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Space exploration thread

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lobsterboy:
First picture of Sagittarius A released!
The super-massive blackhole at the heart of the milky way.
Amazing stuff.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIQLA6lo6R0

Its just a pity we can't chuck Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson into it.

Red Berry:
The Galactic Goatse.

Trada:
People should catch Brian Coxs Seven days on Mars shown last night on BBC2 some amazing footage of the rover making a long journey in a week a lot of it driving itself making its way to the Delta where they hope to find sigbs of life.

I didnt realise they only thought the space helicopter would only last a few flights before packing in but its still going strong.

farawayred:

--- Quote from: Trada on June 18, 2022, 06:07:04 pm ---People should catch Brian Coxs Seven days on Mars shown last night on BBC2 some amazing footage of the rover making a long journey in a week a lot of it driving itself making its way to the Delta where they hope to find sigbs of life.

I didnt realise they only thought the space helicopter would only last a few flights before packing in but its still going strong.

--- End quote ---
Re: helicopter, that's a misconception, probably perpetuated by journalists. NASA has shifter toward operations that allow primary missions to carry technology demonstration along for a piggy-back ride. The rover had two of those - the helicopter and MOXIE. The technology demonstration mission have a low success bar; after all, they had to demonstrate that a helicopter could fly in atmosphere that has just 1/100th of the density of ours. That was planned in 4 flights, the first one of which was a "hop" - go up a meter, come back down. Then it was the lateral move forth and back, landing on the same spot, then flights with two more complex move maneuvers. At that point, after the fourth flight, the technology demonstration mission was over, hence no operational money. To move into an operations phase, a new budget was needed (and was approved). The helicopter is now being tested as a scout for the rover, which was the original intent all along. So, that's the discrepancy between the first 4 flights and the current total of 29.

Money often define how missions go. A few years ago, I posted my thoughts on why successful long-term missions harm JPL, however counterintuitive that may appear. The mission operations budget is taken out of technology development and future missions. Shame that there is no reward for demonstrating success...

farawayred:
In other news, Voyager may be sadly approaching the end of its life... The Pu power source is producing barely 5W (yes, 5W!) and the voltage to the computer is not enough to maintain "1"s and "0"s. The computer is going berserk and I don't know if it is recoverable. Just think about the power though, 5W LED light bulb is equivalent to ~40W incandescent light bulb, 5W is the small incandescent light bulb in a flash light, 5W is the small iPhone USB charger...

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