Questions tagged [rovers]

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

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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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2answers
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Curiosity is still dirty! How will the ExoMARS Rover keep its solar panels dust-free and collecting sufficient power?

update: Current events makes this question even more poignant sols 5183 to 5189, Aug. 23, 2018 - Aug. 29, 2018: Team Continues to Listen for Opportunity Curiosity selfie has been released just a few ...
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754 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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How do you 'make oxygen' on Mars?

This morning's BBC News says that a 2020 rover mission to Mars will "make oxygen". There is a brief line indication that it will extract it from atmospheric CO₂, but no other details. What process ...
7
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1answer
836 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 though for higher data rates it usually uses UHF to ...
25
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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 ...
6
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1answer
731 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 ...
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1answer
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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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2answers
255 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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1answer
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The types of motors used on the Martian rovers?

I have a question regarding the types of motors that were used on the Martian rovers, specifically the Mars Exploration Rovers and Curiosity. I am wondering about the main 6 motors that turn the ...
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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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Titan rover survival challenges

The Huygens probe didn't last long. What are the challenges of operating a rover on the surface of Titan for at least a few months and what technologies would be used to overcome these?
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How long could the Mars helicopter Ingenuity keep up with the Perseverance rover if it wanted to?

Wikipedia's Mars Helicopter Ingenuity says: It could potentially cover a distance of up to 300 metres (980 ft) per flight. Perseverance is somewhat similar to Curiosity which drove about 22970 ...
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2answers
267 views

Microscopes in space?

There are a lot of telescopes in space (optical, radio, X-ray and Gamma-ray), but how about microscopes? Does the ISS have a general-purpose microscope? It could come in handy for failure analysis or ...
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3answers
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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 ...
43
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5answers
15k views

Why aren't we sending quadcopters to mars?

After watching the MARS series on National Geographic I noticed that they sent one of their crew members down a chasm to check for ice. I wondered, why they did not just take a regular commercial ...
29
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4answers
8k 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 ...
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3answers
314 views

What is a gyrocompass and how might one be used by a planetary rover?

In comments and links therein below the question How does Curiosity know how to point and move it's high gain antenna in real time? there is mention of a gyrocompass. I am aware that gyros can be ...
36
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8answers
7k views

Wheels vs. tracks for rovers

On Earth, there are plenty of examples of vehicles that roam difficult terrain having tracks instead of wheels, while all (at least those I am aware of) extraterrestrial rovers have wheels. Is there ...
13
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1answer
373 views

Do Mars rovers protect optical windows during dust storms? Do they “avert their eyes” or do they just “grin and bear it”?

The question Did any lander or rover photograph the sun rising or setting during a Martian dust storm? makes me think of the images below showing the stuff blown around and on to martian rovers. I'm ...
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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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1answer
474 views

How quickly might a Titan rover or drone 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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1answer
335 views

Balancing Perseverance Mars Rover; couldn't they just “move stuff around a little” rather than add 6+ kg of dead weight?

The NASA News item NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover Gets Balanced says: Just as an auto mechanic places small weights on a car tire's rim to bring it into balance, the Perseverance team analyzed the ...
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1answer
221 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 ...
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1answer
546 views

Is there any chance Mars-3's Prop-M rover deployed automatically and “roved”?

Mars-3 landed on the surface of Mars and began transmitting. It carried a Prop-M rover. The lander started transmitting from the surface but went silent about 14 seconds later. Did rover deployment ...
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4answers
549 views

Which rover(s) didn't have wheels?

The question Wheels vs. tracks for rovers and Does new technology make it advantageous to have walking rovers? ask about the possible use of treads or legs instead of wheels on rovers from a ...
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0answers
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Could Ingenuity stay warmer at night by landing on (or near) Perseverance's RTG?

One concern in How long could the Mars helicopter Ingenuity keep up with the Perseverance rover if it wanted to? is that the helicopter must cycle its battery every night to stay warm, and that could ...
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1answer
276 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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4answers
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How were Perseverance's cables “cut” after touching down?

In the NASA conference today regarding Perseverance's successful landing on Mars, they talked about how you can see the cable that held the rover in this picture below (I circled the cable). I'm ...
12
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2answers
901 views

What risk management options are available for Mars orbiters and rovers to mitigate threat of impacting with Siding Spring cometary debris?

I was reading this article on New Scientist titled Fiercest meteor shower on record to hit Mars via comet. Long story short, the Oort cloud comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring is predicted to near-miss Mars ...
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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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How did astronauts navigate the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) over the surface of the Moon?

The Lunar Roving Vechicle (LRV), also known as Moon Buggy, was used as a form of transportation on the surface of the Moon during the Apollo program. What system did the astronauts use for ...
12
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3answers
902 views

Does new technology make it advantageous to have walking rovers?

Watching Boston Dynamics progress with their walking robots makes it seem like maybe a version adapted to function off-world could compete with wheeled rovers now: ...
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2answers
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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 ...
4
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1answer
230 views

On what kind of martian soil or rock will the Perseverance rover drop its helicopter?

The image below is cropped from the high resolution version of NASA's Mars Helicopter and Perseverance Rover PIA23824 and shows the helicopter in it's stowed position on the underside of the rover ...
4
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1answer
293 views

Does the Mars2020 lander need a new parachute design?

The EarthSky.org article Supersonic parachute test off Virginia coast March 27 and the linked YouTube video NASA’s Mars 2020 Supersonic Parachute: Test Flight #1 describes a recent test launched by a ...
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0answers
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How will Mars 2020 rover Perseverance's selfie skills compare to Curiosity's? Will it have any additional selfie-related capabilities?

The design of the Mars 2020 rover Perseverance benefits from years of operational experience with Curiosity. While 2020's instrument suite differs in several ways it looks remarkably similar to ...
3
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1answer
376 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
355 views

When was stereoscopic photography first used intentionally on solar system body?

I have stumbled across the fascinating page Photogrammetric Analysis Of Apollo 11 Imagery: New camera-station map with improved locations at the following website: https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/...
2
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1answer
278 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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Why hasn't NASA planted a stationary lab on Mars yet?

Why does NASA send rovers such as Curiosity instead of remotely building a small building on the surface of Mars?
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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, ...
40
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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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3answers
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What happens to defunct lunar and Mars rovers? What technological barriers prevent humanity from creating a perpetual rover?

What happens to defunct lunar and Mars rovers? What technological barriers prevent humanity from creating a perpetual rover with sun batteries or nuclear portable reactors for use on Mars, the Moon, ...
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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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1answer
2k views

How did the spirit rover land right way up after bouncing

After watching an animation of how the Spirit rover landed on Mars, I was wondering how the rover managed to end up the right way up after bouncing around?
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2answers
624 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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2answers
3k views

How are the Mars Rovers maintained?

I am really curious in finding out how the Mars Rovers are maintained. The communications with the software could be done as long as there are no connection malfunctions, and I suppose they have a ...
3
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1answer
359 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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0answers
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At what incline would curiosity require twice the electrical power to drive compared to a flat grade?

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 ...