Some corner of a foreign planet
January 16, 2015 2:29 AM   Subscribe

Beagle probe found on the surface of Mars 12 years after contact was lost with the probe on its descent it has been spotted by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Live blog of the anouncement.
Remembering Colin Pillinger who sadly died last year.
posted by brilliantmistake (39 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Welcome!
posted by item at 2:32 AM on January 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Man I've turned into my 2nd grade teacher.
posted by item at 2:33 AM on January 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


NO ROBOT LEFT BEHIND.
posted by alby at 2:56 AM on January 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


Good dog!
posted by hap_hazard at 3:40 AM on January 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Admiral Archer will be relieved to hear this.
posted by JohnFromGR at 4:27 AM on January 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


There is a Beagle in the Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center, at Cape Canaveral.
It is only fitting that Beagle is also on Mars
posted by Flood at 4:38 AM on January 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is there somewhere I can see the MRO picture without sitting through a long video?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:52 AM on January 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is there somewhere I can see the MRO picture without sitting through a long video?

But that's how you get your free cruise on the Canals in Mars!

Seriously though, I'm thrilled they've found it. *gives beagle silicon dog treat*
posted by arcticseal at 4:58 AM on January 16, 2015


Whew! Thank goodness you guys are back. You've invented space elevators by now, right? Just come down here and build one and get me out of here.
posted by radicalawyer at 4:58 AM on January 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wow! Awesome! Never thought I'd see the day.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:01 AM on January 16, 2015


I guess it's finally safe to say: "The Beagle has landed". (I'm so sorry).
posted by Optamystic at 5:07 AM on January 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


Is there somewhere I can see the MRO picture without sitting through a long video?

Here.
posted by rlk at 5:10 AM on January 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Is it just me, or do other people feel that news like this seems almost mundane at this point even though, objectively, it should be completely awe inspiring (or alternatively dumbfounding) that there is a camera orbiting another fucking planet that found a probe that was rightly assumed that we would never see again?
posted by wierdo at 5:15 AM on January 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


ALIENS FOUND ON MARS
posted by stbalbach at 5:35 AM on January 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


_
posted by Artw at 5:44 AM on January 16, 2015


(Actually less _ than I expected, reading on. )
posted by Artw at 5:50 AM on January 16, 2015


Happiness is a warm Beagle.
posted by El Brendano at 5:54 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there somewhere I can see the MRO picture without sitting through a long video?

It is not a long video. It is just over one minute.

It is an entirely pointless video. We see a couple of guys-with-ties taking their turns at the lectern to announce that the probe has been found, and visible over one's shoulder is a tiny grayscale orbital shot of the landing site. A lost space probe being rediscovered more than a decade later is interesting. A pair of middle-aged Englishmen speaking at a press conference is not.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:02 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now that they know where it is, are they going to try for for sharper photos? Is that even possible?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:17 AM on January 16, 2015


Things like this remind me that living in the future is awesome.
posted by Torosaurus at 6:29 AM on January 16, 2015


Professor Mark Sims of Leicester University said: "It's like dropping a tin of baked beans and denting it then trying to get the lid off. It's not easy."

This is the most British analogy possible
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:01 AM on January 16, 2015 [27 favorites]


I wish they made it say 'Dr Livingstone, I presume?'
posted by Spanner Nic at 7:11 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had always assumed that like many beagles it was lost after running off to chase a rabbit.
posted by TedW at 7:16 AM on January 16, 2015


Now that they know where it is, are they going to try for for sharper photos? Is that even possible?

Not until we get a new probe in place -- those are max res photos. I don't know, offhand, if anybody has such in works, MRO is pretty good, and neither Mars Oddyssey nor MAVEN brought a better camera because MRO's imager was so good -- .3 meter resolution at 300km (1 μrad angular resolution) and with stereo pairs can get topography to .25m.

So, a better camera in Mars orbit is going to be low on the list. Indeed, MRO's primary mapping mission is done three times over, and it's primary function now is to act as a comm relay for other probes. MRO's communication system is very robust with high bandwidth, with a 3m dish antenna and two 100W TWT amps. It can send at 6mbps. That was needed for the very large images that HiRISE produced in the mapping mission, and (wisely) NASA JPL realized that they could, with a good receiver onboard, use that system to relay other mission's data, and save those missions from carrying such a large comm system.

MAVEN also has a very high performance comm system, but because of MAVEN's elliptical orbit, surface missions can't use it. Theoretically, if MRO's system failed, and if they still have ΔV onboard, they could circularize MAVEN's orbit and have it be the relay. Mars Odyssey can also relay data from the surface probes and rovers, but it has a lower bandwidth.

NASA/JPL is looking at possibly sending a dedicated relay sat, given the bandwidth requirements of the next series of probes in development, esp. Mars 2020, which is the current rover planned to follow MSL.
posted by eriko at 7:17 AM on January 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


Somewhere, Tom Hanks' agent is getting a flurry of phone calls.
posted by chicobangs at 7:17 AM on January 16, 2015


Dammit, East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94, I wanted to say that!

Instead I'll say how amazing it is that Mars has its own satellite communication and surveillance network. I really want to go visit.

...now that they finally have good cell service
posted by moonmilk at 7:39 AM on January 16, 2015



Is there somewhere I can see the MRO picture without sitting through a long video?

Here.



I more than half expected that link to go to a picture of Snoopy. That it did not makes me feel relieved, excited about science amazingness, and slightly disappointed all at once.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:13 AM on January 16, 2015


OHANA MEANS FAMILY AND FAMILY MEANS NO ROBOTS GET LEFT BEHIND

no don't look at me im emotional
posted by poffin boffin at 8:55 AM on January 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why don't we have Curiosity cruise over and salvage it for spares?
posted by Naberius at 9:07 AM on January 16, 2015


Why don't we have Curiosity cruise over and salvage it for spares?

To paraphrase, Mars is big.

You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

Also: Mars is the only known planet inhabited solely by robots. It's been on MeFi before, but I think it's worth repeating... We have robots taking pictures of each other and talking to each other on Mars - oh btw if you have some spare bandwidth pass this on to mission control, would you? We live in the far-out future, man!
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:15 AM on January 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Mars is the only known planet inhabited solely by robots.

Robots, and Evghenia.
posted by Killick at 9:18 AM on January 16, 2015


Also: Mars is the only known planet inhabited solely by robots.

Yeah, I have to stop and count them off, because it's so many at this point. There's two rovers, Spirit and Curiosity. Five spacecraft are in orbit: Mars Express, Mars Orbiter Mission, MAVEN, 2001 Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

in 2016, InSight will land in 2016, ESA and Russia are teaming up to send a lander in the same year, and a rover in 2018, India is going to send another orbiter around the same time, while NASA has another Curiosity like rover scheduled for 2020.

Popular planet!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:28 AM on January 16, 2015


> I wish they made it say 'Dr Livingstone, I presume?'

Isn't that what the whole mission was about? Once living or always just stone?
posted by benito.strauss at 9:46 AM on January 16, 2015


This is the most British analogy possible

Yes, the britishness of the probe is key here. I imagine it sitting there for the first ten years, sort of idly tapping its sensors and wishing it had some biscuits.

Wish those panels had deployed.

Still, mustn't grumble. Could be worse, eh?

...

I'm sure someone will be along any time now.


I hope they brought it a cup of tea.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:47 AM on January 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


Kafkaesque, you forgot to have it talking about the weather being nice for this time of year.
posted by arcticseal at 10:14 AM on January 16, 2015


Is there somewhere I can see the MRO picture without sitting through a long video?

Here.


I more than half expected that link to go to a picture of Snoopy. That it did not makes me feel relieved, excited about science amazingness, and slightly disappointed all at once.


My mind immediately went to Futurama. It was, after all, just sitting there on Mars waiting for humanity to come back for it.
posted by dances with hamsters at 10:46 AM on January 16, 2015


I imagine it sitting there for the first ten years, sort of idly tapping its sensors and wishing it had some biscuits.

"The first ten million years were the worst; the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline."
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:23 AM on January 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Beagle ...

E-A-G-L-E

/CharlieBrown
posted by freecellwizard at 12:02 PM on January 16, 2015


"In the first section, the Space Beagle lands on a largely deserted desolate planet. Small scattered herds of deer-like creatures are seen, and the ancient ruins of cities litter the landscape."
posted by clavdivs at 7:13 PM on January 16, 2015


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