Talk:Mars Exploration Rover
|This article is written in American English (labor, realize, analyze), and some terms used in it may be different or absent from other varieties of English. According to the relevant style guide, this should not be changed without broad consensus.|
|This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Mars Exploration Rover article.|
Mars Exploration Rover was a good article, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these are addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Delisted version: June 19, 2006
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- 1 Jan 2004 Discussion
- 2 Maestro
- 3 LiveJournals
- 4 Microscope
- 5 Opportunity approaching Mars image
- 6 Weird thing
- 7 RAT links in MER-A and MER-B articles
- 8 Per Capita Inquiry
- 9 Forgotten part
- 10 Failed GA
- 11 Good article dispute
- 12 Summary clarification
- 13 Opportunity Reaches 10 Kilometer Mark
- 14 Specific Discoveries
- 15 What did the mission accomplish (in detail)
- 16 Cleaning of solar panels
- 17 What's been accomplished?
- 18 Plagiarism
- 19 What about the mysterious rockformation
- 20 Five Years on Mars
- 21 MER's solar panels vs. MSL's RTGs
- 22 Article Needs a FAQ-like Section
- 23 File:Mer-b-final-launch.jpg
- 24 Why no more rovers ?
- 25 days or sols
- 26 History section, beginning
- 27 Naming of Spirit and Opportunity
- 28 add new mars rover
- 29 Robotics attention needed
- 30 Not even the facts
Jan 2004 Discussion
So what about this water? The whole point of the mission was to poop out if there was water on Mars and the article only mentions the word 3 times. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 22.214.171.124 (talk • contribs) .
For what reason should the proper name of this article *not* be Mars Exploration Rover Mission? Kingturtle 10:58 26 Jun 2003 (UTC)
- hmm, well, so far NASA used MER (as for MER-A and MER-B, the two rovers), but I guess that when the rovers will get closer to Mars they will use more fancy names for publicity ;) Yeah I think Mars Exploration Rover Mission is Ok for now, MER sounds too much like MIR anyway ;) -- Rotem Dan
Should an attempt be made to make a complete timeline of this mission? It'd be an effort, but I think I may be able to do it, and will proceed if there is no objection here. The mission is deemed by NASA to last at least 90 days, so a timeline could be large, I'd make a new article for it and link it off of this article. Comments? Objections? --Flockmeal 07:40, Jan 5, 2004 (UTC)
- Sounds okay. Perhaps make two timelines, though, if MER-B "Opportunity" lands successfully - their missions are independent of each other. Bryan 07:49, 5 Jan 2004 (UTC)
- Ok, great start. I will proceed with both timelines, but as always anyone who wants to help is welcome. :) - Flockmeal 18:41, Jan 5, 2004 (UTC)
- Uploaded another image. (media:2N126469021EDN0000P1503L0M1.jpg) Green Mountain 15:04, 5 Jan 2004 (UTC)
- Don't go too hog-wild uploading images yet, there's 90 days' worth coming (plus whatever Opportunity gets) and the earliest ones sent are of low quality - they'll be superceded soon by colour panoramas and possibly orphaned. Bryan 16:06, 5 Jan 2004 (UTC)
- I agree with Bryan. We should upload some of the milestone images (the first sent back, really good ones, images that NASA seems really interested about) and then just link to NASA's MER image websites otherwise. There probably will be thousands of images after NASA's all done. -- Flockmeal 18:44, Jan 5, 2004 (UTC)~
- Are expected to be transnmitted to Earth in about 7 1/2 hours. SmilingBoy 01:24, 6 Jan 2004 (UTC)
- At some point, uploading numerous massive images is going to start seeming like dumping the source text of Hamlet into Wikipeida; there's just no point if the bulk of the raw data overwhelms the commentary and "encyclopedic" content. How about waiting for a few weeks, and then selecting the very best two or three images to show what Spirit saw? Bryan 01:07, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)
