Bad News--MSL instrumention reduced.

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MeteorWayne

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Now the bad news from the same note as the NuSTAR below from the Sept 28 SCIENCE....<br /><br />NASA Science Chief S. Alan Stern also approved a plan to reduce the number and complexity of the instruments on the Mars Science Laboratory because of cost overruns.<br />"This is raising howls from Mars exploration advocates."<br /><br />The Planetary Society called the move "Penny wise and pound foolish"<br /><br />MW <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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Hi MeteorWayne,<br /><br />This is very bad news. Makes you wonder, what they have cut back on & why?<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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I'm checking, maybe the planetary society page has details.<br />Haven't found anything yet on the NASA site. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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Hi MeteorWayne,<br /><br />I did check myself when I first read your post, there does not appear to be anything <br />in 'official circles' @ NASA.<br /><br />I have checked the Planetary Society Save Our Science page (something that I<br />am actively involved in with them) & there is nothing to suggest cutbacks on the <br />Mars Science Laboratory. Also checked Spaceflightnow.com, also another <br />very good source there is nothing there either. <img src="/images/icons/frown.gif" /><br /><br />Perhaps this is hot off the press stuff & both sites have not had time to update.???????<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Well the news at NASA watch doesn't really say much, nor give any details.<br /><br />From the link you provided:<br /><br />"Because the success of MSL is of course of high importance to NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD), SMD, working with the MSL Project and Mars Program at JPL, concluded that the MSL project required some focused and prudent reductions in scope in order to better ensure project success. Furthermore, because all of the funds MSL requested were not available in the Mars Exploration Program reserves pool, and because SMD did not want to impact other current or future science missions to fund these new costs, the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters has been working closely with the MSL project and the science community to identify mission scope reductions to minimize the project's need for funds, while minimizing both technical risk and impacts to the mission's science return."<br /><br />Lotsa words, not saying much...<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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3488

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Thank you very much jimfomnsf,<br /><br />I did hear about a $75M dollar 'saving' to be made on the mission a while back, so is<br />this related to that, or are these new cutbacks?<br /><br />What ever, it is still crap news.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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There was no date in the note to say when the info came out... <br />Other than it was in the 9/28 Science, so probably was from the last two weeks.<br /><br />Still it gave more detail than the note at NASA watch, which gave nothing of value. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Thanx.<br />I hadn't heard about it at all (much less any details) till I ran across this note.<br /><br />Far more useful than the other link. <br /><br />"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. As noted by the science input NASA received, most of MARDI's capability can be provided by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRise camera now in orbit and working successfully. Furthermore, NASA has directed that the project expend no additional funds on ChemCam, and cost-cap SAM and CheMin at their current budgets. Future budget requests for these instruments cannot be funded. However none of the roving instruments were removed from the payload, and the science team also remains entirely intact. "<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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h2ouniverse

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Doesn't Stern want to make some room for his personal idea of having the near-term one-way missions to Mars pre-packaging samples for future collection and sample return?<br />(he made a similar request to ESA's Exomars)
 
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3488

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That does not sound too bad after all.<br /><br />As mentioned I suppose the MARDI is a non essential item, though it would help <br />identifiy the landing site (much like the MER DIMES). <br /><br />IMO, the MASTCAM zoom capability IS a major loss. <br /><br />That could have really bought features on the horizon into sharper focus & appear closer <br />& that feature is well worth saving.<br /><br />So it is a mixed blessing. Lets hope ChemCam & SAM do keep within budget.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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It's basically fitting the rover with a basket to carry samples in, as I understand it. The cost impact is minimal. Which is why it is so attractive. It has no real impact on the mission and opens up an option for sample return.<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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3488

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I cannot see why NASA & / or ESA & / or JAXA do just that.<br /><br />They are all more than capable of doing just that.<br /><br />Preparing samples for a future sample return, would surely make a sample return <br />mission easier & cheaper, as the craft, will not have to harvest its own samples.<br /><br />Also a return to Viking 1 & Viking 2 would be interesting, to see how <br />Vikings 1 & 2 have weathered & also to reimage the landing sites, to see how dust, <br />etc has shifted & compare the Viking images to the new ones.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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christine16

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yah that would be for curious one <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" />
 
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thereiwas

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But it does require pinpoint landing of the return mission - something that has not been demonstrated on Mars yet.
 
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spacester

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All in all, this sounds to me a lot like the fiscal discipline thing they did on the DAWN mission. The scientists were getting in too deep and there was some brinksmanship from NASA HQ - cancellation at one point - but the mission managers got the message and got their house in order and now we have a beautiful craft on its way to Vesta and Ceres.<br /><br />So I'm hoping that's what happens here.<br /><br />MSL without robust life-detection instruments is nuts IMO. Do folks here think MSL is on target to find life if it is there?<br /><br />I also wonder if there might be an opportunity for independent financing of some instruments NASA doesn't want to pay for. Of course these instruments need to be integrated into the system, but maybe the dollars could come from other sources? A university or private firm could pay for that distant-horizon camera and release the science data but sell imagery, for example. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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dragon04

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I guess this will cause NASA to prioritize and more narrowly define the most important mission that MSL is designed to carry out.<br /><br />This really begs an important question, though. If NASA wants MSL to be the "whole enchilada", what other programs (if any) can we scale down or give up to get the job done to everyone's scientific satisfaction?<br /><br />Kind of a "line item veto" thing. I don't like the inflexibility of planned missions. <br /><br /><font color="yellow">The Planetary Society called the move "Penny wise and pound foolish"</font><br /><br />So why is there no mechanism by which public or commercial interests could augment any particular mission's funding?<br /><br />Why can't NASA seek out corporate sponsorship? We can paint a company's name on a stock car for bucks, but we cant do the same for a space mission?<br /><br />What about merchandizing? SETI can sell coffee cups, ball caps, and tee shirts, and NASA can't?<br /><br />Too much inside the box thinking. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <em>"2012.. Year of the Dragon!! Get on the Dragon Wagon!".</em> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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It does not have to be a pin point landing. It just has to be close enough for the rover to drive to it.<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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jimfromnsf

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"MSL without robust life-detection instruments is nuts IMO. Do folks here think MSL is on target to find life if it is there? "<br /><br />That is not the purpose of MSL.
 
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jimfromnsf

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"So why is there no mechanism by which public or commercial interests could augment any particular mission's funding? "<br /><br />NASA or any gov't agency can't receive money directly. Any monies received go directly to the general treasury fund. When NASA flew commercial spacecraft, the fees went to the treasury. If NOAA were to sell a research ship or the Agricultural Dept sells some land from a test farm, those agencies don't get to keep the money. <br /><br />SETI isn't a gov't agency<br /><br />Products sold at NASA visitor centers are different since they are not funded with tax payer money.<br /><br />A fully funded instrument could be supplied to MSL by anyone
 
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thereiwas

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And what is the range of this rover? The landing ellipse for Opportunity was 60 km by 4 km. (99% probability of landing somewhere in there.)
 
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