How are the Mars rovers and various probes controlled?

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darthstpierre

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The rovers and probes in space are controlled by people here on Earth. Can anyone explain to me how this system works and how they can get signals from earth to the probes/rovers on Mars in a timely manner and still be able to control the experiment or do they just take it one step at a time and have to wait a long time for the data to get to the rover/probes. Also how fast can probes get pictures and information back to Earth. Especially like Cassini and the ones that are out towards Pluto now? Thanks in advance.
 
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aphh

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>The rovers and probes in space are controlled by people here on Earth. Can anyone explain to me how this system works and how they can get signals from earth to the probes/rovers on Mars in a timely manner and still be able to control the experiment or do they just take it one step at a time and have to wait a long time for the data to get to the rover/probes. Also how fast can probes get pictures and information back to Earth. Especially like Cassini and the ones that are out towards Pluto now? Thanks in advance. <br /> Posted by darthstpierre</DIV></p><p>The rovers and most probes use a real-time operating system called VxWorks. It allows highly autonomous operation and exception handling and error recovery.</p><p>The longer the distance to the probe, the more autonomous it has to be, because the time for the signal transmission grows. To transmit data and send commands to inter-planetary probe system called Deep Space Network is used.</p><p>This is a set of large dish antennas built on different locations on earth, so that the probe could *see* an antenna at most times. Data transmission can occur on pre-determined schedule.&nbsp;</p><p>If the probe encounters a glitch or don't know what to do, it either stops and waits for new instructions or goes to safe mode.&nbsp;</p>
 
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willpittenger

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>The rovers and probes in space are controlled by people here on Earth. Can anyone explain to me how this system works and how they can get signals from earth to the probes/rovers on Mars in a timely manner and still be able to control the experiment or do they just take it one step at a time and have to wait a long time for the data to get to the rover/probes. Also how fast can probes get pictures and information back to Earth. Especially like Cassini and the ones that are out towards Pluto now? Thanks in advance.</p><p>Posted by darthstpierre</DIV><br />The rovers are a special case.&nbsp; Phoenix too probably.&nbsp; The rovers have some sort of AI that allows them to see obstacles that weren't taken into account by the program sent from Earth. What happens then I don't know.&nbsp; The rover would at least stop.&nbsp; It might even be able to adjust and attempt to continue on without waiting for new instructions from Earth. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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Testing

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>The rovers and probes in space are controlled by people here on Earth. Can anyone explain to me how this system works and how they can get signals from earth to the probes/rovers on Mars in a timely manner and still be able to control the experiment or do they just take it one step at a time and have to wait a long time for the data to get to the rover/probes. Also how fast can probes get pictures and information back to Earth. Especially like Cassini and the ones that are out towards Pluto now? Thanks in advance. <br />Posted by darthstpierre</DIV></p><p>This link should get some questions answered.</p><p>http://www.cict.nasa.gov/sc.html</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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