Skip

Curiouser and curiouser
August 5, 2012 8:34 PM   Subscribe

NASA commentary on Curiosity landing has just started, landing itself is expected two hours later, at 5:31 am UTC/10:31 pm PDT.

Previously - awesome writeup by ddbeck
posted by egor83 (1193 comments total) 84 users marked this as a favorite

 
GO CURIOSITY GO!
posted by Big_B at 8:40 PM on August 5, 2012


I AM EXCITE
posted by elizardbits at 8:42 PM on August 5, 2012


Why is will.i.am talking???? I'm hoping this means everyone worth listening to at NASA is busy?
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:42 PM on August 5, 2012


y6y6y6, apparently he's really passionate about the importance of technology and introducing STEM programs for underprivileged children, and has donated to technology programs for children.*

*I did not know these things - much respect towards will.i.am.
posted by littlesq at 8:47 PM on August 5, 2012 [18 favorites]


Two hours?! I have to work tomorrow!
posted by Night_owl at 8:48 PM on August 5, 2012


When do they expect any sort of pictures or video?
posted by griphus at 8:48 PM on August 5, 2012


@MarsCuriosity (twitter)
posted by germdisco at 8:49 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am watching multiple feeds simultaneously! My MacBook looks like mission control! Here's hoping for Seven Minutes of Awesome! Hi!!!
posted by tapesonthefloor at 8:49 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


griphus: the landing coverage begins at 9pm PDT; landing expected at around 10:30pm PDT.
posted by germdisco at 8:50 PM on August 5, 2012


What so amazing that keeps us stargazing?
...and what do we think we might see?

posted by eriko at 8:50 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


I will be staying up WAY TOO LATE to watch this!
posted by blurker at 8:53 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Unfiltered stream without the commentary and interviews is available here. Includes some of the audio loops of the controllers.
posted by kiltedtaco at 8:57 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's hoping it repeats the success of Spirit and Opportunity.

Oblig XKCD. Because.
posted by Mezentian at 8:58 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, if we're going to post obligatory Mars Rover comments, here is John Updike's (still rather affecting) poem from The New Yorker, Duet On Mars.
posted by hippybear at 9:05 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ugh. Another hour and a half? When did I get so old that staying up that late turned into a huge chore?
posted by item at 9:06 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I, for one, welcome our new Martian Overlords.
posted by ColdChef at 9:06 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


She just said that about a half-hour before landing, they will switch to a "watch and listen" mode and stop the commentary, but gave the address for the commentary-free feed as well. The will.i.am interview was great, he was really getting me excited and inspired. All in all, I am really impressed with this production. I wish stuff like this was around when I was twelve.
posted by scrowdid at 9:06 PM on August 5, 2012


Roger, metafilter is go!
posted by jasper411 at 9:07 PM on August 5, 2012


Earlier, I was watching grainy video from the Apollo 11 mission and reading about technologies used on that mission and others. It is just amazing the advanced technology we ordinary citizens are privileged to use everyday, 43 years later. Right now I have a live stream from NASA playing on one computer monitor, and looking at a 3d map of Mars on Google Earth and MetaFilter up on the other.
posted by littlesq at 9:08 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


SPACE, YOU GUYS
posted by cortex at 9:08 PM on August 5, 2012 [12 favorites]


This is a great example of why two monitors is useful. NASA TV on the left screen , full, and the right screen allows me to do all the normal absolutely useless things I normally do. Also, [update] that dude has a mohawk.
posted by Drewstre at 9:09 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


When did I get so old that staying up that late turned into a huge chore?

About 5 years ago. Didn't you hear the gong? That was your indication....
posted by hippybear at 9:09 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looking at the livestream now. I'm pretty sure they're all playing Quake.
posted by crunchland at 9:09 PM on August 5, 2012


These guys are WAY too nonchalant.
posted by Drewstre at 9:11 PM on August 5, 2012


That man is playing Galaga.
posted by griphus at 9:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [19 favorites]


Curiosity is now within the orbit of Demos.
posted by hippybear at 9:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Theu're throwing up on.the inside.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:11 PM on August 5, 2012


SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE
posted by zombieflanders at 9:12 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


OMG, she's on her own!!!
posted by jasper411 at 9:12 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


And her transmitter is off, and she's on her own now.
posted by hippybear at 9:12 PM on August 5, 2012


Xbox Live also has a free app that lets you watch NASA TV, if you so prefer.
posted by Diskeater at 9:12 PM on August 5, 2012


Why is will.i.am talking???? I'm hoping this means everyone worth listening to at NASA is busy?

will.i.am was there at the launch, and he wrote a song. He and Leland Melvin were walking around the Vehicle Assembly Building afterwards, and, embarrassingly, I thought that he was some really oddly dressed PR flak for Leland Melvin, who was resplendent in a bright blue flight suit. If I recall correctly, will.i.am was wearing rhinestone shoes. Bill Nye was also there, and I almost died of nerdery. He's super tiny in person and was wearing what could charitably be called skinny jeans but were really just man jeggings. He was quite friendly to everyone there.

The reason I was there was that my husband used to work for a senator who gave him VIP tickets to the launch, which happened the day after Thanksgiving last year. It was THE COOLEST THING EVER to be there and see this little rover take off to GO TO MARS. And then we got to go around and touch a space shuttle and see the Space X Dragon capsule in production. I totally have a Space X hat.

During the launch sequence my husband, a combat veteran and generally fairly serious guy, was literally jumping up and down and screaming like a little girl. He's had a rough couple of years, and seeing that gave me hope that things would get better. Tonight we're both waiting with bated to see the little rover that could LAND ON MARS and rejoicing in the wonder of science and progress. And I am thanking the universe because, in the eight and a have months since the launch, things have gotten better.
posted by charmcityblues at 9:12 PM on August 5, 2012 [60 favorites]


Anybody else take tomorrow off?
posted by Drewstre at 9:12 PM on August 5, 2012


This just in... it's neither galaga nor quake. It's this.
posted by crunchland at 9:13 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Er. my comment referred to the "nonchalant" looking people.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:13 PM on August 5, 2012


I hope they remembered the difference between feet and metres this time.
posted by Mezentian at 9:14 PM on August 5, 2012


Is there some channel to look at the telemetry data as it's coming in? not that i would know how to interpret it, but still!
posted by jasper411 at 9:15 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Watching NASA TV. Any other good feeds, or cool things to watch?
posted by Drewstre at 9:15 PM on August 5, 2012


You can watch a realtime 3d simulation of Curiosity's landing at eyes.nasa.gov so many live feeds... brain overload... that's it i'm cracking a beer
posted by scrowdid at 9:15 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, Playstation Home is really sucking for this.
posted by griphus at 9:16 PM on August 5, 2012


Oblig XKCD. Because.
posted by Mezentian


Omg you guys, Curiosity is going to go visit Spirit and then they'll fall in love and make robot babies and then we won't have to build any more Mars rovers because they'll be able to create their own.

Rendition of what their babies might look like.
posted by littlesq at 9:16 PM on August 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


Drewstre: I'm rather enjoying the Planetary Society livestream.

I'm curious to see how the NASA TV online stream might differ from the channel which is carried on my satellite service. I'll have to check and see.
posted by hippybear at 9:17 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, okay. The online stream is identical.
posted by hippybear at 9:18 PM on August 5, 2012


Guys, they're obviously playing QWOP.
posted by cortex at 9:18 PM on August 5, 2012


littlesq, thanks for trying but I already got a sad.
posted by LordSludge at 9:19 PM on August 5, 2012


These guys are WAY too nonchalant.

Per one of the NASA team leads in a press conference earlier today: "We are rationally confident and emotionally terrified."
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:21 PM on August 5, 2012 [23 favorites]


Shit. Currently requisitioning a third monitor.
posted by Drewstre at 9:22 PM on August 5, 2012


I am so waking up my 3 year old to watch this with me.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:22 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


This just in... it's neither galaga nor quake. It's this.

I hope it is NOT Lunar Lander, because that game was freaking IMPOSSIBLE. Seriously, you're just throwing your quarters down a well.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:22 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


What are we going to actually see when it lands?
posted by desjardins at 9:23 PM on August 5, 2012


how dare you. I could not be more chalant.
posted by horsewithnoname at 9:24 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Rationally confident and emotionally terrified.
posted by littlesq at 9:24 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


What are we going to actually see when it lands? -- Probably a bunch of people in cyan blue shirts cheering, clapping, and patting each other on the backs.
posted by crunchland at 9:25 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bill Nye is here at The Planetary Society viewing of the landing in Pasadena. I can report he is not wearing jeggings.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:25 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


An animation on the NASA livestream just mentioned that the rover might be perfectly ok but not able to communicate for three days. Talk about anxiety!
posted by charmcityblues at 9:25 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


We're not going to see anything. It literally may take three days until we discover that Curiosity has landed okay and is sending signals.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:26 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


As it is? Nerdgasm. As it should be? Allgasm.
posted by Drewstre at 9:26 PM on August 5, 2012


I am so waking up my 3 year old to watch this with me.

Do it, and take pictures.

I have a photo of me at the age of 18 months in the middle of the night watching the first moon landing. It's an odd artifact, as I don't remember it happening at all. But there I am, and with the accompanying photo from the next day with a newspaper with a gigantic headline, it's one of those "you were there" moments in my life of which I treasure the evidence.

Take photos tonight, get a newspaper tomorrow and find the appropriate headline and take another photo or three with your kid holding that newspaper. It might be something s/he treasures in 40-odd years.
posted by hippybear at 9:26 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


JINX you owe me a robot.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:26 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


So why are we staying up late?
posted by desjardins at 9:26 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, so what's the best blog to follow for daily updates on mundane details of Martian mineralogy
posted by theodolite at 9:27 PM on August 5, 2012


Because we just sent a robot all the way to MARS. AND IT IS ABOUT TO LAND!
posted by charmcityblues at 9:27 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


So why are we staying up late? --- So you can tell your grandchildren that you were watching it when it landed, and then they'll say "ho-hum."
posted by crunchland at 9:27 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"So why are we staying up late?"

FOR SCIENCE!
posted by littlesq at 9:27 PM on August 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yes, it's possible that it will be 3 days. The most likely outcome is that we will know within 20 minutes or so. Second most likely, we will know within 8-10 hours. Worst outcome, 3 days.
posted by hippybear at 9:28 PM on August 5, 2012


Have you no childlike sense of wonder?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:28 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hope humans land there before I die.
posted by ColdChef at 9:30 PM on August 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


Just smoking and drinking in celebration here in old San Antone... because... yeah... FUCK YEAH SCIENCE!!!!
posted by PROD_TPSL at 9:30 PM on August 5, 2012


The NASA ghosts in short-sleeve dress shirts and black framed glasses are freaking out about Control Room Mohawk Guy.
posted by ColdChef at 9:30 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


So do I have to stay awake for three days? I don't think I have that much coffee.
posted by desjardins at 9:30 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just over 50 minutes from entry.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:31 PM on August 5, 2012


Yeah, it's odd to see NASA control room footage that is full of people who look like my peers. I'm so programmed to see footage of guys in white shirts with black rimmed glasses and pocket protectors and slide rules...
posted by hippybear at 9:32 PM on August 5, 2012 [15 favorites]




50 minutes? I can't wait that long! My lunchbreak is almost over.

Why does NASA hate me?
posted by Mezentian at 9:32 PM on August 5, 2012


Does anyone know the logistical reason behind cutting the transmission?
posted by Diskeater at 9:32 PM on August 5, 2012


So do I have to stay awake for three days?

Yes.

I don't think I have that much coffee.

I'm sure you can score some meth.
posted by hippybear at 9:32 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite parts of all this is seeing the control room people and how nervous/happy they look. You just know that 99% of them grew of dreaming of being in that room. Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
posted by charmcityblues at 9:32 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


If I were Joe Space Thing Guy, I would want the Joe Camera Guy at a more respectable distance.
posted by Drewstre at 9:33 PM on August 5, 2012


I am some sort of idiot who reads 7.30, but thinks 6.30 and nearly kills herself in the shower. Will they have Curiosity brush off Spirits solar panels? Pretty please?
posted by Iteki at 9:33 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also:

Dateline: TOMORROW

Griphus: (Asleep at desk) Zzzzz
Griphus' Boss: Why are you asleep at your desk? Why are you not doing work?
Griphus: Fuckin' Mars, dude, geez.
posted by griphus at 9:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


Sing Or Swim: Just for you.
posted by LordSludge at 9:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know the logistical reason behind cutting the transmission?

I am sure it involves aliens.
posted by Mezentian at 9:34 PM on August 5, 2012




Wondering how accurate the Eyes On The Solar System visualization thing is on approach...
posted by Drewstre at 9:35 PM on August 5, 2012


Why is Space Jerry Garcia giving the stinkeye to slick hair guy?
posted by griphus at 9:36 PM on August 5, 2012


hippybear, I was thinking the same thing. There is a dude there with a mohawk. And a bunch of women are there too.

If the people from 1960's mission control visited 2012 mission control they'd probably think NASA got taken over by some damn hippies or something.
posted by littlesq at 9:36 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]




On a couple of minutes, we will start getting telemetry from Curiosity via UHF via Mars Odyssey.
posted by hippybear at 9:38 PM on August 5, 2012


I think the 60s guys would be wondering why we aren't landing probes on Pluto by now.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:38 PM on August 5, 2012 [20 favorites]


Is there any video feed that has just data in some sense, not shots of people talking into headset mikes?
posted by user92371 at 9:38 PM on August 5, 2012


Apollo 13's mission control, for comparison.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 9:38 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hope humans land there before I die.

And I hope it is not Val Kilmer.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:39 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just turned it around. Sorry.

Oh. Never mind.
posted by mule98J at 9:39 PM on August 5, 2012


I think the 60s guys would be wondering why we aren't landing probes on Pluto by now.

Oh man I have some bad news, 60s guys.
posted by griphus at 9:39 PM on August 5, 2012 [16 favorites]


II want this to work so bad my jaw hurts
posted by Drewstre at 9:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The '60s dudes would probably be pissed Pluto was a dwarf planet.
And they wouldn't get my "attempt no landing on Europa" joke.
posted by Mezentian at 9:40 PM on August 5, 2012


Music to land on Mars to: Vangelis, theme from "Cosmos" TV series (aka, "excerpt from 'Heaven and Hell, part I.")

If that's the only part of that album you're familiar with, I strongly suggest you get the whole thing. It's one hell of an album, and one of the few albums I've listened to consistently for decades. (Bonus -- a song with Jon Anderson [of Yes]: "So Long Ago, So Clear" which closes out Side One of the album)
posted by hippybear at 9:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jar of peanuts at the ready. Commence opening of container, peanut ingress in 3... 2... 1...

We have peanuts.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:40 PM on August 5, 2012


"Jar of peanuts at the ready. Commence opening of container, peanut ingress in 3... 2... 1... We have peanuts."

No! They'll clog the instruments!
posted by littlesq at 9:41 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Man. Who knew video of old guys working at desks could be so addictive?

(Did I just see an AT-AT?)
posted by Mezentian at 9:41 PM on August 5, 2012


If that's the only part of that album you're familiar with, I strongly suggest you get the whole thing.

Oh, I absolutely have the whole thing. The part used on "Cosmos" was just the first part I ever heard, and is still my favorite.
posted by dnash at 9:42 PM on August 5, 2012




And they wouldn't get my "attempt no landing on Europa" joke.

Frankly, the "all these planets are yours" joke might be the most obscure sci fi joke that regularly gets bandied around here.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:43 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The feed is so dramatic, it's produced like a really good making-of featurette.
posted by Iteki at 9:43 PM on August 5, 2012


While this whole operation is amazing, that system to drop down/land the rover is totally mind blowing.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:44 PM on August 5, 2012


I think this is the most obscure SF joke anyone has made on MetaFilter.
posted by griphus at 9:44 PM on August 5, 2012


About three minutes from atmosphere, I'm gonna fire up Bocelli's Ave Maria, on the good cans. Delicious.
posted by Drewstre at 9:45 PM on August 5, 2012


I feel like the whole function of the feed is to prepare me for the moment when Curiosity smashes into Mars and explodes.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:45 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Peanuts deployed. And scotch. On the rocks. Safely on the rocks.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:45 PM on August 5, 2012


GET YOUR ASS TO MARS
posted by sourwookie at 9:45 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]




why is nasa making me so nervous.... who writes this music?
posted by Brent Parker at 9:46 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


And holy shit, that moonlander comparison wasn't a joke. And omg tether. I am kinda overpsyched now after the dramatisation.
posted by Iteki at 9:46 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, until I saw the drop down video I thought that scene in The A-Team with the parachuting tank was sheer craziness.

Suddenly it looks good.

Odyssey looks exactly like the Jupiter 2.
posted by Mezentian at 9:46 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That dude talking right now has a impressive pompadour going on
posted by littlesq at 9:47 PM on August 5, 2012


Super tired but staying up for SPAAAAACE
posted by audacity at 9:47 PM on August 5, 2012


NASA: Making up for 40 years of boring-ass hair in one fell swoop
posted by griphus at 9:48 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think he plays in a ska-punk band after hours.
posted by Mezentian at 9:48 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


AT LAST THE TRUTH! CURIOSITY WAS BUILT BY HOT ROD ENTHUSIASTS!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:48 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


hippybear: His album Albedo 0.39 from the same era packs more punch for me--and also has tracks used in Cosmos.
posted by sourwookie at 9:48 PM on August 5, 2012




Who knew that NASA was so invested in hair product?
posted by hippybear at 9:48 PM on August 5, 2012


Elvis is alive and working at NASA!
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 9:49 PM on August 5, 2012


So, how long is James Cameron going to drive around on Mars anyway?
posted by Mezentian at 9:49 PM on August 5, 2012


Okay, I'm going to bed, NOBODY MESS ANYTHING UP
posted by theodolite at 9:49 PM on August 5, 2012


AT LAST THE TRUTH! CURIOSITY WAS BUILT BY HOT ROD ENTHUSIASTS!

Now I want to see an Ed Roth illustration of Curiosity driven by a robot.
posted by griphus at 9:49 PM on August 5, 2012


No going back at this time.
posted by Drewstre at 9:50 PM on August 5, 2012


Wuss.
posted by hippybear at 9:50 PM on August 5, 2012


Who knew that NASA was so invested in hair product?

I thought that guy was in Earth's gravity, but his hair suggests otherwise.
posted by ddbeck at 9:50 PM on August 5, 2012


Ska dude's little "cables not shown here" snark was welcomed.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:50 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


you can't go to bed now!
posted by xbonesgt at 9:50 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Telemetry coming through right now.
posted by hippybear at 9:51 PM on August 5, 2012


Dude, all kidding aside, I can't remember when I've been so excited. Disclaimer: never been married. Or divorced.
posted by Drewstre at 9:51 PM on August 5, 2012


Bunny Ultramod: I was wondering why Curiosity has a turbocharger and custom headers.
posted by Grimgrin at 9:52 PM on August 5, 2012


Ah! Cool! I didn't even KNOW this was happening!

And by a complete fuckin' coincidence, I just finished writing, recording, and posting a new song about interstellar exploration (and my lack thereof) over at MeMu. Funny!


Gogogo livestream!
posted by lazaruslong at 9:52 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That man has a rad mohawk.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:52 PM on August 5, 2012


Mohawk-dude has little stars bleached into the sides of his head!
posted by Iteki at 9:52 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anybody else wondering if things in the pit would be different if there weren't cameras everywhere?
posted by Drewstre at 9:53 PM on August 5, 2012


tiny stars!
posted by xbonesgt at 9:53 PM on August 5, 2012


Damnit. We can land a craft on the moon, but apparently I can't keep the sound on the live-stream working?

Also: woot! Canberra! I hope they're not playing cricket on the dish.
posted by Mezentian at 9:53 PM on August 5, 2012


Hasn't NASA always had cameras everywhere, even from the 1960s?
posted by hippybear at 9:54 PM on August 5, 2012


SOMEBODY NEED TO PLUG IN THEIR MAC! I CAN HEAR THE "SHUTTING DOWN" NOISE!
posted by ColdChef at 9:54 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Came for the science, stayed for the mohawk guy.
posted by desjardins at 9:54 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


I started up that "Eyes on the Universe" app, and was panning around looking for Mars.

I found it.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:54 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not having any problems with the audio on the xbox feed, which I can totally recommend, it's looking pretty good on 46" HD.
posted by Iteki at 9:55 PM on August 5, 2012


Every time they say "EDL Main" I hear Idi Amin.
posted by charmcityblues at 9:55 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone know if there's an iOS-compatible stream out there somewhere? I want to watch this in bed.
posted by griphus at 9:55 PM on August 5, 2012


Is that Kenny Loggins in the back row? DANGER ZONE!
posted by ColdChef at 9:55 PM on August 5, 2012


The guy with the mohawk is the mission's flight director.
posted by ddbeck at 9:55 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Remember, Curiosity: If you see a town that looks like Green Bluff, Illinois--run!
posted by sourwookie at 9:56 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


At least if anything goes wrong Wesley Crusher might be able to fix it.
posted by Mezentian at 9:56 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I dunno but it's definitely James Gandolfini at one of the terminals.
posted by escabeche at 9:56 PM on August 5, 2012


Speaking of xbox, I keep seeing the stickers on their consoles as Playstation logos, it's very distracting.
posted by Iteki at 9:56 PM on August 5, 2012


Where's Ed Harris??
posted by mediated self at 9:56 PM on August 5, 2012


Flight software, don't let these hardware guys push you around. Way to go!
posted by slickvaguely at 9:56 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Little known NASA secret: When the cameras aren't around it's clothing optional, but nudity is encouraged.
posted by littlesq at 9:57 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


iphone app: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/nasatv_live_iphone.html
posted by zengargoyle at 9:57 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh crap. I think I just saw Bob from Twin Peaks. That can't bode well.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:57 PM on August 5, 2012




Rockabilly Hair Guy with the big speech
posted by xbonesgt at 9:57 PM on August 5, 2012


Hey, cool, Larry David is there. Curiosity your enthusiasm.
posted by mediated self at 9:57 PM on August 5, 2012


Mohawk-dude has little stars bleached into the sides of his head!

My God, it's full of stars!
posted by mazola at 9:58 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


They are saying congratulations and stuff. What does that mean? Has it landed?
posted by lazaruslong at 9:58 PM on August 5, 2012


"My friends, this is a shared experience; this is humankind at its best!" -Bill Nye
posted by hippybear at 9:58 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anyone know if there's an iOS-compatible stream out there somewhere? I want to watch this in bed.

Use the NASA TV app for iOS.
posted by RichardP at 9:58 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mohawk guy is on twitter @tweetsoutloud
posted by audacity at 9:58 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did ska-guy's microphone just break?
posted by Mezentian at 9:58 PM on August 5, 2012


Complimentary bottle of peanuts!
posted by lazaruslong at 9:58 PM on August 5, 2012


Did that man just get applauded for accepting peanuts?
posted by griphus at 9:58 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mohawk Guy: Bobak Ferdowski
posted by ColdChef at 9:58 PM on August 5, 2012


I want to watch this in bed. --- Bawm-chicka-wow-wow!
posted by crunchland at 9:59 PM on August 5, 2012


Mohawk guy: Bobak Ferdowsi.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:59 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS.
posted by mediated self at 9:59 PM on August 5, 2012


Peanuts are being passed around... this bodes well.
posted by hippybear at 9:59 PM on August 5, 2012


They are go to break open the peanuts!
posted by jasper411 at 9:59 PM on August 5, 2012


NOW COLDCHEF OWES ME A ROBOT.

Different links, though.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:59 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh crap. I think I just saw Bob from Twin Peaks. That can't bode well.

Hey, as long as we don't see this guy we'll be fine.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 9:59 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


... and they're all eating peanuts.
posted by mazola at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012


they're good-luck peanuts, not congratulatory peanuts
posted by xbonesgt at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012


Oooh. I hope there's no peanut allergies. This is exciting!
posted by p3t3 at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012


They are saying congratulations and stuff. What does that mean? Has it landed?

No, I think they're congratulating the team that got it to the entry stage; their jobs are now finished, and the landing team is taking over.
posted by Malor at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That poor lady has a hard time pronouncing the word peanuts, eh?
posted by lazaruslong at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


and now the Planetary Society is saying hello to The Whelk as he stands in Times Square with a bunch of other science nerds.
posted by hippybear at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012


When they say Peanuts it sounds like penis.
It is distracting.

