Curiosity's descent is our ascent
August 22, 2012 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Take the ride down to the surface of Mars in full 1080p glory. [YouTube]
posted by Burhanistan (98 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just stunning.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:47 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Awesome. In my head I heard Buzz Aldrin calling out the numbers during the Apollo 11 landing. "Two and a half down... kicking up some dust."

I was away (without net or TV access) during the landing so I missed that whole bucket of excitement but it really is great knowing we have (at least) a couple more years of "Look at this really cool picture/video from a ROBOT ON MARS."
posted by bondcliff at 8:51 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That's dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry baby, don't cry, don't cry
posted by Nelson at 9:02 AM on August 22, 2012 [12 favorites]


Even in 1080p it's not in 1080p. </minor quibble>
posted by blue_beetle at 9:04 AM on August 22, 2012


Hey, I don't see no lasers in the jungle somewhere, though.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:04 AM on August 22, 2012


it really is great knowing we have (at least) a couple more years of "Look at this really cool picture/video from a ROBOT ON MARS."

It's worth noting that MER Opportunity is still chugging along too, eight and a half years after landing, despite all the attention its fancy-schmancy cousin is now getting.
posted by aught at 9:05 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I got a feeling that I haven't got in years... I think we need to go into space and explore and shit!
posted by Artw at 9:07 AM on August 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have a very important and deeply thought out observation to make about this footage:

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!
posted by yoink at 9:11 AM on August 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


I got a feeling that I haven't got in years... I think we need to go into space and explore and shit!

Just make sure to clean up after yourself. Pack it in, pack it out.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:12 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


/goes back millions of years later.

Aw man, it evolved and formed a civilization!
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM on August 22, 2012


That one time you had to go behind a boulder instead of the space latrine and you inadvertently spawned humanity's eventually conquering species.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:20 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


First challenge: land super-awesome robot on Mars. Second challenge: get people as excited about Mars (MARS, PEOPLE. MARS!) as they are about the premier of Honey Boo Boo Child's new reality show.

Despite amazing photography and video being sent back already, I fear the second challenge remains the harder of the two.

MARS!
posted by undercoverhuwaaah at 9:30 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Curiosity spins its wheels!
posted by homunculus at 9:35 AM on August 22, 2012


No audio? Amateurs.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:36 AM on August 22, 2012


Wow. Fantastic!
posted by zarq at 9:37 AM on August 22, 2012


Second challenge: get people as excited about Mars (MARS, PEOPLE. MARS!)

..you hit the nail on the head, it's about the people. It's remarkable how little attention is being paid to the people behind the Mars rover. Why do you think that is? We seem to only care about astronauts. Engineers and stuff, not so much. NASA is trying though, "Elvis" and "Mohawk Guy" seem to be a new breed of media savy engineers that have gotten some people excited.
posted by stbalbach at 9:37 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I want to see the laser blow the rock apart, now, well, right after WWF Smackdown that is.
posted by Mojojojo at 9:39 AM on August 22, 2012


No audio? Amateurs.

audio
posted by stbalbach at 9:41 AM on August 22, 2012


I had a similar thought this morning: what does it sound like on Mars? I imagine it's probably just Curiosity's own whirrs and clicks

Is there enough wind to whistle through Curiosity's appendages?
posted by ElGuapo at 9:42 AM on August 22, 2012


On Mars, No One Can Hear You Scream
posted by Burhanistan at 9:44 AM on August 22, 2012


On Mars, No One Can Hear You Scream

Excuse me?
posted by yeti at 9:47 AM on August 22, 2012


Heh, actually sound does carry on Mars but at a fraction of the distance on Earth.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:48 AM on August 22, 2012


Holy moley.
posted by eugenen at 9:50 AM on August 22, 2012


Back in 2004-2006, when I was attempting (and failing) to shift from a twenty year career in high security prairie dog farming to becoming a gentleman building contractor, I sent out many, many resumes to the achingly nearby Goddard Space Flight Center, trying to somehow weasel my way into a position as a spaceprobe evangelist, but I was apparently unconvincing with my pitch and unlucky enough to be doing so during a hard hiring freeze. Still, I send a resume around here and there when something shows up on usajobs.gov, but my lack of a science degree pretty much dooms these attempts to the recycling bins. Sigh.
posted by sonascope at 9:53 AM on August 22, 2012


I got a feeling that I haven't got in years... I think we need to go into space and explore and shit!