- Uploading images won't hurt anything. The images that have been uploaded are all milestone images, and they look fine. Plus, they can be used in other articles. (ex. Sleepy Hollow (Mars)) We can always remove images to a separate "images of mars rover" article if we get too many. Green Mountain 03:33, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Should this page be renamed to just Mars Exploration Rover to become analogous with Mars Pathfinder, etc.? I know the NASA page refers to it as the "Mars Exploration Rover Mission," but the JPL page for Pathfinder (http://mars.sgi.com/default1.html) referred to it as "Mars Pathfinder Mission" in the title as well. ehh I dunno. Evil saltine 17:47, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Mars Pathfinder only involved one rover. The Mars Exploration Rover Mission involves two, so I think the current title is fine, and to change it would imply that there is only one rover, which is misleading. Flockmeal 17:54, Jan 7, 2004 (UTC)
- That makes sense to me. Evil saltine 16:43, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Are there articles on the failed Mars missions? I'd look for them if I knew their names. --Spikey 19:53, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)
- Some are listed over in the "exploration" section of the Mars article, though it is not exhaustive. Unmanned space mission has a section listing solar system exploration missions which includes some failed Mars missions too. I'm thinking perhaps I should overhaul the exploration section of the Mars article to be more exhaustive and detailed. Notable failures include: Mars Surveyor '98 program, Phobos program, Marsnik program, Mars probe program, Mars Observer. The Soviets had very bad luck with Mars. Bryan 04:03, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)
- Originally I wrote 2 extra articles as timelines of the progress of MER-A (Spirit) and MER-B (Opportunity). This worked for about 2 days, then someone redirected the timeline articles to MER-A and MER-B and merged a bunch of info specific to the rover from the Mission article. I'm just moving along with it, editing MER-A and MER-B as timelines of the 90 day missions. Flockmeal 01:35, Jan 9, 2004 (UTC)
- This pattern of having an article for the overall space exploration program and individual articles for each of the spacecraft comprising it is common among the other Wikipedia articles on space missions involving multiple spacecraft. See Viking program, for example. I think it's quite reasonable considering that the rovers will be exploring completely different parts of Mars; their common features can be included here but the unique events and discoveries each will experience can be kept separate. Bryan 03:14, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)
- The Rover plus Lander has a mass of 530 kilograms (approx 1200 pounds), but the lower gravity on Mars means it weighs only the equivalent of 198 kg (437 pounds)
This (current) wording is confusing - kg is a unit of mass, not weight or force.
It is better than the usage in the version of 20:52, 2004 Jan 8, but the original wording prior to 16:30, 2004 Jan 8 had no confusion. If people feel a need to demonstrate the ratios in both SI and english units, then it could say that it weighs only "198 kiloponds". NealMcB 05:20, 2004 Jan 9 (UTC)
- Weight is a hopelessly confusing subject for the general public. I hoped to weasel out of the problems with weight by using "the equivalent of" and "corresponds to". I don't think using "kiloponds", whatever they are, will aid in understanding. -- Tim Starling 06:52, Jan 9, 2004 (UTC)
- How about using links like this for people who want clarification:
- Bryan 07:52, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)
- The wikipedia definition of pound lists it as a unit of mass. NIST lists it as a unit of mass: . My dictionary mostly calls it a unit of force, but includes mass also. I think it is normally ambiguous, but in this context it is well specified and used consistently. I incorporated Brian's proposal, with a slight wording change ("has a mass of..."). NealMcB 02:29, 2004 Jan 10 (UTC)
Well, enough with the silly units. The numbers didn't work when I started cranking them. They probably came from  but I found more precise-looking ones at  and converted them to gravity using the "equatorial gravity" numbers at 
NealMcB 03:09, 2004 Jan 10 (UTC)
Sennheiser understands that Maestro is NASA software, but he notes that Maestro isnt hosted on a site with .gov. The categories are nasa sites and non nasa sites. Maestro was developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, but the homepage for the application is hosted by http://telascience.org/ so Sennheiser was under the impression that this would be considered a "non nasa site."
