Talk:Mars Science Laboratory/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 1 Archive 2



Quote: "The rover will probably be powered by RTG's as the weight of a solar cell and power storage system would be prohibitive, and a solar cell system would not work very well at low Martian latitudes or in dusty conditions."

WHAT are RTG's? Rocket Towed Grenades? Rwandan Tree Gorillas? Recycled Tarantula Gases? Really Thick Glasses?

Was wondering the same thing myself. Have discovered it means radioisotope thermoelectric generators and have edited the page to reflect this. --Lancevortex 23:01, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)
A little bitty nuclear plant, huh? Boy, I hope that thing doesn't crash and break apart or we'll never hear the end of it! Doovinator 18:16, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Just to be clear: RTGs are not nuclear plants in the sense you (seem to) mean: they are not reactors, but merely produce electricity from the heat generated by a decaying radioactive material. There was a lot of alarmist press about this type of gernerator back in the late 1990s. For example, see this page at Bad Astronomy: [1]ZorkFox 01:34, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
RTGs do not produce an active chain reaction. The heat from the natural decay of plutonium pellets is converted into electrical energy by thermocouples. RTGs have been used safely since the early 1960s. They are designed to survive re-entry without dispersing their radioactive material in case of a launch accident; in once case an Air Force satellite suffered a launch failure, the RTGs were recovered intact, refurbished, and flown on the backup vehicle two months later.
Ignorance is bliss, I see. RTG is NOT a "nuclear plant", [ad hominem autocensored]. -- 11:02, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Can RTGs even power a rover like that, with all the wheels and motorsT.Neo 15:37, 9 September 2007 (UTC) Yes, in fact MSL will be getting 2400wh per day while the MERs get at best 900wh. MSL will have batteries that are trickle charged by the RTG.--BerserkerBen 05:12, 15 September 2007 (UTC)


Removed the following:

There has been talk about NASA using Linux to power the rover's onboard computer.

I'm a Linux advocate and free software developer (I wrote small bits of GnuCash, much of the documentation for 1.6, and a Gimp plugin for red-eye reduction), so I like to see Linux used and publicised as much as anyone. However, given that this thing appears to still be very much at the conceptual design stage, rumours that the thing might use Linux don't seem particularly notable. --Robert Merkel 06:17, 30 Jul 2004 (UTC)

The flight computer runs VxWorks. However, Linux is used heavily in development and testing of major boards connected to the flight computer (and probably many other instruments and components). --Someone who would know —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:43, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

New configuration picture

I'm just wondering: where is the RTG gone on the new rover configuration picture? --Bricktop 15:42, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Because some people goes mad-wacko-insanity when hearing anything about "nukulear" energy?
No, because NASA 's been keeping quiet about the power source, hopefully to avoid another incident like with Cassini-Huygens.--Planetary 07:17, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
The RTGs cannot be depicted because they are export-controlled, sensitive information. As the design has progressed and renderings become more technically accurate, they had to be ommitted.
But once it nears launch it will be depicted, I'm assuming? --Planetary 01:43, 28 December 2006 (UTC)--Planetary 01:43, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
No. They will be essentially a black box in the design: a shell with radiator fins sticking out. I've seen the internal designs of some of the RTGs on older missions, and have access to the neutron spectrum from the design, but that is about it. Michaelbusch 03:49, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, they know best, I suppose.--Planetary 04:45, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Units of mass and weight

The article currently states "MSL is expected to weigh over 800 kg (1,760 lb) including 65 kg (143 lb) of scientific instruments". However, since this thing is going to operate on Mars, isn't it going to weigh less than this? Perhaps this section of the article should be more clear about distinguishing between mass and weight.

--Pomakis 15:07, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

That is Earth weight, its Martian weight is not as important as is lift off mass.--BerserkerBen 21:37, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Old pictures

Who cares? Get rid of them, I tell ya! I done this, rv it if you can't sleep without obsolete picture haunting whole page. -- 11:22, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Funding Problem 9-2007

The news anounced that the Chemcam lost its funding and that the camera will go without zoom. Further cuts in costs will be possible. This is tipical for a new NASA boss to halt some missions to show his ability to reduce costs, the last did the same with Dawn. What really happens nobody knows.--Stone 15:35, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

So the Chemcam lost its funding and the camera wont have zoom, will this mean the mission will get cancelled? Oh, and by the way, what is a chemcam? T.Neo 18:08, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Never mind about about the Chemcam, read about it in the article. T.Neo 18:10, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Dam, this is really bad, the Chemcam is not the only thing affected: I rather them push the mission up to 2011-2013 then cut the science like this! We should retain information on things as they were, that way we will have a live history of the development, so don't go deleting the MARDI information and changing specs without retaining the information of what was originally planned and then state how they changed. --BerserkerBen 14:46, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Updates approaching launch

So, in reading this article I was surprised by how variable or unsure most of the claims were on the article. This makes sense from a 2006 standpoint, when most of this article was created, but it seems like now, in 2008, we should probably have more definitive information, and less future tense speculation, regarding things like the MSL's payload, landing sites, etc. Launch is only 18 months away, and so I imagine most of the science instruments are probably already completed and undergoing assembly on the vehicle. This is entirely speculation on my part, based on what i've seen with past space missions, but maybe somebody knows of an engineer's blog or NASA updates about the mission that might allow us to update this article?--Galactoise (talk) 00:16, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

As I now ExoMars and get the gosip of MSL09 there is still much todo, talk about the sample preparation and distribution , the Chemcam and the power source is frequent and looks far from setelt.--15:17, 25 March 2008 (UTC)


How friggin huge is this thing? According to the chassis test picture it´s like 4 meters wide, but I can´t find any info about it in the article. --Threedots dead (talk) 23:32, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I have looked around for the exact measurements of the MSL but so far I haven't found anything more specific than what has been said in the article. I have found though a picture that compares a mock up of the MSL to the other two types of rovers that NASA has sent to Mars. --GrandDrake (talk) 21:40, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Was looking through the old references and found some technical information, including the length of the MSL, in a USA Today article. --GrandDrake (talk) 07:13, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Missing landing site

A landing site named "Gale" is missing from the list in the article. I don't know why, so I'm adding it boldly. --AndersFeder (talk) 21:47, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

In the text, in between two phrases about budget, is this sentence: "In August 2008, it was announced that the third MSL workshop would be held to summarize the data on the 7 potential landing sites."

I see this out of place and unnesesary because besides of being out of place in the format, there are already 3 tables dealing with potential landing sites. I deleted it but it was replaced, so I am kindly suggesting to reevaluate this minor change. Thank you. BatteryIncluded (talk) 13:51, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

The selection of the 3 most likely landing sites for the MSL seems appropriate for the history section. --GrandDrake (talk) 18:26, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree in that prior proposals can be removed; this is not to diminish the extraordinary work and Wikification of the related tables. Howerer, the history of landing sites' selection is way too long and brings no understanding to the logic or criteria for selection. In addition, the article ought to undergo changes as updates develop. Edited to add: I just took a look at the selection criteria and made an abstract. I believe this would be a fine replacement for the long list of proposed sites (except for the latest list):

"The essential issue is to identify a particular geologic environment (or set of environments) that would support microbial life. To mitigate the risk of disappointment and ensure the greatest chance for science success, interest is placed at the greatest number of possible science objectives at a chosen landing site. Thus, a landing site with morphologic and mineralogic evidence for past water is better than a site with just one of these criteria. Furthermore, a site with spectra indicating multiple hydrated minerals is preferred; clay minerals and sulfate salts would constitute a rich site. Hematite, other iron oxides, sulfate minerals, phyllosilicate minerals, silica, and possibly chloride minerals have all been suggested as possible substrates for fossil preservation. Indeed, all are known to facilitate the preservation of fossil morphologies and molecules on Earth." (Referfence:Discussion Points and Science Criteria). Difficult terrain is the best candidate for finding evidence of livable conditions, and engineers must be sure the rover can safely reach the site and drive within it. (ref:Mars - Seven Possible MSL Landing Sites.-BatteryIncluded (talk) 19:14, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

First video camera on Mars?

Is MSL taking the first video camera to Mars? And will it actually transmit back to Earth or is it just for navigational purposes, etc. If it will be, I think we should mention this as this is pretty important for deep space exploration, IMHO. --Josh Atkins (talk - contribs) 20:38, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

It is not the first video camera on Mars. Here's the information (MastCam): [2] - BatteryIncluded (talk) 21:49, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Okay, thanks for clarifying that. However, on the link you gave it does state "The MastCam has an internal data buffer for storing [...] several hours of high-definition video footage for transmission to Earth." Whilst previous Mars rovers, such as MER (not sure about Sojourner??), did have video cameras, did they actually transmit real-time video back to Earth? When I say real-time I mean a video that was actually taken by a video camera, not an animation of still images (i.e. not the dust storm videos), that was actually transmitted back to Earth? --Josh Atkins (talk - contribs) 14:25, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

MARDI camera removed

Copied from NASA's MSL update: [3] Dated: 17-Sep-2007 "[...] Engineering changes to the mission include some reductions in design complexity, reductions in planned spares, some simplifications of flight software, and some ground test program changes. These changes were selected largely to help reduce mission risks. Changes in mission science content were limited to removal of the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI), the MASTCAM zoom capability from the mission, and a change from a rock grinding tool to a rock brushing tool. [...] most of MARDI's capability can be provided by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRise camera now in orbit and working successfully."-BatteryIncluded (talk) 22:06, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

MARDI was reinstated back in Nov 2007. You edited out the reference on 17:52, 7 October 2008. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) Actually, MARDI has already been delivered to JPL: [4].

I see. I apologize for my mistake. Thnk you. -BatteryIncluded (talk) 17:30, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
Interesting ... am I correct in thinking that MARDI was originally to be included on Phoenix, but removed, and moved over to MSL's mission? --Josh Atkins (talk - contribs) 14:26, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
If so, we should note this in the Phoenix article's MARDI section, here: Phoenix (spacecraft)#Mars Descent Imager --Josh Atkins (talk - contribs) 14:28, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

small inflatable scouts

i heard a story about small inflatable scouts that would acompany the MSL. it was even on Popular science magazine and online. so anyidea what happend to the scout mission. cause the only thing i heard about it is that it could go with the MSL mission.[5][6]Nrpf22pr (talk) 17:50, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Interesting. But it seems nothing more than an informal Swedish proposal, since there is no mention of it in the MSL home website. -BatteryIncluded (talk) 20:17, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
And there is another Finnish program, network inflatable landers MetNet ~ Acodered (talk) 15:55, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Students to Name New Mars Rover

if you remember the student contest over the naming of the rovers that became spirit and oportunity, theyre doing it again with this mission. The contest started yesterday and the Essays must be received by Jan. 25, 2009. In March 2009, the public will have an opportunity to rank nine finalist names via the Internet as additional input for judges to consider during the selection process. NASA will announce the winning rover name in April 2009. its just about the same as the other two rovers. so im suggest to ad this to this article.[7]Nrpf22pr (talk) 02:50, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm in favor of a brief note to that effect. BatteryIncluded (talk) 04:52, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

spaceflight 07-08

i was wondering why 2007 and 2008 in spaceflight's were on this article. since they dont have anything to do with this mission, i was wondering if it would be alright with switching them with 2011 and 2012 in spaceflight since they both have something to do with this article since its their launch dates.--Nrpf22pr (talk) 19:54, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree to their deletion from "See also". -BatteryIncluded (talk) 02:36, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

How does the MSL record 1280x720 video when the mast cameras have a field of view of 1200x1200 pixels?

The MSL mast camera article on the JPL website states that the mast cameras have a field of view of 1200x1200 pixels. How than can it record 1280x720 video? Does it scale the video or does it leave 40 pixels on each side blank? --GrandDrake (talk) 07:24, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

New talk on MSL

Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group March 2009 Presentation has nice images of the instruments and the sky crane. --Stone (talk) 12:59, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Launch Vehicle

Weight and landing site is discussed, but launch vehicle is not. How is it going to get to Mars? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:59, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

I have added a section on the launch vehicle. --GrandDrake (talk) 01:14, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

News from NASA

The nice thing is that the MSL11 is endangering other missions like the Astrobiology Laboratory and the moon missions LADEE and ILN.--Stone (talk) 14:34, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

The proposed Astrobiology Field Laboratory (AFL) rover would be based on the design of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) so if they didn't make the MSL they wouldn't be able to make the AFL. Also the document you link to says that only if the MSL budget overrun goes high enough would they delay the LADEE and ILN missions. --GrandDrake (talk) 03:07, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Mars Science Laboratory - Factual Error

The temperatures that may be encountered by the MSL are described as being between +86 F and -197 F. The maximum temperature is clearly in error - the warmest temperature ever recorded on Mars is just above the freezing point of water (32 F). This temperature is only achieved in late afternoon near the Martian equator. (talk) 02:32, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

I just checked at, and they give the maximum temperature recorded on Mars as 68 F. This number is probably what the author intended. It is still quite unlikely that MSL will encounter any temperatures much higher than zero F, whereas almost everywhere on Mars, the night-time temperature drops to just above the freezing point of carbon dioxide, since the atmosphere provides very little insulation from the cold of space. (talk) 02:39, 11 September 2010 (UTC)


This debate is quickly settled by a trip to the official mission page. The previous link provided referred to the Mars Exploration Rover page. However, the official MSL page uses the term 'The Rover Electronics Module' link. Due to this, I can see no further discussion on this matter unless the official page changes the term. --Xession (talk) 22:45, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

Official page or not... the information is wrong. I know this personally, and I understand that I cannot use myself as a reference. The mission page could've been produced by someone that's not on the technical staff or was using preliminary documentation. That being said, many places on the internet reference an RCE for MSL:
link, a paper discussing flight software development for the RCE for MSL, coauthored by someone from JPL
link, a NASA webpage discussing an MSL instrument sending raw data to the RCE
link, presentation discussing flight software, RCE is referenced on slide 6
link, a LinkedIn page of one of the lead engineers that delivered the RCE for MSL (ironically enough he also was a major contributor to the REM for MER ~10 years ago)
So, just because it's the official page, let's not take the information for granted. We have first hand knowledge supported by multiple sources that reference the RCE in the MSL spacecraft. --thefrznchckn 10:00, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Upon further review, it seems the name of the computer was changed some time between 2007 and 2010. I was unsuccessful in finding the paper you cite in any peer reviewed journals (though Scirus does list it). However, the latest article that lists the module as Rover Electronics Module, was in 2007 (AIAA Preview / doi: 10.2514/1.23979). The latest article that lists the module as Rover Compute Element however, is from July 2010 (AIAA Preview). I was under the impression that the MSL team was keeping the website up to date due to the importance and notoriety of the mission. My apologies for not researching the matter further to begin with. --Xession (talk) 19:10, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Nice job both of you. Would you then please update the article and reference? Cheers, --BatteryIncluded (talk) 20:07, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
The correct name (RCE) is now on the official website. link It hadn't been updated in quite some time. Morx (talk) 15:53, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Over budget

Is the cost increase and the problems with that mentioned properly? I think there should be a section mentioning the original price tag and the numbers wich became reality.--Stone 13:54, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Mach-2 - can we get a better definition?