You sir need to play Kerbal Space Program.

The next 0.17 alpha update will have multiple planets to fly to... *squeeee*
posted by anthill at 9:54 AM on August 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I've watched the video a few time now, and it is really screwing with my head! I know that this is video from another planet, yet every time I watch it, my brain just refuses. I think we aren't used to such high def media from other planets....and it makes my brain automatically think Arizona or New Mexico or basically anywhere that is in Earth. And then I force myself to hold the fact that it is MARS I am looking at in my head, and this sense of just absolute awe and wonder and joy lights me up like a firecracker. Literally awesome. I am going back to school.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:55 AM on August 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


You've really got to give NASA a lot of credit for their incredible PR effort with this mission. I don't know if it's deliberate, but I feel like it's done a lot to humanize the agency a bit more and show people that their money is being put to good use. They've made celebrities out of scientists and engineers, too, and I think that's a good thing.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:06 AM on August 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


What? No microphone? I want to hear what a Martian Dust Devil sounds like!

But seriously - including audio would go a long ways towards making this kind of video more interesting to mainstream media. Imagine: BANG! the heat shield separates opening Curiosity's eyes. We see the ground slowly rotating with the whistle and flap of the parachute as a backdrop, then KA-CHUNK! the parachute is cut loose, and ... silence as the rover+skycrane plummet... 2 seconds... 3 seconds... then the comforting WHOOSH of rockets stabilizing descent, a creak of suspension at landing, and the sky crane rockets doppler away as the dust settles. I mean, I'm just sayin...
posted by ElGuapo at 10:06 AM on August 22, 2012


Don Pettit's Time-Lapse ISS Photography
posted by Artw at 10:08 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I want to see the laser blow the rock apart, now, well, right after WWF Smackdown that is.
posted by Mojojojo at 11:39 on August 22 [+] [!]



This is what happens when it's not a rock but it's your Macbook and it's a regen amplifier with about three to four watts :(
posted by samofidelis at 10:11 AM on August 22, 2012


Awesome.

Note to NASA: put MARDI on the sky crane next time. That would've been way awesomer.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 10:19 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I still can't believe this shit worked. Way to go, science heroes.
posted by penduluum at 10:26 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what this video reminded me of, only on ANOTHER FREAKIN' PLANET!
posted by bondcliff at 10:27 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


They answered the question of audio on the Reddit thing last week.
Here's the link
We took a microphone on the Phoenix Mars Lander, and we turned it on but essentially heard nothing (white noise) so it was never released. We don't really need it for any experiments.
posted by DigDoug at 10:46 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


What were some bad-assed images of the same event 2 weeks past are now in hindsight just spoilers. Is this the best that JPL's press office can do?
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:50 AM on August 22, 2012


Even in 1080p it's not in 1080p.

This triggered the Louis CK voice in my head.

"Somehow, miraculously we were able to fire a thing the size of a car out at another planet, and it travelled MILLIONS OF MILES and somehow we managed to hit it - WE HIT IT! - and the thing lands safely using huge rockets to land, and you're watching the video of it landing that it sent back to us over those millions of miles. You're watching this video on your computer in your home, on your fat ass that has MAYBE done the dishes as your most spectacular achievement that day. And you complain about it not being good enough.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:59 AM on August 22, 2012 [14 favorites]


Note to NASA: put MARDI on the sky crane next time. That would've been way awesomer.

No, we needed another smaller probe, or three, to touch down a couple of weeks before Curiosity. They would have HD video and still cameras, along with a microphone and beacon for Curiosity to track. JPL would use it to scope out a small landing area, set up the rover/cameras and then send out a signal for Curiosity to home in on. The rover cams would also be homing in on Curiosity's signal, to track it as best they could if it doesn't come down in the exact area.

That would would a whole 'nother level of bad ass.

Is this the best that JPL's press office can do?

