Mars Phoenix Lander On Wide World Of Mars
When I was a kid growing up in the 1960's, one of the most amazing things to me was the live coverage from multiple cameras of world events, like the Winter Olympics. When they talked about "spanning the globe" to bring you a "Wide World of Sports," they weren't kidding around.
(Phoenix lander schematic)
NASA's Phoenix Lander is going to get a similar treatment from the many correspondents on Mars. Correspondents on Mars? That's right - the three orbiters, NASA's Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and Europe's Mars Express are all getting themselves into position.
Even better, NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity have been helping out by simulating transmissions from Phoenix to rehearse the orbiters' operations.
Phoenix will enter the Martian atmosphere at a speed of 20,519 kph.
On that day, Odyssey will turn its robotic eyes from the heavens to point an ultrahigh- frequency antenna towards the descending Phoenix. A high-gain antenna will stream information back to Earth as Odyssey watches Phoenix slow itself through heat-shield friction, a parachute, and then firing descent rockets. That allows the lander to hit the Martian surface on three legs at just 5.4 miles per hour (2.4 m/s).
MRO and Mars Express will start recording Phoenix transmissions as backup data "about 10 minutes before landing," according to Ben Jai, mission manager at JPL for MRO.
Sooner or later, the world's planetary explorers will realize that we need a rock-solid, high-capacity data network for the solar system. George O. Smith, an engineer by trade and sf writer by avocation, wrote about this idea in an excellent set of stories in the early 1940's.
The Venus Equilateral Relay Station was a modern miracle of engineering if you liked to believe the books. Actually, Venus Equilateral was an asteroid that had been shoved into its orbit about the Sun, forming a practical demonstration of he equilateral triangle solution of the Three Moving Bodies. It was a long cylinder, about three miles in length by about a mile in diameter...
This was the center of Interplanetary Communications. This was the main office. It was the heart of the Solar System's communication line, and as such, it was well manned. Orders for everything emanated from Venus Equilateral.
(Read more about the Venus Equilateral Relay Station)
Update 14-Jun-1986 Here's an earlier reference to this idea; take a look at the Interplanetary Radiograph Station from On The Martian Way (1907) by Harry Gore Bishop. End update.
Via Mars Orbiters Prepare to Watch Phoenix Landing.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/3/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.
Burner Generates Temporary Phone Numbers
'Interesting phone system he's got, by the way...' - John Varley, 1984.
HushMe Bluetooth Device Reinvents The Hush-A-Phone
'Talking into a hush-a-phone which he had plugged into the telephone jack...' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.
Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Records Your Life
Why be choosy? Just upload your whole life to the Internet, and be done with it.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Superstrong Multilayer Metal-Graphene Composite Material
Negligible increase in weight increased material strength by hundreds of times.
Deepfakes Imperil Democracy (George Orwell, Right Again)
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'
String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
The number of different ways to span a thread between a larger number of hooks is astronomical.
Still Wondering If You'd Work For A Robot Boss?
'This is all coming to you courtesy of the simstim unit wired into your deck, of course.'
World's First Autonomous Tram In Germany
What's it like for autonomous trams when they're turned off at night?
Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'
Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.
Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'
How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'
PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'
Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.
Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.
International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'
Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.
IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'
ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories