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How to run a robot on Mars

Some 78 million miles (126 million miles) from Earth, alone on the huge and ugly Red Planet, a robot, a…

Some 78 million miles (126 million miles) from Earth, alone on the huge and ugly Red Planet, a robot, a small 4×4 size occurs just after the sunrise. And just as it has happened every day for the last six years, it is waiting for its instructions.

Around 9:30 Mars comes a message from California, where it was sent 15 minutes earlier.

“Drive forward 10 meters, turn to an azimuth of 45 degrees, turn on your autonomous ability and drive.”

Kuriosa rover runs the commands, moves slowly to its chosen position, with a maximum speed of 35 to 110 meters per hour.

Its batteries and other configurations limit its daily driving voltage to about 100 meters. The most curiosity that has rolled on Mars in one day is 220 meters.

When it arrives, its 17 cameras take shot from its surroundings.

Its laser zaps stones. Other tools on board drill into a particularly interesting rock to study small samples.

At 17:00 on Mars, it waits for one of NASA’s three satellites to circle the planet to pass.

Curiosity then sends several hundred megabytes

– A miniature lab –

On the ground floor of building 34 at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, researchers ponder the curiosity data every day at 13.00 in a large windowless room full of scientific instruments and computers.

The scientists are looking for an indication of life on Mars.

Within Curiosity lies a “wonder of miniaturization,” said Charles Malespin, Assistant Research Scientist at Mars (SAM), a chemist lab that is a microwave oven.

“It’s the most complicated instrument NASA has ever sent to another planet,” said Malespin, who has devoted h is a professional life to the project since 2006.

SAM analyzes samples of martian soil by heating them in one oven that reaches 1800 Fahrenheit (1000 Celsius).

The hot rock releases gas which is separated and analyzed by instruments that offer an example of “fingerprints”.

In Goddard, Maeva Millan, a French postdoctoral scientist, compares this chemical fingerprint to experiments performed on known molecules.

When they resemble, she can say, “Oh, that’s the right molecule.”

It is thanks to SAM that researchers know that there are complex organic molecules on Mars.

And SAM has helped scientists learn that the mariatic surface – geologically speaking – is much younger than previously thought. 19659021] “If you’re going to Mars, you do not want to bring things you can already use for resources,” like water, says Malespin.

“If you want to mining the soil and warm it up and let go of the water, you can bring a binge oven with you and you have all the water you want.”

The same goes for different materials that can be used to make rocket fuel so that Red Planet can act as a future gas station for rockets.

– No joystick –

On the other side of the United States, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, about two dozen men and women make up the law that drives curiosity.

“My favorite part of the day (when) I’m going to sit down and start looking at the pictures from Mars and understand where the rover is currently,” says Frank Hartman, who has driven both curiosity and another older robber, Opportunity.

“And my feeling is Sometimes I’m probably the first human being on earth to look at some of these pictures.”

The master task of the marsh drivers is to write the sequence of commands for the rover to follow the next sun or “day” on Mars, which lasts 24 hours and almost 40 minutes. There is no joystick and no real-time communication with the robot vehicle.

It’s a delay when drivers realize something went wrong, whether it’s possible to be buried by a mart’s dust storm earlier this year or a wheel of curiosity

Or the distribution of curiosity of curiosity that occurred at the beginning of the year and took a few months to resolve.

“We have not been to any of these places earlier,” says Hartman.

“And so we must always be aware of the fact that we know so little about what we encounter.”

When years pass, these researchers are driven on their robots. When the opportunity became silent after 14 years of processing around Mars, Hartman and his colleagues felt a sense of sadness.

Possibility “Retired with Honor,” says Hartman.

Curiosity, which landed in 2012, has so far traveled over 12 miles (19.75 km). It has to wait a year before reaching its goal, Mount Sharp.

Then a few months later it will lose its marsh monopoly. Two robbers – one American and one European – are scheduled to land on the planet by 2020.

A self portrait of NASA’s curiosity movement taken on March 7, June 2018

NASA researcher Charles Malespin sets next to a reproduction of SAM- The instrument aboard the Rover Curiosity on Mars

This NASA image shows a 2-inch deep hole that the rover drilled on the Mars surface to extract rock samples in May 2018

French postdoctoral researcher Maeva Millan at work at NASA’s Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt , Maryland

Sediment deposits from an old martin lake rover Curiosity visited in December 2013

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Faela