It takes a while for an HD movie to come from Mars.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:04 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


It takes a while for an HD movie to come from Mars.

This video is actually fan-made from the publicly released raw data. JPL hasn't released their HD version yet. OTOH, this video is their latest, which shows a lower-rez version of the descent alongside a computer sim, with a voiceover from the landing manager.
posted by smackfu at 11:10 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


We took a microphone on the Phoenix Mars Lander, and we turned it on but essentially heard nothing (white noise) so it was never released. We don't really need it for any experiments.

That's an odd response actually. It was part of the Phoenix version of the MARDI instrument (the camera that took this video) and was supposed to get descent noises, but they didn't even turn it on for Phoenix. So they didn't really try it on Phoenix properly.
posted by smackfu at 11:22 AM on August 22, 2012


I got a feeling that I haven't got in years... I think we need to go into space and explore and shit!

You sir need to play Kerbal Space Program .


Here's the Mars-a-like in Kerbal Space Program, showing a player who's managed to land. This planet, along with Jupiter (+moons), Venus, and Mercury will be added in the next update.

There's already addon packs allowing you to create rovers. There are also addon packs allowing you to create satellite relay systems. There will probably be a way to combine the two into your very own semi-autonomous Mars exploration system complete with the seven minute wait for photographs.

If you would prefer to orbit and make detailed maps, there's always the ISA MapSat addon.

The next edition will even have Bobak Ferdowsi, so your Curiosity simulation will be complete once the skycrane addon is finished.
posted by honestcoyote at 11:33 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


No, we needed another smaller probe, or three, to touch down a couple of weeks before Curiosity. They would have HD video and still cameras, along with a microphone and beacon for Curiosity to track. JPL would use it to scope out a small landing area, set up the rover/cameras and then send out a signal for Curiosity to home in on. The rover cams would also be homing in on Curiosity's signal, to track it as best they could if it doesn't come down in the exact area.

That would would a whole 'nother level of bad ass.


No, wait. They should send Michael Frikken Bay to Mars. And then...

Wait, that's pretty much my whole plan.
posted by yoink at 11:48 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I thought that part of the point of the sky crane was to prevent dust from being kicked up onto the rover. But the video clearly shows a bunch of dust being kicked up as it lands. Was that not the point of the sky crane? Did it not work as expected?
posted by macrael at 11:48 AM on August 22, 2012


From what I understand the Sky Crane was there to get the rover down nice and smooth. They knew there would be a fair amount of dust kicked up.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:56 AM on August 22, 2012


There's gusty-day dust as we see here. And then there's dust being propelled around with all the fury of a ground-level rocket engine. I think the crane did its job just fine.
posted by CaseyB at 12:07 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


How do we get signals from Mars? Interplanetary Broadband
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:12 PM on August 22, 2012


Was that not the point of the sky crane?

It's more about not digging holes in the ground, and not throwing actual rocks on top of the lander, both of which can happen if you run your rockets at altitude 0 for too long.

(The skycrane design also has the neat feature that it doesn't need a touchdown sensor. It knows it has touched down once it stops needing as much thrust to stay in the air. Considering that a bad touchdown indication is thought to be the cause of the Mars Polar Lander mission failing, that's very nice.)
posted by smackfu at 1:14 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


From what I understand, the skycrane was intended to winch the rover down low enough so that the retro-rockets' firing wouldn't kick up dust larger than fine sand grains. That was the intention, at least. The larger debris was a surprise to JPL; they are attributing it to "either the material surrounding the rover -- a region called Aeolis Palus -- was composed of lighter material than the EDL team believed, or that there was a greater degree of thrust on the ground than their simulations predicted." That said, it doesn't look like it's going to be a serious problem, and they think that some of the debris will just shift off during movement of the rover.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:24 PM on August 22, 2012


I thought that part of the point of the sky crane was to prevent dust from being kicked up onto the rover. But the video clearly shows a bunch of dust being kicked up as it lands. Was that not the point of the sky crane? Did it not work as expected?