Diction people.
posted by Mezentian at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


And rockabilly dude is Adam Steltzner.
posted by Iteki at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guess you can't work in a control room if you have a peanut allergy.
posted by Brent Parker at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012


I never knew how much "peanuts" sounds like "penis" until now.
posted by Copronymus at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012


Peanuts are being consumed here in Calgary Auxiliary Backup Reserve Mission Control (CABRMC), aka my living room couch.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


The flight team voted on what the style should be for Curiosity and selected a theme of “stars and stripes.” So Bobak Ferdowsi, an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, showed up to work Sunday with a red, white and blue mohawk, with stars on the side.
posted by ColdChef at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The peanut ritual is actually a blood sacrifice to the gods of space. One scientist always has a severe peanut allergy.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:01 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is SO. EXCITING. *chews good luck peanuts*
posted by Space Kitty at 10:01 PM on August 5, 2012


Good luck penis, I swear she said it...
posted by mediated self at 10:01 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I thought she said penis. I wasn't watching the screen. Holy I dont know.
posted by Drewstre at 10:01 PM on August 5, 2012


Whoa fancy control room for the landing team. Looks like much more serious business!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:01 PM on August 5, 2012


Peanuts!
posted by tickingclock at 10:02 PM on August 5, 2012


In the 60's, Ed Harris and the team would all be smoking Chesterfields instead of eating peanuts.
posted by crunchland at 10:02 PM on August 5, 2012


I've got my good luck penis in my hand!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:02 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gold yellow and red what?
posted by Pastor of Muppets at 10:02 PM on August 5, 2012


These peanuts are making me thirsty.
posted by littlesq at 10:02 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Passing around the traditional penis"
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 10:02 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


hahahahaha Fuk Li hahahaha
posted by scrowdid at 10:03 PM on August 5, 2012


I am now wondering what would happen if this was shot like beach volleyball at the Olympics.
posted by Mezentian at 10:03 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


HAH
posted by Drewstre at 10:03 PM on August 5, 2012


I've never been prouder of Metafilter. And I don't mean that in a good way.
posted by mazola at 10:04 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's amazing to me that a spacecraft that's been orbiting Mars for about ten years is integral to this mission. The hardware is starting to accumulate up there!
posted by Kevin Street at 10:04 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay. I am totally sure they are trying to slip the "penis" in.
posted by Mezentian at 10:04 PM on August 5, 2012


Curiosity's altitude is approaching the distance from Los Angeles to New York (2443m).
posted by prinado at 10:04 PM on August 5, 2012


I'm in LA! Who is in New York?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:05 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank goodness the US is horizontal and not vertical!
posted by hippybear at 10:05 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know. "You're going to Mars. That's cool, we've already got three satellites orbiting there."

We've got infrastructure, folks!
posted by benito.strauss at 10:05 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


(and I think you mean km, not m)
posted by hippybear at 10:05 PM on August 5, 2012


I don't have peanuts, but I do have some peanut butter. It will have to do.

(As much as I appreciate the diversity in the control room, I really, really miss those glasses. It's a preference, not a fetish. Is anyone in the control room wearing a pair like those right now?)
posted by maudlin at 10:05 PM on August 5, 2012


That's what she said.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 10:06 PM on August 5, 2012


I'm in NY!
posted by tickingclock at 10:06 PM on August 5, 2012


Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh we will know in the next several minutes if Odyssey is in position to relay the condition of the rover back to Earth!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:06 PM on August 5, 2012


So I've had no luck finding a telemetry feed. Anyone?
posted by crunchland at 10:06 PM on August 5, 2012


"There is life on Mars, and it's us!" - Ray Bradbury

"Good luck penis!" - MetaFilter
posted by mediated self at 10:06 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Getting ready for entry descent and landing!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:07 PM on August 5, 2012


I am now wondering what would happen if this was shot like beach volleyball at the Olympics.

If it had been shot like the Olympic opening... no, British artsy people and mars landers do not go well together.
posted by Artw at 10:07 PM on August 5, 2012


Don't tell me I shouldn't be too excited if we don't hear from the rover -- because I cannot deal with that. Don't tell me not to be super freaked out about this thing that I've cared about intensely for two weeks, damn it! I'm not drinking, so I'll freak out if I want to.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:07 PM on August 5, 2012


Okay, honest question: the Eyes On The Solar System simulation: what's it gonna show?
posted by Drewstre at 10:07 PM on August 5, 2012


If this was shot like beach volleyball at the Olympics.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:07 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


And to think I was just kicking myself for not planning a mars party tonight.

HEY GUYS, MARS PARTY
posted by Chutzler at 10:07 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


We're eating peanut butter crackers because say "peanut" enough times and who wouldn't, but seriously, how silly an affectation is it for men and women of science to have a "good luck charm?" Pretty silly, right?!
posted by audacity at 10:08 PM on August 5, 2012


There's no way I can sleep until this thing has landed safely. Goooo!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:08 PM on August 5, 2012


So I've had no luck finding a telemetry feed. Anyone?

I looked for awhile as well, shortly after they mentioned it for the first time. I couldn't find a public feed for the telemetry.
posted by RichardP at 10:08 PM on August 5, 2012


I like peanuts as much as anyone, but it would probably make me feel better to know that our scientists aren't superstitious.
posted by ColdChef at 10:08 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay, honest question: the Eyes On The Solar System simulation: what's it gonna show?

The rover? Landing?

What else would it show?
posted by Malor at 10:08 PM on August 5, 2012


Er, guys. Gary Sinise just walked by with a dissembled lunar filter. I don't like the looks of this.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:09 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Holy crap maudlin, thank you, I had no idea those had a name and now I can make my fiancé buy a pair immediately.
posted by audacity at 10:09 PM on August 5, 2012


It looks like they're showing the Eyes simulation on the USTREAM feed.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:09 PM on August 5, 2012


Science and whimsy are not mutually exclusive.
posted by But tomorrow is another day... at 10:09 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just fine the tradition has been kept alive not the naming rights haven't been sold to Mars Bars.
posted by Mezentian at 10:09 PM on August 5, 2012


it would probably make me feel better to know that our scientists aren't superstitious.

And they're all busy picking bits of peanuts out of their teeth. Distraction!
posted by mediareport at 10:10 PM on August 5, 2012


HE LOOKS SO SERIOUS. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER TO BE CONCERNED OR EXCITED.
posted by littlesq at 10:10 PM on August 5, 2012


I am watching a friggin' Mars landing from my phone! The future is here. Pass the peanuts. And ready the manual discharge!
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:10 PM on August 5, 2012


Probably not superstitious as much as traditionalists who want to doff their caps at their forerunners.
posted by scrowdid at 10:10 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Four minutes until separation!
posted by Mezentian at 10:11 PM on August 5, 2012


"Mission Control, we are ready to confirm existence of Space Kitty. Over."
posted by ColdChef at 10:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gary Sinise just walked by

The Sandy Landing show?
posted by mediated self at 10:11 PM on August 5, 2012


you can fastforward the simulation in preview mode.
posted by subtle_squid at 10:11 PM on August 5, 2012


I say hooray for mister hippie longhair beardy-face. That's what I say.
posted by hippybear at 10:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want peanuts so badly right now. Going to buy some the first thing in the morning.
posted by tickingclock at 10:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay. I am totally sure they are trying to slip the "penis" in.

The secret lucky tradition is that one of the announcers has to slip a "penis" into the mission commentary. The peanuts are just a ruse to make it easier.

(Science supernerds seriously discussing baseball-style success superstition rituals is pretty funny stuff).
posted by nanojath at 10:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm getting separation anxiety.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is that simulation listing things in miles?
NOT AGAIN!!!!
posted by slickvaguely at 10:12 PM on August 5, 2012


Here come the 7 minutes of terror!!!!!!
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:12 PM on August 5, 2012


Two minutes until cruise stage separation!
posted by RichardP at 10:12 PM on August 5, 2012


They're at the entry interface! (The dire folks over at Universe Today have had to stop complaining for a few minutes).
posted by pjenks at 10:12 PM on August 5, 2012


Ok, what is that beeping in the background?
posted by motty at 10:12 PM on August 5, 2012


This is nerve-wracking, but you know, in a good way.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:12 PM on August 5, 2012


I swear to God, if the first thing the rover sees is pale-white, hairless humanoid in an elephant mask drinking black liquid, I will freak.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:12 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


it would probably make me feel better to know that our scientists aren't superstitious

All human beings are superstitious, it's our nature. It's all about how you manage it.
posted by nanojath at 10:12 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I say hooray for mister hippie longhair beardy-face. That's what I say.

That's my friend Steve! Go Attitude Control!
posted by Poisonous People at 10:13 PM on August 5, 2012 [15 favorites]


So Odyssey is transmitting nicely.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:13 PM on August 5, 2012


1 minute to separation!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:13 PM on August 5, 2012


Eyes on the Solar System will show the full landing sequence, with parachute, powered descent, sky crane, everything. (And you can switch to metric units; press the little up arrow button in the lower left for settings.)
posted by ddbeck at 10:13 PM on August 5, 2012


here we go -
posted by xbonesgt at 10:13 PM on August 5, 2012


I apologize for calling your friend Bob. I got a little Twins Peaky there.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:13 PM on August 5, 2012


Receiving heartbeats! That's adorable!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:13 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


PEANUT EATERS, WHERE'S YOUR SCIENCE NOW ?! ?
posted by mazola at 10:13 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Heartbeart tones? Neat.
posted by Mezentian at 10:13 PM on August 5, 2012


Heartbeats? They can hear me?
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:14 PM on August 5, 2012


This is gonna be so fucking cool!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:14 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


All human beings are superstitious, it's our nature. It's all about how you manage it.

Pray to God, but row away from the rocks.
posted by mediated self at 10:14 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


All human beings are superstitious, it's our nature. It's all about how you manage it.

That's the thing. I want them to be superhuman.
posted by ColdChef at 10:14 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


They all look so tense and excited, I can't even imagine how they must feel.
posted by gemmy at 10:14 PM on August 5, 2012


hearbeat tones...
posted by dhruva at 10:14 PM on August 5, 2012


The Heartbeat Tones is my new band name. Dibs. Dibs dibs dibs.

Nobody take it.
posted by spanishbombs at 10:14 PM on August 5, 2012


And so it begins.
posted by Mezentian at 10:15 PM on August 5, 2012


Hey, ColdChef, Dr. Manhattan already lives on Mars.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:15 PM on August 5, 2012


I'm going to not watch the simulation, in sympathy suffering with the people in Mission Control.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:15 PM on August 5, 2012


peanuts and now donuts?
posted by xbonesgt at 10:15 PM on August 5, 2012


I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:15 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


And to think I was just kicking myself for not planning a mars party tonight.

Serious! My cat is singularly uninterested in the proceedings.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 10:15 PM on August 5, 2012


It's going 11,000 mph and it's going to slow to zero in only 12 minutes?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:16 PM on August 5, 2012


I want them to be superhuman. -- Isn't it much better to realize that shit like this can be pulled off with normal flesh-and-blood people?
posted by crunchland at 10:16 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Time to touchdown - 15 minutes
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:16 PM on August 5, 2012


Mine just knocked my water over, so apparently it's a feline thing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:16 PM on August 5, 2012


The crazy thing is, of course, that the lander is already on Mars right now, successfully or not. We're just finding out through the 14 minute communications delay.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:16 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's weird to think that due to the ~14 minute time delay Curiosity has already landed all of the people in that room aren't doing much other than monitoring things that have already happened.
posted by Quack at 10:16 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


God, that must be such a helpless feeling - the true landing stage has started, and they won't know what's going on for another fifteen minutes.
posted by Malor at 10:16 PM on August 5, 2012


The Heartbeat Tones is my new band name.

I'm going for Supersonic Parachute myself.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 10:17 PM on August 5, 2012


good luck!
posted by benito.strauss at 10:17 PM on August 5, 2012


Just snarfed another handful of peanuts....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 10:17 PM on August 5, 2012


My buttcheeks are so clenched right now. 7 minutes to entry.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:17 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's going 11,000 mph and it's going to slow to zero in only 12 minutes?

What'll really blow your mind is that it's speeding up to ~13000mph first.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:17 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Mars is pulling Curiosity in." In more ways than one.
posted by mediated self at 10:17 PM on August 5, 2012


The crazy thing is, of course, that the lander is already on Mars right now, successfully or not. We're just finding out through the 14 minute communications delay.

I'm not sure that's true, Homeboy Trouble. I think it may be starting to land right now, and we wont know about it for another fifteen minutes.
posted by Malor at 10:17 PM on August 5, 2012


Time to touchdown -1 minute. It's fate is already sealed, we just don't know it yet.
posted by pjenks at 10:18 PM on August 5, 2012


We might have pictures!
posted by Mezentian at 10:18 PM on August 5, 2012


eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!
posted by Space Kitty at 10:18 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bobak's Twitter Feed.
posted by ColdChef at 10:19 PM on August 5, 2012


Leslie looks horrified.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:19 PM on August 5, 2012


wow
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:19 PM on August 5, 2012


My God! A giant space kitty! Shrieking at us.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:19 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


HE'S LIVE TWEETING! BACK TO WORK!
posted by ColdChef at 10:19 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]




The suspense is terrible...I hope it lasts.
posted by blurker at 10:19 PM on August 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


I just heard the craft text someone there!
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:20 PM on August 5, 2012


He also just went from about 250 followers to 2,657.
posted by charmcityblues at 10:20 PM on August 5, 2012


The vodka is flowing, and the rockabilly music is quite the accompaniment here at The Mix. This is epic.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 10:20 PM on August 5, 2012


So all this data is 14 minutes old? And nobody there is actually controlling anything but just watching?
posted by scrowdid at 10:21 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's been a while since I partook in an experience fueled so purely by imagination. Formally this is the most boring program ever.
posted by nanojath at 10:21 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


/pours one out for Jack Parsons.
posted by Artw at 10:21 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is totally making up for Prometheus.
posted by mediated self at 10:21 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's going 11,000 mph and it's going to slow to zero in only 12 minutes?

Yes, One way or another, it'll reach 0 mph. Just a question of how many pieces it'll be in.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:21 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Mohawk" is trending on Twitter.
posted by ColdChef at 10:21 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


charmcityblues: "He also just went from about 250 followers to 2,657."

Curiosity picked up 9k instantly too. And growing. hah!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:21 PM on August 5, 2012


The suspense is terrible...I hope it lasts.

Yes!!! Terrible terrible suspense... FOREVER!
posted by hippybear at 10:22 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


175,000 viewers on the UStream!
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:22 PM on August 5, 2012


And nobody there is actually controlling anything but just watching?

That's the speed of light for ya. Stupid speed of light.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:22 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


charmcityblues: "He also just went from about 250 followers to 2,657."

Yeah, I think he's about ready to start trending on Twitter if he hasn't already, so it seems like from a PR perspective, monitoring his twitter account isn't the worst distraction he could have.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:22 PM on August 5, 2012


So all this data is 14 minutes old? And nobody there is actually controlling anything but just watching?

Yes. All the communication from Curiosity has been one way for a while. Crazy.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:22 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


So all this data is 14 minutes old? And nobody there is actually controlling anything but just watching?

Yes, and at this point, they can't transmit any signals that the rover would hear before landing. Everything's committed, we're just all waiting to find out if their engineering and computer programming were smart enough to make this work.
posted by Malor at 10:22 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]



Curiosity picked up 9k instantly too. And growing. hah!


Faster even than Romney..
posted by benito.strauss at 10:22 PM on August 5, 2012


Hasn't hit the atmosphere yet....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 10:23 PM on August 5, 2012


I CANT STAND IT AHHHHHHH
posted by Drewstre at 10:23 PM on August 5, 2012


C'mon, let's stick this landing!!!
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:23 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


For Mohawk dude to be the flight director, he doesn't seem very busy.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 10:23 PM on August 5, 2012


holy shit. 232 meters? We can fire a rocket all the way to Mars and have it come within a couple of football fields of where we were aiming. Absolutely amazing.
posted by xbonesgt at 10:23 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's wild that I'm getting the most up-to-date and clear status updates from a social media app.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's now more falling than flying, I suppose.
posted by Mezentian at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


livestream viwership is going up by like 100 per tick. At 184599 now
posted by Brent Parker at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2012


Is anyone else playing "Mars, the Bringer of War" in the background during this?
posted by Apocryphon at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yes, they've clarified a couple times now that the "three days of blindness" is only a worst-case scenario. The best-case is that Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) are fully able to relay data our way and we'll get results and possibly photos within minutes.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2012


Curiosity picked up 9k instantly too. And growing. hah!

Over 9000???!!!???
posted by mediated self at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2012


"For Mohawk dude to be the flight director, he doesn't seem very busy.'

Well, I don't think he can actually do anything at this point. It's all up to Curiosity now.
posted by littlesq at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2012


She's entered the atmosphere successfully!
posted by zombieflanders at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2012


For Mohawk dude to be the flight director, he doesn't seem very busy.

There isn't anything he can do right now. Everything that matters is done. He's just in wait mode now, and has been for about ten minutes.
posted by Malor at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2012


For Mohawk dude to be the flight director

He's mostly in charge of entertainment. He's the Julie McCoy of NASA.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just refused a request for a meeting right now because I had to cite a prior engagement with Mars. I wasn't believed so I showed them my phone. There was only one thing in today's events:

MARS

I am now back to watching the entry at my desk and biting off all my fingernails ...
posted by barnacles at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wish they'd keep showing the damn simulation screen.
posted by crunchland at 10:24 PM on August 5, 2012


Curiosity Rover ‏@MarsCuriosity
Entering Mars' atmosphere. 7. Minutes. Of. Terror. Starts. NOW. #MSL
posted by lazaruslong at 10:25 PM on August 5, 2012


Apocryphon: I started to play it, but the wife complained.
posted by adoarns at 10:25 PM on August 5, 2012


It's now more falling than flying, I suppose.

It's falling with style.
posted by ddbeck at 10:25 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just started guided entry!
posted by tickingclock at 10:25 PM on August 5, 2012


dEAR DUDES WITH CAMERAS: GO AWAY:
posted by Drewstre at 10:25 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Started guided entry!!
posted by blurker at 10:26 PM on August 5, 2012


yay!
posted by xbonesgt at 10:26 PM on August 5, 2012


Every time they applaud, I take a shot.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:26 PM on August 5, 2012


omg omg omg omg
posted by emeiji at 10:26 PM on August 5, 2012


Apocryphon: I am now
posted by benito.strauss at 10:26 PM on August 5, 2012


Following the events on the Eyes on Solar System sim is awesome.
posted by prinado at 10:27 PM on August 5, 2012


DATA
posted by Burhanistan at 10:27 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ok, this is the most intense, but exciting things EVAR.
posted by littlesq at 10:27 PM on August 5, 2012


Oh goddamn it my stream's getting choppy. Must be my space prostate.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:27 PM on August 5, 2012


Odyssey is transmitting!
posted by Hargrimm at 10:27 PM on August 5, 2012


And the song just ended. Perfectly matched with the announcement that Odyssey was successfully transmitting data.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:27 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wooooo! We've got the TV's showing CNN!!! Huzzah! Good luck Opportunity!
posted by PROD_TPSL at 10:27 PM on August 5, 2012


So close!
posted by evoque at 10:27 PM on August 5, 2012


OMGOMGOMG
posted by Space Kitty at 10:28 PM on August 5, 2012


I involuntarily applauded and scared the cat
posted by xbonesgt at 10:28 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


GOGOOGOGOGOG
posted by lazaruslong at 10:28 PM on August 5, 2012


My stream's gone all choppy too.

It started when it hit 20K viewers.
posted by Mezentian at 10:28 PM on August 5, 2012


Is Mach different on Mars?
posted by lamp at 10:28 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Went from mach 2.4 to mach 2 in like 10 seconds!!!!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:28 PM on August 5, 2012


PARACHUTE!
posted by ColdChef at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


PARACHUTE!
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012


YES PARACHUTE DEPLOYED
posted by zombieflanders at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012


Chute deployed!
posted by humanfont at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012


Hippy Steve looks happy!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012


Parachute deploy!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012


Hooray! Deceleration!
posted by Mezentian at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012


Parachutes deployed! Thrusters enabled!
posted by charmcityblues at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012


Parachute!
posted by tickingclock at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012


Oh they all look so happy!
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


yah, we are decelerating
posted by pjenks at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012


GOOOOOOO
posted by lazaruslong at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is Mach different on Mars?

Mach is velocity as a fraction of speed of sound. Speed of sound depends on air density.
posted by Jimbob at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mach is speed of sound. It depends on medium, so yes it is different on Mars, and varies by altitude.
posted by jclarkin at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2012


Getting ready to fire the rockets.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:30 PM on August 5, 2012


Stream is still good here, it's probably local providers that can't move that much data over whatever pipe that's closest to Ustream.
posted by Malor at 10:30 PM on August 5, 2012


This is way more exciting than the LHC feed.
posted by humanfont at 10:30 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now a whole bunch of crazy shit has to happen.
posted by steef at 10:30 PM on August 5, 2012


86m/second at an altitude of 4km.
posted by mediareport at 10:30 PM on August 5, 2012


Mars, guess who's coming to dinner?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


warnings? did someone say warnings?
posted by slickvaguely at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012


wow.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012


Man, they look tense.
posted by blurker at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012


We are at powered flight! AIEEE
posted by barnacles at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


500m altitude!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012


WE ARE AT POWERED FLIGHT
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012


STANDING BY FOR SKYCRANE
posted by dhartung at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012


Found a nice flat place!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


And it's either down, or it's dead. We may find out in ~20 minutes.
posted by Malor at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012


Sky crane started!
posted by tickingclock at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012


Look at that caveman go!
posted by mediated self at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Sky-crane has started
posted by humanfont at 10:31 PM on August 5, 2012


Skycrane!
posted by AD_ at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


TANGO DELTA NOMINAL!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sky crane time!
posted by evoque at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


YEAAS:"!!:#1#!23
posted by barnacles at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


TOUCHDOWN!
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


Is y spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints drunk yet?
posted by Mezentian at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


YAY
posted by maxwelton at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


Touchdown!!!
posted by tickingclock at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


woohoo!
posted by xbonesgt at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


Field Goal!
posted by schmod at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


Wow.
posted by glhaynes at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


TOUCHDOWN CONFIRMED
posted by dhartung at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


TOUCHDOWN CONFIRMED!
posted by charmcityblues at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOGMOGMGOMG!!!!!!!!
posted by ooga_booga at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


TOUCHDOWN CONFIRMED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


THEY DID IT!!!
posted by audacity at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


YES!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


YAY!
posted by Kevin Street at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


HOLY SHIT THEY DID IT
posted by zombieflanders at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


Holy shit, they did it!
posted by hippybear at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


TOUCHDOWN
posted by mediated self at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


YES
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


touchdown!!!
posted by dhruva at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


TOUCHDOWN CONFIRMED
posted by donquixote at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


TOUCHDOWN!
posted by Quack at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


Nice!
posted by brina at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


I AM WITHOUT WORDS

Awesome fucking awesome awesome holy crap YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by barnacles at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF MARS.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012 [14 favorites]


A;SDJASLDJLSAJDLKASJKLDLASJDASDSADASD
posted by lazaruslong at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


HOORAY!
posted by Mezentian at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


No way. Pass the celebratory fish sticks!
posted by steef at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


We did it!
posted by evoque at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


How about that!
posted by notyou at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Iteki at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


yeah !
posted by HappyHippo at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


I love that one dude who fist pumped like 2 seconds early.
posted by Copronymus at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


I'm actually getting a little teary!
posted by tickingclock at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


touchdown confirmed!!!!!!
posted by Space Kitty at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


AWESOME!!! That's SCIENCE, baby!
posted by blurker at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


Ok - so the music was accurate in the drama.
posted by Brent Parker at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012


It's so beautiful I'm crying.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:32 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Awesome.
posted by wanderingmind at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


AWKWARD HIGH FIVES FOR EVERYONE
posted by lazaruslong at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


That worked. God damn. Congratulations to everyone involved.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


WOOOOOT :D There is something in my eye.....
posted by littlesq at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


I've got something in my eye...
posted by slickvaguely at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


YAY!
posted by zengargoyle at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


Shit. We landed on a cat. Oh god. It's not breathing.
posted by schmod at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012 [16 favorites]


WHOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOoo
posted by tmt at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


Yay!
posted by HFSH at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


Curiosity Rover ‏@MarsCuriosity
I'm safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!! #MSL
posted by lazaruslong at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I may be a sap, but I'm in tears.
posted by hippybear at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


images?
posted by xbonesgt at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


Yay!
posted by AD_ at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


I love the nerds in light blue polo shirts cheering channel!
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012 [14 favorites]


YAAAY! Insane!
posted by cx at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


Hugs for everyone!
posted by charmcityblues at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


TOUCHDOWNNNN!!!!