Presumably the speed of sound in the Martian atmosphere is not the same as it is on Earth (density, composition). Surey NASA uses a more precise kph figure? I notice that the statement is not supported by a citation. Can this text be improved? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:46, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

1) You dudes have NO sense of humor

2) This blurb is awful: "The MSL test parachute. Note the people in the lower-right corner of the image."

Why should it even matter that there are people in the image? If you want to describe the scale of the parachute, maybe you should look up the specifications. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:44, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Oh hey so now a robot is harassing my talk page because I, a lowly unregistered user, dared to create a section on a discussion page. (talk) 05:55, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Not really, you forgot to sign your post. The robot fixed it and probably put a message reminding you to please sign your posts. The two messages on your talk page that I read were from another user. I would also remind you that profanity is not really acceptable here as there may be schoolchildren reading the article and its talk page. Chaosdruid (talk) 00:17, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
No, my edits were REVERTED by a script twice in a row. This is in spite of the edit containing nothing objectionable. The same script then started stalking my talk page. And I really doubt children are reading the talk page for an unregistered IP.
This is all beside the fact that the caption on that picture is not even up to the minimal standards of Wikipedia. (talk) 03:20, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
To answer your original question, mentioning people in the image gives the reader some idea of the size of the parachute. --RadioFan (talk) 15:26, 28 November 2011 (UTC)


What does it mean, "TBC"? As in "Lands on August 6, 2012 (TBC)" ?? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:05, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

It is a very common abbreviation meaning "To be confirmed". ChiZeroOne (talk) 16:18, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Science News resource

Going where no Mars rover has gone before; Spacecraft Curiosity to land at Red Planet's Gale Crater by Nadia Drake August 27th, 2011; Vol.180 #5 (p. 15) in Science News. (talk) 02:31, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Can we have more on the Mobility System

Could we have more details of the driving and steering mechanisms. Image suggests 4 of the 6 wheels are steerable. Do all 6 wheels have their own hub motors ? How much torque can each generate ? - Rod57 (talk) 23:45, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Scientific American resource

Digging Mars; The Mars Phoenix mission revived hopes that the Red Planet may be habitable, preparing the way for a new rover to be launched this month by Peter H. Smith SciAm November 3, 2011 (talk) 22:27, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Article style

"is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mission", I think "is a NASA mission" would suffice. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:40, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Good question- when does a set of intials become so familiar that we can omit the full name in an international encyclopedia? The way it is is technically correct, but NASA is one fo the most famous sets of intitials in the world and it did grate on me when I read it. If the NASA is linked to the Page, then perhaps we do not need to define it. IceDragon64 (talk) 00:12, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Actually, "NASA" has already become a type of phrase that people don't take seriously. Its connotations are similar to the words, "scientists" and "researchers". Because these words are used so often without the listeners/viewers actually having any familiarity or interest or information about the event, this causes the word to become less important and attain a general stereotype associated with it, such as the word "scientist". So instead of using the generic, sterotyped "NASA", it's better to use the full name rather than the initialism, especially since this is the first sentence of the article as well. - M0rphzone (talk) 03:08, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Precise landing

"It will attempt to perform the first-ever precision landing on Mars" – I may be missing something but how didi Vikings land then? (talk) 21:34, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Precision of the landing is determined by the size of the planned elipse that the spacecraft is to land in. Viking's elipse was 100-200km (as was MER and Pathfinder), MSL's is 20km. Its the difference between a shotgun and a rifle. Not quite a sniper rifle but significantly more accurate.--RadioFan (talk) 21:40, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
In fact, the precise location of the Viking 2 lander was not known until MRO spotted it from orbit — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:41, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

James Cameron and 3D history

The history of James Cameron and 3D changes should have a section even if the mission equipment was ultimately lost to budget.-- (talk) 07:06, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done The zoom capability that was descoped in spring 2010 is worth a sentence or two I suppose.--RadioFan (talk) 12:54, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

need a Current Status section?

I don't know what the wikipedia standard protocol is, but shouldn't there be something like a Current Status section that details where the spacecraft is at the current (approximate) moment? something like: Mission day 2 (Nov 27 2011): spacecraft was successfully launched at [time, date], and has entered the cruise phase of the mission; it has successfully left Earth orbit and is now in route to Mars. Current distance (as of [time, date]) of spacecraft from Earth is approximately [xxx km (xxx A.U.)]; current distance from spacecraft to Mars is approximately [xxx km (xxx A.U.)]. That'd be really cool <smile>! thanks Lanephil (talk) 23:20, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm not wild about a current status section during a 8 month cruise phase, nothing significant to include there and distance from Earth/Mars updates are a bit pointless. Readers will get the picture from the launch date and anticipated landing date. The other items mentioned above can definitely be included in other sections however.--RadioFan (talk) 15:24, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
The problem is there is no source for a daily status. NASA is not releasing this information, at least not yet. Maybe they will if enough people ask for it. --Mschribr (talk) 19:40, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Eyes on the Solar System is a reasonable source (once MSL shows up there, my understanding is that it will during cruise) here as it's based on JPL supplied data. But constant updating of this information in the article is not necessary.--RadioFan (talk) 00:18, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Maybe it could fit in the infobox?--Anders Feder (talk) 06:56, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes - current status of the cruise mode of the MSL seems like a worthwhile idea to consider adding to the main article - current "Countdown-To-Landing" status seem to be easily available from several NASA JPL sources - (REF-1, REF-2, REF-3) - however, current statuses of *Speed* and *Distance* do not seem to be easily available - at least at the moment - in any case - enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 16:45, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Maintenance banners

This article currently is tagged as being too technical and too long. I just dont see it but wanted to get some other thoughts before just removing these tags. Given how complex this topic is, the article does a remarkable job of presenting the information in an accessible manner. The intro paragraphs are particularly easy to understand.--RadioFan (talk) 15:24, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree with the banners, particularly the 'Specifications' and 'Payload' sections are very technical. I propose splitting these two sections into a separate article, e.g. Instrumentation of the Curiosity rover, and only cover them in summary in the present article.--Anders Feder (talk) 05:56, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
I feel compelled to remove all banners because 1)a space mission HAS to be technical/ scientific, and, 2) all relevant terms are appropiately linked to its corresponding articles; 3) if you remove the payload section you have absolutely nothing substantial to say about this TECHNICAL and SCIENTIFIC mission, other than "MSL: a Rocket to Mars". How helpful would such "encyclopedic" article be? Why other space missions don't have such banners? Did the person who placed them read the article? Did he followed the relevant links? Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 07:20, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Splitting the instrumentation section off into it's own article makes sense. A couple of good paragraphs summarizing the instruments on board and how they are unique will serve this article well. I suspect the section on instruments will grow as well. It's actually a bit thin, seems to be largely based on high level info in the press kit and there is tons of good specific information on individual instruments.--RadioFan (talk) 11:56, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
It is not a matter of it being TECHNICAL and SCIENTIFIC. It is a matter of it being TOO TECHNICAL and TOO SCIENTIFIC. Is the exact wavelength of the ChemCam LIBS laser or the number of filter positions of the RGB Bayer pattern filter of the MastCam really the first thing the average reader will be looking for? Nothing wrong in being thorough, but does it have to be in the main article? Why not organize it so those looking for an overview don't have to parse all the intricate jargon and those looking for details don't have to sift through all the high level stuff? If you look at e.g. Mars Exploration Rover, while technical, it only has a few lines about instrumentation, not a full-blown specification.--Anders Feder (talk) 18:56, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Just noting that I removed the "too long" tag quite simply because it's not too long. Thanks, Swarm X 21:48, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Please don't dumb it down just because it is technical. Some of us can read beyond the average 12 year old. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:12, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes, but some of us can't. That is the whole point. We can write seperate articles for as many sections as we want, so lets consider doing so. An article doesn't have to be very technical- with lots of statistics and detailed specifications- to be informative. Data will not be lost if it is transferred to seperate articles. Many wikipedia articles are made far too technical just becuase our editors think they have to be very technical just for "credibility". I think the medical ones are much worse, where you have to have a degree to understand the opening paragraphs. Patience, my friends, we will reach a sensible compromise in due course.

IceDragon64 (talk) 00:05, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Remove future spaceflights catergory?

Seeing how it's now in flight, I don't see how this is applicable. ***patchiman*** ***talk to me!*** 16:55, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

As i received no opposition i deleted the future spaceflights catergory ***patchiman*** ***talk to me!*** 16:39, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Although in this case, it would seem obvious to remove it- one single day is not much evidence of "no opposition"

IceDragon64 (talk) 00:07, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Can this be right?

Each [Curiosity] computer's memory includes 256 KB of EEPROM .... This compares to 3 MB of EEPROM [for Spirit and Opportunity].

The latest has one-twelfth of this kind of memory than the earlier ones? (talk) 03:43, 3 December 2011 (UTC)


This section does not read well in terms of its content. Surely the history of a space vehicle begins with the beginning and tells a brief summary of the technical, political and financial decisions to create it- then goes into a summary of what happened during its creation, in all three aspects, then it is finalised up to launch. No way should it begin with an overspend statement.

IceDragon64 (talk) 00:15, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

I was also thinking that the "History" section needs some serious work. For example, the launch is not included. As events unfold this section should contain an overview of these events. I can think of three major sections that should be in the history: 1. Conception (when it was conceived, why, etc). 2. Development (this is perhaps where cost overrun informatiom might belong) 3. Deployment (pre-launch preparation, launch, landing) 4. Mission (TBD )War (talk) 21:02, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Requested move (2011)

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

No consensus to move. Vegaswikian (talk) 19:07, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Mars Science LaboratoryCuriosity roverRelisted. Vegaswikian (talk) 20:04, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Based on being consistent with the pages named Spirit rover and Opportunity rover instead of Mars Exploration Rover – A and Mars Exploration Rover – B, respectively.
Thanks, Marasama (talk) 16:19, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

  • In Favor - Yes, it makes sense. Also, both names are now very comonly used by the mass media. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 17:02, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Until it lands, it's not a rover. Rillian (talk) 19:16, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
FWIW - perhaps more accurately? -> the Curiosity rover, presently in cruise mode to Mars, is still a "rover" nonetheless - but is simply not yet "roving" [until it lands]? Drbogdan (talk) 20:42, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with DrBogdan, it is a rover, regardless of being in its current cruise stage. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 20:26, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - There is a Curiosity article already, which is about the primary usage of the word (which is, of course, unrelated to this topic) Cambalachero (talk) 19:35, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Hello, there is already a page for Curiosity (disambiguation) and a redirect from Curiosity (rover). This page could be moved (renamed) Curiosity (rover). Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 20:26, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • In Favour - Rename to Curiosity (rover). Logical and consistent. Rover is still applicable while in transit. Jamsta (talk) 20:25, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose proposed name per WP:SPACENAME - "(spacecraft)" would be the preferred disambiguator. The MER articles probably need to be brought in line. In any case, both MSL and Curiosity are in common usage, unlike MER vs Spirit/Opportunity, so there is no real reason to move, therefore I would oppose in principle as well as in practise. --GW 21:14, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • In Favour - It does make sense.Fakirbakir (talk) 21:23, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Opposed: Agree with GW. Most media, for now at least, is calling it the Mars Science Laboratory and adding that is also known as Curiosity.--NavyBlue84 14:39, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
FWIW - Perhaps Google Scholar ghits may be somewhat relevant? -> Searching [Mars Curiosity Rover] gets 3,320 ghits; whereas ["Mars Science Laboratory"] gets 2,550 in comparison - perhaps not the ideal comparison of course but not sure at the moment how best to know if "Mars Curiosity Rover" (2,040,000 ghits by a "Regular" Google Search) or "Mars Science Laboratory" (650,000 ghits by a "Regular" Google Search) is truly the more popular phrasing in the mainstream media - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 17:16, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose — MSL is the correct name for the entire program, as well as for the assemblage of instruments that are mounted on a robotic probe spacecraft currently headed toward Mars. Once the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) of the entire MSL has occurred, and several important parts of the spacecraft portion of the MSL have done their job and become Mars trash, the remaining part of MSL (i.e., the Curiosity Lander) will be ready to have an article named after that specific ground vehicle. And with a long roving life hoped for, and expected, I would expect that Curiosity Rover will have its own, separate article, to cover that Martian roving mission. But for now, the overall program, and the entire space mission, from launch to landing, ought to have an article to cover the full breadth of the topic, and that is so much more than merely the lander. Cheers. N2e (talk) 20:42, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose – the mission name is a perfectly good article title, and common, too. Leave it. Dicklyon (talk) 23:35, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Rename but to Curiosity (Mars rover). I note that predecessor is Spirit rover. As I read the article, there is not intended to be any other functioning element of the equipment, once it arrives: the rest is a mere delivery mechanism. It may in due course be useful to fork off an article dealing with that, to provent the article on the rover becoming too big, but there is no reason to do so until it lands. Peterkingiron (talk) 12:27, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose The article should be named for the mission, not the vehicle, per convention. This follows naming of previous missions such as Mars Exploration Rover and Mars Pathfinder (and it's redirects Sojourner (rover) and Mars Sojourner). The only reasons there are separate articles for Spirit rover and Opportunity rover is to reduce the size of the main Mars Exploration Rover article and to cover the very different history of each vehicle. MSL is a single vehicle and there are no plans for another similar vehicle under the same mission. The Mars Science Laboratory title is appropriate as are the existing redirects Curiosity (rover) and Curiosity rover as well as the entry on the dab page . --RadioFan (talk) 14:01, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Requested move (2012)

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: article not moved Armbrust, B.Ed. WrestleMania XXVIII The Undertaker 20–0 05:48, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Mars Science LaboratoryMars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) – While the missions name is indeed "Mars Science Laboratory" it is also commonly known as "Curiosity". Even engineers refer to it as "Curiosity" when they discuss it in interviews. I think adding the name Curiosity to the title in parenthesis would be helpful. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 21:32, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Opposed - MSL is the name of the mission, while Curiosity is the nickname for the rover, which is already mentioned in the first sentence. Cumbersome titles are not helpful. BatteryIncluded (talk) 22:36, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
    • I do not disagree but nickname is just as well known if not better known. Google hit count does not quite matter since even on NASA's own website for the mission ([8]) "curiosity" is used more frequently. Adding the nickname wouldn't be cumbersome. In the article "Mars Science Laboratory" is used with lesser frequency than "Curiosity" aside from references section titles of which each individual source tends to prefer to use "Curiosity" more frequently in the body of the text. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 21:43, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Opposed - I *Entirely* Agree With The Reasons Presented By BatteryIncluded Above - Also, The Keywords Of "Curiosity rover" (w/o quotes) (in "Wikipedia Search" as well as in "Google Search," "Bing Search" and other searchers?) Easily Highlights/Notes/Redirects To The Main "Mars Science Laboratory" Wikipedia Article - In Any Case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 22:44, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Search engines will not display the count properly for a common word like "curiosity" as they will cut the search short earlier as match confidence will drop faster. Hit count alone isn't deterministic. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 21:52, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment isn't that backwards? Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory) -- since the probe is "Curiosity", so the disambiguatory term should be "Mars Science Laboratory" or Curiosity (Mars probe). -- (talk) 05:15, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Date format in refs

Copied from User_talk:Drbogdan#Date_format_in_refs:

Could I ask why you are modifying these? I am curious because Mediawiki can allow users to change the format they wish to see from their user settings (if in ISO format). You can change how it appears via settings. --A Certain White Cat chi? 21:25, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Thank You For Your Comments - No Problem Whatsoever - Seemed Like An OK Effort - And Was Done Mostly To Present A Bit Of Consistency To The Article For Many Readers - The References In The Article Seemed To Look Much Better And Clearer After The Editing Effort - Nonetheless, Reverting's *Entirely* Ok w/ Me - esp If There's Good Reason - And No Objections From Others Of Course - In Any Case - Thanks Again For Your Comments - And - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 22:46, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Payload description

  • Blake, David (2012). "Characterization and Calibration of the CheMin Mineralogical Instrument on Mars Science Laboratory". Space Science Reviews. doi:10.1007/s11214-012-9905-1. 
  • Maki, J. (2012). "The Mars Science Laboratory Engineering Cameras". Space Science Reviews. doi:10.1007/s11214-012-9882-4. 
  • Anderson, R. C. (2012). "Collecting Samples in Gale Crater, Mars; an Overview of the Mars Science Laboratory Sample Acquisition, Sample Processing and Handling System". Space Science Reviews. doi:10.1007/s11214-012-9898-9. 
  • Wiens, Roger C. (2012). "The ChemCam Instrument Suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover: Body Unit and Combined System Tests". Space Science Reviews. doi:10.1007/s11214-012-9902-4. 
  • Conrad, Pamela G. (2012). "The Mars Science Laboratory Organic Check Material". Space Science Reviews. doi:10.1007/s11214-012-9893-1. 
  • Campbell, John L. (2012). "Calibration of the Mars Science Laboratory Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer". Space Science Reviews. doi:10.1007/s11214-012-9873-5. 
  • Mahaffy, Paul R. (2012). "The Sample Analysis at Mars Investigation and Instrument Suite". Space Science Reviews. doi:10.1007/s11214-012-9879-z. 

This might be a good source for additional data on the instruments.

--Stone (talk) 08:10, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

James Cameron

The disputed entry on James Cameron does not seem to be "false" as there are references. To be fair, the grieving editor should find out if Cameron's camera proposal was incorporated in the rover or not (which is not clear in the reference). Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 23:40, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Malin Space Science Systems' web page identifies Cameron as the MastCam co-investigator: [9]. BatteryIncluded (talk) 02:45, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
For 3D you need two cameras, but now they have only two cameras with different vocal length. So the 3D for which Cameron was responsible is no longer part of the mission. A Zoom Lens for the MSL Mast Cameras: Mechanical Design and Development
OK. Feel free then to remove that entry. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 14:42, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Dear user Stone. Can you please confirm that this entry is also outdated?"
Navigation cameras (Navcams): The MSL will use a pair of black and white navigation cameras mounted on the mast to support ground navigation.[93][94] The cameras will use visible light to capture stereoscopic 3-D imagery.
Thank you, BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:00, 17 July 2012 (UTC)


Is the gratuitous use of acronyms necessary. Some of the acronyms are used only once while others are crowded into sentences. For example:

"The SMS then moves the sample to the SAM oven to release gases by heating to up to 1000 oC;[80][86] and the wide range pumps (WRP) subsystem to purge the QMS, TLS, and the CPSL."

Writing out the phrases does not significantly add to the length of each sentence, but the density of acronyms in the current sentences encumbers the descriptions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:03, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done - BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:01, 17 July 2012 (UTC)


molecular components with a mass range of 2–235 u This is wrong. A GC has no mass range. --Stone (talk) 09:17, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

You are right. However, it is already indicated that the GC will only separate the gases, and that the actual analyses will be made by the Tunable Laser (TLS) and the Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (QMS) which has a reported mass range of 2-535 Daltons. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:49, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I am sorry, I just noticed that you corrected it already. For a moment I thought it was a request. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:09, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Do we really need to embed three videos on the SAM suite? BatteryIncluded (talk) 11:57, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the split proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Consensus to split. N2e (talk) 15:31:07, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Draft discussion

The MSL (mission) and rover (mission rover) articles will unavoidably have some duplication of information, so I suggest to not agonize too much over "splitting" but allowing the rover article to have a format to expand.

  • I suggest to duplicate "Goals & objectives" section.
  • Move the entire payload section to the rover article and leave a Main article link in the MSL "Payload " section.
  • Duplicate the "Landing system" section.

Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 14:33, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Concur that there will unavoidably be some duplication. However, Wikipedia article standards assume that one is the main article (or main section) on certain topic and the other provides only a summary with a link to the other. So I would recommend leaving only a summary abstract of the Launch, the spaceflight transit to Mars, and the Entry/Descent and Landing (EDL) on Mars in the rover article, and leaving the full blown detail on those three subjects for the spaceflight (which is conveniently named, Mars Science Laboratory) article. N2e (talk) 02:48, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
I made some edits to the draft article to illustrate how the large amount of detail in the MSL article might be cut back to merely abstract the overall picture and give detail on the role of the specific Curiosity rover elements that play an active role in the landing by absorbing the final (slow) impact. N2e (talk) 03:19, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Just a comment. Is there any way the article (or both of them, I suppose) could be set up to put some of the better pictures nearer to the top? I know the pictures are near the most relevant content right now though, so I'm not sure what changes I would propose. :-) Arc de Ciel (talk) 04:28, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

two images of landing site

Are both images of the landing site (with the yellow circle) needed? One is just a little closer up than the other one. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 02:41, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Someone has changed them. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 17:15, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Split articles after (successful) landing?

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the split proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Consensus was to split. N2e (talk) 15:31:07, 6 August 2012 (UTC)


This is not a proposal, just thinking out loud on my part, and wanting to initiate a discussion for what to do with the article(s) following a hypothetical successful landing.

There have been a couple of previous proposals that the article be renamed to the popular name of the rover; I believe that both did not receive a consensus to go forward, at least during the spaceflight and Mars-transit portion of the mission.

My thinking is that, following a successful landing, when the spaceflight mission of the Earth-departure payload is over, there really ought to be two articles. One that would describe the spaceflight mission from launch to LEO to Mars-injection orbit to Entry/Descent/Landing on Mars; and one that would describe the Exoplanetary science mission of the landed rover on Mars.

  • None of the spaceflight, or space transport, mission ought to be minimized once the lander begins it's on-planet roving/science mission. The spaceflight, and all of its many significant spaceflight accomplishments, will continue to be of great interest to Wikipedia readers, and to WP:WikiProject Spaceflight, without taking anything away from the anticipated/soon-to-be-coming accomplishments of the rover/science mission.

So why not just think about creating a new article for the rover and Martian planetary science aspects, roughly at the time of the successful landing. If this were done, the spaceflight article would need to have only high-level summaries of the detailed instruments on the Curiosity rover, with a main-article link to the rover/science mission article, and the rover/science mission article would have only a high-level summary of the of spaceflight (launch through EDL) but would have a main-article link to the spaceflight article.

If this gains any traction, we can sort out the names for the two articles later on. What do others think about this idea? Cheers. N2e (talk) 13:45, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

I would agree. Article is quite long as is and the spacecraft hasn't even landed yet. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 14:13, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
That seems a useful initiative, but please lets define exactly what would be split. Although short missions such as the Pathfinder and Phoenix lander are best covered within one article, we now know from long-duration missions such as the Viking Program and Spirit/Opportunity rovers, that the scientific data generated will be vast, and in those missions, separate articles on their findings/results were useful. Such new article's title may incorporate the word "results" or something like "scientific information from the MSL" or "Findings by the Curiority rover", or Curiosity rover planetary science" in its title.
If we are in agreement with this 'proposed' new article -which I'd like to see up and running just before the crowds descent on Wikipedia- could be the one that describes the scientific payload, scientific findings, and the timeline or mission progress after the landing.
Next, I do not see any need/benefit to rename the current "mother" article from its official and popular MSL name. Cheers BatteryIncluded (talk) 14:37, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Agreed on the name of the current article; I think that Mars Science Laboratory is, in fact, the actual name of the spacecraft, and in keeping with WP:WikiProject Spaceflight naming practices, that is exactly the correct name for the more spaceflight-related article, the one that describes the entire spaceflight mission from launch to landing, including the gutsy and novel Entry/Descent/Landing method.
I'm less convinced that some specific science-results-ish title needs to be given to the rover. I think merely naming the extraterrestrial Martian rover-related article Curiosity Rover would do. It would be simpler, and could be made more specific to scientific results once it's been operating for a long-time and the peer-reviewed results are published in journals. And it would logically contain the detailed descriptions of the design of the Mars-surface instruments, robotic devices, etc., as well as the results as they become notable and sourced by secondary sources.
But I would definitely try hard to support consensus should a group of the interested editors think other article titles are better. Cheers. N2e (talk) 04:15, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
FWIW - At the moment, I'm for keeping the Mars Science Laboratory main article (w/ a Curiosity Rover re-direct) as a *Single* main article - and *Not* splitting the article into other multiple articles - even after a successful landing - this is due, at least in part, to similar (some presently longer?) Mars Rover main articles, such as the Opportunity Rover, Spirit Rover, Pathfinder Rover main articles - also, maintaining a Single main article, rather than multiple articles, for the Mars Science Laboratory seems simpler/easier/better to understand and access - nonetheless, and depending on future circumstances, there may be a time when splitting the article might be useful of course - in any regards - hope the above helps in some way - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 15:14, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Agreed that "At the moment..." no split needs to be done. However, in another couple of weeks, I think the rover-specific, on-Mars, exoplanetary-research aspects of the ground phase of the (part of the original launch payload that is the) rover will be so notable, and have so much info published about it, that it will be wiki-worthy of its own article. Cheers. N2e (talk) 04:15, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes, Splitting May Eventually Be Helpful Of Course But Maybe Let's Wait-and-See For Now? - Currently, The Mars Science Laboratory Article Size Is 74,869 bytes - In Comparison, The History of Eglin Air Force Base Is 293,376 bytes (apparently, Wikipedia articles may be as much as 394,054 bytes - other large articles are also listed) - If Interested, Related Informations On Wikipedia Article Size May Be Found At The Following => WP:LENGTH + WP:SIZERULE + WP:SPLIT - In Any Case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 10:03, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

This mission will be very prominent in the world mass media and in 10 days when the landing takes place, casual editors will break hell loose in this article: all kinds redirects, moves, splitting and spin-offs will be created without discussion -and sometimes- without common sense. Also, some "reporters" will publish editorial opinions with catchy or attention-grabbing headlines out of the sphere of science, and these "publications" will be quoted all over this article - which will be difficult to manage/discuss because of their volume. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of a Wiki article on the rover and its mission progress to be online just BEFORE it lands. It is not just damage control to this article, but there will be a lot of legitimate information and public interest on the performance of the rover itself. Well, that's my take and suggestion. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 13:43, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree. See below for the consensus that it would appear we have reached. On the timing, I might suggest that the new/split article might be created in a Sandbox space, and then could go live right as, and once, the Curiosity Rover has landed intact on Mars. But I would not really object if it were to be started before the landing, realizing it could easily be turned back into a redir if the whole spacecraft mades a hard impact on the Martian surface. N2e (talk) 22:06, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Great Comments imo - and well stated - seems like there's a consensus on the issue - perhaps further discussion of actual article "Name", actual article "Contents" and related may be in order? - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 15:36, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Seems like there is consensus to me also. Specifically, by BatteryIncluded, Drbogdan, A Certain White Cat, and N2e. Let's get on with naming the new/split article. I'd be okay with Curiosity Rover, but will support consensus. Anyone want to start a new section on the Talk page with a specific proposal? Cheers. N2e (talk) 22:02, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
The TITLE "Curiosity rover" Seems OK With Me As Well - Please Note That "Curiosity rover" Presently Redirects To Mars Science Laboratory - This Will Have To Be Updated Accordingly - CONTENTS Of The New "Curiosity rover" Article May Be Based On The Opportunity rover Article (at least in part) - Besides The "Lede", Sections May Include: "Objectives", "Mission Overview", "Brief Summary of Design/Construction/Launch/Flight"(?) - "Landing" (hopefully successful of course) - "Scientific findings"/"Pictures" - As Well As - The Usual "See also"/"References"/"External links" Sections - Hope This Helps In Some Way - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 23:26, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Brief Followup - Perhaps The Present "Curiosity rover" Title Should Remain - And Continue Redirecting To The Mars Science Laboratory? - And The Related "Curiosity Rover" Name, Not Presently In Use, Be Created As The Title Of The New Article? - Not Sure If N2e Was Suggesting This Earlier Or Not - But Maybe Worth Considering After All? - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 23:50, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I agree to name the upcoming new article "Curiosity rover" (lower case) and later adjust the redirect to MSL. Yes, we could start a sandbox section below to get started. Great team! Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 14:00, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, Agree -> "Curiosity rover" (lower case/later redirect adj) Seems Best - Starting A Sandbox Version Sounds OK As Well - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 14:21, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
Actually can we have a dual photo for this article after the split so that the main image displays the space-flight mode with the solar panels and the rover. I propose we wait till touch-down. Only 4 more days till we know! -- A Certain White Cat chi? 08:20, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
Well lets look at what happened with MER, MER was first written in June of 2003 but did not receive significant editing until just before the landing of spirit rover, after which spirit and opportunity rover pages were split off a day after spirit landed. I agree with a Curiosity rover page as it is in line with what was done for MER, the only question is when should we make such a page, before or after the landing? I believe there is no reason not to make it now: even if MSL crashes the rover could still have a page of its own or be re-merged. BerserkerBen (talk) 01:02, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
I disagree. In the case the misson fails to land safely, I see no point on splitting a comprehensive article that will not develop any further. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 13:55, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Then we can just reemerge it, or has reemerging become a bureaucratic nightmare (haven't been editing wiki in years)? Like with MER there will likely be an editing "tsunami" after it lands (safely or not) perhaps even greater in scale, should we not prepare for that? BerserkerBen (talk) 21:27, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
OK. Will you or any other editor volunteer to reemerge if the lander is lost? BatteryIncluded (talk) 13:35, 3 August 2012 (UTC)


When ought we split the articles? There is a consensus to do so, but when. I would offer that it should not be done before the agency sponsoring the mission (NASA) confirms that the rover has landed, as opposed to "crashed" or "unknown" -- best guess is that the news will be out within minutes or hours of the scheduled time for the landing. And to keep the encyclopedia as useful as possible, and avoid us all stepping on each other's toes, I'm for seeing if there are any of the editors involved in creating the draft (below) who plan to be up and monitoring the mission status one ot three hours after scheduled landing, who wants to offer to do it. Anyone want to volunteer? Cheers. N2e (talk) 01:27, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

I will be up Sunday night tuned to NASA TV and online until the official word is out. I'm willing to make the Curiosity rover article live online seconds after the positive announcement. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 01:51, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
If you are going to be online at the time, and plan to do it, then I'll stay out of the way until the deed is done. Here's to hoping that MSL (as a spaceflight mission of a really novel spacecraft) is another successful JPL landing on a planet that is statistically unfriendly to Earth-outbound probes, in which case we will have an ongoing mission of a Curiosity rover planetary exoterrestrial science robotic surface mission. Cheers. N2e (talk) 03:53, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
I would support more articles for instruments. If it lands, new data can be added to those pages. Fotaun (talk) 12:29, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the instrument payload is very complex and versatile. I have been thinking such article would allow to expand on how the science is being done. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 13:34, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Server jammed. If you can create it now, go ahead. BatteryIncluded (talk) 05:47, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Hey Batt, it looks like your WERE SUCCESSFUL in creating the new article, Curiosity rover, at " 2012-08-06T05:35:58‎ BatteryIncluded (talk | contribs)‎ . . (36,148 bytes) (+36,148)‎ . . (creating page) " -- that is, about ten minutes before you wrote the "server jammed" email. THANKS. Good job. N2e (talk) 06:04, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a proposed split. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Draft - Curiosity rover

Discussion closed by N2e (talk) at 15:31:07, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Extended content
Curiosity rover
Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover.jpg
Concept artwork
Operator NASA
Major contractors
Mission type Rover
Launch date November 26, 2011 (2011-11-26) 15:02:00.211 UTC (10:02 EST) [1][2]
Launch vehicle Atlas V 541 (AV-028)
Launch site Cape Canaveral LC-41[3]
Mission duration 668 Martian sols (23 Earth months)
COSPAR ID 2011-070A
Homepage Mars Science Laboratory
Mass 900 kg (2,000 lb)[4]
Power Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG)
Mars landing

August 6, 2012, 5:31 AM UTC (planned)
August 6, 2012, 1:31 AM EDT (planned)
August 5, 2012, 10:31 PM PDT (planned)
MSD 49269 3:19 PM LMST (Mars time at Gale crater)[5]

(Mars Landing has started. (refresh))[6][7][8][9]
Coordinates Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater, 4°36′0″S 137°12′0″E / 4.60000°S 137.20000°E / -4.60000; 137.20000 (planned landing site)

Curiosity rover is a nuclear-powered Mars rover that is part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission. The spacecraft — designed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory— was launched on 26 November 2011 and it is set to land on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on 6 August 2012 using a new precision landing technology. Curiosity carries the most advanced payload of scientific gear ever used on the surface of Mars.[10]

Goals and objectives ==

The Mars Science Laboratory mission has four scientific goals:

  1. Determine whether Mars could ever have supported life
  2. Study the climate of Mars
  3. Study the geology of Mars
  4. Plan for a human mission to Mars

To contribute to these goals, the Curiosity rover has six main scientific objectives:[11][12]

  1. Determine the mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and near-surface geological materials.
  2. Attempt to detect chemical building blocks of life (biosignatures).
  3. Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils.
  4. Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) Martian atmospheric evolution processes.
  5. Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide.
  6. Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic radiation, cosmic radiation, solar proton events and secondary neutrons.


  • Dimensions: The Curiosity rover is 3 m (9.8 ft) in length, and weighs 900 kg (2,000 lb), including 80 kg (180 lb) of scientific instruments.[13] It is approximately the size of a Mini Cooper automobile,[14] much larger than the Mars Exploration Rovers, which have a length of 1.5 m (4.9 ft) and weigh 174 kg (384 lb) including 6.8 kg (15 lb) of scientific instruments.[13][15][16]
  • Speed: Once on the surface, Curiosity will be able to roll over obstacles approaching 75 cm (30 in) in height. Maximum terrain-traverse speed is estimated to be 90 m (300 ft) per hour by automatic navigation; average traverse speeds will likely be about 30 m (98 ft) per hour, based on variables including power levels, terrain difficulty, slippage, and visibility. The rover is expected to traverse a minimum of 19 km (12 mi) in its two-year mission.[17]
Radioisotope power systems (RPSs) are generators that produce electricity from the natural decay of plutonium-238, which is a non-fissile isotope of plutonium. Heat given off by the natural decay of this isotope is converted into electricity, providing constant power during all seasons and through the day and night, and waste heat can be used via pipes to warm systems, freeing electrical power for the operation of the vehicle and instruments.[18][19] Curiosity's RTG is fueled by 4.8 kg (11 lb) of plutonium-238 dioxide supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy,[20] packed in 32 pellets each about the size of a marshmallow.[13]
Curiosity's power generator is the latest RTG generation built by Boeing, called the "Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator" or MMRTG.[21] Based on classical RTG technology, it represents a more flexible and compact development step,[21] and is designed to produce 125 watts of electrical power from about 2000 watts of thermal power at the start of the mission.[18][19] The MMRTG produces less power over time as its plutonium fuel decays: at its minimum lifetime of 14 years, electrical power output is down to 100 watts.[22][23] The power source will generate 2.5 kilowatt hours per day, much more than the Mars Exploration Rovers' solar panels, which can generate about 0.6 kilowatt hours per day.
  • Heat rejection system: The temperatures at the selected landing site can vary from +30 to −127 °C (+86 °F to −197 °F). Therefore, the heat rejection system (HRS) uses fluid pumped through 60 m (200 ft) of tubing in the rover body so that sensitive components are kept at optimal temperatures.[24] Other methods of heating the internal components include using radiated heat generated from the components in the craft itself, as well as excess heat from the MMRTG unit. The HRS also has the ability to cool components if necessary.[24]
  • Computers: The two identical on-board rover computers, called "Rover Compute Element" (RCE), contain radiation hardened memory to tolerate the extreme radiation from space and to safeguard against power-off cycles. Each computer's memory includes 256 KB of EEPROM, 256 MB of DRAM, and 2 GB of flash memory.[25] This compares to 3 MB of EEPROM, 128 MB of DRAM, and 256 MB of flash memory used in the Mars Exploration Rovers.[26]
The RCE computers use the RAD750 CPU, which is a successor to the RAD6000 CPU used in the Mars Exploration Rovers.[27][28] The RAD750 CPU is capable of up to 400 MIPS, while the RAD6000 CPU is capable of up to 35 MIPS.[29][30] Of the two on-board computers, one is configured as backup, and will take over in the event of problems with the main computer.[25]
The rover has an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that provides 3-axis information on its position, which is used in rover navigation.[25] The rover's computers are constantly self-monitoring to keep the rover operational, such as by regulating the rover's temperature.[25] Activities such as taking pictures, driving, and operating the instruments are performed in a command sequence that is sent from the flight team to the rover.[25]
  • Communications: Curiosity has two means of communication – an X band transmitter and receiver that can communicate directly with Earth, and a UHF Electra-Lite software-defined radio for communicating with Mars orbiters. Communication with orbiters is expected to be the main path for data return to Earth, since the orbiters have both more power and larger antennas than the lander.[31] At landing time, 13 minutes, 46 seconds will be required for signals to travel between Earth and Mars.[32]
  • Mobility systems: Like previous rovers Mars Exploration Rovers and Mars Pathfinder, Curiosity is equipped with 6 wheels in a rocker-bogie suspension. The suspension system will also serve as landing gear for the vehicle, unlike its smaller predecessors.[33] Curiosity's wheels are significantly larger than those used on previous rovers. Each wheel has a pattern which helps it maintain traction but also leaves patterned tracks in the sandy surface of Mars. That pattern is used by on-board cameras to judge the distance traveled. The pattern itself is Morse code for "JPL" (·--- ·--· ·-··).[34]


Scientists and engineers use the Mars chamber to test experiments on the SAM instrument.