I'm just curious if anyone knows who runs these LiveJournal accounts that anthropomorphize the rovers into young girls: spiritrover and opportunitygrrl. That's really funny ;-) —Mulad 20:12, Mar 18, 2004
- Hm. Appears that the person who created "spiritrover" is known as gfish. Dunno about the other one. —Mulad 07:01, Mar 19, 2004 (UTC)
Any idea on what the resolution is of the microscopes on the rovers? I managed to find the info for Beagle 2, but not for these. --NeuronExMachina 02:52, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)
- According to this page, USGS MI homepage, the resolution is about 30 micrometers per pixel. --JustinWick Aug 14 07:06 GMT 2004
Opportunity approaching Mars image
I removed this.. 3Mb is just a ridiculous size for an article image, but I'm open to debate on the matter :). --Zerbey 22:05, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
- Don't worry, unless you try to view the image in full resolution, Wikipedia can resize the image and reduce the file size for you. (btw, I reverted your change) — Yaohua2000 22:33, 2005 Jan 4 (UTC)
- The animated thumbnail is still nearly 700 kilobytes, which takes a significant amount of time to download over a dial-up connection. Furthermore, even if the image's file size were as tiny as a non-aninmated thumbnail, I think I still question the merit of this image's inclusion in an encyclopedia article like this. It's basically just a rapid zoom toward a computer-generated sphere. What does it illustrate or explain, aside from "Opportunity moved toward Mars"? The only other comparable animation I know of is the one in Libration, which IMO is worth the large filesize because it illustrates lunar libration beautifully - a concept that would otherwise be hard to intuitively grasp just from text. Bryan 00:12, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
- I didn't think I was expressing an opinion one way or the other on how hard it was to make the animation. Likewise, I've got no issue with its quality - it's smooth and detailed and clean, very nice. However, I just don't think it's conveying all that much information. Certainly not 700 kilobytes worth, IMO. What is its purpose here in this article? Bryan 07:42, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
What is this little round brushy thing on the rover arm in this picture (nearer to the "elbow")?  I've never noticed it before and I think they only use the little brushes on the RAT for brushing off rocks etc., so what's this thing do?--Deglr6328 10:21, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I noticed links to RAT on the MER-B article, which yesterday went to a disambiguation page that didn't have Rock Abrasion Tool listed. I added it, fixed up the links on the MER-A and MER-B articles, and wrote a Rock Abrasion Tool stub. I know that the RAT is covered on the Mars Exploration Rover article, but that article is getting very long and Wikipedia is now warning against expanding it and in favor of splitting it into multiple articles.
I just thought that those who contribute this content should know this. You might want to tear down my stub and link back to the MER article, or the MER article folks might want to start setting up separate articles for instrumentation and etc. I leave it to others.
Jeff Medkeff 01:21, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)
Per Capita Inquiry
I think we should leave the per capita statement. It is an interesting tidbit that does no harm to the article. People like to know where their money goes, and I think it makes some people go, "Hmm... that's cool." Thus, I vote to leave it and revert to a previous edit. Any thoughts? --Marsbound2024 01:26, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
- I've got mixed feelings about his one, but on the whole I think it's redundant and unnecessary. There's nothing wrong with a bit of flair in writing, but (a) in 5-15 years it will be as meaningless as the cost in todays money because of inflation, and (b) in spirit I think it's reactionary, if people say "US$800 million for what?!?", well, it's still US$800 million, even if it is only $2.70 per citizen. It's just redundant and unnecessary, it won't be important for anything in 5 years and Wiki is suppposed to be a long term project.
- I does change with a country's population curve, or even if the country splits up. I think just the cost and currency is fine, and the date the cost was cited is recorded in the wiki DB, so anyone can calculate "real" cost from that info. --JamesHoadley 12:55, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
- The meaning doesn't change with time - in year X, we spent Y% of the output of our economy on project A. That is unambiguous and meaningful, regardless of when you happen to look at it. No need to account for inflation and population etc. - JustinWick 19:05, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
- This is because the mission is in progress and there is no definitive date when to end the mission. The most recent mission extension is through September 2006 I do believe. If it appears the rovers are still sufficiently operational and scientifically valuable as the extension nears an end, NASA may choose to extend it even further (presumably into 2007). --Marsbound2024 00:30, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Basically on references. Lincher 13:59, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
- ??? Please explain. TestPilot 14:45, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Good article dispute
I run the GAAuto script for the good articles list that alerts me to changes in the status of articles.
I noticed that this article has run into some controversy regarding whether or not it should be a good article. I have therefore delisted it for the time being and placed an entry for it in the disputes section of the good article project.
Please feel free to submit your opinions on whether or not this article qualifies for good article status there.
Cedars 02:32, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
"On January 21, the Deep Space Network lost contact with the Spirit rover, for reasons originally thought to be related to a thunderstorm over Australia."
January 21 of what year? Think we need a full date here...
--Longman391 22:20, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
- Fixed that. --Marsbound2024 03:06, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Opportunity Reaches 10 Kilometer Mark
I know the reference does not indicate February 6th as the date, but the JPL Home Page SAYS it reached 10 kilometers "during a drive on February 6th." The images and articles were not uploaded until the next day on the 7th. Please visit www.jpl.nasa.gov for confirmation. In the future I am sure this will be verified in the status update reports on the Mars Exploration Rover home page. --Marsbound2024 14:41, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
- I think it would be nice to have a section explaining why it is that the rovers have outlived their expected mission by so long (1400% by my count). Was this just sand-bagging by the engineers who designed the rover? Or is everyone really surprised by the long life of the rovers? What systems were expected to fail within three months, and why have they instead lasted 3.5 years? It seems like the engineers greatly underestimated the robustness of their machines. Westwind273 02:40, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Guys, it would be great if you created an independent section concerning the discoveries that the Rovers made. Maybe you can add information form Scientific information from the Mars Exploration Rover mission article? 126.96.36.199 14:22, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
What did the mission accomplish (in detail)
I came to this article hoping to find out what the mission has accomplished- specifically an entire section dedicated to all the scientific contributions, etc; but this article is almost entirely about the equipment and the transportation (of the rovers to Mars). --Zybez 17:59, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
- Check out the pages for MER-A and MER-B (spirit respectiveley opportunity) for more details on discoveries.
Cleaning of solar panels
I may sound a bit dumb saying this, but why did they not mount a cleaning tool to one of the arms to wipe the solar panels? MadMaxDog 10:47, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
- Hey there. I thought the exact same thing. I mean how hard would it be to have a small little motor with something the equivalent of a windshield wiper??? NOT HARD AT ALL. I think the main thing is stowing that arm and making sure it doesn't get in the way of other devices (as well as jamming say above the solar panels and casting a shadow). Undoubtedly with NASA, adding such an arm would add another two million to the budget. But anyways, despite this, the parts eventually fail and a clean solar panel won't move broken wheels. Additionally, with dust in the atmosphere creating high opacity, clean solar panels are essential, but will not help after a certain point... dust gets too thick and not enough sunlight comes through to generate enough power even on virtually perfectly clean solar panels... thus, the rover is not able to keep its electronics warm. Still, they SHOULD HAVE HAD A CLEANING TOOL OF SOME SORT. It extends life at least some (probably lots). I think NASA just needs an average person like you/me to suggest some blatantly obvious things. I mean are we missing something?? Not sure why we can't have cleaning tools for the panels. --Marsbound2024 03:22, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
- It is a reasonable suggestion if you're planning on running a multi-year mission (I thought of it too), but when you're only planning on the rovers just barely squeaking past 90 days because of failures in other systems, the weight and complexity of having an extra motor isn't justified.Bongle 12:48, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
- Also, there was a limit to how large and/or heavy the rovers could be; so if they had chosen to add a device for cleaning off the solar panels, it would have been at the cost of one or more of the rovers' scientific devices. Vsst 23:41, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
What's been accomplished?
There's nothing telling me what this mission has actually accomplished. What's been discovered? 188.8.131.52 23:18, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I discovered some direct copy-paste action going on in this article. The original source is http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/mission/spacecraft_edl_parachute.html The entire article is reproduced nearly 100% starting here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Exploration_Rover#Parachute I compared the too texts using this: http://www.comparesuite.com/online.htm and they were found to be 63% similar. I will look into the extent of the plagiarism and look to find the user responsible. An article rewrite will likely be necessary if the plagiarism is significantly large. Any help is appreciated. wingman358 18:14, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
- While rewriting in standard wiki-style is probably a good idea. It should be noted that there is no copyright violation here. Products of the US federal government are in the public domain (with few exceptions) and thus available for reuse without limitation. There is not even a legal requirement that credit be given, though of course, we have a scholarly obligation to indicate or sources. ~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by Eluchil404 (talk • contribs) 19:24, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
What about the mysterious rockformation
Recently several newspapers have written about a strange shape on the left side of one of the pictures taken by the Mars Exploration Rover, see for instance, 
How are the scientist interpreting the formation? Are their other pictures from the vehicle from different angles? Could one settle the issue by comparing the path of the vehicle?