Let's set up for the extra point.
posted by horsewithnoname at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hooray!
posted by ambrosia at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


Yay!!! Down in one piece!
posted by tyllwin at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


Man. James Gandolfini is crying!
posted by Mezentian at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


tickingclock: "I'm actually getting a little teary!"

Yeah, I'm full on dripping tears almost,
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


Of course, it actually landed around thirteen minutes ago.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


You may now resume breathing.
posted by ddbeck at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


Their elation is beautiful. Really.

Wow.
posted by spanishbombs at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


Images coming down???
posted by lazaruslong at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


:D
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012


IMAGES!
posted by Mezentian at 10:33 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


They might have images soon!
posted by hellojed at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012


I'm on a remote part of the west coast and people are setting off fireworks. I LOVE THIS COUNTRY!
posted by humanfont at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pictures!
posted by Kevin Street at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012


YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!
posted by davidjmcgee at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012


I want images!
posted by escabeche at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012


Images. FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH! FUCK YEAH!
posted by benito.strauss at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I hope it remembers to grab the ruby slippers before the feet curl up and disappear.
posted by crunchland at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


IMAGES!
posted by Space Kitty at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012


Images!! Wowowow.
posted by gemmy at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012


Thumbnails!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012


MOTHERFUCKING THUMBNAILS!
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah-fucking-mazing! I feel like the whole team should get a ticker tape parade down 5th Avenue.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just another day at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, hell yeah!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012


Wow. Watching that room explode with joy was amazing!!!
posted by sio42 at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012


YAY! THUMBNAILS!
posted by Mezentian at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Odyssey data is very strong. Getting 5 bars!!
posted by horsewithnoname at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pictures!!!!
posted by tyllwin at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012


Go monkeys.
posted by dglynn at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


A little teary?
posted by blurker at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012


OMG IMAGES
posted by tickingclock at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thumbnails from mars!!!!!

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO

NASA JPL I LOVE YOU

I'm not gonna cry tears of joy at my desk

I might
posted by barnacles at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


GIVE ME ALL THE IMAGES
posted by donquixote at 10:34 PM on August 5, 2012


HOLY SHIT! Kudos ! Happy Tears! HOLY SHIT!
posted by ericb at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012


IT'S A GIRL!
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's the wheel!!!!
posted by charmcityblues at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012


WHEEL!
posted by steef at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012


wtf is that?
posted by pjenks at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012


WHEELS DOWN ON MARS BABY! PICS AND IT DID HAPPEN!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012


Holy shit! Pictures!!
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012


THERE'S MORE STUFF
posted by xbonesgt at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012


THERE'S MORE STUFF!
posted by charmcityblues at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012


AWESOME!
posted by Artw at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012


What's this giant balloon? Oh, it's a rover wheel!
posted by Kevin Street at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012


Whee, awesome, first pic is the Curiosity's thumb in frame!
posted by jamaro at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


Wow.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012


GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU?

Uh, just how curious is Curiosity?

I can't wait to find out!!!!
posted by PapaLobo at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh-Fucking-ZZAH! Congratulations to all who made Curisosity possible! Humanity at t's finest... may new discoveries be found on this new, familiar frontier.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012


Look at all those stained pits.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I knew it would work.
posted by Drewstre at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012


Heh.
posted by Drewstre at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012


IT'S A WHEEL! A WHEEL! AAAGHBALHXLHAL:ASLCAH:BA{AFG{AHF{AFFHHHHFFFFFFFFFFFFF
posted by tehloki at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Good job, Steve.
posted by dglynn at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012


Kudos to the 400 person team behind this effort!
posted by ericb at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012


Shadows of the afternoon sun...!
posted by tickingclock at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012


We got a 64x64 pic, should have a bigger one soon!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012


How crazy is it that the lander just touchdowned and within minutes we have pictures from Mars, absolutely incredible.
posted by lilkeith07 at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


Can you imagine what they could do with a bit more of a budget?

Less money for remote control killer robot drones. More money for skycrane Mars robots!
posted by barnacles at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012 [33 favorites]


Imagine throwing an ipad off of an airplane and having it power on after it landed.
posted by crunchland at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


FUCKIN BRING IT PLANETS WE'RE GONNA LAND ON YOU
posted by Chutzler at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012 [17 favorites]


Everybody's bawling now. I love happy scientists.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Currently removing stomach from throat now.

Super happy everything went perfectly.
posted by littlesq at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012


Awesome!
posted by delmoi at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012


Okay, them crying made me really lose it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


High res!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:36 PM on August 5, 2012


We have DUST!
posted by cccorlew at 10:37 PM on August 5, 2012


FANTASTIC!!!!! An amazing achievement! Congratulations to all!
posted by drhydro at 10:37 PM on August 5, 2012


Higher rez image! Wooooooooooot!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:37 PM on August 5, 2012


Martian horizon!
posted by greenland at 10:37 PM on August 5, 2012


wow that's so cool.
posted by pjenks at 10:37 PM on August 5, 2012


Look at the res on that thing!
posted by Iteki at 10:37 PM on August 5, 2012


Shit my stream froze
posted by mediated self at 10:37 PM on August 5, 2012


We have DUST FROM MARS, rather!
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 10:37 PM on August 5, 2012


Oh shit. It's taking pictures of itself. We sent a Facebooking teenager.
posted by ColdChef at 10:37 PM on August 5, 2012 [44 favorites]


There is no joy like nerd joy.

Congrats to the team, and THANK YOU!
posted by slickvaguely at 10:38 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have this weird urge to throw a bone in the air.
posted by lampshade at 10:38 PM on August 5, 2012 [18 favorites]


Major congratulations to everyone involved this is fucking amazing.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:38 PM on August 5, 2012


Less money for remote control killer robot drones. More money for skycrane Mars robots!

Exactly. Go JPL!
posted by hapax_legomenon at 10:38 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


About 90 minutes ago that thing was 12,000 miles away. Crazy.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:38 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


completely unbelievable. wow.
posted by ChrisHartley at 10:39 PM on August 5, 2012


The Internet goes all the way to Mars tonight.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:39 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Those technicians are about to get so drunk.
posted by greenland at 10:39 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


JPL -- Congratulations!
posted by ericb at 10:39 PM on August 5, 2012


Oh crap. Curiosity was just met by a group of rovers claiming to be its aunts and uncles and promising a nice picnic.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:39 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


BAD. ASS. Well done, JPL.
posted by emeiji at 10:39 PM on August 5, 2012


Man, when they go to bed tonight they're gonna sleep gooooooood!
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 10:39 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


YES! YES!
posted by sendai sleep master at 10:39 PM on August 5, 2012


Ok, that selfpic is just the best thing, love it.
Right, dammit, off to work I go. Have a great day/night everyone.
posted by Iteki at 10:39 PM on August 5, 2012


Wait, what's that... under the surface...
posted by Artw at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is so damn awesome! We really can do amazing things!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012


Okay, how do I download that 128x128 image and make it my desktop wallpaper before I go to sleep?
posted by benito.strauss at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012


Wow, just wow. It worked like clockwork.

Congrats everyone who was involved. Congrats humanity. You can actually do something more complicated than anyone ever thought would actually succeed.

I wish I could hug everyone in that control room right now, because this is one of the most amazing things we've ever done.
posted by hippybear at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Awright. Now where are the hookers with three boobs?
posted by ColdChef at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Feel the jubilation in that room!
posted by fragmede at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012


High res!

"That is a very nice hat."
posted by dglynn at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012


Okay, I'm going to bed, NOBODY MESS ANYTHING UP

Hahaha I totally lied, that was awesome
posted by theodolite at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Now I can finally sleep. That was amazing.
posted by tickingclock at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012


That 2nd picture of the rover's shadow...so great! Amazing ballet with Odyssey, just amazing - just enough time to send back a couple of confirmation shots.
posted by mediareport at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seeing all these nerds and dorks and geeks jump up and down and hug and cry and high-five is unexpectedly moving. Sometimes I love people.
posted by rtha at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Awright. Now where are the hookers with three boobs?

I'm pretty sure you're just about 40 minutes from the French Quarter.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


GIVE NASA ALL THE TAX MONIES!
posted by davidjmcgee at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [20 favorites]


Wow. Those images are just amazing. And they only had that tiny window to send a few after landing? Absolutely amazing.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want them all to strip, break out bottles of booze, and start the live stream of the orgy now.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:41 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn, it actually worked! Unbelievable.
posted by jenkinsEar at 10:41 PM on August 5, 2012






START THE REACTOR!
posted by steef at 10:41 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dude just yelled "Holy Shit!"
posted by roboton666 at 10:41 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Scientists! Turn around and look at the images! Do you not see the images!?
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:41 PM on August 5, 2012


Oops! That was an audible "Holy shit" from someone in the control room!
posted by rtha at 10:41 PM on August 5, 2012


Holy crap, over 200K concurrent viewers on the main stream. The JPL stream is only a little over 21K.
posted by Malor at 10:41 PM on August 5, 2012


I heard a proud "holy shit!"
posted by Burhanistan at 10:41 PM on August 5, 2012


haha "HOLY SHIT"
posted by scrowdid at 10:42 PM on August 5, 2012


Between the laughing and the crying I look at these images and realize I can barely wrap my head around what I am actually seeing.

Thank you third-grade report on Saturn for making me love this space stuff I don't understand!
posted by Room 641-A at 10:42 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


My two year old son woke up with a nightmare just two minutes before the touchdown. I'm so glad he watched that with me. He is quietly watching pics come in now. I'm explaining why people are happy and he's happy too.
posted by Brodiggitty at 10:42 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Curiosity Rover Tweets: GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!


I guess we did send a teenager!
posted by blurker at 10:42 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Lol "If anyone is listening...you should watch...this...fly..."
posted by donquixote at 10:42 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Heh. I heard "Holy shit!" on the livestream and then immediately a child appeared in the control room.
posted by mediated self at 10:42 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anybody else quitting their job tomorrow and running off to Pasadena to plead for a job at the JPL???
posted by hapax_legomenon at 10:42 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want to see this fly-through!
posted by Mezentian at 10:42 PM on August 5, 2012


About 90 minutes ago that thing was 12,000 miles away. Crazy.

And decsending at 13,000 MPH before slowing and dropping space probe CURIOSITY on the surface of MARS!
posted by ericb at 10:42 PM on August 5, 2012


I love the image of Curiosity's shadow on Mars. What a great buildup and release. Congrats all around.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:42 PM on August 5, 2012


Awww! Teary scientists!
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 10:43 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, chimps, dogs, dolphins, parrots, squid. You think your species are so smart, Homo Sapiens just put a dune buggy on Mars and we're taking pictures. WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO TODAY?
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:43 PM on August 5, 2012 [18 favorites]


hapax_legomenon: I would but I don't think they need neurologists. ::sigh::
posted by adoarns at 10:43 PM on August 5, 2012


In addition, raw images from Mars will appear in this location.

I don't begrudge them their delay on getting things up -- those men and women have some celebrating to do. Image uploading can wait!
posted by barnacles at 10:43 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hug it out, nerds.
posted by ColdChef at 10:44 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, it was the squid telepathically guiding it in. You think you humans could do it alone?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:44 PM on August 5, 2012


GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!

They should have sent a poet.
posted by amorphatist at 10:44 PM on August 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


"8 years of tension!"
posted by lazaruslong at 10:45 PM on August 5, 2012


So Mohawk Dude is really cute, and he cries? Even more adorable!
posted by rtha at 10:45 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


So how do we know this 'lander' actually is on Mars?
posted by mazola at 10:45 PM on August 5, 2012


JPLManager: That's a hell of an act @CuriousityRover, what do you call it.
CuriosityRover: "The Aristocrats"
posted by humanfont at 10:45 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Folks, download that 64x64 from twitter. It's 575 bytes. 4600 bits that came from millions of miles away. It's awesome.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:45 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gold medal, Curiosity! Gold medal in the 350 million mile marathon!
posted by octobersurprise at 10:45 PM on August 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


"8 years of tension!"

That's just it. These people don't get to work on many of these during their career. This is a lifetime highlight for everybody in that room.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:46 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


My faith in... well, something has been renewed. Human intelligence persists. Human achievement exists. We're on Mars again.
posted by Spatch at 10:46 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


OK, now the livestream is looking like every MeFi meetup I've ever been to.
posted by dhartung at 10:46 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Will there be recordings of the landing (or at least the last minute or so) from the Sky-Crane vehicle afterwards?

Did it fly off and land somewhere?
posted by lampshade at 10:46 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Through my tears of joy, I remembered the voice of Walter Cronkite joyfully proclaiming, "Man on the Moon!" in 1969. He would have loved to have provided the commentary for this Mars landing.
posted by apartment dweller at 10:46 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ladies in Mission Control, dudes with mohawks, and a black guy is running the place. I wonder if this is how they saw the future in 1969.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:47 PM on August 5, 2012 [38 favorites]


Did anyone else spot that tray of tasty-looking sandwiches in mission control during the post-landing celebration?
posted by moonmilk at 10:47 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


OK, back to work!
posted by mediated self at 10:47 PM on August 5, 2012


<chest out> That's my rover on Mars! </chest out>
posted by mazola at 10:48 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Future generations will look back
and wonder why we waited
why our hatred was so concentrated
here on Earth.
We could have been out there too.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:48 PM on August 5, 2012


Back to work!
posted by slickvaguely at 10:48 PM on August 5, 2012


ERROR

The request could not be satisfied.


Indeed.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:48 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can I just say, if it hasn't been said yet, that Pampadour man in the lower right is my favourite engineer in the room. I think JPL recruited him for the job because of how cool he looks.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:48 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


And everyone is back at their desk and back to work. These guys are amazing!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:49 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


lampshade: please to meet MARDI
posted by Mach5 at 10:49 PM on August 5, 2012


Ladies in Mission Control, dudes with mohawks, and a black guy is running the place. I wonder if this is how they saw the future in 1969.

I feel like these are my people. Nerds don't give a shit, just show us the science.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:49 PM on August 5, 2012 [13 favorites]


Back to work? Bbbbbut but.... Its Miller Time, isn't it?
posted by yeti at 10:49 PM on August 5, 2012


"Will there be recordings of the landing (or at least the last minute or so) from the Sky-Crane vehicle afterwards?

Did it fly off and land somewhere?
"

The descent vehicle crashes (has crashed, I guess) somewhere about 500 feet away.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:49 PM on August 5, 2012


Carl Sagan and 'Star Hustler' Jack Horkheimer this one is for both of YOU!
posted by ericb at 10:49 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


So how do we know this 'lander' actually is on Mars?

Listen, we can get Buzz Aldrin to punch you if that's what it takes.
posted by nanojath at 10:49 PM on August 5, 2012 [49 favorites]


I will be damned.

Excellent job everyone. Nothing short of miraculous.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:49 PM on August 5, 2012


This is seriously awesome that we can watch this in real time, and watch a real time simulation as well. How awesome, a real step forward for all of us.
posted by Sphinx at 10:50 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here are the two recent photos from Curiosity on Mars, the first including its own shadow against the Martian terrain. (Sorry if these have already been posted.)
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:50 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not part of NASA, but my work helped build a cloud computing platform they used to help them achieve this. I'm immensely proud of my microscopic contribution to this.
posted by ChrisR at 10:51 PM on August 5, 2012 [18 favorites]


My hero is the guy/girl who, while everyone was celebrating, kept an eye on the clock and then called out "Time for back to work" when it was necessary.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:51 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hannah Arendt, we're not fucked yet! I love this! Thank you, humanity. Thank you for being awesome for tonight.
posted by donquixote at 10:51 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is a false flag to help Obama win the presidency!

The truth will out! etc.
posted by Mezentian at 10:51 PM on August 5, 2012


This and the Higgs -- a good year for science. Regardless of everything going on in the world, it's good to remember that in some areas we continue to take giant strides forward.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 10:51 PM on August 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


Will there be recordings of the landing (or at least the last minute or so) from the Sky-Crane vehicle afterwards?

AFAIK there are no cameras on the skycrane, but I could be wrong. I really hope they drive over to the smouldering remains of the skycrane as soon as possible, like they did with Spirit's backshield
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:51 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


There will be a lot of engineers having sex tonight.
posted by sarastro at 10:51 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


zombieflanders: "Ladies in Mission Control, dudes with mohawks, and a black guy is running the place. I wonder if this is how they saw the future in 1969."

Depends on who "they" is -- if "they" produced (or, hell, watched and enjoyed) Star Trek, then yep, they did.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:51 PM on August 5, 2012 [13 favorites]


That's a lot of MacBooks in the control room.
posted by mazola at 10:52 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


They are totally settling bets right now.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:52 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Would you trust Windows?
posted by Mezentian at 10:53 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


4.37 degrees off of vertical!
posted by pjenks at 10:53 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


There will be a lot of engineers having sex tonight.

*blinks*

I thought they just did. Have engineer sex, that is.
posted by dhartung at 10:53 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Looks like it's an Apple shop.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:53 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"...3.7 degrees"

"YES!"
posted by scrowdid at 10:53 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


One more day of Mars MSL Mission EDL Network Change Freeze and I can get back to work.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:53 PM on August 5, 2012


Some raw photos are up!!
posted by barnacles at 10:53 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


BRB sending love letters to Mr. Bobak Ferdowsi
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:53 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Will there be recordings of the landing (or at least the last minute or so) from the Sky-Crane vehicle afterwards?

I think there was a video camera on the rover that recorded the touchdown. Anyone know for sure?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:54 PM on August 5, 2012


MARS, GUYS

GUYS

FUCKIN' MARS
posted by cortex at 10:54 PM on August 5, 2012 [15 favorites]


Wait? They're going to land on Europa?

THE FOOLS!
posted by Mezentian at 10:54 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alachi, don't you know? We CAN'T GO TO EUROPA!
posted by donquixote at 10:55 PM on August 5, 2012


There will be a lot of engineers having sex tonight.

Everybody should get to try it once in their life.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:55 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dude, we just crashed NASA's webservers. That's kind of awesome.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:55 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Heh. Just as I was going to check out the raw images, the lady on the stream in the other tab said the sites are getting hammered. What a strange new world we live in.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:55 PM on August 5, 2012


I'm seeing placeholders on the raw media page. Broken image links so far, but nothing a refresh won't help any minute hopefully.
posted by Nosmot at 10:55 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Congratulations to everyone involved! More science less violence!
posted by RollingGreens at 10:56 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


MARS, GUYS
GUYS
FUCKIN' MARS


Copy that. Fuckin' Mars.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:56 PM on August 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


If I was on that team, when I got off work I'd go with a bunch of friends to a bar, party insanely, so that when someone asked me "Why are you all so happy?" I could say "We just landed a robot on Mars. How are your widget sales trending?"
posted by benito.strauss at 10:56 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't know about you guys but from now on, before any tense situation in my life:

Peanuts!
posted by sendai sleep master at 10:56 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Did they find the endless bacon/diamond/cancer-cure deposits yet? If not, I'm not sure why I should care, other than to be annoyed that huge sums of money are being spent on this stuff. Unless the goal is simpy to beat the Russians. In that case, cool. But hey... how'd I get into this 1950's time machine?
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:56 PM on August 5, 2012


Because of the 14-minute delay for radio signals to go from Mars to Earth, Curiosity is already on Mars. We just don’t know what happened yet.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:57 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's always gotta be one I guess.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:57 PM on August 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


OK, good night everybody (it's late here on the east coast). It's been real.
posted by mediated self at 10:58 PM on August 5, 2012


Well it's obvious that Curiosity gets the gold medal in tonights event.
posted by littlesq at 10:58 PM on August 5, 2012


How did he even...
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:58 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks for stopping by! Grab some peanuts on your way out!
posted by slickvaguely at 10:58 PM on August 5, 2012


Technology from this mission will be used to put a car sized nuclear powered robot in every home, blaneyphoto.
posted by Artw at 10:59 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I want to go to there. /Liz Lemon
posted by trip and a half at 10:59 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you, tapesonthefloor.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 10:59 PM on August 5, 2012


Did they find the endless bacon/diamond/cancer-cure deposits yet? If not, I'm not sure why I should care, other than to be annoyed that huge sums of money are being spent on this stuff. Unless the goal is simpy to beat the Russians. In that case, cool. But hey... how'd I get into this 1950's time machine?

We wouldn't be metafilter without you. Thank you for making the thread complete.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:59 PM on August 5, 2012 [12 favorites]


Goodnight, everybody. This has been fun. Mercury tomorrow?
posted by davidjmcgee at 10:59 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:59 PM on August 5, 2012 [11 favorites]


Did they find the endless bacon/diamond/cancer-cure deposits yet? If not, I'm not sure why I should care, other than to be annoyed that huge sums of money are being spent on this stuff. Unless the goal is simpy to beat the Russians. In that case, cool. But hey... how'd I get into this 1950's time machine?

Humans just performed a collaborative task of staggering physical, mathematical, and cognitive complexity. No. We don't get to hate on this. This is human work. This is beautiful. This is an open door to new questions, new answers.
posted by donquixote at 10:59 PM on August 5, 2012 [34 favorites]


Watching that whole room of scientists lose their shit was the best fun I've had today. Congratulations, all you wonderful nerds. Bask in the glory for a bit!
posted by jokeefe at 11:00 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


FUCKIN' MARS.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:00 PM on August 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


Thanks for stopping by! Grab some peanuts on your way out!

*AHEM* I said peanuts!
posted by mediated self at 11:01 PM on August 5, 2012


I need a cigarette.
posted by Drewstre at 11:01 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks much, tapes.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:01 PM on August 5, 2012


They can land a robot on mars.

But they can't keep their webserver up.

Oh well, no one's perfect.
posted by delmoi at 11:01 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is one happy engineer.
posted by Mezentian at 11:01 PM on August 5, 2012


huge sums of money

Shockingly less than you think.

Total cost for this project is $2.5Billion. It sounds like a lot, but in terms of the annual US government budget, it's chump change.
posted by hippybear at 11:01 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm thinking this seems like the greatest engineering achievement of all time. Is there anything that rivals this?
posted by jasper411 at 11:01 PM on August 5, 2012


They can land a robot on mars.

But they can't enunciate peanuts.
posted by mazola at 11:02 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey blaneyphoto, how are your widget sales trending?
posted by benito.strauss at 11:02 PM on August 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!

Curiosity is Sassy.
posted by homunculus at 11:02 PM on August 5, 2012


Thanks Gay Yee! You are all kinds of charming. What a great production by the NASA TV folks.
posted by scrowdid at 11:02 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I was a participant I'd wreck the whole thing because I'd short out my computer with my tears of joy.
posted by Mojojojo at 11:03 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I loved Bill Nye leading the HU-MANS! HU-MANS! chant.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:03 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the CBC comments:

This is the America the world wants.

QFT
posted by blue_beetle at 11:04 PM on August 5, 2012 [40 favorites]


So.... now what do we do?
posted by Mezentian at 11:04 PM on August 5, 2012


That was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. The best part was my five-year-old's wide-eyed, open-mouthed fascination with it. He sat and watched a full forty minutes of the pre-entry commentary. "So mom, all those people. They're collaborating?" Thank you, Sid the Science Kid! I love PBS and NASA!
posted by bardophile at 11:04 PM on August 5, 2012 [19 favorites]


This has been fun. Mercury tomorrow?

I certainly hope so - it should be fun, too!
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 11:04 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did they find the endless bacon/diamond/cancer-cure deposits yet? If not, I'm not sure why I should care, other than to be annoyed that huge sums of money are being spent on this stuff. Unless the goal is simpy to beat the Russians. In that case, cool. But hey... how'd I get into this 1950's time machine?

The device you used to type that comment may not of been possible if it weren't for stuff like this.
posted by littlesq at 11:04 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I like how the support area that is now on USTREAM has mood lighting, like when it hits 7:00 and they dim the lights in the restaurant. Time for a little martian seduction.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:04 PM on August 5, 2012


I love this. I love every single thing about this, especially Mohawk Guy. I love that I just sat in my bedroom and watched a bunch of engineers land a robot on another goddamn planet, and then I got to see the photos the robot took as soon as they did

We need more of this, more doing awesome crazy things because they're out there and we want to learn and we can figure out how. More space, less hurting people. That's what I want.
posted by cmyk at 11:04 PM on August 5, 2012 [22 favorites]


I think she said the next downlink is in about half an hour, but it'll look pretty much like what we've already seen. The next exciting stage is when they get the rover going, but that won't be for days.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:05 PM on August 5, 2012


Total cost for this project is $2.5Billion.

Well so far, the project has another 2 years of life. Money well spent, IMO.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:05 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


So.... now what do we do?

The same thing we do every night, Pinky—try to take over the world!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:05 PM on August 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


So.... now what do we do?

Burnouts and wheelies and donuts and shit on mars?
posted by Rhomboid at 11:06 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, it's a good think we just lobbed a robot army at Barsoom!
posted by Mezentian at 11:06 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Look at those pictures. Look at those god-damned pictures. I am so lucky to live when and where I do.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:07 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Which planet, Brain? We've got a bunch to choose from.
posted by cmyk at 11:07 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Breaking news: we found the bacon/diamond/cancer cure deposit!!!
posted by humanfont at 11:08 PM on August 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


Perfect 10.0 for the landing :)
posted by cx at 11:08 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Total cost for this project is $2.5Billion.

Investment banks can and do blow that kind of figure trying to screw their competitors over in day. Chump change indeed.

We just landed a thing on fucking Mars.

Different planet. Literally.
posted by motty at 11:08 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Word to 10 year old me: I just watched NASA land a car-sized robot on Mars on my phone.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:08 PM on August 5, 2012 [29 favorites]


Total cost for this project is $2.5Billion.

I happily pitched in.
posted by Mojojojo at 11:09 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Shit, octobersurprise, sorry about your phone. Surely NASA can afford to reimburse you?
posted by Night_owl at 11:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [48 favorites]


I miss Carl Sagan, but man, Bill Nye is a really good communicator. He is doing a great job explaining to the cameras why this is important.
posted by HappyHippo at 11:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was amazing, I'm so happy to be a part of it, even as just a spectator and proud taxpayer. It was inspirational and amazing and I hope it encourages a whole new generation of engineers and explorers.

We need more of this.
posted by formless at 11:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


$2.5Billion.

Less that the cost of a 3D movie ticket for every person in the US.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, the name "octobersurprise" in this context makes me think of October Sky.
posted by Night_owl at 11:11 PM on August 5, 2012


Total cost for this project is $2.5Billion.

In other words, a little more than two B2 bombers; or less than 1/30 the cost of the F22 program.
posted by LionIndex at 11:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The cost of the London Olympics is variously reported at between £3.3 billion and £9 billion.

US$2.5 billion to land on Mars seems fair.
posted by Mezentian at 11:12 PM on August 5, 2012 [11 favorites]






Most of the feeds I had have stopped. Does anyone have one that's still broadcasting?

(BTW, I looked around for a viewing party in my area but couldn't find one. Couldn't have been better than you MeFites.)
posted by benito.strauss at 11:13 PM on August 5, 2012


Between this and Andy Murray winning a gold? I'm all out of tears.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 11:14 PM on August 5, 2012


I vividly remember hanging out in university computer lab when one of the early rovers landed (I think it was Mars Pathfinder) and waiting twenty-five minutes for the first jpeg of the surface to download. Communications technology has come a long way since then, and so has rover technology.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:14 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bahaha ColdChef great picture!
posted by Night_owl at 11:14 PM on August 5, 2012


Heh, I guess that sounds kinda dumb but I've been watching Andy try to win for so long it feels about like a mission to Mars. :)
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 11:15 PM on August 5, 2012


By my calculations, that's less than the cost of 2.6 billion ONE DOLLAR BILLS!!
posted by horsewithnoname at 11:15 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Comment deleted; Blaneyphoto, stop trying to derail the thread.]
posted by taz at 11:16 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Not only the watching of it with 4 million other people on UStream, but the fact that within an hour of landing (less than that - what, 20 minutes?!) I can visit the NASA Web site and see the output, the photos right from the actual craft itself. I know that makes sense technically to see them quickly, but we live in an era where this is all happening, live, in front of us, instantaneously. The pictures from the craft - that I can see, sitting here in my bedroom. Amazing stuff. And seeing a group of people jumping, clapping, high fiving, smiling, crying and joyful is really just as wonderful and breathtaking as the achievement itself. Thanks for the joy, folks. Made my night, and congrats. I've often been in the 'bah, why explore' camp, but I open my mind and heart, and just let something happen and enjoy the moment, and what a lovely payoff it was to be open minded.
posted by rmm at 11:17 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ustream is back on. Presenting the team.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:18 PM on August 5, 2012


USTREAM: http://www.ustream.tv/NASAJPL
posted by benito.strauss at 11:19 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This feed now has a press conference.

Also, I cannot make out what some of these pictures are. They look like... a bedroom?
posted by Night_owl at 11:19 PM on August 5, 2012


The Main Feed from NASA TV is still working for me. They're starting the press conference now.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:19 PM on August 5, 2012


I am enormously pleased. Thanks science!
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:19 PM on August 5, 2012


Happy, happy, happy, happy. Go curiosity! As someone said up thread, new questions and new answers await.
posted by arcticseal at 11:19 PM on August 5, 2012


i can't believe i'm lucky enough to live to witness this.

also, curiosity is one sassy robot.
posted by cendawanita at 11:19 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The sense of elation at the press conference is contagious.
posted by hippybear at 11:19 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would personally like to thank NASA for all the action my Twitter feed has gotten tonight. Man, tweeting about Curiosity has been like prowling the docks when the fleet comes in.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:19 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


For the Bobak-Backers.
posted by ColdChef at 11:20 PM on August 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Similiarly, somebody's attempt at a meme or something.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:22 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Total cost for this project is $2.5Billion.

That's, like, $4.50/km.

Then the rest of the mission is free!
posted by mazola at 11:22 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have already seen at least 2 peices of Bobak fanart.
posted by audacity at 11:23 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, is anybody having any success seeing the raw images here:

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/?rawid=RLA_397506118EDR_F0010008AUT_04096Z_&s=0

I don't know if it's just me, or if their servers are just hammered.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:23 PM on August 5, 2012


God I wish I could see actual footage of the skycrane maneuver. That's just bananas.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:23 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


And another.
posted by ColdChef at 11:24 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I almost favorited half these comments out of joy...I used to work at JPL when I was in high school (which was just down the street from JPL), and that place was 108% pure awesome. If there are any JPLers here now, congratulations and throw yourselves a party (which, judging by the audio stream, you are).

This is the America that the world wants indeed...

...I also heard a shout-out to the Deep Space Network, communicating around the world 24/7.

Good job, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, good job! May we add a third sapiens to that soon!
posted by foonly at 11:25 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Shit, octobersurprise, sorry about your phone. Surely NASA can afford to reimburse you?

It's the future, man; I'll grow another one (out of BACON).
posted by octobersurprise at 11:25 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


benito.strauss, I couldn't get through to those images yet either.

I could do with a little less American exceptionalism in this press conference. It's an awesomely wonderful and amazing feat, but let's not turn it into a USA! USA! USA! thing.
posted by barnacles at 11:25 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


In my heart, I could do without it too -- but in my head, I know that talk like that is the only fucking way we'll ever get any more money to do so. At a certain point, this is an American thing, and those of us who paid for part of it should be really proud that we did.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:27 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


When I was 6 years old, and the Mercury astronauts were doing their thing on Redstone and Atlas rockets, I had a book about Space. In fact, it might have been called "All About Space", come to think of it. One of the things I remember from that book 50mumblesomething years later was a picture of a rocketship on Mars with a couple of very small spacesuited figures looking at Earth waaaay out past Phobos and Diemos.

Even as a child, I felt a sense of awe at the distances and challenges involved in getting there; I knew that Mars was a loooong way away. I also firmly believed that someday I was going to stand on the surface of Mars and look back at the Earth, and felt an awe-inspiring sense of separation from my home planet.

Well, life happened in between. The closest I ever got to being an Astronaut was flying airplanes with a vision waiver. Still, I followed and loved the space program, even when I thought it was going astray.

Thank you, JPL people, for bringing back that sense of childlike awe and wonder for me tonight for a little while. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You brought me to tears tonight. Thank you, thank you, thank you all.
posted by pjern at 11:28 PM on August 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I don't know what senator on what authorizing committee needs to have his USA stroked so firmly to keep the money flowing. Oh well, you gotta pay the piper. But I feel this as a human, not as an american.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:28 PM on August 5, 2012


That cameraman had an "Avatar" jacket. Looks like James Cameron IS shooting on Mars!
posted by scrowdid at 11:29 PM on August 5, 2012


Hell, I don't mind the rah-rah stuff; there aren't many better moments to take a bow, to underscore the importance of spending money on stuff like this, or to get people excited about science and exploration.

The America that does stuff like this is the America that I grew up loving from afar.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:29 PM on August 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


Actually, now that I see it, this may be the most obscure sci fi joke tonight.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:29 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


pjern, I don't how much you identify with machines, but when I look at the images sent back I feel like I am standing on Mars.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:30 PM on August 5, 2012


Yeah, I guess I get the weirdness at the USA USA thing, but I figure if we pony up the $2.5billion it can be forgiven. If Canada or the UK or Australia or whoever wants to send a rover to Mars I'll happily wave your flag around.
posted by Justinian at 11:30 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was worried about that complicated landing sequence (they had their reasons, but I was worried anyway), but now I just can't stop thinking "humans are cool". It'll be great when we start getting panoramic pics.
posted by jiawen at 11:31 PM on August 5, 2012


Y'know what? You deserve it. Americans did do this thing, and there's no reason all Americans shouldn't feel proud about it. (And I'd feel the same way if it was the Europeans or Chinese or Russians or whoever.) Take a bow, USA.

Except for the politicians who keep cutting NASA's budget. But everybody else rocks.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:32 PM on August 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think it's okay to take national pride in something like this. This is the kind of leading by example that restores hope for people everywhere. HU-U-MANS! HU-U-MANS! HU-U-MANS!
posted by cx at 11:33 PM on August 5, 2012


Yeah, I guess I get the weirdness at the USA USA thing,

I'm totally fine with a bit if nationalism when it comes to peaceful space exploration. Nothing wrong with friendly competition.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Haha. This is the best. Can engineer a car-sized robot landing like a cat on Mars, can't control a room full of people. :)
posted by Night_owl at 11:35 PM on August 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


The America that does stuff like this is the America that I grew up loving from afar.

Word to that. X1000. This is the best of America. The best of all of us. As Rebecca Solnit put it, "We inhabit, in ordinary day light, a future that was unimaginably dark a few decades ago . . . It would be better if we were astonished every day."

(She was speaking specifically of civil rights, but it applies to all the better part of our nature.)
posted by gompa at 11:35 PM on August 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


That just cost every American taxpayer 15 bucks. You went to the moon tonight for the price of a pizza.
posted by scrowdid at 11:35 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


So many Olympics metaphors tonight.
posted by Night_owl at 11:36 PM on August 5, 2012


Less than $7 per American citizen, according to the press conference.
posted by Night_owl at 11:37 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haha. This is the best. Can engineer a car-sized robot landing like a cat on Mars, can't control a room full of people.

As a (software) engineer I can say: People ... people are difficult.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:37 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


You went to the moon tonight for the price of a pizza.

I would have sprung for lobster.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:37 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I could do with a little less American exceptionalism in this press conference. It's an awesomely wonderful and amazing feat, but let's not turn it into a USA! USA! USA! thing.

America built it. America paid for it. I don't know what you're talking about.
posted by falameufilho at 11:37 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I also haven't felt this good about my country in awhile. It may be just a drop of good compared to the huge cesspool of fail of the government, but it's really sweet.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:37 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's seven bucks per American citizen, like he just said in the press conference.
posted by scrowdid at 11:37 PM on August 5, 2012


Less than $7 per American citizen, according to the press conference.

Less than the cost of a cheap-ass cardboard pizza then. Cheap. A bargain.
posted by gompa at 11:38 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bobak Tumblr.
posted by ColdChef at 11:38 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I got the 15 bucks figure from the ~150 million Americans filing tax returns.
posted by scrowdid at 11:38 PM on August 5, 2012


falameufilho: "I could do with a little less American exceptionalism in this press conference. It's an awesomely wonderful and amazing feat, but let's not turn it into a USA! USA! USA! thing.

America built it. America paid for it. I don't know what you're talking about
"

It's okay, clearly I'm in the minority here. I'm just listengin to the wide range of accents in the various people involved and the list of countries involved. The USA did a lot here, but it's something to be proud of as (has been said) humans, not simply as another reason to celebrate nationalistic divides.
posted by barnacles at 11:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wonder if all the USA GO! is, at least in part, a response to the GOP wanting to shred NASA's budget. Make 'em look like a bunch of puppy kickers.
posted by cmyk at 11:42 PM on August 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


i wonder if bobak is prepared for the onslaught of fan art and slash fic?
posted by nadawi at 11:42 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Is there a place to view the stream again? I missed the final half hour!
posted by lucidprose at 11:42 PM on August 5, 2012


Someone invited Xena to the press conference?
posted by donquixote at 11:43 PM on August 5, 2012




SO THAT ROCKED
posted by scrowdid at 11:43 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gold medal, Curiosity! Gold medal in the 350 million mile marathon!

Indeed. Between Curiosity and the Olympics this solar system is really beginning to feel like one heck of a happenin' rollickin' place.

Humans....what a strange little weirdo species.
posted by Skygazer at 11:45 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Talk about highs and lows -- in today's thread about the shooting at the Sikh temple, I commented on my lack of optimism for America. Watching this tonight had made me feel a lot more encouraged about us.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 11:45 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's awesome, Pseudonumb! I had no idea we could still do space research in the age of Harper.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:46 PM on August 5, 2012


This landing plus all the Olympic medals is like tickling our brains. It's an interesting phenomenon to experience.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:48 PM on August 5, 2012


If anyone wants a description of what happens after the glory of the landing, I can recommend the book "Martian Summer: Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen, and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars Mission". They author is a noob journalist, and injects his personal details into the story way more than is useful or interesting, but the book describes the nitty-gritty of budgetary constraints and difficulties of maintaining personal lives in really interesting detail.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:48 PM on August 5, 2012


Does anyone have a link to the recorded touchdown mission control video with all the nerds crying?
posted by ottereroticist at 11:49 PM on August 5, 2012




Talk about highs and lows -- in today's thread about the shooting at the Sikh temple, I commented on my lack of optimism for America. Watching this tonight had made me feel a lot more encouraged about us.

If Americans ever wonder about the seemingly schizophrenic nature of their image abroad, this is pretty much it in a single day. How did one bunch of people conspire to do something so awful and so awesome at basically the same time?
posted by gompa at 11:50 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


You want to see nerds cry? Just run over an HP calculator.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:51 PM on August 5, 2012


ottereroticist: http://youtu.be/zLIQD97HMiQ?t=5m42s
posted by littlesq at 11:52 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


As an American, I'm often ashamed of my country's reputation in the world.

Tonight, all of that evaporated, and I realized that if this country came to stand for things like these endeavors on their own, of their own merit, and not as footnotes to some war or some other bullshit, we'd all be in a much more pleasant place to live.

It's certainly within our reach.
posted by Chutzler at 11:53 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


... fuckin Steltzner almost had me crying
posted by Chutzler at 11:53 PM on August 5, 2012


Burhanistan: This landing plus all the Olympic medals is like tickling our brains. It's an interesting phenomenon to experience.

Totally. I was trying to put my finger on the strange feeling, but this is really the first time I've ever felt like the human race is an interplanetary phenomenon. Instead of simply terrestrial.

I could see this feeling getting addictive, and looking forward to more exploration to happen and real mission to mars and a colony and missions to the other planets etc...
posted by Skygazer at 11:53 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kerri Strugg has been replaced as the thing Americans are most proud of for sticking a difficult landing.
posted by andoatnp at 11:54 PM on August 5, 2012 [8 favorites]




Here are some screenshots from Google Mars, showing where Curiosity has landed, at least according to the coordinates on Wikipedia (they were mentioned during the live feed).

Too bad, had they landed a bit more East, Google would have had some higher res imagery :)
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:55 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good luck out there, Curiosity! Can't wait to see more.
posted by MsVader at 11:56 PM on August 5, 2012


Has anyone noticed that the lander was basically a flying saucer? And that it flew horizontally for part of the descent? So basically, NASA sent a flying saucer to Mars.

I approve.
posted by suetanvil at 11:56 PM on August 5, 2012 [28 favorites]


What compression and filetype was the first image sent as?

?!?
posted by mazola at 11:56 PM on August 5, 2012


So rad.
posted by jann at 11:57 PM on August 5, 2012


I think there was a video camera on the rover that recorded the touchdown. Anyone know for sure?

There was a downward-facing camera on the rover itself, but it only records at 4 fps, and it's quite high-res, so it may take a few days and maybe even weeks before we see the footage because it ranks relatively low priority and they have to do some QoS triage with the available bandwidth.
posted by disillusioned at 11:59 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wonder what the over/under was on the betting pool for fuel remaining in the lander.

140kg of fuel remained when they touched down out of a starting weight of 400+. Looks like they were really conservative in estimating the needed fuel. Better to have too much than too little, though!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:59 PM on August 5, 2012




What compression and filetype was the first image sent as?

Well, it got me excited.

I said 4600 bits, but that was the JPEG and I immediately wondered what format it got sent in and how many bits it actually was.

(I'm really, really nerdy. Really.)
posted by benito.strauss at 12:04 AM on August 6, 2012


[A couple of comments deleted. Since we have very many Repubs/Dems U.S. political posts, and very few "We just landed on Mars" posts, let's try to keep this one in space. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 12:04 AM on August 6, 2012 [16 favorites]


Question: Does Curiosity have a microphone on-board? I would love to hear what Mars sounds.
posted by littlesq at 12:12 AM on August 6, 2012


From the press conference: "A continuous roving presence [on Mars] for more than 8 years."

Nice.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:15 AM on August 6, 2012


This thing isn't anywhere near Opportunity is it? I'd hate to see a fender-bender take two rovers out.
posted by mazola at 12:16 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does Curiosity have a microphone on-board? I would love to hear what Mars sounds.

I thought I remembered hearing about a microphone being sent to mars. After a bit of googling, it turns out there was one on the ill-fated mars polar lander. The microphone team was hoping to try again in 2016, but no one has accepted the instrument yet. :(
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:23 AM on August 6, 2012


Oh man, I'd lose my shit if we got pictures of two rovers driving around together. Ultimate happiness.
posted by Chutzler at 12:23 AM on August 6, 2012


Although I know, deep down, that it's not to be.
posted by Chutzler at 12:24 AM on August 6, 2012


It might be too early to wonder this, but I wonder if this could be the beginning of increased success wrt putting robots on other heavenly bodies. Remember when we first started flying?
posted by Chutzler at 12:29 AM on August 6, 2012








NASA gave me a give me a pin. I am going to cherish this pin FOREVER. this is a forever pin.
posted by The Whelk at 12:36 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


he knows!
posted by nadawi at 12:37 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


THE CROWD
posted by The Whelk at 12:40 AM on August 6, 2012


10 minutes till new data!
posted by delmoi at 12:40 AM on August 6, 2012


MY FOREVER PIN
posted by The Whelk at 12:43 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can anyone explain why the initial photos are so crappy? Grainy, partially-obscured, B&W shots from a dirty fisheye lens. Really, NASA?? This is what I get for my hard-earned pizza money???

They probably spent millions of dollars on cameras, but it looks like I could have gotten a better shot with one of those disposable film boxes they used to give out to people at weddings...

Seriously though, there must be an explanation, right?
posted by mikeand1 at 12:45 AM on August 6, 2012


Yes, there is. They are the hazard cams that are just there to see if the wheels are clear.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:46 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bobak is like, so Neuromancer.

Thanks NASA, you won the Future, so hard tonight.





Yeeow. Skygazer out.
posted by Skygazer at 12:47 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Most of the actual instruments are not even working yet. This, I suppose, is the image you get from a device that could actually withstand the landing, which is not meant for research anyway. Hazard cameras.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 12:48 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


... and they haven't even removed the dust caps from the hazard cams (the caps are transparent).
posted by RichardP at 12:48 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think someone said that the plastic protective covers were still on the cameras. The images were just initial landing shots so the Earth crew could see if everything was OK with the landing.
posted by littlesq at 12:49 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can anyone explain why the initial photos are so crappy?

You're serious? You're not making a joke about that? Within 15 minutes of going from 10,000 mph to the surface of Mars, a picture is sent over 100 million miles, right to your computer, and you're dissatisfied with the resolution? This isn't a joke on your part?

We are so fucked as a species.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:51 AM on August 6, 2012 [12 favorites]




WE HAVE PHOTOS

FROM FUCKING MARS

ANOTHER FUCKING PLANET

MARS

AND EVERYTHING WENT FINE

DESPITE ALL THE THINGS

FUCKING MARS

JUST LOOK

CAUSE MARS
posted by The Whelk at 12:54 AM on August 6, 2012 [25 favorites]


I must say that the female announcer/interviewer on the NASA stream has been very pleasant. Not annoying at all (which would be a guarantee if this were on network TV).
posted by littlesq at 12:55 AM on August 6, 2012


Something made on Earth by humans is on the surface of FUCKING MARS. And like using LASERS to determine chemical compositions cause WE FUCKING DO THAT.



Everything is Mars and nothing hurts.
posted by The Whelk at 12:56 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anyway, that was touching, uplifting and amazing. I was thinking of doing a "landing party" (in which no redshirt gets killed, and they were all in blue anyway), but then I realized that the touchdown will be 8:30am where I live...
posted by Pyrogenesis at 12:58 AM on August 6, 2012


Yeah, the anchor lady seems pretty knowledgeable / competent coming into all of this. Pleasant's the perfect word, she does a very good job.
posted by Chutzler at 12:58 AM on August 6, 2012


First the LHC, now this. Go science!
posted by cthuljew at 12:58 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


It kinda... makes you... wanna sing....

Boom-de-yada, boom-de-yada...
posted by cmyk at 12:58 AM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Also, there are a lot of babes in the new room.
posted by Chutzler at 12:59 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously though, there must be an explanation, right?

Well, as others have said, those are just 'hazard cams', but also keep in mind that they had only a very brief window of time before Odyssey orbited out of 'earshot'. They could only send a little data, and so they went for a quick squawk to confirm that everything was successful, not Actual Science.

Alternately: no, dude, you're totally right, we spent two and a half billion dollars on this mission, but the only cameras they could manage to find were prizes out of cereal boxes.

Sheesh.
posted by Malor at 12:59 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Damn, NASA, you Marsy!
posted by itstheclamsname at 1:00 AM on August 6, 2012


MALLORY: And we went to the moon. Do we really have to go to Mars?

SAM: Yes.

MALLORY: Why?

SAM: ‘Cause it’s next. For we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill, and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean, and we pioneered the West, and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on the timeline of exploration, and this is what’s next.

The West Wing, "Galileo" (S2E09)
posted by tzikeh at 1:00 AM on August 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


This Is Just To Say

I have used
all the favorites
that were in
my account today.

and which
I have never
done before

Forgive me
this post was so great
so fun
and so science.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:01 AM on August 6, 2012 [16 favorites]


ambient music

MARS BRINGER OF MORE UNDERSTANDING ON PLANETARY ATMOSPHERIC LOSS AND FROZEN WATER DUE TO A LACK OF STABLE MOO TO CREATE INNER CHURN CHURN is less catchy
posted by The Whelk at 1:02 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Re the crappy photos: I was joking. I thought that was obvious. Sheesh.