Unlike earlier rovers, Curiosity carries equipment to gather samples of rocks and soil, process them and distribute them to onboard test chambers inside analytical instruments.[10]

  1. MastCam: This system provides multiple spectra and true color imaging with two cameras.[36] The cameras can take true color images at 1600×1200 pixels and up to 10 frames per second hardware-compressed, high-definition video at 720p (1280×720). One camera is the Medium Angle Camera (MAC) which has a 34 mm focal length, a 15-degree field of view, and can yield 22 cm/pixel scale at 1 km. The other camera is the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) which has a 100 mm focal length, a 5.1-degree field of view, and can yield 7.4 cm/pixel scale at 1 km.[36] Malin also developed a pair of Mastcams with zoom lenses,[41] but these were not included in the final design because of time required to test the new hardware and the looming November 2011 launch date.[42] Each camera has 8 GB of flash memory, which is capable of storing over 5,500 raw images, and can apply real time lossless or JPEG compression.[36] The cameras have an autofocus capability which allows them to focus on objects from 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in) to infinity.[39] Each camera also has a RGB Bayer pattern filter with 8 filter positions.[36] In comparison to the 1024×1024 black and white panoramic cameras used on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER), the MAC MastCam has 1.25× higher spatial resolution and the NAC MastCam has 3.67× higher spatial resolution.[39]
  2. Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI): This system consists of a camera mounted to a robotic arm on the rover, used to acquire microscopic images of rock and soil. MAHLI can take true color images at 1600×1200 pixels with a resolution as high as 14.5 micrometers per pixel. MAHLI has a 18.3 mm to 21.3 mm focal length and a 33.8- to 38.5-degree field of view.[37] MAHLI has both white and ultraviolet LED illumination for imaging in darkness or fluorescence imaging. MAHLI also has mechanical focusing in a range from infinite to millimetre distances.[37] This system can make some images with focus stacking processing.[43] MAHLI can store either the raw images or do real time lossless predictive or JPEG compression.[37] See also Camera, hand lens, and microscope probe
  3. Mars Descent Imager (MARDI): During the descent to the Martian surface, MARDI will take color images at 1600×1200 pixels with a 1.3-millisecond exposure time starting at distances of about 3.7 km to near 5 meters from the ground and will take images at a rate of 5 frames per second for about 2 minutes.[38][44] MARDI has a pixel scale of 1.5 meters at 2 km to 1.5 millimeters at 2 meters and has a 90-degree circular field of view. MARDI has 8 GB of internal buffer memory which is capable of storing over 4,000 raw images. MARDI imaging will allow the mapping of surrounding terrain and the location of landing.[38] JunoCam, built for another spacecraft, is based on MARDI.[45]
  • ChemCam: ChemCam is a suite of remote sensing instruments, including the first laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) system to be used for planetary science and a remote micro-imager (RMI).[46][47] The LIBS instrument can target a rock or soil sample from up to 7 meters away, vaporizing a small amount of it with a 5-nanosecond pulse from a 1067 nm infrared laser and then collecting a spectrum of the light emitted by the vaporized rock. Detection of the ball of luminous plasma will be done in the visible and near-UV and near-IR range, between 240 nm and 800 nm.[46]
Using the same collection optics, the RMI provides context images of the LIBS analysis spots. The RMI resolves 1 mm objects at 10 m distance, and has a field of view covering 20 cm at that distance.[46] The ChemCam instrument suite was developed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the French CESR laboratory.[46][48][49][50]
NASA's cost for ChemCam is approximately $10M, including an overrun of about $1.5M,[51] which is less than 1/200th of the total mission costs.[52] The flight model of the Mast Unit was delivered from the French CNES to Los Alamos National Laboratory and was able to deliver the engineering model to JPL in February 2008.[53]
Main article: APXS
  • CheMin: CheMin is the Chemistry and Mineralogy (ChemMin) X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence instrument[57] ChemMin is one of four spectrometers. It will identify and quantify the abundance of the minerals on Mars. It was developed by David Blake at NASA Ames Research Center and the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.[58] The rover will drill samples into rocks and the resulting fine powder will be sampled by the instrument. A beam of X-rays is then directed at the powder and the internal crystal structure of the minerals deflects back a pattern of X-rays. All minerals diffract X-rays in a characteristic pattern which allows scientists to identify the structure of the minerals the rover will encounter.
  • Sample analysis at Mars (SAM): The SAM instrument suite will analyze organics and gases from both atmospheric and solid samples.[59][60] It was developed by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the Laboratoire Inter-Universitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques (LISA) of France's CNRS and Honeybee Robotics, along with many additional external partners.[59][61][62] The SAM suite consists of three instruments:
  1. The Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (QMS) detects gases sampled from the atmosphere or those released from solid samples by heating.[59]
  2. The Gas Chromatograph (GC) is used to separate out individual gases from a complex mixture into molecular components. The resulting gas flow will be analyzed in the mass spectrometer with a mass range of 2-535 Daltons.[59]
  3. The Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) performs precision measurements of oxygen and carbon isotope ratios in carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) in the atmosphere of Mars in order to distinguish between their geochemical or biological origin.[59][62][63][64]
The SAM also has three subsystems: the 'Chemical separation and processing laboratory', for enrichment and derivatization of the organic molecules of the sample; the sample manipulation system (SMS) for transporting powder delivered from the Curiosity drill to a SAM inlet and into one of 74 sample cups.[59] The SMS then moves the sample to the SAM oven to release gases by heating to up to 1000oC;[59][65] and the pumps subsystem to purge the separators and analysers.

Landing system==

Curiosity landing diagram illustrating the the final landing sequence.
Artist's concept of Curiosity being lowered by the sky crane from the rocket-powered descent stage.

Previous NASA Mars rovers only became active after the successful entry, descent and landing on the Martian surface. The Mars Science Laboratory, on the other hand, requires six vehicle configurations, 76 pyrotechnic devices, a parachute, retrorockets and a suspension system for the final set-down of the active rover on the surface of Mars.[66]

Curiosity will transform from its stowed flight configuration to a landing configuration while simultaneously being lowered beneath the descent stage with a 65 foot (20 m) tether from the "sky crane" system to a soft landing—wheels down—on the surface of Mars.[67][68][69][70] After the rover touches down it waits 2 seconds to confirm that it is on solid ground and fires several pyros (small explosive devices) activating cable cutters on the bridle to free itself from the descent stage. The descent stage then flies away to a crash landing, and the rover gets ready to begin the science portion of the mission.[71]

See also ==

References ==

  1. ^ NASA – Mars Science Laboratory, the Next Mars Rover
  2. ^ Allard Beutel (November 19, 2011). "NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Launch Rescheduled for Nov. 26". NASA. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference oig_report was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Rover Fast Facts
  5. ^ Mars Local Mean Solar Time calculation for Gale Crater based on planned landing datetime
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference launch_date_announcement was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ MSL Update (accessed December 8, 2011)
  8. ^ JPL web page source code for count down to MSL landing
  9. ^ MSL Science Corner: Landing Site Selection
  10. ^ a b "Mars Science Laboratory - Facts" (PDF). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA. March 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  11. ^ "Overview". JPL. NASA. Retrieved November 27, 2011. 
  12. ^ Mars Science Laboratory Mission Profile
  13. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference MSLUSAToday was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  14. ^ Amos, Jonathan (October 11, 2008). "Nasa committed to Mars rover plan". BBC News. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  15. ^ Mars Rovers: Pathfinder, MER (Spirit and Opportunity), and MSL (video). Pasadena, California. April 12, 2008. Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  16. ^ MER Launch Press Kit
  17. ^ "Mars Science Laboratory — Homepage". NASA. Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b c "Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator" (PDF). NASA/JPL. January 1, 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  19. ^ a b c "Mars Exploration: Radioisotope Power and Heating for Mars Surface Exploration" (PDF). NASA/JPL. April 18, 2006. Retrieved September 7, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Mars Science Laboratory Launch Nuclear Safety" (PDF). NASA/JPL/DoE. March 2, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  21. ^ a b "Technologies of Broad Benefit: Power". Archived from the original on June 14, 2008. Retrieved September 20, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Mars Science Laboratory – Technologies of Broad Benefit: Power". NASA/JPL. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  23. ^ Ajay K. Misra (June 26, 2006). "Overview of NASA Program on Development of Radioisotope Power Systems with High Specific Power" (PDF). NASA/JPL. Retrieved May 12, 2009. 
  24. ^ a b Susan Watanabe (August 9, 2009). "Keeping it Cool (...or Warm!)". NASA/JPL. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  25. ^ a b c d e "Mars Science Laboratory: Mission: Rover: Brains". NASA/JPL. Retrieved March 27, 2009. 
  26. ^ Bajracharya, Max; Mark W. Maimone; Daniel Helmick (2008). "Autonomy for Mars rovers: past, present, and future". Computer 41 (12): 45. doi:10.1109/MC.2008.9. ISSN 0018-9162.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  27. ^ "BAE Systems Computers to Manage Data Processing and Command For Upcoming Satellite Missions" (Press release). BAE Systems. June 17, 2008. Retrieved November 17, 2008. 
  28. ^ "E&ISNow — Media gets closer look at Manassas" (PDF). BAE Systems. August 1, 2008. Retrieved November 17, 2008.  [dead link]
  29. ^ "RAD750 radiation-hardened PowerPC microprocessor" (PDF). BAE Systems. July 1, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2009. 
  30. ^ "RAD6000 Space Computers" (PDF). BAE Systems. June 23, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2009. 
  31. ^ Andre Makovsky, Peter Ilott, Jim Taylor (2009). "Mars Science Laboratory Telecommunications System Design" (PDF). JPL. 
  32. ^ Mars Earth distance in light minutes, Wolfram Alpha
  33. ^ "Next Mars Rover Sports a Set of New Wheels". NASA/JPL. 
  34. ^ "New Mars Rover to Feature Morse Code". National Association for Amateur Radio. 
  35. ^ Malin, M. C.; Bell, J. F.; Cameron, J.; Dietrich, W. E.; Edgett, K. S.; Hallet, B.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Lemmon, M. T.; Parker, T. J. (2005). "The Mast Cameras and Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) for the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory" (PDF). 36th Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 36: 1214. Bibcode:2005LPI....36.1214M. 
  36. ^ a b c d e "Mast Camera (Mastcam)". NASA/JPL. Retrieved March 18, 2009. 
  37. ^ a b c d "Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI)". NASA/JPL. Retrieved March 23, 2009. 
  38. ^ a b c "Mars Descent Imager (MARDI)". NASA/JPL. Retrieved April 3, 2009. 
  39. ^ a b c "Mars Science Laboratory (MSL): Mast Camera (Mastcam): Instrument Description". Malin Space Science Systems. Retrieved April 19, 2009. 
  40. ^ "Mars Science Laboratory Instrumentation Announcement from Alan Stern and Jim Green, NASA Headquarters". SpaceRef Interactive. 
  41. ^ "Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mast Camera (Mastcam)". 
  42. ^ David, Leonard (March 28, 2011). "NASA Nixes 3-D Camera for Next Mars Rover". 
  43. ^ Kenneth S. Edgett. "Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI)". Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  44. ^ "Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) Update". Malin Space Science Systems. November 12, 2007. 
  45. ^ Malin Space Science Systems – Junocam, Juno Jupiter Orbiter
  46. ^ a b c d "MSL Science Corner: Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam)". NASA/JPL. Retrieved September 9, 2009. 
  47. ^ "Spacecraft: Surface Operations Configuration: Science Instruments: ChemCam". 
  48. ^ Salle B., Lacour J. L., Mauchien P., Fichet P., Maurice S., Manhes G. (2006). "Comparative study of different methodologies for quantitative rock analysis by Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy in a simulated Martian atmosphere" (PDF). Spectrochimica Acta Part B-Atomic Spectroscopy 61 (3): 301–313. Bibcode:2006AcSpe..61..301S. doi:10.1016/j.sab.2006.02.003. 
  49. ^ CESR presentation on the LIBS
  50. ^ ChemCam fact sheet
  51. ^ Wiens R.C., Maurice S. (2008). "Corrections and Clarifications, News of the Week". Science 322 (5907): 1466. doi:10.1126/science.322.5907.1466a. PMID 19056960. 
  52. ^ Wiens R.C., Maurice S. (2008). "ChemCam's Cost a Drop in the Mars Bucket". Science 322 (5907): 1464. doi:10.1126/science.322.5907.1464a. PMID 19056957. 
  53. ^ ChemCam Status April, 2008
  54. ^ a b c "MSL Science Corner: Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS)". NASA/JPL. Retrieved September 9, 2009. 
  55. ^ R. Rieder, R. Gellert, J. Brückner, G. Klingelhöfer, G. Dreibus, A. Yen, S. W. Squyres (2003). "The new Athena alpha particle X-ray spectrometer for the Mars Exploration Rovers". J. Geophysical Research 108: 8066. Bibcode:2003JGRE..108.8066R. doi:10.1029/2003JE002150. 
  56. ^ 40th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2009); 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2010)
  57. ^ "MSL Chemistry & Mineralogy X-ray diffraction(CheMin)". NASA/JPL. Retrieved November 25, 2011. 
  58. ^ Sarrazin P., Blake D., Feldman S., Chipera S., Vaniman D., Bish D. (2005). "Field deployment of a portable X-ray diffraction/X-ray fluorescence instrument on Mars analog terrain". Powder Diffraction 20 (2): 128–133. Bibcode:2005PDiff..20..128S. doi:10.1154/1.1913719. 
  59. ^ a b c d e f g "MSL Science Corner: Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM)". NASA/JPL. Retrieved September 9, 2009. 
  60. ^ Overview of the SAM instrument suite
  61. ^ Cabane M., Coll P., Szopa C., Israel G., Raulin F., Sternberg R., Mahaffy P., Person A., Rodier C., Navarro-Gonzalez R., Niemann H., Harpold D., Brinckerhoff W. (2004). "Did life exist on Mars? Search for organic and inorganic signatures, one of the goals for "SAM" (sample analysis at Mars)". Source: Mercury, Mars and Saturn Advances in Space Research 33 (12): 2240–2245. 
  62. ^ a b "Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite". NASA. 2008. Retrieved October 9, 2008.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  63. ^ Tenenbaum, David (June 9, 2008). "Making Sense of Mars Methane". Astrobiology Magazine. Retrieved October 8, 2008. 
  64. ^ Tarsitano, C.G. and Webster, C.R. (2007). "Multilaser Herriott cell for planetary tunable laser spectrometers". Applied Optics 46 (28): 6923–6935. Bibcode:2007ApOpt..46.6923T. doi:10.1364/AO.46.006923. PMID 17906720. 
  65. ^ Tom Kennedy; Erik Mumm; Tom Myrick; Seth Frader-Thompson. "Optimization of a mars sample manipulation system through concentrated functionality" (PDF). 
  66. ^ "Why NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover landing will be "Seven Minutes of Absolute Terror"". NASA (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)). June 28, 2012. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  67. ^ "Final Minutes of Curiosity's Arrival at Mars". NASA/JPL. Retrieved April 8, 2011. 
  68. ^ Sky Crane – how to land Curiosity on the surface of Mars by Amal Shira Teitel.
  69. ^ "Mars rover lands on Xbox Live". USA Today. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-27.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  70. ^ "Mars Science Laboratory: Entry, Descent, and Landing System Performance" (PDF). NASA. March 2006. p. 7. 
  71. ^ "Nasa's Curiosity rover targets smaller landing zone". BBC News. June 12, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2012.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

Further reading ==

External links ==

No article for the Curiosity rover

So is anyone going to create it or should I just do it? Marcus Qwertyus (talk) 04:04, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Well, yes, if it lands successfully. See Talk sections above, where a consensus was reached in the past two weeks. If the landing is completed successfully, an article split will be made to separate the Curiosity rover planetary surface science mission from the spaceflight mission (launch, Mars transit, entry, descent and landing). So hang on for a couple more hours. Cheers. N2e (talk) 04:08, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done N2e (talk) 15:36, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

time zone on Mars?

