views

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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
145 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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
16
votes
3answers
5k views

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 ...
8
votes
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.
6
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

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?
18
votes
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?
5
votes
2answers
221 views

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 + ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

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 ...
55
votes
3answers
17k views

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 ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

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, ...
6
votes
1answer
269 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?
10
votes
1answer
358 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
745 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 ...
30
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...