16

TLDR: The rover is power limited not daylight limited Lights are not sufficient to enable nighttime driving. The rover is limited by available power. The RTG produced ~114 W at the start of the mission, dropping to 54 W by 2025. It requires 45-70 W during sleep, at least 150 W when awake and 500 W during driving. This means the rover can only drive for a ...


11

Yes, in principle to both questions, why not? However we can calculate the maximum energy you could get from the generator. The vapour pressure of $CO_2$ at 0C is around 4MPa, so in a perfect world, you get a volume expansion of about $4 MPa/600Pa$ or 6400. The formula for the work per mole done by isothermal expansion of a gas is $$RT\mathop{\mathrm{ln}}...


9

AFSS was developed for unmanned launches first. A 2004 NASA paper indicates how manned flight would be handled: Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS) is an independent flight safety system designed for small to medium sized expendable launch vehicles launching from or needing range safety protection while overlying relatively remote locations. AFSS ...


8

I haven't found a full list of range activities, but there's a key comment in this article: The Air Force currently requires several days to reconfigure its ranges between Atlas, Delta and Falcon missions. That turnaround time should be reduced with the introduction of auto-destruct mechanisms So in the old situation, every user had its own self-destruct ...


7

No, a computer will not be allowed to blow up astronauts. It may activate a launch abort system for them though, after which a flight termination system might be used depending on the situation.


5

Optical navigation would be more than sufficient. Images of the Moon and the Earth against key stars, a clock, and a computer is all you need. Apollo had such a system as a backup, which was used to verify the ground tracking results. This is the Apollo sextant: The definition of "autonomous" in the document is: Autonomous: Ability of a space system to ...


3

The answer to both questions is yes. I was at a talk at NASA regarding AFSS, and the ultimate goal is to get everyone on board with the same thing, so that there's standardization across the board. This also includes between ranges. The idea is that right now, SpaceX is the only customer actively using AFSS, but Vulcan, Blue Origin, etc. are all ...


3

Basically, the short version of range safety is that there's a network of systems that all come together. Each system has a number of people that are required to physically be at the launch making decisions. So for example there's telemetry, radar, etc. AFSS cuts the number of people who have to physically be at the launch significantly down (so this ...


3

The paper Astrobee:Developing a Free-flyingRobot for the International Space Station explains the propulsion system rougly in two sentence: Astrobee’s propulsion system consists of a propulsion module on each of two sides of the free flyer (Figure3). Each module includes a centrifugal fan that pressurizes the module, and nozzles on the x, y, and z axes to ...


2

According to the SPHERES Wikipedia page, SmartSPHERES experiment equipped the three SPHERES satellite aboard the International Space Station with Nexus S smartphones that were delivered via the Space Shuttle mission STS-135. Each satellite was enhanced through the use of processing power, wireless networking, camera, sensors and the touch sensitive ...


2

AFSS wasn't developed with the idea of making the launch tempo increase, rather it was developed with the intention of "allowing" the launch tempo to be able to increase. A lot of people tend to forget that during the Cold War, there were FAR more than 48 launches per year. I know someone who worked on each of the programs up to the shuttle program (...


2

Increasing cadence capabilities is only half the problem. Without demand, cadence won't increase. Demand is likely to lag behind capabilities by a number of years given the long lead times for large capital expenditure projects like satellites tend to be. The 45th Space Wing is expecting to increase cadence to 48 flights a year by 2020, aided by all launch ...


1

Spacecraft autonomy has always played an important role in the exploration of the solar system and beyond and our reliance on increasingly independent spacecraft will only grow. There will be varying levels of autonomy depending on the task at hand. Immediate applications of increased autonomy could possibly be onboard anomaly detection, health and resource ...


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