What is the time zone on Mars? The JPL people have shirts saying that the landing is Aug 5, but it will be Aug 6 in the eastern time zone and GMT. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 04:49, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

I am not sure there is one good answer right now. After landing you can define a local time base on high noon, but before that you kind of need choose a system arbitrarily (see Timekeeping on Mars) Also, in the most precise sense it sort of depends on your "reference frame" (see Relativity of simultaneity). Fotaun (talk) 05:07, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Article split—6 August 2012

As of 6 August 2012, with the successful landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, the rover article has been split apart from the Mars Science Laboratory article . This topic was discussed on the Talk:Mars Science Laboratory Talk page (above) in the weeks leading up to the landing. The rationale was topic breadth. With the successful landing, it seemed that a new article to focus on the:

  • planetary science aspects of the robotic rover surface science mission— named Curiosity rover—would be in order.
... while retaining the descriptive aspects of the
  • spaceflight mission— entitled Mars Science Laboratory (the actual name of the spaceflight mission, as assigned by NASA), describing the launch, transit to Mars, the novel Entry and Descent through the Martian atmosphere and the Landing on the Martian surface (collectively, the spaceflight: launch, transit, and EDL).

Consensus was achieved to split the articles into two, immediately after the SUCCESSFUL landing of the rover. The payload of the spaceflight mission, the Curiosity rover, has now landed successfully on Mars. It was time to split the article. Cheers. N2e (talk) 06:59, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

I am confused by this split. Section Rover in Mars Science Laboratory does not appear to link to the split article which appears to have duplicated content. Has it been reverted, or is the split still in progress? I would have waited myself, but if that's what was decided. I just looked at the French and German wikipedia equivalents and our English article appears to needs a lot of work to catch up. -84user (talk) 09:21, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
It was still in progress at the time of your note. And for a while, it had a slightly different name "Curiosity" rover. N2e (talk) 15:55, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
I am slowly checking the instruments, merging details to the Curiosity rover article and leaving short summaries at Mars Science Laboratory with {{See also}} templates. -84user (talk) 10:51, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I've finished merging the instruments - the copied specifications section also need the same treatment but I'm done for now. However, I noticed both articles omit any details of the robot arm. The German wikipedia article covers this quite well here, in case an editor feels like adding a section. -84user (talk) 12:34, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Great work, 84user! The more netted-out summaries on the instruments in this article are much better. The Curiosity article can, and should, have the detail that you put over there. N2e (talk) 15:55, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, a section on the robotic arm should be very useful. For starters, indicate which instruments are on it. Care to get it started? We'll chip in. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:57, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Question about the plutonium MMRTG

I see in this article that the wattage of Curiosity's MMRTG power supply is expected to fall from 2000 watts down to 100 watts in a matter of just 14 years. That's a loss of 95%. But plutonium-238 has a half-life of roughly 87 years, so I would have expected a 10% loss. What is the explanation for this dramatic difference? (This might be relevant, though I don't know if it accounts for the entire effect.) Thanks. user:Agradman editing for the moment as (talk) 07:22, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

The article makes a clear distinction between the thermal power (the 2000 watts) and the electrical power (125 at the start of the mission). The thermocouples are quite inefficient and only that small fraction of the total thermal power is converted into electrical power. As for the rate of loss, the electrical power output is dependent on the difference in temperature created by the radioisotopes. Since the temperature difference need not be directly proportional to the remaining quantity of fuel, the electrical power need not be either. In the end, it's a 20% drop in electrical power (125 -> 100). Someguy1221 (talk) 08:32, 6 August 2012 (UTC)


While the concept image of the rover is nice I think the image should contain the stages of the craft, how it was when it left its launching rocket, space config (if different) post landing look. This craft wasn't dead meat in space as it did take radiation measurements and etc. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 10:12, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Yea, check DE or FR. Fotaun (talk)
The Curiosity rover article was split earlier today (6 Aug 2012) on the English Wikipedia, AFTER the successful landing of the rover on Mars, hived off from the more spacecraft-related and spaceflight-mission-related article Mars Science Laboratory. (This is a result of a consensus developed on the MSL Talk page after approx. 24 July.) So now the rover article is a robotics article and a planetary science article, and not really a spaceflight article, while the MSL article retains the spaceflight/spacecraft aspects of the complicated mission.
Agreed. Since this article (MSL) is the part of the split that covers the spaceflight mission (launch, Mars transit, entry, descent and landing) and the non-rover spacecraft details, it seems like a more spacecraft-oriented photo would be in order. Cheers. N2e (talk) 15:42, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done I added an image of the entire spacecraft payload, including the cruise stage, to the Spacecraft description section of the article. Given the split, that section probably needs to be beefed up, and the more rover-centric detail left for the Curiosity rover article. Cheers. N2e (talk) 15:50, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Another interesting photo that can be uploaded (I believe it is PD-NASA)..[10] --Eleassar my talk 16:04, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

MSO photo of MSL during descent

SbmeirowTalk • 18:56, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Edit request: more acccurate location -4.5895 137.4417

As per the 16:00 PDT press conference, the location as derived from correlating MARDI images with global maps is -4.5895 137.4417. This is more accurate than the earlier figure derived from inertial guidance. (talk) 23:24, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

It seems someone did it already. (talk) 01:51, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

What's new?

I'm wondering what's new about this mission - we already placed several rovers on Mars, and from what I can read on their wikis, their objectives seem very similar to those of Curiosity: to study geology and look for signs of water.

How come these goals were not fulfilled with the previous missions, which stayed operational far longer than we had hoped they would? If someone can source some info about this it would be helpful to understand the purpose of this science mission. (talk) 07:00, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

The location, an increase of analysers aboard, versatility, and longer-lasting power are a few differences. Specifically, the main MER objective was "follow the water", while for the MSL is planetary habitability (including water). Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 00:47, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
The spacecraft landing ellipse (probable landing point given a wide variety of technical items that drive a difference between calculations and reality) is MUCH smaller this time, and HAD TO BE in order to get the rover down inside the area of Gale Crater. This required a whole slew of new technology and new approaches in the descent stage design and the EDL approach. N2e (talk) 05:28, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Removal of United Kingdom Flag

The United Kingdom flag was removed during a particularly busy editing time, and would appear to be vandalism. Unless this was done due to the article being split from the Curiosity rover, it should probably be restored. Any information to the contrary? OliverTwisted (Talk) (Stuff) 09:02, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

I believe the UK flag was added by a 4chan user on the sports board. It was placed out of alphabetical order and was not there originally. Under Instruments, there appears to be no mention of the United Kingdom. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:29, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

That would not seem to be supported by the article's history. The IP of the user deleting the flag has been blocked for vandalism. If you have direct information to the contrary, please post it, otherwise we should let an expert on the topic make the determination. OliverTwisted (Talk) (Stuff) 09:34, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Do you have any evidence the UK is officially part of the instrument team? It's difficult to prove a negative after all. There are British scientists that will be involved in the scientific analysis as mentioned in passing in the NASA briefing as well as on the UKSA site [11], however the instruments themselves do not have British participation as far as I know. ChiZeroOne (talk) 09:56, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
No, I have no evidence. And you make a good point. I was trying to revert what appeared to be vandalism, with no edit summary by an anonymous account. When the same anonymous user persisted, changing it to several other countries besides the United Kingdom, including Nazi Germany [12], I checked the article history and posted a question on the talk page for a response by an expert. Let's not give the vandals any more giggles. OliverTwisted (Talk) (Stuff) 10:05, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, wasn't having a go, just saying that the flag should not have been there in the first place so ironically the vandalism did something right! ChiZeroOne (talk) 10:15, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
I have a hard time believing in serendipity, but I suppose it's better to err on the side of caution. Since I'm not an expert on the topic, I have no wish to stake a claim. OliverTwisted (Talk) (Stuff) 10:36, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Hello. The UK contributed the following two things to the mission [13] and [14]. Hope you can add these and clear up all the trolling.
The United Kingdom flag was restored by another editor, and the vandal has been blocked. OliverTwisted (Talk) (Stuff) 02:48, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Melacom is part of Mars Express, not MSL. E2V is a commercial contractor, not part of a financial contribution from the UK. No one is saying British scientists and engineers are not involved, as are others from many countries, but that the UK government does not fund any of the instrument teams unlike the others listed. ChiZeroOne (talk) 09:26, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
I just left you a message on your talk page. Just yank the whole side box. What are flags doing in the instrument section anyway? It will be an endless source of vandalism, and isn't present in any of the other related rover articles. All of the countries involved with production are mentioned in their appropriate places anyway. OliverTwisted (Talk) (Stuff) 09:30, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, I was too busy trying to fix the immediate issue I didn't think about the bigger picture. ChiZeroOne (talk) 09:35, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Actually, you were quite correct. The UK flag should have been removed, and the ensuing edit war was just a taste of what it would have been like for this article during school hours. Thanks for keeping the information accurate, which is much more important than a graphic. ;0) OliverTwisted (Talk) (Stuff) 09:50, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

A bit more "Instruments" work

84user has done a great job of cleaning up the Instruments sections of both the MSL and the Curiosity Rover articles following the split done earlier today. S/he has put the details in the Curiosity article, while leaving high-level summaries here.

However, I have a thought on improving the Instruments description here in the MSL article. The article currently says "The following instruments were selected. Most are on the rover, but some are installed on other components." I recommend we move the various instruments around, putting the rover-instruments in the high-level rover description section of this (MSL) article, and putting the various spaceflight- and spacecraft-related instruments with the Spacecraft description section.

Anyone else have other thoughts? Or agree? Or what? Cheers. N2e (talk) 16:04, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Sure, I am fan of creating independent articles for the instruments. Fotaun (talk) 16:46, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
I would certainly support that idea. Not sure when the best time to do it is. I'm still trying to get the two main articles on the spacecraft/spaceflight (this one) and on the rover (Curiosity rover) cleaned up. N2e (talk) 17:50, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
How about grouping the instruments by location; e.g. those on the robotic arm vs. the interior. BatteryIncluded (talk) 17:00, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
My question was about this article, MSL, the spacecraft and spaceflight mission article. I think the grouping within the rover article probably ought to happen on that article's Talk page. N2e (talk) 17:50, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Cool, we are making progress. I was thinking of separating the spacecraft/non-rover instruments in this article. For now, they are all glomed together. Perhaps break them up into Cruise stage and Descent stage instruments (in whatever detail is best) and then also have a high-level summary of the Rover instruments also included in the MSL article, with the detail left for the rover article (as User:84user substantially did earlier today). N2e (talk) 17:50, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Keep in mind RAD is physically on the rover, but was used during the cruise. Better coverage of that cruise stage sounds interesting though. Fotaun (talk) 19:46, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, good point. When we sort it all out, there may be more like that, at least if all systems are considered (e.g., the power unit provided heat and electricity for the cruise stage and the descent stage, as well as for the rover. N2e (talk) 00:15, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

In addition, I would like to incorporate NASA's 4 categories of the instruments: (Source: [15]): -BatteryIncluded (talk) 19:25, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

The instruments are roughly divided into four categories:

1) Remote Sensing (2): Mastcam: Multi-spectral, stereo imaging, as well as video. ChemCam: (Chemistry and Mineralogy) Remote spectroscopy of rocks and soils from laser ablation; remote microscopic imagery.

2) In-Situ (2): Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI): Color microscopic imager. Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS): spectroscopy of soil and rocks using X-ray fluorescence and particle-induced X-ray emission.

