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Questions tagged [rovers]

Questions about vehicles sent to extraterrestrial bodies, generally for use in data collection.

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Could a solar panel be modified to also collect a static charge on Mars?

I was waiting for someone to piece both of these questions together into another question. @Dragongeek was the first, Could a solar panel be modified to create a static charge while spinning to remove ...
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Which would be more prone to regolith-ice-melting issues, a rover's wheels or an astronaut's boots?

This answer to Has NASA “gone south”? Why are astronauts needed to explore the Moon's south pole? and the question What would happen if an Apollo astronaut landed on Pluto? both touch on issues of ...
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1answer
124 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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1answer
163 views

How high could a weather balloon be used on Mars without rupturing? [duplicate]

What is the maximum height could a weather balloon achieve on Mars without rupturing? Assume that the balloon is adapted for Mars' atmosphere and gravity from standard high altitude balloons used on ...
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1answer
134 views

Have the rovers on Mars encountered anything unrecognizable to geologists?

We have quite a few rovers trundling around Mars. Just from reading the popular news, I get the impression that everything encountered so far (minerals, rocks, strata, formations, structures, etc.) ...
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1answer
65 views

Does the Dragonfly project (quadcopters on Titan) envision attached RTG's or would they be static and revisited for charging?

In this answer I link to the Phys.org article Researcher sets eyes on Saturn's largest moon which describes the Dragonfly project, a way to explore extended areas of Titan's surface difficult to probe ...
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2answers
3k views

Pictures from Mars

How is it that NASA receives broadcasts from 300 million miles away but Sprint needs to install transmitters every 500ft for 5G wireless?
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1answer
320 views

Opportunity's last tau was 10.8; what does that mean and how is tau defined and measured?

@ahiijny added a direct link to the Sol 5110-5114 MER B Downlink Report. These are the final days that signals were received from Opportunity. The message "Tau Value is NOT a Typographical Error" ...
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63 views

Fate of human-made objects on mars

Now that Opportunity is dead, and since there are ideas for future human missions to Mars, I wonder if there is a project to collect all our rovers and landers or at least label as historical sites ...
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2answers
129 views

What will happen to space machines if Earth is destroyed?

What will happen to rovers, satellites, and probes if Earth is destroyed? What will their behaviour be like? How long will they keep functioning? Do they have any programmed actions to take in case of ...
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8answers
13k views

Why do most space probes survive for far longer than they were designed for?

Looking back to Opportunity (Rest In Peace, little friend), it was apparently designed to operate for 90 days but it ended up going for 16 years which is approximately 64 times longer than the ...
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2answers
282 views

Is there any chance that Opportunity might still recover from the dust storm?

So, with today's announcement, Opportunity was basically declared dead When the dust storm originally engulfed Opportunity last year, mission scientists were hopeful that they might yet recover the ...
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1answer
95 views

What launch vehicle will be used for Exomars rover Rosalind Franklin?

I know that for TGO/Schiaparelli, Proton was used, but I don't know what will be for Rosalind Franklin.
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0answers
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Why is Curiosity's rocker-bogie mounted in it's current configuration

In this question, it is stated that by driving Curiosity backwards they could get more mileage out of it's wheels, as the rocker bogie puts less pressure on them that way. Now, the obvious question ...
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0answers
90 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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3answers
1k views

How did Lunokhod 1 become “lost” in 1971; in what ways did astronomers “look for it” after that?

The Smithsonian Magazine article Lost Soviet Reflector Found on the Moon says: There are actually five retroreflectors on the Moon: three placed by Apollo astronauts and two that sit atop Soviet ...
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1answer
112 views

What can cause grooves (stairs like) features on Mars's ground that is opposite to water flow direction?

Looking at an image taken by Mars Odyssey THEMIS (Thermal Emission Imaging System) camera of an unnamed crater in Aonia Terra region I noticed what looks like grooves or ridges that resemble a stair ...
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1answer
239 views

What is a secondary thwack arm, and what gets thwacked?

@Hobbes's answer calls attention to Emily Lakdawalla's book The Design and Engineering of Curiosity : How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job which led me to reading excerpts in several Planetary Society ...
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1answer
159 views

How exactly does Curiosity's floating bus work, and how does it continue to operate when voltage drops from 11 to only 4 volts?

@Hobbes's answer calls attention to Emily Lakdawalla's book The Design and Engineering of Curiosity : How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job which led me to reading excerpts in several Planetary Society ...
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2answers
71 views

Do moon rovers on near side need a relay communication satellite?

Wikipedia says direct communication is not possible from the far side of the moon. So I'm guessing it should be possible for the satellite to communicate directly without relay satellite from the near ...
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2answers
6k views

Why did China land a rover on the moon?

Why did China land the Chang’e-4 rover on the moon? What was it supposed to accomplish or explore?
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3answers
194 views

Why are the rovers finding the long Lunar night difficult to overcome?

Compared to Martian nights, Lunar nights are long and cold. This has posed a lot of challenges in the past. What specific challenges does long duration night pose? What are the methods to over come? ...
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2answers
357 views

Are rovers useful on low gravity, low atmosphere bodies?

Are rovers useful for exploring low atmosphere, low gravity objects? Are there more appropriate exploratory vehicles being proposed? If I am interested in taking geological samples from a region ...
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1answer
77 views

What are the advantages to sending a person vs robotics to Mars?

Why is it needed to send a person to Mars one day when we have Rovers? What not obvious advantages do humans have in space exploration over Robotics and vise versa?
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1answer
96 views

Has anything close to video (“live” or otherwise) been shot in space from beyond the Moon?

It would be cool to see a short video clip of a rover's eye view of driving across mars. Just a few seconds even. In general, due to limitations in data storage space, bandwidth, and limited ...
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1answer
253 views

How do the Mars rovers sleep through the night on Mars?