But I was actually interested in hearing the explanation, not literally complaining about the poor quality.
posted by mikeand1 at 1:04 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I totally expect to see a Metafilter window on one of those screens.
posted by zippy at 1:05 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Alternately: no, dude, you're totally right, we spent two and a half billion dollars on this mission, but the only cameras they could manage to find were prizes out of cereal boxes.

Yet they couldn't put a microphone on the thing. I totally have an old Casio tape recorder that I can duct-tape to an old modem and then probably wrap it in tin foil or something. Sending it to Mars would be pretty expensive shipping-wise though.
posted by littlesq at 1:05 AM on August 6, 2012


New image coming through and some engineering data, plus a graph of great significance to the Flight Director.

NASA is signing off, no more pictures this evening of milling about or reading over people's shoulders.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:05 AM on August 6, 2012


Alright, that's enough for me as it is 4 AM here. Had lot's of fun tonight Metafilter!
posted by littlesq at 1:07 AM on August 6, 2012


I had actual holding back tears when the thing landed, here me in Times Square cause FUCKING MARS. SEVEN MINUTES OF HELL. Something human-made was going to sit down on Mars and gonna get all up in the chemical and geological STUFF of MARS, an ALIEN FUCKING PLANET and it just SHOT across the fucking STARS and now we can talk about XENOGEOLOGY and we're just gonna land a like a total fucking laboratory like it's no thing on the surface of FUCKING MARS.
posted by The Whelk at 1:08 AM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


Thank you for this, USA! Seriously!
posted by Harald74 at 1:08 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, mikeand1. There was some people in here earlier earnestly bitching about stuff like that. On the internet no-one can see your wry smile.

And the details of the different cameras and the upload window are interesting. I saw a video earlier saying there were a total of 14 of 'em. I only know about the hazard cameras. Hopefully we'll get more details on the others as we get pix from them.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:08 AM on August 6, 2012


OK, so, we just pulled off the most complex landing ever, completely like something out of a Star Wars movie. And I, at least, watched a simulation of what was going on using my personal computer, which was computing and displaying the positions of all the planets and the simulated position of the lander. Simultaneously, using a different program, I was streaming two separate video feeds from some unknown location on a worldwide data network. One showed the entire launch staff in high resolution video, while the other showed an ongoing commentary track, with some of the same footage from the first stream.

And I talked about this happening, live, with people from all over the world, many of whom were using their telephones to watch the same video. But they were doing it wirelessly, with their phone company delivering custom data streams just for them, over the air.

Today, August 6, 2012, is officially the future. This is no longer the world I grew up in. It is a stunningly different place from when I watched men landing on the Moon as a toddler, on a tiny, crappy tube television, with grainy black and white video.
posted by Malor at 1:10 AM on August 6, 2012 [59 favorites]


EVERYTHING IS THE FUTURE AND MARS AND STUFFSOH GOD LETS JUST MAKEOUT AND HUG THINGS
posted by The Whelk at 1:12 AM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


The Whelk, I believe you are drunk on Mars.
posted by littlesq at 1:15 AM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


WHATS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT SPACE?


MINE IS SPACE.
posted by The Whelk at 1:16 AM on August 6, 2012 [22 favorites]


zombieflanders> I wonder if this is how they saw the future in 1969.

Well, I'd say "ladies in Mission Control, dudes with mohawks, and a black guy is running the place" sounds quite a bit Heinleinian to me.

So, the answer to your question is "maybe yes" :)
posted by egor83 at 1:16 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!

IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!
posted by tzikeh at 1:16 AM on August 6, 2012


This was amazing. And to think we might get six or more years of roving and discovery (two year mission, but with parts tested for 3x mission span).
posted by zippy at 1:18 AM on August 6, 2012


Would somebody care to outline what distinguishes this achievement in the grand scheme of things?
posted by deo rei at 1:18 AM on August 6, 2012


One more small step
posted by Seiten Taisei at 1:21 AM on August 6, 2012


I would be really happy if this could somehow become our longest thread.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:22 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


griphus: That man is playing Galaga.

We have a Whelk.

(Metafilter: we have a Whelk.)
posted by tzikeh at 1:23 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Heh: @SarcasticRover
posted by delmoi at 1:26 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would somebody care to outline what distinguishes this achievement in the grand scheme of things?

I can think of no scheme grander than that of scheming to explore the universe.
posted by sarastro at 1:26 AM on August 6, 2012


Patience! Better images will come...
posted by mazola at 1:26 AM on August 6, 2012


Serious, Sirus Space Party
posted by The Whelk at 1:36 AM on August 6, 2012


Space Olympics
posted by The Whelk at 1:38 AM on August 6, 2012


XKCD, if only such a torrent existed.
posted by zinon at 1:41 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hope we start sending rovers to other planets now, and especially some of Jupiter and Saturn's larger moons. Europa and Titan might contain liquid water under a surface of ice, and Europa actually has an oxygen atmosphere (although very sparse)
I totally expect to see a Metafilter window on one of those screens.
Heh, I actually did notice someone checking out facebook.
posted by delmoi at 1:41 AM on August 6, 2012


LET ME EXPLORE THE ICE FIELDS OF EUROPA. YOU DON''T HAVE TO PAY ME THE EXPERIENCE IS ENOUGH OH GOD.
posted by The Whelk at 1:46 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I WILL DO SO MANY DETAILED DETAILED DAIRIES FOR YOU AND YES THIS IS ALL ARCTIC EXPLORER STUFFS, NO SERIOUSLY SHACKLETON WOULD BE A WHIMP COMPARED TO ME OH GOD JUST LET ME GO THERE.
posted by The Whelk at 1:47 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]




TITAN HAS SEAS OF METHANE LET ME GO TO THERE.
posted by The Whelk at 1:48 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just be sure to remember your warm boots, though. We don't want you catching cold out there in the icy wastes of space!
posted by barnacles at 1:50 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


FrEaKY SPaCe PArTy.
posted by Skygazer at 1:50 AM on August 6, 2012


The Whelk: I WILL DO SO MANY DETAILED DETAILED DAIRIES FOR YOU

[Milky Way joke goes here]

[also Whelk go to sleep you are sleep-deprived Whelk]
posted by tzikeh at 1:51 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


A couple of days ago, there was a Reddit AMA by an old NASA guy, entitled "IAMA 97 year old that worked Apollo missions 1 through 14".

Someone asked him "What do you remember about Apollo 13?" That was the mission that was aborted when they had an explosion in the propulsion system out in space. He replied with a story that, as far as I can tell, has never been told before:
All the engineers and everybody else at NASA in Houston were working hard at recovering the moonshot, and they were in real trouble, weren't sure they could get it back. They got a phone call from a grad student at MIT who said he knew how to get them back. They put engineers on it, tested it out, by God it worked. Slingshotting them around the moon. They successfully did. They wanted to present the grad student to the President and the public, but they found him and he was a real hippy type - long hair and facial hair. NASA was straight-laced, and this was different than they expected, so they withdrew the invitation to the student. I think that is a disgrace.
That was a terribly missed opportunity -- in 1970, the nation was tearing itself apart as the "straights" demonized the "counterculture," and the sight of a beardy longhair student saving the astronauts would have gone a long way towards healing the rift.

And this is why, when I looked around the Mission Control room for tonight's touchdown, I couldn't help but see the ponytailed hippie, the guy with a mohawk, the black man in charge, all the women, and think: the better nature of America prevailed in the end.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:53 AM on August 6, 2012 [94 favorites]


Mars Bitches.
posted by delmoi at 1:53 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I missed this. But I found a feed playthough on youtube and now there's something in my eyes.

It's probably just some fines. All the way from Mars.
posted by mikurski at 1:57 AM on August 6, 2012


I would be really happy if this could somehow become our longest thread

When you wish upon a star ...

And besides that, there are pretty much no limits to the implications. We could wonder indefinitely at the sheer sci-fi strangeness of Mars, at our plodding autocorrected fingertips in real time, and wonder for another eon or two about The Whelk in ALLCAPS.

Because, as he said, MOTHERFUCKING MARS.
posted by gompa at 1:57 AM on August 6, 2012


Y'all are gonna lose it when we put folks on Mars.

Assuming we don't kill ourselves first.

We should get on that Mars thing.
posted by Mezentian at 1:59 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obviously I'm paraphrasing (and there goes one more post ka-zwish like that out into the digital ether that now includes GODDAMN MARS EVERYBODY).
posted by gompa at 1:59 AM on August 6, 2012


I couldn't help but see the ponytailed hippie, the guy with a mohawk, the black man in charge, all the women, and think: the better nature of America prevailed in the end.

Indeed. Another joyous moment in my shared Curiosity Landing Viewing Experience with Five-Year-Old was him asking "Are all these engineers boys?" and me being able to say "No, look, there are women there, too." And then to realize myself that there were more women there than I expected. Such a conflation of coolnesses.
posted by bardophile at 2:01 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Would somebody care to outline what distinguishes this achievement in the grand scheme of things?
We sent a four-ton object 352 million miles and it got where it was supposed to be. That is so far away that a radio signal - travelling at the speed of light in vacuum, which as far as we know is as fast as fast can get - takes nearly 14 minutes to cross that distance. Keep in mind that the ability to throw a small round ball accurately across distances of 60 to 80 feet is so uncommon that we pay people who can do it dependably millions of dollars.
The thing managed a braking orbit that slowed from 13,000 mph to 1.3 mph in 7 minutes. It didn't burn up, it landed where it was supposed to and it was still working fine.
Okay, you're not impressed by the fact that people managed all that. Fine. And maybe you think, "Well, damn, you know what? We managed it before. Heck, Opportunity's still out there, toodling around, 8 years later. What can this one do that's so special?" Okay, yes, it's unbelievably impressive that in a highly particulate, acidic environment with temperatures ranging between -128 and 27 degrees Celsius, with daily winds up to 90 mph, Opportunity has to date lasted 35 times its design life, and it is still sending out data. Wow. Pretty hard to top that.
But Opportunity and Spirit have done what they were supposed to do. They were meant to find out if there had ever been water on Mars. Yes. There was. Finding that out was huge. This mission is meant to find out whether there's ever been any kind of life on Mars and whether there's any way Mars could support human life long enough for a manned mission there. It's also going to answer all sorts of interesting questions about minerals and radiation and it's already answered a ton of engineering questions just by getting there and landing. Engineering advances every time we throw something into a new environment, and the advances NASA's made end up in everyday technology all the time. But ultimately, the reason we're all high on this is that it has the potential to tell us whether organic life is just a freak byproduct of conditions here, or whether it happened on Mars. If it happened on Mars and Earth, it's possible, even reasonable, to suppose it happened elsewhere. Is that grand enough for you?
posted by gingerest at 2:12 AM on August 6, 2012 [78 favorites]


It could end up lasting a lot longer then even 6 years. It's powered by a Radioisotope thermal generator like the one used on voyager, rather then solar panels like the other few probes. It uses plutonium 238, so the half-life is 87 years.

In theory it could last decades.
posted by delmoi at 2:13 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some much better photos coming through now. Check out this view of the Milky Way!
posted by mikeand1 at 2:16 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also apropos of the discussion, this photo of one of the NASA hippies, apparently in the process of unclogging his bong.
posted by mikeand1 at 2:26 AM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


If it happened on Mars and Earth, it's possible, even reasonable, to suppose it happened elsewhere.

Likely even, taking a Bayesian interpretation.
posted by kisch mokusch at 2:33 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Harvey Kilobit: That story is most likely not true.
posted by Potsy at 2:40 AM on August 6, 2012 [16 favorites]


Damn I fell asleep before it got going, but go science and go NASA! Thanks for the update link littlesq. The whole thing reminds me of my dad getting me up as a kid to watch the moon landings.
posted by carter at 2:48 AM on August 6, 2012


his mission is meant to find out whether there's ever been any kind of life on Mars and whether there's any way Mars could support human life long enough for a manned mission there.
Well, it's going to look to see if mars ever had the conditions capable of supporting life, it can't search for evidence of life itself (unless it's super obvious, like a fossil or something)

Apparently NASA has a proposal to drop a friggin' HOT AIR BALLOON AND BOAT into Titan's atmosphere and methane oceans.

Also, apparently Saturn's moon Enceladus is now known to have liquid water as well.

Also, a picture of the after party
posted by delmoi at 3:02 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you gingerest. The enthusiasm here led me to wonder if perhaps I missed something about this mission.
posted by deo rei at 3:06 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just...overwhelmed. Hoisting a glass. (Of wine, not Tang). The moon landing is my earliest memory to which I can attach a date. And now I have to make pancakes. (I have a fuzzy memory of watching the moon landing, having just turned 3, and my mom making us pancakes immediately after.)

Should there be an official "food to celebrate space awesomeness"? I mean, there's always Tang. But...you know... it's Tang.
posted by theplotchickens at 3:18 AM on August 6, 2012


INTERPLANETARY PHOTOS

AVAILABLE

IN ONE HOUR
posted by davemee at 3:19 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's an amazing video! Overwhelmed here, too. Fantastic stuff. It never gets old.
posted by carter at 3:32 AM on August 6, 2012


Nice slideshow from the BBC.

I was woken from a dead sleep by my wife shouting 'GET UP THEY'RE ABOUT TO LAND ON MARS'. I came into the kitchen just as the chute deployed and I was wide awake by the time landing was confirmed. Weird to think I both slept through and experienced such a momentous event. Time delays are weird.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:58 AM on August 6, 2012


Should there be an official "food to celebrate space awesomeness"?

Steak and eggs was the traditional astronaut breakfast on launch day.

A cup full of scotch was the tradition "welcome home" for navy astronauts during Apollo.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:09 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


So much turbulence on the way down... and on the side of the rover, jammed in a cable via... was a hook!
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:30 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The other day I ate one of those powerbar type things -- I can't for the life of me remember the name -- and in an utterly Proustian moment the flavor and texture took me back to my childhood and the original "Space Food Sticks" (which we called "Astronaut Food" when I was a little boy).

If I had one now I would eat it in celebration. Well done, NASA.
posted by spitbull at 4:35 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


This was linked in an earlier comment, but it's so wonderful, here it is again: 14 minutes video of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mission Support Area, and its staff, as Curiosity lands and transmits its first images.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:00 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Four kids gathered round the full screen HD feed on my laptop after they walked home from school as the landing happened at 3:30pm in my time zone. My 6yro was especially intense in his viewing. Just like I was 30 something years ago kicking off my own trip through science, though mine was Columbia's first flight.
So little good news in science these days, so moving to see this.
And no worries to the USA self congratulation, this is truly the best stuff the US does (although the white house science guy, in his excitement I'm sure, did claim the US was the only country to land on other planets. But don't forget the USSR venus and mars landers!)
posted by bystander at 5:12 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I dreampt of space missions and cheering scientists.

I wish I could articulate how amazing it was to watch the landing, but I can't get much beyond a giddy "holy fucking shit!"

As an individual, I did absolutely nothing to contribute to this, but as a human I'm feeling pretty darned proud (and not a little blown away!) this morning.
posted by Rocky Mtn Erica at 5:21 AM on August 6, 2012


*YAWN* oh hi guys - what did I miss?
posted by item at 5:27 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The first thing my boyfriend said to me this morning was CURIOUSITY MADE IT and then we bounced around and my god what a galaxy, guys, we are talking to a robot on Mars!!!!!!!!
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:35 AM on August 6, 2012


Well done USA, seriously this is what makes you an awesome country
posted by brilliantmistake at 5:41 AM on August 6, 2012


Couldn't stay up late enough to watch live, but later I hope to check out the video Brandon and others linked to above. I just read through this thread while getting ready for wark, and I am already tearing up. Good job NASA, good job USA, good job humans.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:45 AM on August 6, 2012


Boom-de-yada, boom-de-yada...

*ahem*
I love the robots,
I love the Martian skies,
I love the techies
Who helped the Rover fly,
I love the peanuts
You eat when things go right,
Boom-de-yada, boom-de-yada, boom-de-yada, boom-de-yada…
Who wants next turn?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:09 AM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]




Oh where is Bradbury now?
posted by bardophile at 6:15 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know if Curiosity's tweets are just some dude retweeting news, or if they actually have it set to automatically tweet various things (obviously not directly through twitter, but through something it sends back to NASA, which relays to twitter). I suspect the former, but it would be amazing if it were the latter.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 6:19 AM on August 6, 2012


I'm kind of jealous of The Whelk and all those folks who went to Times Square in the middle of the night to watch the landing. It's also awesome that all those people went to Times Square in the middle of the night to watch the landing. Yay, people!
posted by rtha at 6:23 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Outstanding.
posted by BeeDo at 6:23 AM on August 6, 2012


Does anyone know if Curiosity's tweets are just some dude retweeting news, or if they actually have it set to automatically tweet various things

NASA Public Affairs runs social media like the twitter accounts. Curiosity is a little busy at the moment to be tweeting directly. For more on NASA's approach to social media, see this article:
For example, updates to NASA Policy Directive 2540.1 included replacing the word "teletypes" with "Facebook." That change, combined with other modifications, resulted in the current NPD 2540.1G revision that allows the use of government equipment to go to sites like Twitter and Facebook, as long as it isn't impacting your work duties.
posted by zamboni at 6:35 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "Boom-de-yada, boom-de-yada...

Who wants next turn?
"

I love the Mohawk,
I love the happy smiles,
I love the heart tones,
From 350 million miles
I love the whole world(s)
The future's pretty cool!

Boom-de-yada, boom-de-yada..
posted by Happy Dave at 6:35 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


I am gobsmacked that the landing procedure worked so perfectly. And, "watching" the landing was far more exciting than I thought it ever could be. It's so cool when a plan comes together.

But, now, we have to wait before we know if the mission arrived intact. From what I can tell, it's going to take the better part of a week to get Curiosity's systems checked-out and deployed. Here's hoping the next phase goes as perfectly as the landing!
posted by Thorzdad at 6:36 AM on August 6, 2012


SOB i fell asleep while reading the pokemon thread and i MISSED SPACE
posted by elizardbits at 6:36 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Came for the Telemetry, stayed for the SkyCranetm.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:38 AM on August 6, 2012


It was only 109 years ago that we figured out how to fly.

Now we can sky crane things down on to other planets.
posted by dry white toast at 6:43 AM on August 6, 2012 [25 favorites]


I love the SkyCrane,
I love blue polo shirts,
I love a Twitter feed,
I love the Martian dirt,
I love how Times Square
Filled up with happy folk,
Boom-de-yada-boom-de-yada....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


(okay, next verse someone work in either Shatner or Wil Wheaton, depending on whichever one won the poll NASA held to decide who would officially narrate the video intro to their mission.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:45 AM on August 6, 2012


From Twitter@Paul Fidalgo:

BREAKING DRUDGE REPORT: OBAMA LAUNCHES UNPROVOKED ATTACK ON MARS...developing...
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:45 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm really impressed with how NASA has been managing social media and online stuff lately. I shouldn't be, nerds will of course have all been participating online for ages and 'get' it. But government organisations are so good at stifling this sort of thing, it's great to see it work so well in this case.

They're really making it easy for the rest of us to share what's so exciting about this. The Eyes on Mars simulation was great - not particularly fancy in design, but capturing exactly the elements that people would be interested in, and giving control so you can see it the way you want to see it. Plus the Twitter accounts and live feeds and so on, it's just setting a great example of how it should be done for maximum fun and engagement.
posted by harriet vane at 6:52 AM on August 6, 2012


All I remember from last night is rousing applause from Mission Control waking me up and indicating that I can go to sleep.
posted by griphus at 6:52 AM on August 6, 2012




Goddamnit, this is just so damn exciting. Gahhhh! I just wanna watch ALL THE MARS
posted by lazaruslong at 7:01 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


NASA Public Affairs runs social media like the twitter accounts. Curiosity is a little busy at the moment to be tweeting directly.
[sigh] that's what I figured. But it would have been just awesome if someone wrote a little chat bot that sent various tweets based on what it's doing.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:01 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Would somebody care to outline what distinguishes this achievement in the grand scheme of things?

Ha. Ha. In the grand scheme of things, insignificant creatures on an insignificant rock circling an insignificant star sent an insignificant piece of metal to another nearby piece of rock. As far as we can know, the rest of the universe neither notices nor cares. Everything about this achievement is as insignificant and ephemeral as space dust in the grand scheme of things, and you might as well just end it all right now as not, not the universe would notice or care about that, either.

OTOH, on the Human scale of things, it's pretty fucking awesome! So maybe retreat from those stellar heights and join the party, eh?
posted by octobersurprise at 7:05 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]




Is anyone else feeling a touch overcome with the desire to completely alter the trajectory of one's life so that one may contribute to endeavors like this?
posted by lazaruslong at 7:09 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


I honestly didn't realize until someone pointed it out upthread that Curiosity is the size of a freaking car!!!!! I assumed it was a little rover dude again!
posted by lazaruslong at 7:11 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Coming in late, but I just have to say that the emotional eruption in the NASA control room when they confirmed the safe landing, and also when the first pictures came in, was one of the coolest things I've ever seen.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:11 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


We may see it at the 9AM PDT Landing Recap.
Yes, it will available at the morning NASA press conference.
posted by zamboni at 7:13 AM on August 6, 2012


Awesome. Three cheers for Curiosity!
posted by Gelatin at 7:13 AM on August 6, 2012


Is anyone else feeling a touch overcome with the desire to completely alter the trajectory of one's life so that one may contribute to endeavors like this?

I'm fitting myself with booster rockets as we speak!
posted by Ritchie at 7:16 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Is anyone else feeling a touch overcome with the desire to completely alter the trajectory of one's life so that one may contribute to endeavors like this?

Sure, come on. Watching the stuff you worked on launch into space is a pretty unique feeling.

(I work for ISS support, so I'm uninvolved with today's events except for yelling WOOOOO!!! a lot.)
posted by BeeDo at 7:20 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been considering a return to school for a degree in physics. I'm seriously looking at schools now. This thing is just the kick in the pants I need. What else could be cooler than helping to push the boundaries of human exploration? This is just the BEST THING IN THE WORLD
posted by lazaruslong at 7:23 AM on August 6, 2012


An engineering degree would serve you better, job-wise, if you want to work in the space business. Mechanical, electrical, or aerospace, in that order. Also, you'd be well served to pick a school that has good ties to JPL, JSC, MSFC, or GSFC, depending on your interests. There are many paid graduate and undergrad co-op positions as well, both with NASA and its contractors. That's pretty essential to get your foot in the door in this particular economy.

Best of luck!
posted by BeeDo at 7:32 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


To reinforce what I was saying up there, this really has had a major impact on my thinking. From today forward, I am living in a science fiction novel.

At first, I was focused just on the amazing changes in landing technology, but reading this short comment by NorthernLite in the prior rover thread, pointing out the enormous changes in how everyone is finding out about that landing, twigged me to realizing that this is bigger than just the rover. There's now a very bright, very clear demarcation point in my mind. Pre-August 6 was still 20th century, but I am now firmly living in the 21st, and it really does look a lot like some of those SF books.

I guess the next major demarc point for me would be widescale, routine genetic engineering, especially on people, but I doubt I'll live that long.

Part of the reason that NorthernLite's comment resonated so strongly was because the changes in how we followed Curiosity have become so commonplace. We didn't even notice we were using the Internet, really. We weren't being daring pioneers in trying out the new tech. It was just the easiest and fastest way to get more information, right up to, and through, the landing. (UStream, by the way, did a phenomenal job -- they claimed they were streaming over TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND video feeds simultaneously last night, with nary a bobble on their end, as far as I could tell.)

Even five years ago, it would have been hard to watch this online, because the infrastructure would have choked, and regular old radio and TV would have been better if you wanted video and sound. But now, everything just worked, seamlessly. A couple of people mentioned some choppiness in one of the feeds, but I suspect that was a local problem in their ISP, rather than UStream.

This isn't something that will jump up and whack you over the head, announcing itself, but I think it marks two inflection points at once. The amazing accomplishment with landing that rover is the headliner, but, over the long term, the quiet change in how we found out about it may actually end up having a much larger impact on our lives.