I read somewhere (the Reddit AMA, I think, though I can't find it now) that one of the things the landing team was surprised about was the size of the rocks that got kicked up onto the rover's deck during landing. You can see some of them here.
posted by bondcliff at 1:46 PM on August 22, 2012


Can somebody explain to me why this Mars rover is any different than all the others? Another series of pictures of rocks? More elemental analysis of those same rocks? Whoooo-eee!
posted by telstar at 2:12 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


ElGuapo: "What? No microphone? I want to hear what a Martian Dust Devil sounds like!"

Clearly NASA needs to hire a Foley artist.
posted by Bonzai at 2:21 PM on August 22, 2012


I heard someone from NASA interviewed on NPR say that they used a more complicated landing concept than needed because they were building up to the idea of a man-ed mission, so they were partly validating technology to land larger and more delicate payloads onto Mars. With robot technology increasing so rapidly, I wonder if it really makes sense to land people on mars anytime soon (in the next century). Maybe they could piece together an entire robotic lab on Mars and eventually an unmanned return vehicle.
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:25 PM on August 22, 2012


Whoever hand-cranked that film? Give them less coffee next time!
posted by Twang at 3:13 PM on August 22, 2012


Wait. That'd be -less- coffee.
posted by Twang at 3:14 PM on August 22, 2012


No no no! MORE. I meant MORE!
posted by Twang at 3:15 PM on August 22, 2012


OK, I know I'm asking for ponies here, but I wish that NASA would release the telemetry for the time period shown. I'd love to see the video with an overlay showing:
posted by Popular Ethics at 3:28 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Check out the video in smackfu's comment. Not exactly what you want, but close.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:59 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


SCIENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love science.
posted by sc114 at 5:35 PM on August 22, 2012


Telstar, I'm at a concert right now, but unless someone else wants to take it up, I would be interested in outlining the differences in the lander projects later on. It really is cool stuff!
posted by lazaruslong at 7:17 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow. The last image in the video smackfu posted... So incredibly high definition. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would consider it ironclad proof that we did not land on Mars. As it is, though, I'm just astonished.
posted by Night_owl at 8:41 PM on August 22, 2012


NASA Ranger 9 Impact on the Moon 1965Millions watch space probe crash into Moon. More about the spacecraft:
Ranger 9 was designed to achieve a lunar impact trajectory and to transmit high-resolution photographs of the lunar surface during the final minutes of flight up to impact. The spacecraft carried six television vidicon cameras, 2 wide angle (channel F, cameras A and B) and 4 narrow angle (channel P) to accomplish these objectives. The cameras were arranged in two separate chains, or channels, each self-contained with separate power supplies, timers, and transmitters so as to afford the greatest reliability and probability of obtaining high-quality Television pictures. No other experiments were carried on the spacecraft.
Stay tuned, folks!
posted by cenoxo at 9:11 PM on August 22, 2012


For those that are tempted by Kerbal Space Program, here's a Youtube video series to make you feel unimaginative. The ones with more views are more crazy.
posted by anthill at 9:36 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


AAAAAaaaahhh! There's NO WATER! Anywhere!
posted by porpoise at 11:24 PM on August 22, 2012


This stuff is absolutely amazing.

I can imagine and understand the level of technology that was required to do this. I absolutely appreciate just exactly what was done and how much background since the first rocket flight to Newton working out celestial mechanics.

This is a wonderous time and NASA needs to hire professionals to ... professionally ... publicize their achievements. I'm sure their budget for that is nil, but how about lobbying rich people who think that this is cool to fund a better publicist team?

I would hate/love to know the results of a well run international poll that tried to determine attitudes towards the Curiosity mission.
posted by porpoise at 11:36 PM on August 22, 2012


NASA's Misaligned PR Office.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:56 PM on August 22, 2012


I really like this Titan descent video-thing.
posted by doctornemo at 9:46 AM on August 23, 2012


I do think that Seven Minutes of Terror video is about as good as you are going to get. And it did do a good job of going viral.
posted by smackfu at 10:06 AM on August 23, 2012


After Trip of 352 Million Miles, Cheers for 23 Feet on Mars
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:58 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Robots to Go Spelunking in Martian Caves? Robots that rappel, hop or lower themselves by tether into Martian skylights could reshape the hunt for life beyond Earth.
posted by homunculus at 2:43 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Astronomers spot pair of 'Tatooine' planets orbiting twin suns
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:13 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Red eyes
posted by homunculus at 10:19 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Job ad for the JPL ad from the '60s.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:28 AM on September 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


In other news: NASA craft to leave asteroid Vesta, head for dwarf planet Ceres
posted by homunculus at 7:09 PM on September 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


2013 and 14 will have an Indian and Chinese rover landing on the moon.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:28 PM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Voyager’s Long Journey: 35 Years of Incredible Solar System Images

How soon will Voyager 1 leave the solar system?
posted by homunculus at 12:00 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Former U.S. President Backs 100 Year Starship
posted by homunculus at 10:39 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Amazing New Image Captures Curiosity Rover’s Tracks From Space
posted by homunculus at 8:38 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


In other news: Behold, the Toothbrush That Just Saved the International Space Station
posted by homunculus at 9:35 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Curiosity snaps a self-portrait from the surface of Mars
posted by homunculus at 12:02 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Homunculus, seriously, thanks for the fantastic updates.
posted by Night_owl at 2:34 PM on September 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


My pleasure, Night_owl.
posted by homunculus at 1:48 PM on September 10, 2012


Scientists fear Curiosity rover drill bits could contaminate Mars: The possible contamination of the drill bits occurred six months before the rover’s launch last Nov. 26. The bits had been sterilized inside a box to be opened only after Curiosity landed on Mars.

Hey, Curiosity scientists, didn't you see 'Alien'?
posted by homunculus at 1:50 PM on September 10, 2012


Mars Curiosity update, now with animated GIFs from the red planet
posted by homunculus at 1:03 PM on September 12, 2012


It Only Happens on Mars: Carbon Dioxide Snow is Falling on the Red Planet
posted by homunculus at 5:24 PM on September 12, 2012


We’ve decided to post one more video of Curiosity’s landing. Because holy crap, is it spectacular.
posted by homunculus at 12:31 PM on September 13, 2012


They put sound in the video. There is no sound!!!!

Or at least put in the audio from the JPL control room as they received data about the landing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:28 PM on September 13, 2012


I just came here to post that same video. Holy fuck. And audio?!?
posted by lazaruslong at 5:29 PM on September 13, 2012


The audio is from the NASA animation, not the actual landing. Curiosity has no microphones on it.

The more I think about it, the more this bugs me. This lastest video looks like its been over processed for a summer Hollywood blockbuster, which is depressing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:51 PM on September 13, 2012


Curiosity has no microphones on it.

The more I think about it, the more this bugs me.


Me too. They should have put microphones on it.
posted by homunculus at 6:18 PM on September 13, 2012


Yep. In addition, they should have sent a smaller probe with cameras and microphones to land before Curiosity. That way it could have recorded the descent in glorious color and sound.

There was a plan to have a camera on top the outershell, to record the parachute opening, but that was dropped in the planning stages.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:33 AM on September 14, 2012


Awwwww, that's so lame that the audio isn't real. Oh well. The video is amazeaballs.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:45 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the thinner air wouldn't everything be kind of muffled anyway?
posted by Artw at 7:52 AM on September 14, 2012


Hmm I think so, Artw. That's an interesting question. Is sound in thinner air just quieter because there is less air to move around? Or does having thin air change the timbre of sound?
posted by lazaruslong at 7:54 AM on September 14, 2012


They put a microphone on the some other Mars lander, it either broke or they didn't get much data from it, so there wasn't much incentive to add mics to other probes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:43 AM on September 14, 2012


I'm guessing it sounds very lonely there, with faint winds and no echo
posted by Burhanistan at 9:17 AM on September 14, 2012


Like, even the wind that blows across you would still sound faint because the air density is so much less. Lonely.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:37 PM on September 14, 2012


We could bring along an iPod.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:57 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Muhammad Ali Goes to Mars
posted by homunculus at 7:46 PM on September 18, 2012


Metafilter: They should have put microphones on it.

or how about

Metafilter: The more I think about it, the more this bugs me.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:10 PM on September 19, 2012


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