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  1. #11
    Resident Khajiit Ibuuyk's Avatar


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    Last edited by Ibuuyk; 08-08-2012 at 11:14 AM.

  2. #12
    Retired Staff Tiger's Avatar
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  3. #13
    Crabby Admin Term's Avatar

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    I'm a bit skeptical as to the actual need for this rover. I mean yeah, it's cool and all that they pulled it off, but does that warrant a $2 billion price tag? If we hadn't already sent rovers there I might be a bit more warm to the whole thing. But right now, unless it does something of greater significance than sending photos of the Martian surface, I can't say I'm all that excited about it.

  4. #14
    Retired Staff Frank LeRenard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Term View Post
    I'm a bit skeptical as to the actual need for this rover. I mean yeah, it's cool and all that they pulled it off, but does that warrant a $2 billion price tag? If we hadn't already sent rovers there I might be a bit more warm to the whole thing. But right now, unless it does something of greater significance than sending photos of the Martian surface, I can't say I'm all that excited about it.
    The US didn't front the entire cost, actually. The US sent it off, but a lot of the more advanced pieces of research equipment were developed and built elsewhere (for example, the camera system was built in Toulouse, France).
    Also, I don't recall any rover that was sent purely to send back pretty pictures. That's what the press releases always show because that's what makes regular people go "Oooo, aaaahhh", but they basically always have some sort of built-in chem lab on board that takes soil or rock samples and sends data back to Earth to be analyzed. Here's the page with all the basic science info: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/mission/science/
    So basic rundown... they've got a few cameras, an X-ray spectrometer for chemical analysis, diffraction and fluorescence instrument for mineral analysis, radiation detectors, and so on. Looks like a more complete suite of things for the whole 'can/did life exist here' investigation, which is useful for the purposes of studying the origin of life (since right now we only have one example of a system with life, and it's always good to find a comparison). So despite that it's NASA, it's doing more comparative biological and environmental research than anything else.

 

 

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