Yesterday was an important day, and not just because of NASA. The Internet has reached the age of majority. It has plenty of maturing to do yet, but I think, as of August 6, we can call it adult.
posted by Malor at 7:36 AM on August 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


Also: big kudos to the NASA web guys and gals! They kept the site up and running flawlessly under massive load. Their part of the project was even less visible than most, but they were the people who made sure we could find out about the rover all through the landing, and they executed with the same level of perfection that the rest of the team did.
posted by Malor at 7:36 AM on August 6, 2012


As a professional bureaucrat, my contribution to the space program is never applying for a job with the space program.
posted by griphus at 7:37 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love the JPL dude who looks like a member of Rocket From The Crypt.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 7:40 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


1) Is anyone else feeling a touch overcome with the desire to completely alter the trajectory of one's life so that one may contribute to endeavors like this?

2) I love the JPL dude who looks like a member of Rocket From The Crypt.

Adam Steltzner, everyone.
Steltzner's path to becoming team leader for this new Mars lander was hardly direct. Unlike many successful engineers, he struggled at school. An elementary school principal told him he wasn't very bright. His high school experience seemed to confirm that.

"I passed my geometry class the second time with an F plus, because the teacher just didn't want to see me again," he says.

His father told him he'd never amount to anything but a ditch digger, a remark he still carries with him years later.

Maybe that's because school wasn't a priority, particularly with the distractions of the flower-power era in the Bay Area.

"I was sort of studying sex, drugs and rock and roll in high school," says Steltzner. It wasn't just the long hair. "I liked to wear this strange Air Force jump suit. And my first car was a '69 Cadillac hearse. I put a bed in the back."

Talk about a night to remember. "Well, I was younger. It was a different time," says Steltzner.

After high school, the plan was to be a rock star. While he waited for stardom, Steltzner played bass guitar in Bay Area bands, watching his friends graduate and go off to college.

But then something happened. As Steltzner tells it, he was on his way home from playing music at a club one night when he became fascinated with the stars, especially the constellation of Orion.

"The fact that it was in a different place in the sky at night when I returned home from playing a gig, than it had been when I'd driven out to the gig," he said. "And I had only some vague recollection from my high school time that something was moving with respect to something else, but that was it."

As crazy as it sounds, that experience was enough to motivate him to take a physics course at the local community college. That did it. He was hooked.

The fog of sex, drugs, and rock and roll lifted. He had to know all about the laws that govern the universe. The rocker wound up with a doctoral degree in engineering physics.
posted by zamboni at 7:48 AM on August 6, 2012 [33 favorites]


This is just the BEST THING IN THE WORLD

(Not technically in the world.)
posted by ColdChef at 7:49 AM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


We live in an Age of Wonders.

I'm so grateful to the scientists and engineers and all the people who made this happen.

I'm also grateful to all of my ancestors who kept going. The ones who were enslaved, raped, trodden upon, and at the bottom of the pit of despair. I'm so happy they decided to keep going so that I'm here today to witness things like this happening and to dream about the even greater achievements that await our species if we can just keep our damned heads on right and not blow it all to hell.

Thanks, everyone! Go, science!!!
posted by lord_wolf at 7:54 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


>> This is just the BEST THING IN THE WORLD

> (Not technically in the world.)


Yeah, in the world. There were already three satellites orbiting Mars while this mission was in planning. There have been rovers crawling over Mars eight straight years as of now. I think you can get the Martian weather report daily.

Every couple of centuries we have to expand our concept of what "the world" consists of. Today seems like a perfect day to add Mars.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:00 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sort of like the "moment of silence dot" mefi needs a single character that expresses: "Fucking A! That is all."

I'll start.

!
posted by tempythethird at 8:02 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Seriously, y'all. I can't believe that worked.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:09 AM on August 6, 2012


!
posted by Mister_A at 8:11 AM on August 6, 2012


So... found any Prothean artifacts yet?
posted by kmz at 8:13 AM on August 6, 2012


If you look at where Curiosity landed using Google Earth, it is amazing how close they came to the foot of Mt. Sharp (Aeolis Mons). Looks like about 6-7km.

And if you look around the area, note that you can use the different imagery layers under "Global Maps" to see daytime/nighttime infrared, and you can select HD overlays under "Spacecraft Imagery." Here's my best guess on where it touched down.
(X marks my spot.)
posted by General Tonic at 8:15 AM on August 6, 2012


I must admit to tearing up during the coverage of this. This is what human endeavour is all about; it helps us dream about what's over the horizon and then we get to go look and see what's over that horizon. A MARTIAN HORIZON EVERYBODY!

!
posted by arcticseal at 8:16 AM on August 6, 2012


If you look at where Curiosity landed

I don't have Earth installed -- out of interest, how close did they get to their 'aim point'?
posted by Malor at 8:18 AM on August 6, 2012


My friend posted a bunch of pictures from Times Square.
posted by moonmilk at 8:20 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Mars rover Curiosity: upstaged by Nasa mohawk guy "Bobak Ferdowsi, a mission controller for Nasa, has become an unexpected internet hit, thanks to his haircut"
posted by crunchland at 8:20 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


moonmilk: "My friend posted a bunch of pictures from Times Square."

Those are amazing. Love this one in particular.

SCIENCE!
posted by Happy Dave at 8:23 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Weird to think I both slept through and experienced such a momentous event. Time delays are weird.

Just this one time, it isn't NBC.
posted by jaduncan at 8:25 AM on August 6, 2012


> My friend posted a bunch of pictures from Times Square.

These are so great! I love the expressions on everyone's faces. Everyone united in joy and excitement. Isn't space exploration awesome?!
posted by audacity at 8:28 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still mad that I got scooped on the issue of space dairies
posted by moonmilk at 8:32 AM on August 6, 2012


ME AND NARRATIVE PRIORITIES AND PERIPATETRON ERRANT WERE IN TIMES SQUARE WITH THE WHELK AND IT WAS AMAZING
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:36 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Youtube mistakenly takes down official NASA video under false DMCA claim:

The video was gone, replaced with an alien message: “This video contains content from Scripps Local News, who has blocked it on copyright grounds. Sorry about that.” That is to say, a NASA-made video posted on NASA’s official YouTube channel, documenting the landing of a $2.5 billion Mars rover mission paid for with public taxpayer money, was blocked by YouTube because of a copyright claim by a private news service. Within hours, the problem was fixed...

This isn’t the first time that a claim by the company, Scripps News Service, has grounded a NASA YouTube video: it happened in April, with a video of one of NASA’s Space Shuttles being flown atop a 747...

It’s not exactly clear what happened here. I haven’t yet heard back from NASA or Scripps. But my guess is that an affiliate of the news service had uploaded a video that contained material from NASA’s own stream before NASA itself could upload it. YouTube’s DMCA bots wrongly assumed the video belonged to Scripps. NASA, which has a powerful presence on YouTube, may have likely emailed Google for help getting the video reinstated. Most YouTube uploaders don’t have that luxury.


Good article that uses the incident to more broadly examine the serious problems with Youtube/Google's handling (both robotic and otherwise) of copyright enforcement.
posted by mediareport at 8:50 AM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


Time for the morning press conference!

A taste of things to come:
Now that the image has leaked out, we can post it too... MRO captures #MSL pic.twitter.com/zK7iTCjX
posted by zamboni at 8:57 AM on August 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


This was a wonderful thing to wake up to this morning. Especially since I had my doubts it would succeed. Congratulations NASA, and congratulations humanity.
posted by happyroach at 8:58 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


zamboni, I'm all out of favorites!!! But I never expected that we'd get to see that. 1,000,000 meta-favorites.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:59 AM on August 6, 2012


oh my god you guys.

The celebratory good-luck peanuts weren't just, like, someone going to the local Shop-n-save and buying them out, they put customized labels on them. And do you know what those labels said?

DARE MIGHTY THINGS.

That just tickles me in a place i can't reach.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:59 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


A taste of things to come:

Pictures taken by a rocket that just delivered a nuclear-powered car-sized robot scientist to Mars are being leaked to the media a few minutes after arriving on Earth from a bazillion miles away.

Sometimes I love the future.
posted by tempythethird at 9:02 AM on August 6, 2012


Press conference just gone live: http://www.ustream.tv/NASAJPL2
posted by benito.strauss at 9:03 AM on August 6, 2012


The celebratory good-luck peanuts weren't just, like, someone going to the local Shop-n-save and buying them out

That also may have happened.
Rumor is grocery stores in the vicinity of JPL were selling out of peanuts today. But don't call us superstitious :)
posted by zamboni at 9:10 AM on August 6, 2012


They just officially showed that INCREDIBLE photo of MSL coming in for its landing. Not only can we skyhook a freaking lab truck onto Mars but we got a completely different robot close enough to take snapshots of ourselves doing so. Goddamn. GOD damn.
posted by theodolite at 9:18 AM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


In today's Letters of Note:

A 1970 letter responding to the question "why are we spending billions exploring space rather than spending it at home?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:18 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


New Images. (NASA's website.)
posted by nangar at 9:24 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have nothing to say but: damn we are an impressive species when we put our minds to it!

Science. It works.
posted by sotonohito at 9:25 AM on August 6, 2012


Trying to get a mental picture of the landing area? This pic from the link nangar posted is a great 3D image.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:34 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Youtube mistakenly takes down official NASA video under false DMCA claim:

Oh for fuck's sake, Youtube.

serious problems with Youtube/Google's handling (both robotic and otherwise) of copyright enforcement.

It gets worse.
posted by homunculus at 9:35 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Youtube gets 35 hours of video uploaded every minute. You expect them to go through each video by hand?
posted by crunchland at 9:38 AM on August 6, 2012


I'd expect that accounts such as NASA's might be flagged as "special handling" and would require human intervention before content is immediately removed.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:39 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Trying to get a mental picture of the landing area? This pic from the link nangar posted is a great 3D image.

After traveling 35 million miles, apparently Curiosity was only off dead center by about a mile and a half northeast, according to NASA.

The mind boggles.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:40 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pictures taken by a rocket that just delivered a nuclear-powered car-sized robot scientist to Mars are being leaked to the media a few minutes after arriving on Earth from a bazillion miles away.

The parachute picture was actually taken by a completely different spaceship that we already had hanging around Mars. Not sure if that is awesomer or not.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:49 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


crunchland, the article about the mistaken takedown addresses the complexity of the issue, including the impossible labor cost of checking everything by hand, and notes a couple of important ways YouTube/Google's process can be improved. No need to oversimplify to the most reductionistic formulation here. I just thought it was an interesting little blip in the story, and one worth thinking about and maybe discussing elsewhere later so as not to ruin the joyous mood here too much.
posted by mediareport at 9:50 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The parachute picture was actually taken by a completely different spaceship that we already had hanging around Mars.

We're already cluttering up the place!
posted by desjardins at 9:52 AM on August 6, 2012


Watching the landing was seriously the best way ever to start a Monday morning.
Go Curiosity!
posted by Karmeliet at 9:54 AM on August 6, 2012




zombieflanders: "Trying to get a mental picture of the landing area? This pic from the link nangar posted is a great 3D image.

After traveling 35 million miles, apparently Curiosity was only off dead center by about a mile and a half northeast, according to NASA.

The mind boggles.
"

It'll boggle even more when you hear the actual distance is currently 154.5 million miles.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:03 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


And boggle moreso when you realize that the only reason it missed the center was because it had to get off an exit early due to a jackknifed tractor-trailer on the 106.
posted by griphus at 10:05 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


If only the Vogons had been allowed to finish that hyperspace bypass.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:06 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The JPL team will be on Mars Sol time (24 hrs, 39 min earth-days) for the first 90 sols. Man, it would be awesome to have a really cool Mars sol watch that also has Earth sol time. The one JPL had made years ago is disappointing.
posted by yeti at 10:07 AM on August 6, 2012


Grotzinger:
No, we want to see the wheel on the ground, because this isn't a moment for science, it's a moment for engineering. When you see that wheel on the ground, you know you've landed on Mars. No semaphore tones, no people jumping up and down, you actually see a picture of the surface of the planet with a spacecraft on it. And that is the miracle of engineering.
posted by zamboni at 10:16 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just watched the press conference, which they ended with another look at the landing. It's the 3rd time I've watched it, and I'm still getting teary-eyed! What an incredible accomplishment.
posted by Osrinith at 10:16 AM on August 6, 2012


Me too! Tears and tears!

I love all of you right now.
posted by Chutzler at 10:20 AM on August 6, 2012


yeti, living on Mars Sol time is also disappointingly less awesome than you might think, according to the book I read.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:21 AM on August 6, 2012


Curiosity/Mars is my OTP
posted by The Whelk at 10:21 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Curiosity/Mars is my OTP

I am on Team Curiortunity.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:24 AM on August 6, 2012


Curiosity cost $2.5 billion dollars. Is there a cost breakdown and where that money was spent? Just, er, curious.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:24 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


For Martian timekeeping on Android, there's a couple of options. Mars Clock is an app written by one of the JPL rover drivers and lets you track time relative to the 3 rovers. This app has been recently ported to iOS but I don't know if it's in the app store yet.

Martian Time offers a clock for Martian standard time and also has night/day shading on a map. I'm sure there's some iOS equivalent.

I have an acquaintance who is on the Curiosity team and has worked in the past with JPL. She told me Martian time (for her) wasn't bad at all. Seemed to match her daily sleep rhythms.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:24 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hope there were no cats right at the landing spot..
posted by rainy at 10:28 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"What we need is a roving vehicle with advanced experiments in biology and organic chemistry able to land in the safe but dull places and wander to the interesting places. ... Imagine a rover with laser eyes like this one but packed with sophisticated biological and chemical instruments, sampler arms, microscopes, and television cameras wandering over the Martian landscape. It could drive to its own horizon every day. A distant feature it barely resolves at sunrise it can be sniffing and tasting by nightfall. Billions of people could watch the unfolding adventure on their TV sets as the rover explores the ancient river bottoms or cautiously approaches the enigmatic pyramids of Elysium. A new age of discovery would have begun."
—Carl Sagan. Cosmos, Episode 5. "Blues For A Red Planet."
Cheers, Carl.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:30 AM on August 6, 2012 [32 favorites]


"We were kind of hoping that NASA’s Curiosity rover would have sent this back as its first picture from Mars."

Marsmarsmarsmarsmarsmarsmarsmars ...
posted by homunculus at 10:30 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have always been awestruck at what NASA and JPL have been able to pull off. JPL's interplanetary flight operations are just amazing. And yet, they always seem to be able to add to the legend.

Cheers!
posted by azpenguin at 10:36 AM on August 6, 2012


I love that Carl Sagan quote! Shame Curiosity isn't going to be getting up to those kind of speeds however.

I notice that the top speed is rated at 1.5 inches per second. Obviously we can't expect it to go moon buggy type speeds because there's no human operator, but is the low speed purely to safeguard the instruments aboard? The DARPA challenge has had vehicles getting up to human-operated speeds but it's obviously a lot cheaper to replace an Earth surface vehicle if the driving algorithms wig out next to a canyon or whatever.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:37 AM on August 6, 2012


Uh-huh, uh-huh, yep yep yepyepyepyepyepyepyepyepyepyep
posted by Chutzler at 10:39 AM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


> Obviously we can't expect it to go moon buggy type speeds because there's no human operator, but is the low speed purely to safeguard the instruments aboard? The DARPA challenge has had vehicles getting up to human-operated speeds but it's obviously a lot cheaper to replace an Earth surface vehicle if the driving algorithms wig out next to a canyon or whatever.

Big fast engines, are well, big and consume a lot of energy. Curiosity has a radioactive battery powering it, not solar panels, so it has a finite supply.

And we are talking about exploring another planet that no human has ever touched. Just being able to move a few feet in a day means entirely new sets of data and information to be processed.

Of course instead of building a single 1 ton rover to do as many different types of experiments as possible, we could have spent a fraction of the DOD budget and sent like 10-20 1 ton rovers each doing a smaller subset of tests (redundantly, in case not all of them arrive), we could probably have one optimized for making donuts.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:56 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, why so slow? That's less than a tenth of one mile per hour. I'd guess it's because speed kills, but I wonder if they've drawn up ideas for a big, lightweight, bouncy-wheeled, indestructible self-flipping rover that does ORV speeds.
posted by scrowdid at 10:56 AM on August 6, 2012


FOR WHICH TYPES OF DONUTS I MEANT, I LEAVE TO YOU THE READER.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:57 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


So when do we start lobbinships filled with quad rotors at the rest of the planets?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:59 AM on August 6, 2012


What we need is a roving vehicle with advanced experiments in biology and organic chemistry able to land in the safe but dull places and wander to the interesting places.

How about a fleet of rovers roaming inhospitable and inaccessible places on Earth? They could make for fascinating wildlife observation platforms.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:00 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


but is the low speed purely to safeguard the instruments aboard?

Probably simply a lack of power. As explained in the briefing today, the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) only puts out 100 watts of electrical power. The rest of the heat is used to keep the rover warm by recirculating fluids.

A Nissan Leaf has a electric motor of about 80 kilowatts, about 800 times more powerful than that available on the rover. The generator charges batteries overnight but you are still limited to about 2.5 kilowatt-hours per day including power required for all of the electronics. The RTG can generate power for many years. It just can't generate it very quickly. You have to be patient.
posted by JackFlash at 11:06 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Curiosity cost $2.5 billion dollars. Is there a cost breakdown and where that money was spent? Just, er, curious."


1. $1.1 M - development and production of parachute.
2. $1245.50 - spiffy blue polo shirts
3. $923.32 - every jar of unsalted peanuts in a one-mile radius.
4. $2.4B - parts at Radio Shack (includes the AA batteries the salesman offered at the register)
posted by horsewithnoname at 11:06 AM on August 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yeah, why so slow? That's less than a tenth of one mile per hour.

NASA just spent $2.5 billion dollars, including cost overruns and being two years late*. There is constant talk of cutting their budget. There's exactly one Curiosity Rover on the planet. If it gets stuck or damage, there is little no chance of repair.

Quite simply, they can not afford to fuck this up by speeding along and potentially bumping into things.

This is one of the drawbacks of not having a human there. During Apollo, when the astronauts had the Lunar Rover, they would regularly speed along to shave time off their timeline. Some of the astronauts say they spent more time in the air, than off the ground, they were bouncing along so fast.

On the plus side, Curiosity was designed for two years of operation and few would be surprised if it lasted twice that. People would be shocked if only lasted a year, especially if it was due to going along too fast. So there's no need to rush, as opposed to Apollo, which had only a few careful hours over 3 days to reach all their survey sites.

* The lateness is a good thing, as it let the team test the hell out of the Rover and skycrane.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:12 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]




The fog of sex, drugs, and rock and roll lifted. He had to know all about the laws that govern the universe. The rocker wound up with a doctoral degree in engineering physics.
-- Crazy Smart: When a rocker designs a Mars lander


It's basic physics: For every action there's an equal and opposite reactionary.

Adam Steltzner is the anti- Jeff "Skunk" Baxter.
 
posted by Herodios at 11:12 AM on August 6, 2012


> The fog of sex, drugs, and rock and roll lifted. He had to know all about the laws that govern the universe. The rocker wound up with a doctoral degree in engineering physics.

From my friends who physics majors in college, I am assuming the drugs might have contributed to, not hindered, his drive to explore the universe.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:17 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the Huffington post should be exclusively stories about people who smoke pot.

(Of course, I also giggle every time I read a sign advertising Herb Chambers car dealers here in the Northeast.)
posted by benito.strauss at 11:20 AM on August 6, 2012


A taste of things to come:

Now that the image has leaked out, we can post it too... MRO captures #MSL pic.twitter.com/zK7iTCjX

posted by zamboni at 9:57 AM on August 6


OK, now they're just showing off.
posted by azpenguin at 11:28 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


1. $1.1 M - development and production of parachute.
2. $1245.50 - spiffy blue polo shirts
3. $923.32 - every jar of unsalted peanuts in a one-mile radius.
4. $2.4B - parts at Radio Shack (includes the AA batteries the salesman offered at the register)


5. Contribution to science and mankind -- PRICELESS!
posted by ericb at 11:34 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]



OK, now they're just showing off.

I hope the are unrepentant show-offs.
posted by Mojojojo at 11:35 AM on August 6, 2012


delmoi: "It could end up lasting a lot longer then even 6 years. It's powered by a Radioisotope thermal generator like the one used on voyager, rather then solar panels like the other few probes. It uses plutonium 238, so the half-life is 87 years.

In theory it could last decades.
"

Hopefully we get into a Far Centaurus type situation and we will have long surpassed it.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:38 AM on August 6, 2012


"Buzzfeed reported Ferdowsi's Twitter account had less than 200 followers pre-epic hairdo. Since the landing of Curiosity, the account has accumulated over [20,501] followers (and counting)."*
posted by ericb at 11:40 AM on August 6, 2012


I was watching this all unfold last night, but my feed cut out for the last 4 min of the landing. Thank you for posting the link above to the full landing sequence!
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:48 AM on August 6, 2012


I think Ferdowsi is a ruse to get more women interested in STEM careers. He's certainly got more women interested in him.
posted by desjardins at 12:12 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Last night, my whole family watched this while sitting in a cool bath (it was uncharacteristically hot in Seattle), crowded around my husband's smartphone. It was so futurey, except for the part where my house doesn't have air conditioning. I cried and cried and cried.

then I got out of the bath and my five year old bitched because the water level dropped, so I took advantage of the opportunity to tell her the story of Archimedes discovering displacement, including the part where he was so excited to have solved the problem that he ran naked through town dripping wet to tell people about it. So then we had to have some re-enactments, where she jumped up in the bath and yelled EUREKA! and then ran through the house naked and dripping wet to tell the cat that we had put a robot on another planet.
posted by KathrynT at 12:13 PM on August 6, 2012 [42 favorites]


Was the cat nonplussed?
posted by Mister_A at 12:35 PM on August 6, 2012


It was still a billion degrees in the house at 11 at night and the cat is a 16 year old longhair. He was just grateful to get dripped on.
posted by KathrynT at 12:39 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I think Ferdowsi is a ruse to get more women interested in STEM careers. He's certainly got more women interested in him.

My friend had to make a bass for his then thirteen year old daughter when she had a crush on Pete Wentz of Fallout Boy (which she then learned how to play, her dad is pretty cool).

I am in full support of teenagers everywhere getting telescopes and science kits because of Ferdowsi.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:42 PM on August 6, 2012






Also, stolen from a friend:

"Putting a robot on Mars: $2.5 billion. TSA budget 2012: $7.85 billion. And the robot works."

"The Mars Rover has found as many terrorists as the TSA."
posted by mrzarquon at 12:47 PM on August 6, 2012 [23 favorites]


Also less gropey.
posted by griphus at 12:47 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


> Also less gropey.

As long as your pants don't contain untested martian soil, you are safe from Curiosity's probes.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:49 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Or you know, you can walk faster than 1.5 inches a second.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:49 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Man, I hope opportunity doesn't feel left out during all of this, it's still going.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:56 PM on August 6, 2012


Today's Hijinx Ensue comic captures the mood of many of us in this thread last night.

(though I 'get sports', so for me, it was more a realization that I felt the same sense of "accomplishment")
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:57 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


> >They got a phone call from a grad student at MIT who said he knew how to get them back. They put engineers on it, tested it out, by God it worked. Slingshotting them around the moon. They successfully did. They wanted to present the grad student to the President and the public, but they found him and he was a real hippy type - long hair and facial hair.

> Harvey Kilobit: That story is most likely not true.


The consensus on the Slashdot thread is that the MIT person was Don Eyles and the mission he 'saved' was Apollo 14 rather than Apollo 13.

A brief summary of the incident is here:
When the abort switch aboard the Apollo 14 Lunar Module Antares jammed, preventing descent to the moon’s surface, Eyles wrote a software patch instructing the onboard computer to ignore the spurious abort signal. He completed the task in 2 hours and the code was read out loud to Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who keyed it into the computer.
Eyles himself gives a brief summary of the incident near the end of this interesting article about his involvement with writing software for the LM:
Apollo 14 brought the author a brief notoriety. The abort switch on the instrument panel was sending a spurious signal that could have spoiled Alan Shepard and Ed Mitchell's landing. I had written the code that monitored this discrete. The workaround simply changed a few registers, first to fool the abort monitor into thinking that an abort was already in progress, and then to clean up afterward so that the landing could continue unaffected. The procedure radioed up and flawlessly executed by the astronauts involved 61 DSKY keystrokes.
The rumor, dramatized in the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, is that Eyles was drunk/stoned/dead asleep and/or some combination of the above when he got the call from NASA about the fix they needed, and health dose of coffee was needed to get him up and working on the fix.
posted by flug at 1:14 PM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Every couple of centuries we have to expand our concept of what "the world" consists of. Today seems like a perfect day to add Mars.
If you really want to add Mars to everyone's conceptual horizon, don't make some silent personal vow to use a different private definition of "the world" every time a phrase like "best thing in the world" comes up.

Just use a better phrase, so you get opportunities to explain why every time someone asks:

This is the best thing in the worlds.
posted by roystgnr at 1:17 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, on today's Google doodle featuring the javelin throw... what's that in the sky in the background?
posted by azpenguin at 1:19 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know - I can't quit staring at the cartoon armpit hair.
posted by Big_B at 1:24 PM on August 6, 2012


A blimp? Zeppelin? Dirigible?

Life would be a lot better if those things were still commonly called dirigibles.

And I am sure that in some steampunk universe Led Dirigible were a big hit.
posted by cmyk at 1:29 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Guys, I think the thing in the Google Doodle is meant to be the Mars Curiosity rover.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:30 PM on August 6, 2012


Eyles himself gives a brief summary of the incident near the end of this interesting article about his involvement with writing software for the LM:

Unsurprisingly, his quick hack also caused problems later on, during the lunar descent. It wasn't Eyles fault, he hadn't done anything explicitly wrong. But when you're patching software that hasn't been throughly tested, especially on a spaceship that's about to land, then all sorts of problems are bound to creep in.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:31 PM on August 6, 2012


WIRED: The Coolest Photograph Yet of the Curiosity Mars Rover

Seriously, LOOK AT IT.

TOR.com: Our Favorite Small Moments from the Curiosity Mars Landing
While the rover landing was amazing, it was also flat out adorable. Below, we’ve picked out some of our favorite small moments from the evening.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:36 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Guys, I think the thing in the Google Doodle is meant to be the Mars Curiosity rover.)

Apparently there's a version with a Blimp, and a version with the MSL descending
posted by pupdog at 1:37 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


...I am sure that in some steampunk universe Led Dirigible were a big hit

I believe that would be Plumbum Dirigible.
posted by foonly at 1:39 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wonder what the record is for retweets. This one from @marscuriosity currently has 70,000.
posted by desjardins at 1:44 PM on August 6, 2012


You're serious? You're not making a joke about that? Within 15 minutes of going from 10,000 mph to the surface of Mars, a picture is sent over 100 million miles, right to your computer, and you're dissatisfied with the resolution? This isn't a joke on your part?

We are so fucked as a species.
I also find it mindboggling that people can become so rapidly inured to the most awe-inspiring advances, so thankless and complacent about all the miracles of the modern world.

However, I think this is one of the reasons we are not fucked as a species.

Otherwise, how many times in between "hey, this fire stuff can be useful if we're careful" and "laser-equipped robots are sending us pictures from Mars" would humanity have been comfortable stopping and resting on it's laurels? Complaining that anything imperfect is "crappy" seems ungrateful, but every so often it's a necessary first step in fixing more of the imperfections.
posted by roystgnr at 1:47 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Eyles was also involved with a bug that would have prevented Apollo 11 from landing, if he hadn't already deviated from specifications.
LUMINARY was never completely bug free. Allan told me about a fascinating series of events that could have easily prevented the first moon landing and might have caused disaster…
posted by zamboni at 1:53 PM on August 6, 2012


In related news: Street View Goes Indoors For Kennedy Space Center's 50th -- "Rockets, orbiter, control room all there in glorious 3D."
posted by ericb at 2:40 PM on August 6, 2012




Meet NASA's Mohawk Guy, Bobak Ferdowsi.
posted by ericb at 2:57 PM on August 6, 2012


His time has come. Bask in your glory, Bobak.

If we'd had a NASA Mohawk Guy when I was in high school, or any similar sign that "Hey, you, freaky-looking kids! You can be something awesome, too!" Things might have been different for a lot of us.

'course, the economy probably still would have collapsed and we'd just have much more student debt we couldn't repay, but at least we'd be unemployed robot scientists!
posted by cmyk at 2:58 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Never mind the dozenss of people who spent hundreds of man-hours to achieve the successful martian landing -- the world fixates on the guy with the unusual hair-do.

Galileo wept.
posted by crunchland at 3:04 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also find it mindboggling that people can become so rapidly inured to the most awe-inspiring advances, so thankless and complacent about all the miracles of the modern world.

Nah, it's human nature. Take a look at the photo of Curiosity that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took.

It's not a very good photo. Most people have seen better looking images on commercials, let alone on tv or at the movies. Yet it's an amazing photo, no question. But that amazemen tis based on knowledge and understanding of how difficult it was to capture that image and maybe a bit of emotional ties to the wonderment of that moment. But most people are probably wondering why it's not in color and stunningly lit or a video capture.

Fiction is more beautiful than truth and people prefer that fiction. We see amazing images all the time, so yes, people remain unimpressed with the technically incredible but visually dull images most space probes produce.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:07 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll go.

(I'm serious NASA. I'm not asking for a return ticket. Call me.)
posted by trip and a half at 3:13 PM on August 6, 2012


Way to Boldly Go!
posted by Renoroc at 3:24 PM on August 6, 2012


Never mind the dozens of people who spent hundreds of man-hours to achieve the successful martian landing -- the world fixates on the guy with the unusual hair-do.
Galileo wept


Wait, are you talking about the dude with the rooster tail do and bleached cleft beard? That guy rocks!
posted by prinado at 3:31 PM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]




Oh, mefi, somebody hold me. One of my Occupatatin' facebook acquaintances - a 17 year old girl with a bigger 'hawk than Bobak's - does not understand what the point of all of this is.

BECAUSE SPACE, THAT'S WHY. But she doesn't get it.

She has absolutely no context for that. No way to get it. All she'd remember seeing, in her lifetime, is Columbia coming apart in the sky, and then the shuttles being mothballed and eventually decommissioned, and some less-than-glamorous (though hardly unimportant) business with Soyuz and the ISS.

Granted, at that age I was weirded out by all the nuclear payload in Cassini, which was going up at the time - and had us all spooked because if it blew then Florida would make Chernobyl look like Disney, or something - and I also know that is the age of general contrariness and Not Giving Fucks.

But... I had the fantastic eighties full of space-shuttle toys from McDonald's, even, and a day of Space Camp where we landed a manned craft on Mars (I was navigation, and I rocked it), and every time there was a shuttle event during school, the whole building would turn out and point east, looking for that trail in the sky, or listening for the sonic booms if one was coming in. The future was going to be amazing because of space. We all knew it.

It's hard to put all of that into words. I gave her a quick list of the stuff that space has given us, from rumble strips to dialysis, and I wondered why it bothered me so much to see people dismissing this.

Some part of me is still eight or nine or ten years old, shielding my eyes and looking east, holding my breath and waiting for a sight of a shuttle rocketing itself up into space. They went into space to learn amazing things, and because they were, that somehow meant we'd be all right, all of us. Because space, that's why.
posted by cmyk at 4:14 PM on August 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Your excuse for anything today:

"Sorry... I was up all night trying to download photos taken by a robot lowered onto Mars by a skycrane."
posted by netbros at 4:30 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sweet, afternoon news conference has pics and tiny-sized animation of frames taken from the decent from the heat shield falling away to kicking up dust and touching down.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:30 PM on August 6, 2012


That video, low res as it was, is so super cool.
posted by audacity at 4:34 PM on August 6, 2012


a 17 year old girl with a bigger 'hawk than Bobak's - does not understand what the point of all of this is.

Youth is wasted on the young. Last weekend I encountered a 23 year old with a college degree who'd only recently discovered the Korean War. And I thought "Did you never watch MASH growing up?"
posted by octobersurprise at 4:42 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


More images. Here's Mount Sharp.
posted by nangar at 4:43 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sweeeet. We leapt into the future and I turned into a cantankerous old fogey, all in 24 hours.

This new technology really is something.
posted by cmyk at 4:44 PM on August 6, 2012


Some notes to catch up.
There are some Hi-Res pics down now (with dust covers removed). The heat shield has been found in that same pic of the decent with parachute pic (most likely). They know where they landed to within half a meter or so, they can probably pin it down to a few centimeters once more pics come back. 6 kilometers from the mountain, 22 km from the rim. They do seem to be having a few problems getting stuff to their cloudfront servers. They'll also be uploading some new software around sol 5 - 8 or so. Future news presentations at 10 a.m. PDT the next few days. Curiosity's middle name should be Patience. Be prepared for days of checks and tests and tryouts, sol 10 before doing much *flashy* science.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:53 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fiction is more beautiful than truth and people prefer that fiction.

When truth is ugly, imagination is more beautiful than truth. Because dream castles can be blueprints of possibility.

10000 years ago someone dreamed of not having to wear animals, cook in summer and freeze in winter, write on lumps of mud scooped from the river. A beautiful dream. People laughed at such foolishness and went back to making sacrifices to gods.
posted by Twang at 4:59 PM on August 6, 2012


Curiosity's Descent, composed from MARDI thumbnails. In a few weeks they'll have downloaded the full-resolution images, but it's already the most amazing video I've ever seen.
posted by ddbeck at 4:59 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


That pic of Mt Sharp? Damn. Mars, bitches.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:59 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are onions on Mars. And the Curiosity is sampling them. You can tell by our faces.
posted by Night_owl at 5:03 PM on August 6, 2012


Metafilter being the place where both language nerds and space geeks swim together, I'm posting this question here: how many were bothered by the engineers use of the word nominal?

I am accustomed to nominal being used to mean "in name only," I'm guessing from the wikipedia article that the engineer using 'nominal' to mean 'normal' slowly morphed from using nominal to refer to named values, as opposed to real or measured values.

But why the heck can't you say normal? How long have engineers done this?
posted by midmarch snowman at 6:36 PM on August 6, 2012


According to the Free Dictionary, when used in an engineering setting, it means "according to plan or design".

It also seems to have other meanings which are not related to the meaning you ascribe to it.

Perhaps it's a word with more than one meaning?
posted by hippybear at 6:42 PM on August 6, 2012


I've heard engineers exclaim 'Nominal!' the way someone else might say 'Sweet!' or 'Hell yeah!'
posted by Ritchie at 7:03 PM on August 6, 2012


I meant to add: this was going back at least 20 years, so it's not really a new thing.
posted by Ritchie at 7:08 PM on August 6, 2012


Algebraic!
posted by mediareport at 7:26 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


OED's first cite for nominal as an astronautical term for "Functioning acceptably, normal." is a 1961 NASA publication, Launch Vehicle Handbook (here's a PDF) by Melvyn Savage.

So that'd track reasonably well with a supposition that the meaning sprung up freshly formed as a bit of jargon in the aeronautics field in tandem with the post-war space program. But it'd be interesting to see further antedated cites. I wouldn't know where to start there.

Perhaps it's a word with more than one meaning?

Indeed, seems like a hole handful, though most of them relating specifically in one way or another to the idea of naming.

Besides the "stuff NASA guys say" and "in name only", the major meaning in my usage for nominal is "having the property of being a noun", as in e.g. "pronominal" in reference to pronoun forms or the functioning of words/phrases thereas.

But you've also apparently got nominal as in of the philosophical school of Nominalism; nominal as in insubstantial in quantity or a token, subpar amount; relating to the act of naming things; a list or collection of names; being a verb derived from a noun; the fundamental harmonic tone of some musical instrument, or a scale with that note as the tonic; and a few more variations on those.
posted by cortex at 7:30 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Attestation of "nominal" meaning "normal" from ca. 1995, in the context of heavy military hardware.
posted by gilrain at 7:35 PM on August 6, 2012


"It was only 109 years ago that we figured out how to fly. Now we can sky crane things down on to other planets."

So basically what you're telling me is, if you're looking for something fun to do, it's faster to invent human flight and land a rover on Mars than it is to wait for the Cubs to win the Series again.

109 years before Kitty Hawk was 1794. In 1794, the U.S. was 5 years old, George Washington was president, and the U.S. government authorized construction of its first Navy vessels. From the U.S.S. Constitution to Curiosity in barely more than 200 years. Hell of a country, hell of a time to be alive.

Also, every time I see pictures of mission control, I think, hey guys, look at all those female rocket scientists! Yay!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:38 PM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]




late to the party but:

holy fuck!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:57 PM on August 6, 2012


HAHAHA Mefites are quoted in this article, Narrative Priorities, myself and more

Finally, this group has contributed to the velve tropes.
posted by hippybear at 8:06 PM on August 6, 2012


Down the nominal rabbit hole. History of the Word "Polynomial" has some interesting bits concerning nomial vs nomos-AL and a missing 'n' and 'law' vs 'name, term' and miss-constructed/translated latin+greek compositions and a bunch of other confusing stuff.
I propose some corruption of nomial-normal, nomi-normal, nominal. Meaning that the terms of the equations are being observed in the normal range. (I had no clue that 'nominal' was only/mostly used this way in such a narrow field of engineering types).
posted by zengargoyle at 8:51 PM on August 6, 2012


My guess as to how the aerospace engineering meaning of "nominal" as "all things functioning normally" arose is that originated with the "insignificant when compared to the size of the transaction" meaning of nominal, ie. "for only a nominal fee." In flight operations many values reported to the control room are not reported with an absolute value, but rather as a "delta", the deviation from the expected value. If the delta is small relative to the size of the expected value, i.e. nominal, things are going well. When the delta is large, not so much.
posted by RichardP at 9:14 PM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


That makes more sense. I still get this picture of a bunch of complex equations that go from F(t0) = Launch; F(tn) = Touchdown. With all those little f(t) bits following the path predicted.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:49 PM on August 6, 2012


Also possible that some engineering guy in 1953 said "nominal" instead of "normal" by accident or as some tic of idiolect and people started giving him shit about it and then it sort of caught on and eventually everybody just got used to doing it and the originally inspiration just sort of faded away.

Like how fucking everybody talks about "The Internets" these days mostly without necessarily thinking specifically of Dubya.
posted by cortex at 10:49 PM on August 6, 2012


Like how fucking everybody talks about "The Internets" these days mostly without necessarily thinking specifically of Dubya.

I never EVER use that phrase.

(It might explain why I'm also not fucking anybody these days.)
posted by hippybear at 10:54 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


internets serious business bro, right in the feels
posted by The Whelk at 10:55 PM on August 6, 2012


After waiting months for this landing, I was unable to watch due to circumstances beyond my control. Thank you all for this long wonderful thread that brought me into the moment and fed all of my space love. Thank you for the links to videos, details, feeds, histories and cartoons.

I feel like I was a part of it, just on a longer delay than most everyone else.

!
posted by _paegan_ at 11:24 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


First color image, from the camera on the end of the (stowed) arm
posted by Rhomboid at 1:08 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Very minimalist...
posted by crunchland at 3:40 AM on August 7, 2012




They sent Rothko to Mars?
posted by cmyk at 6:25 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


The MAHLI camera, that took the image posted this morning, is still folded down and still has it's lens cover on. So, yeah, the camera's working, but you can't see much. This page explains the various cameras on Curiosity and when they expect to get pictures from them. They plan to get the mast unfolded tomorrow, and get some pictures from the navigation and mast cameras. These are the ones actually intended for looking around at the landscape. (MAHLI's actually for close ups.)

Note:
Navigation camera pictures are expected to begin arriving on Earth about three days after landing if the mast is deployed on schedule. ... Also, about three days after landing, the narrower field-of-view Mast Cameras (Mastcams) are expected to start snapping their first shots.
So, hopefully tomorrow we'll get some nice color pictures. In a week or so they're planning on getting a detailed panorama, after they've finished testing everything.
posted by nangar at 7:54 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're wondering why we're not getting flooded with images, one of the reasons is that they're using most of the first couple of sols to replace the fly-through-outer-space software with explore-the-ground software. I hate doing upgrades, and their nearest Genius Bar is millions of miles away.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:56 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


benito.strauss: "If you're wondering why we're not getting flooded with images, one of the reasons is that they're using most of the first couple of sols to replace the fly-through-outer-space software with explore-the-ground software. I hate doing upgrades, and their nearest Genius Bar is millions of miles away."

Shit, I hope they're careful, an OTA software update is what bricked Viking 2.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:52 AM on August 7, 2012


Viking 1 even.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:52 AM on August 7, 2012




Oh, man. This one might be the best picture of the year.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:01 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think they've already done one software upgrade on Curiosity during mid-flight, this one is better driving controls.

Once they deploy the rover's own antennas we should get better communication since it won't have to be relayed through one of the orbiters. I can't wait to see the high-res version of that landing movie...
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:21 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm looking forward to some pictures of Martian skies, including that small blue blob.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:24 AM on August 7, 2012


Thank you metafilter for this awesome thread.
posted by Theta States at 12:09 PM on August 7, 2012


Oh, man. This one might be the best picture of the year.

Ah yes, an excellent view of the nail-biting pawered descent stage.
posted by prinado at 12:19 PM on August 7, 2012


Mars Rover Curiosity Becoming Hot Wheels Toy [1:64 scale]
posted by blueberry at 12:36 PM on August 7, 2012


Oh spaceturds. I love the idea but that Hot Wheel just looks so cheap. I wish LEGO has gotten the job.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:54 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was bawling like a school kid through live coverage;
Nearly repeated the episode reliving it in this thread..
Like watching yr own sex tape. (*dabs forehead)
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:24 PM on August 7, 2012


Once they deploy the rover's own antennas we should get better communication since it won't have to be relayed through one of the orbiters.

That's really not how it works. The direct to Earth (DTE) downlink using the X-band high gain antenna (HGA) is quite slow and it not meant to be the primary means of relaying data; it's for contingency use only. It has a design parameter of a minimum of 160 bps when used with a 34 meter Deep Space Network (DSN) antenna on Earth. In reality, it's expected to achieve about 320 bps when Earth and Mars are at their farthest, and up to 7000 bps for a few weeks when they are nearest (see figure 4-11 of this PDF.) Relaying using its UHF antenna through the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (with Odyssey as backup) is meant to be the primary means of receiving science and engineering data. The UHF link to MRO has a variable bitrate depending on where the satellite is overhead, but it can go as high as 1.35 Mbps. MRO makes two passes per Sol and can receive 30 - 600 Mbit per pass, or 100 to 1150 Mbit per Sol (sec 4.2.1.2). The nominal amount is 250 Mbit per day, see figure 5-1.

The X-band HGA is really there to be used for the direct from Earth (DFE) uplink, which is used to receive commands. The DFE link has a design minimum of 500 bps, but it's expected to be used at 1 - 2 kbps most of the time, see fig 4-10. There's also a very low bandwidth backup unidirectional low gain antenna that is for use only in emergencies or contingencies, since it doesn't require aiming and should work regardless of the orientation of the rover.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:21 PM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


And the first pictures...
posted by sfts2 at 2:56 PM on August 7, 2012


For Bay Area mefites -- there's a replica of the Curiosity at the Exploratorium, on loan from JPL, for the next few weeks.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:17 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been tracking down images like a fiend, and there's a thread on reddit where someone is collecting and posting direct links to the most impressive ones.

NASA's image trove is here, and there are actual descriptions on those pages,
posted by benito.strauss at 3:30 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Curiosity's hardware and software:
At the heart of Curiosity there is, of course, a computer. In this case the Mars rover is powered by a RAD750, a single-board computer (motherboard, RAM, ROM, and CPU) produced by BAE. The RAD750 has been on the market for more than 10 years, and it’s currently one of the most popular on-board computers for spacecraft. In Curiosity’s case, the CPU is a PowerPC 750 (PowerPC G3 in Mac nomenclature) clocked at around 200MHz — which might seem slow, but it’s still hundreds of times faster than, say, the Apollo Guidance Computer used in the first Moon landings. Also on the motherboard are 256MB of DRAM, and 2GB of flash storage — which will be used to store video and scientific data before transmission to Earth.

....

On the software side of things, NASA again stuck to tried-and-tested solutions, opting for the 27-year-old VxWorks operating system. VxWorks, developed by Wind River Systems (which was acquired by Intel), is a real-time operating system used in a huge number of embedded systems. The previous Mars rovers (Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft all use VxWorks. VxWorks also powers BMW iDrive, the Apache Longbow helicopter, and the Apple Airport Extreme and Linksys WRT54G routers (really).
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:13 PM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Haha! My phone has a more powerful computer than a Mars rover.

But, it won't launch me to Mars. Stupid phone.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:34 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Siri, launch the sky crane."

"I don't know launch the sky cream but I could search the web for it."
posted by cortex at 4:47 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]




For me, one of the highlights of the TED Conference (NYC) in September 1997 was a presentation by the pioneering Jet Propulsion Lab's Mars Pathfinder team. The Sojourner rover had landed on Mars just two-months before (on July 4). One of the objectives of the program/project was to prove that the development of "faster, better and cheaper" spacecraft is possible (with three years for development and a cost under $150 million).* It was amazing to hear from each team member about the constraints, the ingenuity, etc. that went into the design of the spacecraft and rover. Use of 9-volt batteries, stripped-down microprocessors, a supersonic parachute coupled with large airbags for landing, etc. As a surprise, the team rolled out the duplicate, "one-of-a-kind," back-up Sojourner onto the stage. Wild applause, standing ovation and goose-bumps galore. When asked about the value of the Sojourner that was on the stage, the team replied 'priceless.'
posted by ericb at 4:54 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]




We need to get some better, high-power communications satellites orbiting mars so we can get data back more quickly.
posted by delmoi at 8:45 PM on August 7, 2012


We need to get some better, high-power communications satellites orbiting mars so we can get data back more quickly.

Um....
posted by hippybear at 8:53 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Think bandwidth, not how long the signals take to get from point to point.
posted by humanfont at 9:35 PM on August 7, 2012


> Um....

I think he means bigger bandwidth, not somehow faster than the speed of light transfers.

At it's largest transmission rate, we get dialup speeds from Curiosity. Combine that with the fact that satellites are only in alignment for a few hours a day to send us those signals.

We wouldn't even need to up the bandwidth as much as just put a larger network of satellites in orbit around Mars, to allow for a near continuous connection. Which would mean more Atlas V rockets, but if we were serious about Mars, it would be worth it to send a few more Odyssey type robotic satellites there.

And if we were sending a bunch, we could focus on building them just for optimal satellite communications, not that plus thirty types of experiments we might never have a chance to do. And while we are doing that, we should send like 20 more rovers to mars as well, maybe some 1 ton payloads of solar panels that other could assemble into a farm to act as a recharging station for smaller rovers.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:38 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Whoah, from Brandon Blatcher's 'recounting' link:
In its final seconds, Curiosity would require a correction of less than 10 feet, startling accuracy after a journey of 352 million miles. Curiosity also "knew" its velocity to within three feet per second.
352 million miles, and they were within ten feet. Feet! Your ceiling overhead is probably at 8 feet, so add two more feet to that, and that's the entire error, from the ground on Earth, to beginning reentry on Mars.

When you get in your car this morning, back out of your parking space and stop. That's more distance than the entire drift of Curiosity's space flight to Mars. Or take a look at the car itself -- front to back bumper, even in a small vehicle, should be at least 12 feet.
posted by Malor at 5:21 AM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


352 million miles, and they were within ten feet.

Yeah, I keep thinking the journalist got the numbers wrong, as ten feet sounds impossible. It's also not clear what is meant by the statement. Curiosity had a elliptical target zone, 12 miles by 4 miles, so getting within ten feet of that puts things in a better perspective. But still so very amazing!

Also, if y'all are wondering, there are currently no plans to send Curiosity to check out any of the landing debris from the sky crane, parachute and back shell or heat shield. The sky crane is a complete none starter, as it's in pieces with toxic fuel all around its crash site and the that might muck up the rover's sensors. The other sites don't hold much promise.