3) Analytical (2): CheMin: Mineralogical analysis of acquired samples of rock and soil using X-ray diffraction. Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM): Chemical and isotopic analysis of acquired samples of rock, soil, or atmosphere (including organics) using a mass spectrometer, gas chromatographs, and a tunable laser spectrometer.

4) Environmental (4): Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD): Detect and measure natural high-energy radiation. Mars Descent Imager (MARDI): High-resolution color video of descent. Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN): Detect and analyze hydrogen in the near-subsurface of Mars. o Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS): To monitor the meteorology and ultraviolet (UV) environment near the rover.

(edit conflict - with BatteryIncluded's post above, but my comment concerns non-rover things anyway) Yes, having the instruments (including both science and engineering equipment) under spacecraft-specific sections (cruise, backshell, descent stage, and heatshield) would be useful. I'm reading up on the technical aspects but it's rather complicated for me to even start stubbed sections. Also, I gave up summarising and/or moving the specifications to the rover article because it became difficult to decide what should go where. Two examples: the computers were used during approach and the communications systems are complex. This means some content is still duplicated in both articles. Finally, a possible structure (might be too technical for some) can be seen at in the German article (see how complex the communications system is here). -84user (talk) 19:35, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Components section

I was changing out some images across different languages when I came across the Russian Wikipedia article on MSL: ru:Mars Science Laboratory. They have what I believe to be a fantastic breakdown on the different components of MSL...see section at ru:Mars Science Laboratory#Технический обзор "Mars Science Laboratory". I think our article could greatly benefit from a visual layout like that one, but as it would probably necessitate significant rearrangement or rewriting of other sections, and its not really my forte, I was wondering what others thought about it. Huntster (t @ c) 06:02, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

The Russian article looks very good and has a logical layout. I think the English article could use some updating in a similar direction. (talk) 09:07, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, and for those whose Russian is non-existent, a very similar structure appears in the German wikipedia article. -84user (talk) 19:40, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Retitle recommendation

I recommend that this article be retitled to something that indicates its about the launch, and landing on Mars. And that Mars Science Laboratory redirect to Curiosity Rover. As is the naming is confusing and readers are directed to the wrong place. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:18, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done Please take a look at the archives at [16]. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:14, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Specifications - Computers - Lines of code?

In this video it says at one point that there are "500,000 lines of code".

a) Should this be mentioned in the section Specifications under Computers? It's the kind of thing we programmers love.
b) I find this hard to believe. Based on the complexity of the mission I would have guessed several million lines of code. Anyone have references for this number?

RenniePet (talk) 14:12, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

This reference reports: The landing sequence alone requires six vehicle configurations, 76 pyrotechnic devices, the largest supersonic parachute ever built, and more than 500,000 lines of code.
So it has much more in total. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 01:13, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

I think there is an error with the amount of EEPROM on Curiosity, I cite: Computers: The two identical on-board rover computers, called "Rover Compute Element" (RCE), contain radiation-hardened memory to tolerate the extreme radiation from space and to safeguard against power-off cycles. Each computer's memory includes 256 KB of EEPROM, 256 MB of DRAM, and 2 GB of flash memory.[36] This compares to 3 MB of EEPROM, 128 MB of DRAM, and 256 MB of flash memory used in the Mars Exploration Rovers.[37]

It is stated that the computer includes 256 KB of EEPROM, while the previous rovers had 3 MB of EEPROM. There obviously is an error in the statement. Yes, there could have been a reduction in the required amount of read only data but I doubt that this should be the explanation. The same thing is written in the wikipedia article about the Curiosity rover. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:45, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

256 KB of EEPROM is what NASA's JPL published in the reference cited ([17]). I propose that if you find a reliable contradictory source, bring it here for scrutiny. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 06:42, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

"The total mass of the spacecraft is 3,893 kilograms (8,463 pounds).
The mass of parts of the spacecraft are as follows:

  • Rover = 899 kg (1,982 lbs)
  • EDL System (Aeroshell and fueled descent stage) = 2,401 kg (5,293 lbs)
  • Cruise Stage (Fueled) = 539 kg (1,188 lbs)"

Total -> 3,839 kg = 8,463 pounds
— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:42, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Checking the conversions from pounds it looks like someone at NASA wrote down the correct conversion of the total to 3,839 kg as 3,893 kg. It's repeated in their press kit. I think we should correct wikipedia at least. - Rod57 (talk) 13:06, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
The NASA press kit on p24 also says "Due to the mass of the entry vehicle (5,359 pounds, or 2,431 kilograms, after jettison of the spacecraft’s cruise stage),..." which seems to conflict with the EDL+rover masses above. At atmospheric entry the 150kg of cruise balance masses would have already been ejected.
Wiki article seems to incorrectly? say that the EDL mass of 2401 kg does not include the 390 kg of fuel. - Rod57 (talk) 13:28, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

EDL component masses

A breakdown of the EDL mass into backshell (inc fuel, parachute and 300kg ballast), heat shield, and fuelled descent-stage (aka skycrane) would also be useful. - Rod57 (talk) 12:35, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Microchip with names

Perhaps a mention should be made of the microchip on the back of the rover that holds names of people. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Belgianatheist (talkcontribs) 10:34, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done, but on the Curiosity rover article. Thank you, and cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 20:21, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, the topic is notable, and has reliable sources, but the place for it is in the rover article. N2e (talk) 05:16, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Landing Time

Just a note on edits to the landing section of the infobox. The times listed are based on the latest published times per JPL. The previous time was more precise (13 seconds earlier) but is unreferenced and overly precise. It was removed not just because of the reference issue but also because it could be misleading to readers.

While the fine folks working out the orbital mechanics of Mars and the flightpath of Curiosity and her ride can work things out to the second on when atmospheric interface will actually occur, that can, and has changed over time. Also even those folks dont know, to the second, when MSL will touch down. It all depends on atmospheric conditions at the time.

I went ahead and calculated local time at Gale crater for the landing based on the (Earth) times published so far. These are in local mean solar time (there are no time zones on Mars) and coordinated Martian time is calculated a hemisphere away and is uninteresting as a result. The local time at Gale crater is interesting because it will happen in daylight making imaging possible from the decent stage as well as any orbiters that happen to be over the landing elipse at the time. The landing time also will help tell the store should first light from the gazillon cameras aboard this thing be possible or not based on how long the the initial system tests take. For those interested, the local time at Gale crater was calculated from Dr. Schmunk's work at JPL and can be downloaded here. --RadioFan (talk) 17:00, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

I believe the guy in the live stream said the touchdown was at 10:14:39 PDT (05:14:39 UTC). Kaldari (talk) 06:00, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes, the 05:31 UTC time is most definitely wrong. That's when we got confirmation of the landing, and the signals take about 14 minutes to reach us.. Backeby (talk) 06:24, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
The guy in the press conference just said the touchdown was as 10:39 PDT, which is definitely wrong. Kaldari (talk) 07:06, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. 10:39 is wrong. Will need to check some published sources as they get the correct info out. N2e (talk) 07:10, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
He must have confused the minutes with the seconds. Kaldari (talk) 07:12, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

I noticed that the landing time is specified as 05:14:39 UTC however at the time of this comment none of the citations listed actually lead to a web page which shows that very specific landing time. Where is this time coming from? Is it possible for someone to add a citation to a page which lists that landing time of 05:14:39 UTC? Thanks. Alanfeld (talk) 17:45, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

This time is appropriately referenced to[18] ("Initial Mars Laboratory Landing Statistics"). --Eleassar my talk 17:53, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the information Eleassar. I had been referring to the landing time noted in the article's first sentence which did not contain that excellent reference you just mentioned. I did find that reference was used elsewhere in the article so I've added that reference to that first sentence to clear up that problem. Thanks.

Alanfeld (talk) 18:07, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 6 August 2012

There is an error in the landing time where the page states:

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a robotic space probe mission to Mars launched by NASA on November 26, 2011, which successfully landed Curiosity, a Mars rover, in Gale Crater on August 6, 2012 at 05:14:39 UTC.[1]

At the time MSL landed, it was in fact Monday August 7, 2012 in UTC time. It was indeed August 6, 2012 in Pacific Daylight Time [UTC-7], but late at night, so the text above makes it look like MSL landed a day earlier. Please correct this as follows, thank you:

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a robotic space probe mission to Mars launched by NASA on November 26, 2011, which successfully landed Curiosity, a Mars rover, in Gale Crater on August 7, 2012 at 05:14:39 UTC.[1] Pyfgcrlx (talk) 20:24, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done You may want to double check your calendar. Or just look at the timestamp on your own message above. --CapitalR (talk) 21:46, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Hi folks - there's still a 4-minute error with the "official" (?) landing time that I think needs fixing. Yes, reference 11 ( ) gives an "official landing time" of "5:14:39 UTC" - August 6, 2012 (presumably SpaceCraft Event Time, SCET), but it doesn't give a source, and characterizes this as "*Initial* Mars Science Laboratory Landing Statistics". Also, yes, reference 6 ( ) gives an identical "10:14:39 PDT official touchdown time" (because of being in PDT, this would be Aug 5; also presumably SCET). However, note that neither are NASA sources. The expected landing time is given in numerous sources as 1032pm PDT ERT (Earth Received Time); with the approximately 14 minute lightspeed delay, the expected landing time on Mars in SCET would therefore be approx. 1018pm PDT Aug 5, or 0518h UTC Aug 6. (Recall that SCET + ONWT (OneWay Lightspeed Time) = ERT.) Since the landing was *so* picture-perfect, a 3.5 minute early-landing error seems highly unlikely. In reviewing currently available NASA website data, I so far have only found the following NASA-published landing time: "1031pm PDT" (probably ERT), as per < > (accessed Aug 6 2012 1042pm PDT) in the "Key Dates" section where it states "Landing: 10:31 p.m. PDT, Aug. 5, 2012 (1:31 a.m. EDT, Aug. 6, 2012)"; this is probably ERT and not SCET, although neither is specified. However, elsewhere on the same site, a press release describing the landing, entitled "NASA Lands Car-Size Rover Beside Martian Mountain" (at < > accessed 1047pm PDT Aug 6 2012; dated by JPL as 8.6.2012 and numbered as press release # 2012-230), states: "Curiosity landed at 10:32 p.m. Aug. 5, PDT, (1:32 a.m. EDT Aug. 6)", also probably ERT although SCET or ERT not specified. OK, my best reading of all this is that Spaceflight 101 and Scientific American both jumped the gun with inaccurate information - I bet one copied the other, who heard it who knows where, maybe from a live press conference with a mis-statement from a very tired MSL person. I further believe, based on the above, that the best current number for the actual landing was approximately 1017-1018 PDT SCET Aug 5 2012 (0517-0518 UTC SCET Aug 6 2012), or 1031-1032pm PDT ERT Aug 5 2012 (0531-0532 UTC ERT Aug 6 2012). However, because the actual lightspeed delay is necessarily something more specific than "approximately 14 minutes", and we don't know that yet (I'm sure JPL does), and we don't even have an accurate ERT for the landing, being more specific than "about 1017-1018pm PDT SCET" is probably unwarranted at the present moment. If we wait awhiles, JPL will probably publish something accurate to the second, but so far it doesn't seem they have, and the current wikipedia text of "5:14:39 UTC" seems overly accurate - and very likely 3-4 minutes early. OY! Could somebody who's routinely working on this article mull this over and make the proper changes? Many thanks. Lanephil (talk) 06:09, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

ADDENDUM - here's a reliable source for a slightly more accurate number for the lightspeed delay. The NASA/JPL "Mars Science Laboratory Landing Press Kit / July 2012" (at < >, accessed 1136pm PDT Aug 6 2012), released prior to the landing, on page 6 states: "One-way radio transit time, Mars to Earth, on landing day: 13.8 minutes", and also states: "[Expected] Time of Mars landing: 10:31 p.m. Aug. 5 PDT (1:31 a.m. Aug. 6 EDT, 05:31 Aug. 6 Universal Time) plus or minus a minute. This is Earth-received time [ERT], which includes one-way light time [OWLT] for radio signal to reach Earth from Mars. The landing will be at about 3 p.m. local time at the Mars landing site." (addendums marked [] are mine). So 13.8 minutes OWLT would be 13 minutes 48 seconds +/- 0.1 min (+/- 6 sec). This is somewhat more accurate than "approximately 14 minutes", but I'm sure somewhere at JPL there is a figure accurate to the second (maybe millisecond? or better?). Note also that the OWLT is constantly changing - when Earth and Mars are close, it's around 3-5 minutes; when they're in opposition, it's nearer to 20 minutes. For future reference. Gotta remember that SCET + OWLT = ERT. Lightspeed delays. So annoying.  ;-) Lanephil (talk) 06:53, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

