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22

Yes, they could theoretically communicate with each other over the DSN, however in practice this will not happen (as it has no current uses). The amount of functions that Curiosity can perform autonomously is very limited and predetermined. It usually involves some sort of deterministic operation such as moving a rover arm or performing a drill sample (...


21

Hobbes' answer explains why live broadcast is currently not feasible from the Mars side. I'd like to complement it with why this is currently not feasible from the Earth side. Mars power budgets are not generous, so by the time spacecraft transmissions get back to Earth they are incredibly faint. The only equipment used to reliably receive these signals is ...


12

The JPL Mars Helicopter Scout transmitter can send data at up to 250 kb/s, an order of magnitude short for HD video. Communications with the rover are through a radio link called Zig-Bee, a standard 900 MHz chipset that will be mounted in both the rover and helicopter.[10] The communication system is designed to relay data at 250 kb/s over distances of ...


10

The rover already has a core drill for this purpose: it drills through the top layers and exposes the rock underneath. The big advantage of a drill over a shovel is that a drill can go through (most) rock types, whereas a shovel can only scrape off loose rubble. A shovel is an imprecise instrument: you run a straight edge over the soil. The depth of that ...


9

Partial answer because I learned a new word. The lines / treads on the wheels are called "grousers" and they are indeed wavy. Why: Extensive testing in JPL's Mars Yard has shown these treads better1 withstand the pressure from sharp rocks but work just as well on sand. (from the 1st link) 1In comparison to Mars Science Laboratory's wheel design


9

Edit - added more detail on the specific geological interests per the question revision Selection Process This letter to Dr Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program, gives a synopsis of the assessments and findings at the February 2017 workshop. The workshop aimed to narrow the shortlist of landing site candidates from 8 to 3. Five ...


7

Edit: added 4th bullet. Mars exploration is not limited by how much dirt we can move quickly. It is limited by: the necessity to understand what we're looking at, so we can make sense of the data we receive the necessity to get data in the correct context, by working systematically: first understand the surface, then drill so we can see what's ...


5

Would not a circular saw on one arm and a trowel on another on the Mars 2020 rover add scientific value? Every different type of thing you can do has "scientific value", even if it proves that it's not a good idea something is learned; it just that it's less expensive to learn that on Earth. A circular saw on a telescopic arm with the ability to cut into ...


5

The Mars 2020 rover uses a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator for power, so it doesn’t have any solar panels. It looks like the helicopter has its solar panel on top of the rotor. Flight vibrations will likely remove dust sufficiently. The helicopter may be able to remove dust from the rover for other reasons, but the main concern there is avoiding ...


5

Mars Helicopter Scout is "just" a demonstration mission to show that it is possible to operate an airborne vehicle on Mars. It has very limited capabilities, such as the total weight of only 1.8 kg. the helicopter is just an additional feature, but nothing like an integral part of the mission. Slamming 2 kg of material on top of a rover with delicate ...


4

There are some issues I have with using an intelligent bulldozer for exploration work on Mars. Firstly, a bulldozer would be heavy and thus expensive to get to Mars. We don't know how competent the regolith on Mars is in various locations. If the bulldozer isn't strong enough it will achieve little. A bulldozer might work well if the top of the bedrock is ...


4

According to this specs page, Mars 2020 Rover will have three kinds of antenna: Ultra-High Frequency Antenna, X-band High-Gain Antenna, X-band Low-Gain Antenna. The one used to send data to Earth are the first two: UHF and the High Gain antenna, the Low Gain Antenna is used for receving data from Earth and it is the slowest of all. UHF has transmission ...


4

Here they are, from the letter summarizing the results of the 2015 workshop: The ancient habitable environment column sounds like what you're looking for.


4

There's several reasons why the JPL Mars Helicopter Scout would not be well-suited for this sort of mission: Its designed flight time is 90 seconds, once per day, which doesn't leave a lot of time for non-primary tasks. Even if dusting off solar panels was its only task, 90 seconds isn't a lot of time to do it. It is designed to fly a total of five times, ...


3

MASTCAM-Z uses the KAI-2020 sensor Sensor Data Sheet which can be read out at 18-35 Hz frame rate. The camera has 8 GB of flash memory that can be used to store video before it's trickled over to the rover computer and then scheduled for downlink. NASA Mars 2020 MASTCAM-Z Description. This is not a standard mode for the camera, but it would be possible for ...


3

If you were to use a circular saw you would need to use a diamond circular saw. Similar to the type used by assaying labs & mineral exploration or mining companies when they cut core rock samples in half, lengthways. The trouble with using a saw in the manner you are proposing is that it would create blocks they could be difficult to scrape away, ...


3

A bulldozer may be useful to remove large volumes of regolith. But to take samples from ground, you only need to drill a small hole. You don't need a bulldozer to do this, a rover equipped with a drill and may be a small shovel on a robotic arm will do. It is possible to take several samples in close or larger distances just as necessary. On Earth ...


2

I think that the paper called "In-Flight Performance of the Mars Science Laboratory Spacecraft Cruise Phase Thermal Control Systems" (https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2012-3517) can provide some insights on this topic. According to the above paper, during cruise mode, most of the sub-systems are off. The most active sub-system is the thermal control. While a ...


2

Gusev crater is a former outflow region at the base of the Eridania basin (marked with the black contour in the image below). This region has recieved renewed attention and interest recently, after new findings were published highlighting possible hydrothermal seafloor deposits (black shading inside white contours). I'm just speculating here, but that ...


2

Rescuing a rover isn't the purpose, Spirit is dead for all intents and purposes. Rather, Spirit found it to be a very interesting area, and the desire is to continue that investigation. The key seems to be this, according to NASA: After the rover stopped working in 2010, studies of its older data records showed evidence that past floods that may have ...


1

There is an international standard for space communications https://ccsds.org/ Therefore it is no more difficult than WiFI Today, leading space communications experts from 27 nations collaborate in developing the most well-engineered space communications and data handling standards in the world. The table below lists missions known to be using CCSDS-...


1

Will the Mars 2020 rover's sensitivity to methane be better than Curiosity's? No, Mars 2020 rover's sensitivity to atmospheric methane will be nonexistent. Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars or SAM with its quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), gas chromatograph (GC), and tunable laser spectrometer (TLS) will have no counterparts on the streamlined Mars 2020 ...


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