With reference to Mark Adler's response regarding to Curiosity rover (MSL) on this great & interesting question, this statement strongly caught my attention: The rovers are designed to be ...
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1answer
120 views

How to waterproof a rover?

What changes would be needed to a late model rover to enable it to function under water? What would prevent a rover from functioning under water as is? related: https://astronomy.stackexchange.com/...
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0answers
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What was NASA's “LUROVA” Operational Thermal Computer Model analog or digital? How were capacitors used?

@GremlinWrangler's answer links to Apollo Rover Lessons Learned Applying Experiences on the Apollo Lunar Rover Project to Rovers for Future Space Exploration by Ronald A. Creel, Space and ...
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1answer
179 views

How much wax is on the Moon? (Lunar Roving Vehicles)

I found the Cody's Lab videos from Scott Manley's video as described in this answer. Browsing through I learned from the first 30 seconds of Hot Wax Bottle? that the phase change of wax was used on ...
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1answer
130 views

How does the hopping mechanism of the Minerva II rovers work?

The Minerva II rovers deployed to Ryugu by Hayabusa 2 have gotten a lot of news coverage for their hopping method of locomotion. Is there public information on exactly how this works? I seem to recall ...
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1answer
130 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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3answers
408 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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2answers
102 views

Has a lander/rover ever examined or photographed another mission?

Occasionally a lander or rover (manned or unmanned) will land close enough to a previous mission to enable examination or photographs of the previous mission to be taken by the new mission. What are ...
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0answers
112 views

How quickly might a Titan rover get covered in oil and dirt? Will it need windshield-wipers?

These questions and their answers address some potential aspects of a rover on Saturn's moon Titan. Titan rover survival challenges What are the technical challenges in building a Titan rover that ...
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0answers
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What criteria was used to select potential landing sites for Hayabusa-2's rovers on Ryugu?

The NYTimes' article Hayabusa2 Prepares to Drop Rovers on Asteroid Ryugu says Sept. 19 Rock Hoppers Hayabusa2 is preparing to deploy two small rovers this week, each about 7 inches wide. Ryugu’...
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1answer
137 views

What are the technical challenges in building a Titan rover that didn't need heating?

In the discussion of this question it is assumed that we would need to heat the rover so that (most of) it's components were operating at temperatures much hotter than ambient (about 90K). Current ...
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3answers
273 views

Would a circular saw on one arm and a trowel on another on the Mars 2020 rover add scientific value? [closed]

Edit: I changed the question from one arm with a shovel to two arms, with one with a circular saw and the other with a trowel, some time after the first answer of @Hobbes. I did this because in his ...
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1answer
152 views

How will the Exomars rover communicate back to Earth?

I see here that the Exomars rover has only two UHF monopole antennas. Two UHF monopole antennas are used to communicate with Mars orbiters, including the Trace Gas Orbiter. Does it mean that it ...
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1answer
56 views

Is it practical for HF skywave propagation to be utilized for space exploration robot telecommand when outside of microwave/mm wave range?

Is it practical for HF skywave propagation to be utilized for space exploration robot telecommand when outside of microwave/mm wave range? Currently it appears that only the C band and UHF is used in ...
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1answer
100 views

How does the contest for naming ExoMars work?

ESA is holding a contest to collect suggestions for a proper name for what is currently referred to as the ExoMars rover mission to Mars (mission page). Apparently, Rovy McRoverface and Marsy ...
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1answer
167 views

Why not a landing platform with solar cells on the Mars 2020 rover for the helicopter scout?

In May 2018 the Mars Helicopter Scout (MHS) was approved to fly on the Mars 2020 mission. Author: NASA/JPL-Caltec. It's a solar powered helicopter drone with a mass of 1.8 kg and a coaxial rotor ...
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3answers
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What is the fastest rover that has ever traveled on the surface of an extra-terrestrial body?

What is the fastest rover currently moving on the surface of another celestial body? At what speed with our technology currently does physics restrict our speed limits on the surfaces of solar system ...
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2answers
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Differences in the design of a commercial Moon rover and a commercial Mars rover?

News in May, 2018: Spaceflight Now NASA cancels lunar rover, shifts focus to commercial moon landers Washington Post Stunning scientists, NASA’s only moon rover just got canceled Space.com NASA Kills ...
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2answers
106 views

Are there any planned non-lunar, non-Mars rovers?

I've recently noticed that all the robotic missions to other planets except for Mars were either short-lived landers, orbiters or fly-by missions. Are there any planned rovers which would actively ...
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3answers
582 views

How many memory banks does Opportunity have?

Sparked by the comments to this answer, how many memory banks does Opportunity have? I'm specially interested in the flash memory but any other info is also welcome. According to this JPL press ...
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1answer
8k views

What was NASA's “Hack” to improve Opportunity's memory in 2015? Did it help?

The transcript of the 2015 NPR podcast NASA Hopes A Hack Will Overcome Mars Rover's Memory Gap says: You know how it goes - you're getting a little older, your memory starts to go, you forget where ...
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2answers
196 views

Significance of methane on Mars

Considering the audience of this site, many of you are likely aware that NASA has found methane on Mars. I've heard many people saying that this indicates that life is significantly more likely to ...
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1answer
616 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 ...
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2answers
116 views

Shock absorbing alternator possible for a rover?

Could replacing a Rovers struts (maybe a faster one that uses shock dampers in the future) with magnets similar to a shack flashlight but more heavier duty work well for recouping energy from movement ...
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1answer
194 views

Is Opportunity still in shape to explore the landing site of the Schiaparelli lander?

According to one of the answers to a question concerning Opportunity, the rover has a top speed of 180 meters per hour (no reference). Based on daily performances however a reasonable speed estimate ...