I found the following interesting analysis of the subject here . Maybe the martians are very smal, 6 cm? :) Maybe someone could do something about the stuff? --RickardV (talk) 09:10, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Five Years on Mars
I think that it is important to cite that the rovers are spending their fifth year on Mars. There will be documentaries of this on National Geographic called "Five Years on Mars: The Rovers", which I feel should also be written about.Cakechild (talk) 22:51, 1 November 2008 (UTC)CakechilCakechild (talk) 22:51, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
On that note, does anyone have maps showing where and how far the rovers have traveled? The most current one I've found through googling is from about 2005 or 2006. EricDerKonig (talk) 18:21, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
- I actually have self-created traverse maps for Spirit in Gusev Crater that gives better perspective than NASA images. I essentially overlayed the up-close higher resolution image pictures on lower-res, wider area ones. Thus you can get a good idea of traverse in Gusev crater. I've also worked on one for Opportunity as well if anyone is interested.--Marsbound2024 (talk) 00:41, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
MER's solar panels vs. MSL's RTGs
Does anyone have any information as to why NASA chose to use a solar panel for power instead of an RTG (radioisotope thermoelectric generator)? I know they're planning to use an RTG on the newer, bigger rover, the MSL (Mars Science Laboratory). They did use RHUs (radioisotope heater units) on the MER; the only thing I can think of is weight and cost savings associated with a mission that has a shorter planned duration - 90 days vs 2 years. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 22:09, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
- RTGs aren't readily available and are quite a good deal more expensive than solar panels. NASA was also wanting to send two units instead of one so having TWO RTGs was almost certainly out of the question.--Marsbound2024 (talk) 00:43, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Article Needs a FAQ-like Section
A simple bulleted list of interesting facts would be a nice addition to the article, such as:
Distance traveled so far by each rover; speed of each rover (high and low, depending on terrain); number of geological features visited, photographed or tested (rocks, craters, other formations); coldest temperature endured; highest temperature endured; map locating rovers on Mars surface; potential physical life span of each rover; etc...).
Why no more rovers ?
These rovers have been so successful, with only minor glitches, why has no consideration never been given to re-using (the proven) design and launching more rovers, with maybe a change in the scientific experiments carried on board ? The cost savings in re-using the design, rather than starting from scratch (again! which seems to be the way these things are done) would be highly advantageous. The vehicles are fairly light and cheap, the landing method is proven, the wheel design is proven (with maybe some improvement to the bearings to stop seizing), the vehicles have lasted an extremely long time, so it seems strange to abandon what has been learnt to try an unproven new rover. Heck, why not just sell the design to any third party for use for scientific exploration (presuming they can get the rovers to Mars somehow) ? The Yeti (talk) 01:08, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
days or sols
The Power and electronics section says "The MSL will generate 2.5 kilowatt hours per day compared to the Mars Exploration Rovers which can generate about 0.6 kilowatt hours per day." but the source doesn't seem clear if 'day' actually means sol which would match other reports of the MERs generating up to 600kWhr/sol. Rod57 (talk) 14:51, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
- Actually, 600 Wh/sol is about 0.6 kWh/day, since a sol is only slightly larger than an Earthly day.--Roentgenium111 (talk) 21:03, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
History section, beginning
It would be nice if the history section began with the dates (or even general months) of when each rover was launched and landed on Mars. At this point, you have to go to each individual rover's page to learn that info. IChooseLife24 (talk) 17:41, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
I found the same quotation from the 9-year-old girl appears on an official NASA page so have substituted that in place of the obviously controversial Facebook page. My hope is this will end what appears to be an edit war between an IP user and a bot. — Glenn L (talk) 08:18, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
add new mars rover
Robotics attention needed
- Inline refs - lots of paras without inline refs, including the whole first half and a bit of the "History" section and a vast amount of the "Design" section.
- Check content
- Check structure - in particular check MoS, and the "see also" and "glossary" parts (boldface, size etc.).
Not even the facts
This article fails the basics: When proposed? By whom? When approved? Legislative history Directors? (Program Managers?) Designed WHERE? Manufactured WHERE? sub components, ... Assembled WHERE? Propulsion? Instruments? Rover? Launched WHERE? Paths/ Trajectories? Costs? Major findings? very disappointing220.127.116.11 (talk) 18:11, 27 June 2012 (UTC)