Figure 1: Diagram of the scientific equipment on MER-B Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover Launches Press Kit, June 2003, p. 41 [i] I mentioned in a blog last week that Mars Exploration Rover B (FIgure 1), more affectionately called Opportunity, recently celebrated the 12th anniversary (in Earth years) of its landing on Mars. 12 years without maintenance on the hostile surface of another planet is incredible, considering the original operational time was planned for only 3 months. Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity currently gets the most press, with its larger tool library and fancier cameras, but there are still scientists and engineers at JPL piloting Opportunity from one scientific site to the next. In the last blog, I mentioned [...]
12 Years a Martian: Engineering Challenges on the Red Planet GalleryCAD, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Consulting, Expert Witness, Licensed Mechanical Engineer, Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Consulting, Thermal Management
Figure 1: Mars Exploration Rover By NASA/JPL/Cornell University, Maas Digital LLC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Depending on which Facebook pages or Twitter feeds you follow, some of you may have caught wind that Opportunity (Mars Exploration Rover B, Figure 1) recently passed its twelfth anniversary of its landing on the red planet. Opportunity’s ongoing trek across Mars represents a fantastic accomplishment in engineering. At the time I’m writing this, the rover has been in continual operation for over 4,300 Earth days (that’s about 4,185 Sols, or Martian days). Considering its original planned mission time of 92 Earth days, Opportunity has exceeded its design lifetime by 4,700%. Imagine having a car that, instead of a [...]
Removing protons and electrons in the Van Allen belts could improve safety for astronauts and satellites.