On a slight bummer note, found out that there were originally plans to include a camera pointing up on the back shell, which would have captured the chute opening and Martian atmosphere as everything descended. But it was cut during the design phase. Damn trade offs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:46 AM on August 8, 2012


I took that to mean that it made a ten-foot correction to move to a flatter spot. Anything inside that 12 by 4 mile zone counts as 'on target', any maneuvers inside that are just for a better landing zone. I thought I saw somewhere that it came in a little over a mile off the exact center, but I'm having trouble finding that again.
posted by echo target at 7:45 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


352 million miles, and they were within ten feet.

Yeah, I keep thinking the journalist got the numbers wrong, as ten feet sounds impossible. It's also not clear what is meant by the statement.
Twenty-four seconds later, Curiosity released its heat shield. This was critical; the heat shield had been acting like a lens cap on a camera, blocking Curiosity's radar from seeing the ground to pinpoint its landing. With the radar on, scientists would now know in seconds whether the spacecraft was where it "thought" it was based on a course calculation that had begun with a relatively rudimentary alignment of the sun and stars.

Miguel San Martin, the chief engineer of Curiosity's guidance and control, glanced at his screen to see the results, and was dumbfounded. In its final seconds, Curiosity would require a correction of less than 10 feet, startling accuracy after a journey of 352 million miles. Curiosity also "knew" its velocity to within three feet per second.
I think what they're talking about here is the accuracy of the inertial navigation between entry and ditching the heatshield. As I understand it, MSL knows where it is before descent starts, based on positioning from the ephemeris (yes, it navigates by the stars) and Deep Space Network radiometric data. Between the entry and heatshield separation, it uses dead reckoning, with two inertial measurement units (gyroscopes + accelerometers) providing data. Knowing where they are depends on the accuracy of the IMUs and the guidance algorithm, and the offset center of mass stuff going correctly. Once the heatshield comes off, they're no longer flying blind, and can figure out where they are again. According to the article, they were only 10 feet and 3ft/s off.
posted by zamboni at 7:57 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, the way I'm interpreting that writing is that there was a planned space and early atmospheric trajectory, and that at the moment the heat shield detached and the rover could finally see properly, Curiosity was off from the planned overall flight path by only ten feet. The final target was 12x4 miles, but the planned path was right into the center of that, and Curiosity was at a ten foot offset from that ideal trajectory, with velocity within three feet per second.

After that, the drift was worse, obviously, pesky atmosphere being what it is, but if I'm understanding the article correctly, they were accurate beyond any reasonable expectation up to the point where the heat shield dropped away, and the rover's actual landing software took over.
posted by Malor at 8:02 AM on August 8, 2012


, they were accurate beyond any reasonable expectation

Yes, that's the main point, but I think my mind is refusing to believe they were able to do that, because, WELL DAMN, you know, TEN FEET. The team should definitely take a bow or two for that.

Curiosity may have snapped a photo of the sky crane's crash landing, in an almost impossible coincidence.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:30 AM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Curiosity's Guilt Trip.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:25 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


352 million miles, and they were within ten feet.

I think the ten feet is accurate, but citing 352 million miles is wrong. It's not like they fired off the surface of the Earth, and then looked when they got near the surface and hey-presto only ten feet off. There were six course corrections along the way.

Now, just being 10 feet off after the descent is pretty damn amazing, but Scott Gold, the author, is artificially pumping the drama.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:20 PM on August 8, 2012


There were six course corrections along the way.

Four. They skipped TCM 5 and 6.
posted by zamboni at 12:29 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, thanks, I missed that.

And it made me read the CSM article more closely, and see that it says that the fourth (and final) course correction moved the entry point by 13 miles. So that gives a better idea of the accuracy achieved in the Earth-to-Mars portion of the flight, about 1 part in 250 million. Still wicked impressive.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:30 PM on August 8, 2012


Curiosity may have snapped a photo of the sky crane's crash landing, in an almost impossible coincidence.

I've spent a few minutes searching, and I can't find the photos they're referring to, or any other sources for this information that aren't just people reblogging the LATimes article.
posted by teraflop at 7:00 PM on August 8, 2012


In the Sol 1 or Sol 2 morning press conference I remember one reporter asking a question about this. The response from the scientists was more or less "well, anything's possible, but ....".

This is the second time I'm finding myself questioning Scott Gold's reporting.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:49 PM on August 8, 2012




Here's the full comment:
This picture of Mars cost many times the cost of a Van Gogh or Rembrandt...and you paid for it... pic.twitter.com/jDnVJ4wZ
Which is silly, as most of the $2.5 billion spent on the Rover went into developing and testing the sky crane. So we paid for a new way to land things on other planets, is that his compliant? Sheesh.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:31 AM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Olympic games cost around six times the cost of this expedition. Twenty years from now those competitors will be footnotes, but the data from this expedition will very likely still be of value.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:17 AM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


And who's Grover Norquist?.....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:48 AM on August 9, 2012


The man responsible for this piece of politicking.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:52 AM on August 9, 2012


Huh. Norquist is even more craven and stupid than I thought he was; I didn't think that was possible.
posted by rtha at 6:30 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, we already have the Van Goghs and the Rembrandts. Their creators died a long time ago. Buying one is just shuffling money around in a totally nonproductive manner In contrast, Curiosity can show us things that nobody has ever seen before. It's a really, really stupid comparison.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:35 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Grover Norquist's take on the Curiousity Mars Lander.

I can't imagine anyone out there who'd I would least like to hear their opinion on this, but there you go....
posted by Theta States at 7:47 AM on August 9, 2012


I can't wait to drown Norquist in a bathtub made from Martian marble.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:59 AM on August 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Grover Norquist can kiss my ass IN SPACE!
posted by vibrotronica at 8:47 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, here it is, a color panorama from the mastcams. (Decent resolution, but not too fat.)
posted by nangar at 11:15 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


nangar: "Yes, here it is, a color panorama from the mastcams."

Literally gives me butterflies in my stomach looking at that picture... of MARS... taken by A ROBOT. I can't even... Thanks nangar.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:18 AM on August 9, 2012


Wow. I had assumed that Grover Norquist was just greedy. Turns out he has a calculator where most people have a heart and he's dead inside. Who knew?
posted by benito.strauss at 11:23 AM on August 9, 2012


And who's Grover Norquist?.....

The Colbert Report: The "Fiscal Cliff" Conundrum & Grover Norquist's Tax Pledge
posted by homunculus at 11:31 AM on August 9, 2012


"... a color panorama from the mastcams."

Wow. Not a planetary scientist, but this looks much less orange than the Viking photos.

(There were framed pictures of Mars in the physics building of the Uni, and I'd see them every day between classes. In my memory the sand was bright orange, though that may have been false coloring, since the images in Wikipedia look more like these.)
posted by Kevin Street at 11:55 AM on August 9, 2012


Grover Norquist's take on the Curiousity Mars Lander.

One of these days, Grover. One of these days. Pow! Straight to Mars!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:12 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not from Curiousity, but from its predecessor, Opportunity, a full 360° Mars panorama.
posted by crunchland at 12:51 PM on August 9, 2012


And here's a self-portrait by Curiousity.
posted by crunchland at 12:54 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's one lens flare short of being a MySpace bathroom photo.
posted by griphus at 1:00 PM on August 9, 2012


Will We Ever Send A Man To Mars?
posted by homunculus at 2:02 PM on August 9, 2012




I was thinking about the cost of the thing and realized that the cost per American of landing Curiosity on another planet was less than I paid for lunch yesterday.

I dunno, but if the tradeoff is skipping lunch vs. landing a laser robot on Mars, I think I'd skip quite a few lunches.
posted by Zalzidrax at 5:08 PM on August 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


No kidding. I paid more for (fancy, artisanal) donuts and coffee yesterday. So, yeah: fuck you, Grover. Also, I hate that he's named the same as a cool muppet.
posted by rtha at 5:36 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I take it then that Grover (who, I agree, is besmirching the name of one of the best Muppets in existence) never wants to read a new book, or see new photographs, or hear new music.

Because, after all, someone really great already did something with those sounds, or those letters, or those colors.

Tch. Idiot.
posted by cmyk at 5:43 PM on August 9, 2012


Yes, here it is, a color panorama from the mastcams.

Wow, does that picture make me sad. It looks so Earthlike, as if Curiosity touched down in a rock-strewn area somewhere in, say, the Gobi Desert.... but that's all there is. The whole planet looks like that. It's all dead and gone to dust, probably... there might be microbes still alive, but probably no complex life forms at all.

I mean, it's neat, but .... it's so depressing. An entire planet, dead. And ours may be headed the same way.
posted by Malor at 7:59 PM on August 9, 2012


And ours may be headed the same way.
Unless we develop the technology to move planets around, almost certainly, as the sun heats up.
posted by delmoi at 8:20 PM on August 9, 2012


I hold out hope that there are pockets of developed lifeforms deep under the Martian surface.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:06 PM on August 9, 2012


Maybe at the poles, too. They're pretty frozen, but there's definitely water present.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:43 PM on August 9, 2012


Over the past couple of days I've been doing a little wider reading about exploration of the solar system and came across the Venera probes launched by the then Soviet Union to explore Venus. Holy crap. They were sending probe after probe there, some weighing up to 5 tonnes, throughout the 60s, 70s, and early 80s. Admittedly the failure rate was high, but still, this is the surface of Venus in 1976.
posted by Ritchie at 2:23 AM on August 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Check out these two posts about Venus.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:04 AM on August 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


One the one hand, those are awesome.

One the other: goodbye nascent Venera FPP, I hardly knew you.
posted by Ritchie at 5:04 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good lord, the photos are just amazing!!
posted by lazaruslong at 7:39 AM on August 10, 2012


It looks so Earthlike, as if Curiosity touched down in a rock-strewn area somewhere in, say, the Gobi Desert....

I was just looking at that panorama and thinking that the view looked remarkably similar to many parts of the UAE.
posted by bardophile at 10:01 AM on August 10, 2012


I was just looking at that panorama and thinking that the view looked remarkably similar to many parts of the UAE.

The surface of Venus, Mars Titan and even the Moon similar to Earth deserts or rocky places. I wonder if this is product of our solar system, where planets in a single system would look alike or just nature. Maybe rocky planets tend to look alike?

Clearly we need send out more space probes!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:37 AM on August 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "I was just looking at that panorama and thinking that the view looked remarkably similar to many parts of the UAE.

The surface of Venus, Mars Titan and even the Moon similar to Earth deserts or rocky places. I wonder if this is product of our solar system, where planets in a single system would look alike or just nature. Maybe rocky planets tend to look alike?

Clearly we need send out more space probes!
"

Yeah, right? What's up with that? Wouldn't you think that rocky planets would differ hugely based on their composition? Is it some function of our solar system's formation period where there was a more homogenous matter-structure and the big variable was just the distance from the Sun? Why aren't they more different??

And yes, MORE PROBES PLEASE! If it cost me $15.00 to send this one to mars, I would gladly pony up $1500 to send 100 more out.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:20 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The IRS should put an option to donate money to NASA in the 1040 form.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:46 PM on August 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks, Brandon Blatcher! I didn't even know that NASA and the ESA landed a probe on Titan. Rocks of ice, seas of methane... it may look like a desert but under the hood Titan is very different from any other planet we've seen so far.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:21 PM on August 10, 2012


It's also the best place to shatter an Ewok on a lake of fart!
posted by lazaruslong at 1:25 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


(source)
posted by lazaruslong at 1:25 PM on August 10, 2012


New video! But it looks like there are some serious problems with the rover.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:09 PM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It looks like it needs a new power converter.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:12 PM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Curiousity is going to get an OS upgrade
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:39 PM on August 10, 2012


Emily Lakdawalla is planetary geologist for the Planetary Society and a expert in image processing. She's blogging and posting about Curiosity's photos.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:28 PM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]




Emily Lakdawalla is planetary geologist for the Planetary Society and a expert in image processing. She's blogging and posting about Curiosity's photos.

Wow, the 3D in that 3D photo is really really good. (I love that I have a pair of red/blue glasses within reach when I'm at my computer...)
posted by hippybear at 5:45 PM on August 10, 2012




teraflop inquired about: Curiosity may have snapped a photo of the sky crane's crash landing, in an almost impossible coincidence.

The distant blob seen in the view on left, taken by a Hazard-Avoidance camera on NASA's Curiosity rover, may be a cloud created during the crash of the rover's descent stage. Pictures taken about 45 minutes later (right) do not show the cloud, providing further evidence it was from the crash.

Probably a bit hand-wavy but with as much "everything went almost perfect" as the NASA folks have said in the daily news conferences, it probably is the crash. They said that they scheduled the rear hazard cameras to take the first pictures after touchdown in the hopes of catching the crash.

It's almost amusing to watch the NASA folks try to come up with "something that wasn't expected" to please all of the journalists who keep asking for something extraordinary. So far it's limited to being a bit down range of predicted (tail wind maybe), having a little more fuel left than expected, and a bit of larger debris kicked up on the top of the rover.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:42 AM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel like everything going as expected (or at least hoped for) wasn't really expected.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:40 AM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]




That is very cool, but also puzzling, homunculus. This huge central phenomenon on Earth, and we are *only now* finding that it is also present in one of the biggest, most obvious features on Mars? Did nobody look at that giant slash and say, hey, what very obvious planetary process does this remind me of?
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:05 PM on August 11, 2012


That's actually huge news - and yes, the assumption for decades has been that mars lacks plate dectonics and is geologically pretty dead.
posted by Artw at 6:16 PM on August 11, 2012


Emily Lakdawalla is planetary geologist

Why did I not know when I was 10 that this was a job?! If I get to come back, this is what I will be when I grow up.
posted by rtha at 6:33 PM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did nobody look at that giant slash and say, hey, what very obvious planetary process does this remind me of?

Did no one read the article?! :)

Yin made the discovery during his analysis of satellite images from a NASA spacecraft known as THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms) and from the HIRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. He analyzed about 100 satellite images -- approximately a dozen were revealing of plate tectonics.

Yin has conducted geologic research in the Himalayas and Tibet, where two of the Earth's seven major plates divide.

"When I studied the satellite images from Mars, many of the features looked very much like fault systems I have seen in the Himalayas and Tibet, and in California as well, including the geomorphology," said Yin, a planetary geologist.

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:35 PM on August 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here's the abstract for the tectonics paper. He's looking at a section of Valles Marineris, and finding a strike-slip fault zone.
posted by zamboni at 6:38 PM on August 11, 2012


Brandon, yes, I read the article - I'm saying, we've had good images of the Martian surface including this huge feature for years now. And only now is someone looking and finding a strike-slip fault? I'm not doubting this, I'm saying - that is remarkable, that we didn't find it sooner.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:59 PM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not so sure that the delay is remarkable. The abstract says that the author relied on images from Mars Odyssey, which started taking images in 2001, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which started working in 2006. Given that each orbiter will pass directly over a given spot only for a few minutes every several days, that some passes will be in darkness, and that dust storms and clouds will obscure some images, I wouldn't be surprised that it took almost a decade to accumulate the ~100 images noted in the article.

And in geologic in time, that's fast.
posted by ddbeck at 9:26 PM on August 11, 2012


I wasn't expecting much in the way of images over the weekend, but they've retrieved a high-resolution version of the mastcam panorama. They've also produced a white-balanced version of same image. It's a lot less green. An explanation of the colors:
The colors in the main image are unmodified from those returned by the camera. While it is difficult to say whether this is what a human eye would see, it is what a cell phone or camcorder would record since the Mastcam takes color pictures in the exact same manner that consumer cameras acquire color images. The colors in a second version linked to the main image have been modified as if the scene were transported to Earth and illuminated by terrestrial sunlight. This processing, called "white balancing," is useful for scientists to be able to recognize and distinguish rocks by color in more familiar lighting.
A couple details from the white-balanced version:

In this one the white of the black-and white-decals on the rover's instruments actually looks white rather than grey-green. It also shows some disturbed clast they're really interested in.

Black sand and the base of Mount Sharp.

The crater rim showing what was once a wadi (or some kind of watercourse).
posted by nangar at 2:11 AM on August 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Comments on the colors:

The human eye adjusts for the color of ambient light, so you can see a full range of color under sunlight, incandescent light, florescent light, and firelight, and you can still see things in close to their 'true color' under all those conditions, though your perception of contrasts will change. (Actually, strictly speaking, your brain does this, not your eye.) Cameras don't do this automatically; that's what processing is for.

So I assume that the hues in NASA's white-balanced images are right, in the sense of matching what you would see. Their processing in creating the white-balanced images is doing approximately what your brain would do automatically if you were there. Neutral whites and greys are in fact neutral, and colors vary from that.

They have, however. also lightened up the processed images a lot, so the sky looks (almost) white. This is probably a matter of tweaking the lightness and contrast to bring out the details in the rocks as much as possible. I think if you were looking at it, the sky would still have some color, the ground would be darker, and the decals would be off-white rather than white-white (they're not a light source) though still neutral.

In other words, to get a closer idea of what it would look like, you'd probably try to bring out contrast across the entire landscape, not just the rocks, though still maintaining neutral.
posted by nangar at 3:58 AM on August 12, 2012


And only now is someone looking and finding a strike-slip fault? I'm not doubting this, I'm saying - that is remarkable, that we didn't find it sooner.

Perhaps. Only in the last decade have numerous Mars orbiters and landers, with powerful imaging equipment, have been put to work. As fascinating as the Valles Marineris is, it's still only a small part of the planet.

Besides, ccording to Wikipedia, geologists were basing the formation off similar looking Earth phenomena:
The most agreed upon theory today is that Valles Marineris was formed by rift faults like the East African Rift, later made bigger by erosion and collapsing of the rift walls.
There's a great photo and simulated fly through of the Valley, courtesy of data obtained from the 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter, currently the longest continually active spacecraft around another planet, at 10+ years.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:02 AM on August 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


nangar, I'm no expert, but the way I understood the white balancing was this: the originals are what both the camera and the human eye+brain would see on Mars, but the illumination on the surface of Mars is so different from that on the surface of the Earth, that they modify the pictures to see what they would look like if they were on the surface of the Earth, which is what they call "white-balanced".

I think it's because that is the illumination that (terrestrial) geologists are used to, so it makes it easier for them to recognize things (source). What we really need to see is average spectral intensity graphs for both Earth and Mars.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:59 AM on August 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rifts - including the East African Rift - are formed by plate tectonics. It would actually make me feel better about it if they thought it was a rift all along, which would mean they had previously been thinking there were tectonic processes active on Mars at some point in the past. So maybe this new research is producing evidence that plate tectonics is ongoing there, and that's what's novel?
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:08 AM on August 12, 2012


Mars Rover Curiosity Becoming Hot Wheels Toy [1:64 scale]
posted by blueberry at 3:36 PM on August 7


Oh spaceturds. I love the idea but that Hot Wheel just looks so cheap. I wish LEGO has gotten the job.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:54 PM on August 7


Wow, sometimes wishes do come true. Some guy with much more LEGO pieces (and patience) than me has designed a LEGO rover. There's a .pdf there with detailed instructions and parts list. I guess there's also some community process where, if it gets enough votes, LEGO will sell it as a kit.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:24 PM on August 12, 2012


> Some guy with much more LEGO pieces (and patience) than me has designed a LEGO rover.

I wanted to like that, but it has rubber tires.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:29 PM on August 12, 2012


UCLA Scientist Discovers Plate Tectonics on Mars

Shouldn't that read "UCLA Scientist Postulates Plate Tectonics on Mars"? Yes, I believe it should.

There's a more sensationalistic article at Talking Points Memo that also includes An Yin's assertion that "the existence of plate tectonics on the Red Planet increase the chances that it had conditions capable of supporting life at some point in its history."

The operation of plate tectonics on Mars means that recycling of major chemical elements relevant to the existence of life such as water and carbon is much more dynamic, rapid, and interactive between deep mantle and Mars atmosphere,” said Yin, in an email to TPM. “This condition is much more favorable to the existence of life than the rather isolated systems on other planetary bodies such as Moon and Mercury.”

Maybe, I guess. I will admit surprise at finding out "many scientists had thought that plate tectonics existed nowhere in our solar system but on Earth." The TPM article notes the Late Heavy Bombardment as the likely cause of the shattering of Earth's shell into seven pieces, so I'm wondering why they assumed none other planets' shells could have been similarly broken up. I'm sure they have their reasons; if anyone knows, please feel free.
posted by mediareport at 7:38 AM on August 13, 2012


> Some guy with much more LEGO pieces (and patience) than me has designed a LEGO rover.

I wanted to like that, but it has rubber tires.


If you go to the more detailed link, you discover that it's not 'some guy', but Stephen Pakbaz, an engineer who worked on Curiosity at JPL
posted by pupdog at 10:09 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, Pakbaz's just this guy, you know?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:17 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Panorama of Mars, via Curiosity. Click to hide the ads, then click "Hide Controls" in the upper left, go full screen and gaze at the wonder of it all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:53 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]




I'd been watching the daily press conferences (10 am PDT), but it looks like they've stopped doing them. Where are people getting their Curiosity fix, other than at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ ?
posted by benito.strauss at 5:00 PM on August 13, 2012


http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html (It's mostly the same stuff, but may include some stuff that's not on the jpl page.)
posted by nangar at 5:20 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


... and "NASA will host a media teleconference at 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT) on Tuesday, Aug. 14, to provide a status update on the Curiosity rover's mission to Mars' Gale Crater."
posted by nangar at 5:30 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


For no real reason: What would Barrack Obama look like with a mohawk?
posted by Mezentian at 10:29 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]




Mezentian: "For no real reason: What would Barrack Obama look like with a mohawk?"

That is bad-ass. I think the Obama campaign has their October surprise ready.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:16 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]




Wish you were here: Curiosity and Mars Recon Orbiter send more postcards home: Newest Mars rover finishes software swap and begins checkout phase.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:28 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


WIRED: Mars-Inspired Art. worth a look.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:40 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]








I am entirely too much of a Curiosity groupie. I read your comment, BB, and thought "Wait, it's N165, isn't it? Not N65." I feel a bit stalkerish.

Also, lasers, on Mars, vaporizing rocks, pew, pew, pew. I love it.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:55 PM on August 17, 2012


You've watched the landing video several times, haven't you? And you get goosebumps each time, right?

Yeah, I know that feeling.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:15 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]




Here's that heat shield separation and descent video in what looks like realtime.

Curiosity's successful landing also marks the first time Russian built hardware has been on Mars in over 40 years.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:14 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


@N165Mars
posted by homunculus at 8:56 PM on August 18, 2012 [4 favorites]






homunculus: "NASA will send robot drill to Mars in 2016"

Well, that is really cool, and I was all about it...until the part where it said:

In choosing InSight, NASA rejected two riskier missions: a robotic boat that would have floated on a methane lake on Saturn’s moon Titan, and a mission to examine a comet.

GODDAMNIT ALL I WANT TO DO IS LOOK AT TITAN IT'S THE BEST MOON EVER AND WHERE THE EWOKS LIVE DAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMNIT

but yeah mars drill is cool. DO BOTH PLEASE
posted by lazaruslong at 5:27 PM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


a robotic boat that would have floated on a methane lake on Saturn’s moon Titan

I have never in my life wanted more to be a crazy millionaire. The idea of winning the lottery and being financially secure is, of course, extremely attractive, but "a robotic boat floating on the methane lakes of Titan" is insanely beautiful and would fit in well just after "attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion".
posted by benito.strauss at 7:26 PM on August 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


You need to think bigger: you should be on that boat, not some robot. Just remember that your crew will need good training!
posted by homunculus at 8:14 PM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]




Wiggle in the Gravel
posted by homunculus at 12:32 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Curiosity's Dirty Little Secret

That's actually only a secret if you're someone who hasn't been following this project during development and building. But then, nearly any and all details of a project which has been underway for 8 years feel like they're secrets if you're only tuning into them at such a late date.
posted by hippybear at 6:38 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The landing in full HD.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:28 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


That video deserves its own FPP, lazaruslong.
posted by griphus at 8:19 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a little FPP gunshy right now, go for it if ya want!
posted by lazaruslong at 8:29 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've got one on the slate for today, so if no one beats me to it by tomorrow, I'll post it then.

(Someone please beat me to it by tomorrow because.)
posted by griphus at 8:33 AM on August 22, 2012


Ganked.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:45 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, crap. Misspelled it.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:46 AM on August 22, 2012




« Older make sure to feed her only sour poffins because...   |   Godly Locks: Inside L.A.'s... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post