For what it's worth I thought the same thing when I initially saw the landing time of 10:14:39 (that it seemed way too early based on everything I had read online, and that it also seemed so "specific"). My qualms had been erroneously put to rest when I saw the reference because for some reason I thought they were connected with NASA. But a quick check of that web site's About page states that they are not an official NASA page. I'll send an e-mail to them to ask where they got that information from. Alanfeld (talk) 05:02, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Hey Lanephil, it turns out that your calculations were accurate -- check out this page < > It looks like Curiosity touchdown was actually at 05:17:25 UTC and we received the signal here on Earth 13 minutes and 48 seconds later at 05:31:13 UTC. That seems to make much more sense than the 05:14:39 UTC time. Alanfeld (talk) 05:34, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid that all of Lanephil's calculations are original research and is a personal website. We need reliable sources on the actual SCET time. So far we have:
  • NASA - soon after the landing was announced in the live broadcast, one of the technicians in the control room said that the touchdown time was "10:14:39". I imagine a clip of this broadcast is on Youtube somewhere, but I haven't looked. This could certainly be an error, and I'm not sure it meets the definition of "published".
  • Scientific American - "10:14:39 PDT official touchdown time"[19] (likely taken from the above broadcast)
  • Ars Technica - "Touchdown time was 10:14:39pm Pacific Time"[20]
These may both be wrong, but the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. Until we have other sources, I think we're going to have to stick with the existing figure. Kaldari (talk) 06:16, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Kaldari. I agree that we need a more official reference. I wasn't suggesting that Lanephil's calculations should be used on the article page, only that his points show that the 10:14:39 time doesn't make sense. The odd thing about the info is that the author of that web site contradicts the 10:14:39 info in his more detailed timeline page I listed above where he then lists the touchdown 05:17:25 UTC. FYI, I just watched and listened to the official NASA tv broadcast and I didn't hear any engineer in the control room announce the time of the rover landing at any point after the landing was confirmed. The engineers just hugged and celebrated. Also FYI, I e-mailed both the web site and the author of the Ars Technica web site to learn where they determined that landing time. Alanfeld (talk) 07:14, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Hopefully we'll hear something back from them. From my vague recollection of the live broadcast, I remember them going through a bunch of updates from various people after the touchdown, and one of the blue shirts in the room gave the touchdown time. They also listed the amount of fuel that remained in the crane and various other statistics. The stats announcement was within half an hour of the landing announcement. Kaldari (talk) 07:49, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Ah yes you were right Kaldari! When I listened to the recording yesterday I didn't listen long enough. Indeed, exactly as you and others have said, one of the engineers on the recording announces the time as 10:14:39 PDT. Anyone interested can go to the following URL [21] and just skip ahead to the 47:44 mark. I actually remember hearing that part when it happened live because of how everyone laughed right afterwards but I had forgotten. Thanks! Alanfeld (talk) 21:21, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
And the author of the web site wrote back and told me the same thing -- he said that time was read out by the EDL Mission Team while going through the nomimal Post-Landing Checklist. He added that the time was probably received via an Event Record from the Rover. He also added that "the time-stamped Imagery of MARDI shows times that are much closer to the actual timeline." but I have no idea where that information would be found. Anyway it sounds like this has been resolved. We have an actual recording of an engineer from the mission control room stating when the landing occurred. That works for me. ;-) Alanfeld (talk) 21:28, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Nice work tracking down the video segment. I still wonder where spaceflight101 got their newer times from though. Kaldari (talk) 23:36, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Hey Kaldari, and others, check this out -- it turns out that the 05:14:39 UTC time was wrong after all! Like Lanephil was pointing out above, that time sounded way too early to be possible (by several minutes). The guy who runs spaceflight101 is very cool and he let me know that he posted an article [22] explaining in great detail why the 05:14:39 UTC time was wrong. The real landing time was actually 05:17:57 UTC. All we need now is something official from the NASA web site that we can reference. Then we can update the main article with the new, updated information. He is extremely knowledgeable in this area and communicates with NASA. I'll find out from him if there is a link on the NASA web site that we can reference. Alanfeld (talk) 02:09, 9 August 2012 (UTC)


  • This article has updated the official landing time from JPL (scroll to the very bottom): MSNBC.
  • Offical time according to the Newsroom at the Nasa site: NASA and here.
  • Someone could also use the NASA running time of Curiosity on Mars posted online, and count backwards: Curiosity Time on Mars.

I presently have yet to be convinced of the notability of When doing a cursory Google/Yahoo search, I was not able to find any reputable sources quoting them, or referencing them. The only "hits" on Google were for social sites, media sharing sites, etc. If the notability of is demonstrated here, perhaps we might have a new resource to use. Cheers! OliverTwisted (Talk) (Stuff) 02:33, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Thanks OliverTwisted. It turns out that got that new official time from an official NASA press conference held on August 8th. I can't find that news conference online yet but other sites are beginning to pick up the new official time from that very same NASA press conference. Check out the very last paragraph on this article: [23] Cheers. Alanfeld (talk) 02:49, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
This doesn't address the notability issue of, but the NBC source does seem to be the most recently updated and reliable source available at this time. I, for one, am completely comfortable with a reputable source such as NBC, quoting Mission Manager, Jennifer Trosper with the corrected landing time. Trosper on NBCOliverTwisted (Talk) (Stuff) 03:00, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
Right, I don't know how to prove the notability of to others but I was happy to hear that NASA had publicly revised the landing time. I actually just happened to catch a replay of that conference call on NASA TV and heard Jennifer Trosper make that announcement in response to a question from the media. In any event I'll let the more experienced wikipedia editors make the appropriate update to this article based on the new information from NASA. Alanfeld (talk) 03:17, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

He Alanfeld, OliverTwisted, Kaldari, others - you guys are great, and I think we got this nailed down finally. Here's the skinny: During this morning's (Aug 8 2012) 10am PDT Press Briefing at JPL for the MSL Sol 3 Update (carried live on NASA Television online), Jennifer Trosper, MSL Mission Manager at JPL, was asked (at time 45:15 of the youtube video, see below for citation) for a specific landing time. She did some fiddlefaddling, and then at 51:10 of that video came back with the answer: Landing was at: year 2012, day 219 (that's August 6), time 05:17:57 UTC, and by her discussion indicates that this is Mars time, i.e. SCET (SpaceCraft Event time). (Note that's the same time that Kildari just got from the Spaceflight101 after querying about the incorrect 05:14:39 time.) She continued on to say that's equivalent to about 10:17pm (lanephil note, actually 10:17:57 pm) PDT (SCET) August 5 in California at JPL (lanephil note, relativistic simultaneity considerations notwithstanding :-> ). She further stated that because of the approximately 14 minute OneWay Lightspeed Time (OWLT), that means the signal was received at JPL in California at about 10:32pm PDT Aug. 5. I think this is good enough? The youtube video is "MSL Sol 3 Update", "Published August 8, 2012 by NASAtelevision", is a total of 59min34sec, and is posted at < >, accessed 9:54pm PDT Aug. 8 2012, and is a recording of a live broadcast originally "aired" online on NASA Television at 10am-11am PDT Aug. 8 2012 on < >. Since there isn't a published reference (yet) to either a well-sourced to-the-second OWLT (best so far is 13 min 48 sec +/- 6 sec, as above), or to a well-sourced to-the-second Earth Received Time (ERT), I think we probably should stay with the approximate time of ~10:32pm PDT ERT, as currently posted on < > and < > (both accessed 9:59pm PDT Aug. 8 2012) and as stated by Ms. Trosper in the MSL Sol 3 Update news conference. Again I'll ask someone who's been working on the article (Alanfeld, OliverTwisted, Kaldari?) to make the actual formal changes in the article (first paragraph, and also in box with statistics on the right side), since I'm a latecomer to this neighborhood ;-> . WHEW! glad we got THAT figured out. I'll look forward to seeing the article fixed by y'all. Again thanks to all. (I'll also post a brief note in TALK/CURIOSITY ROVER - could one of you go there and do the formal article fix there as well? thx.) Lanephil (talk) 05:16, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Articles updated. Glad we finally have that settled! Nice work everyone! Kaldari (talk) 07:35, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Descent Stage

From what I can gather, after the Descent Stage made jetsam of itself (and flew safely downrange to a crash landing), there was no telemetry or science from it whatsoever. Orbital imagery may yet find it, and Curiosity itself may yet come across it, as Opportunity had its own heat shield. But when it is found, it should be mentioned. kencf0618 (talk) 03:08, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Good point, of course, as many things will be "found" on Mars and then mentioned in the article. But remember, Wikipedia:Anyone can edit. so I hope you will add it if such is subsequently located. Cheers. N2e (talk) 05:23, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
And indeed, the MSL debris have already been imaged from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. I rather suspect that the Descent Stage's sole contribution to science after it let go of Curiosity was the Martian soil it kicked up upon its crash landing. It angled at 45° away from Curiosity and rocketed away... Does anyone know if it deliberately used up all of its remaining fuel or not, and if its last flight was incommunicado, so to speak? kencf0618 (talk) 21:02, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
In the post-landing press conference they stated there was a significant excess, 140kg of fuel of the original 400kg, left aboard at the time of Curiosity's landing, so I doubt all of it was used up by the time of impact, especially considering what looks like a relatively short flight time. And to that end, they confirmed Curiosity would not be intentionally approaching it for concern of contamination. I also recall them saying that there was no communication intended from the descent stage after was wholly designed to simply fly away and impact, nothing more. Huntster (t @ c) 14:09, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
An excellent example of KISS! Essentially the Descent Stage had no avionics during its final flight, not even to the extent of forcing it to use all of its remaining fuel. All it had to to was to crash-land at least 500m from Curiosity --and it made it to 650m. I doubt that it even had the computational and aerodynamic capacity to use up all of its fuel during its flyaway. kencf0618 (talk) 23:19, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Peak interest

It is informative to see the interest in this page peaked: Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 23:28, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Quite predictable. Happens with any topic in the media. — Kieff | Talk 23:44, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Well, yes, predictable; but interest traffic did not drop off as much as you think. Ten minutes after MSL set the rover down on the Martian surface, the MSL article was split, per consensus, into two articles: Mars Science Laboratory (on the spacecraft and spaceflight), and Curiosity rover on the robotic planetary surface mission on Mars). If you look here (, you'll see that, after the rover article was created, it quicly absorbed a large amount of the hits that had been going to the MSL page. Cheers. N2e (talk) 05:34, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 7 August 2012

In the section on the reasons why Sky Crane was chosen versus landing and offloading via a ramp, add a paragraph with another major reason. During flight, the wheels were tucked under making for a compact payload.. After Curiosity began being lowered and was clear of Rover, the wheels snapped open. Were Rover to land with Curiosity still in the underbelly, there would be no way for the wheels to snap open. This means Rover would have had to been designed to carry Curiosity with it's wheels fully opened, requiring a much bigger, wider Rover Cove3 (talk) 12:38, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Curiosity is the rover. Anyway, find the source of your information and will do my best to incorporate it. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:11, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
That sounds like a minor reason. Annoying, but solvable in several ways. The major one was basically that given the minimum velocity achievable with a parachute, and the maximum capacity of an airbag system, retropropulsion is required, and rockets are hard to use close to the ground. First, you get all kinds of interaction effects as the exhaust bounces off the ground, and second, the moment you actually touch the ground with a leg, your control laws go all wonky as translation is suddenly coupled to torque; it is generally necessary to cut the engines within well under a second of ground contact.
Such a hair-trigger ground-contact sensor is one of the suspected reasons for the failure of the (rocket-landed) Mars Pathfinder mission.
By supporting the lander via a tension-only attachment through the crane's center of gravity, it can't transmit any torques when it touches down, so it's not necessary to respond as aggressively. And the rockets remain high enough to minimize ground effects.
(Source: Televised Q&A session with Adam Steltzner.) (talk) 10:56, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
(Note: Likely you meant "failure of the Mars Polar Lander", not the Pathfinder. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:14, 11 August 2012 (UTC))


I got a heads up this morning on strange edits I did, It took me a while to figure what happened there because I do not remember doing those edits. (it was my evil twin brother!) (joke) Last night I was reviewing the content 6 simultaneous revisions done by an AP to N2e user, which cought my attention because that editor did 6 sequential "undo" to his edits. I remember I disagreed with pretty much everything he changed, and when i saw the 'spinning keeps the forward momentum' portion I blew a fuse and I don't remember what buttons I pressed. I think it was simply "undo", thing is: I forgot I was looking at intermediate revisions and messed up the corrections that other editors did to that AP user. Later I broused the history again and saw other incongruencies that I did not understand and tried to fix them, and now I know is because of the "undo" I did of an old revision. I apologize too everyone. Yes, we are in the same "page" as to the the difference between MSL and Curiosity content. And yes, I agree with the newtonian physics of our universe. I was tired and I did not pay attention to what I did and what I was reverting. I just had a good night sleep and I hope I will be a useful editor again. Again, my apologies to N2e and everyone else for my mistake which others had to clean up a second time. CHeers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:39, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

No worries, BatteryIncluded, I figured it was a simple mistrake. It's all cleaned up now. N2e (talk) 17:53, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Automatic mass conversion seems wrong

Anyone else think it's kind of wrong to use automatic kg→lbs conversion templates to say the rover "masses" 2000 lbs once landed? Kilograms are kilograms anywhere because they measure mass, but pounds – being a measure of weight – depend on your local gravity. It definitely doesn't "mass" or weigh 2000 lbs once landed. — Saxifrage 06:22, 6 August 2012 (UTC

Interesting question. I think you have a valid point, but I would want to see what the Wikipedia standard is on other Wikipedia Mars rover articles, especially for the new article (just created tonight): Curiosity rover, since that article is more exclusively related to the planetary surface science mission on Mars. However, for this article (Mars Science Laboratory), which after the article split tonight is about the spaceflight aspects of the early part of the mission: launch, Mars transit, entry, descent and landing, I think it is perhaps more appropriate to include "weight" also, since the spacecraft was assembled on Earth. It will all get straightened out in a few days. Cheers. N2e (talk) 07:07, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
There is an imperial unit of measurement for mass, lbm (pounds mass). Just use lbm instead of lbs, which is the colloquial version of lbf (pounds force). (talk) 15:36, 12 August 2012 (UTC)