Mars Landing...

crgildart

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I bet their hard drives won't fail if you leave the machine in a hot/cold car for a few hours..
 

pete

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I was one of the designers on the processor that controls the landing and rover.... we were all pretty nervous watching it on a big zoom call at work. I can't imagine how nervous the NASA folks are when they do things like this. (If you're curious, the processor is a BAE Systems RAD750, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAD750)
that's spectacular ... when did you start on the design. I suspect this was a long time coming and you're feeling pretty good today.

It somewhat kills me the reliability (knock on wood) of so many "hi tech" spectacular missions are older technology. It just shows how good designs by good designers can bring about some amazing tech.

The whole sky crane concept really is crazy, I'd presume there'd be some simpler way but all I can think now is "brilliant"
 

dbostedo

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that's spectacular ... when did you start on the design. I suspect this was a long time coming and you're feeling pretty good today.
Well the base design actually probably was started around 1995... with IBM and Motorola making the PowerPC 750 processor used in the colorful 1997 iMac (if you remember those). That design was licensed, and reworked for space mission starting around 2000 I think (initially by Lockheed Martin, then BAE Systems), which would have been when I started working on it. We redid all the circuitry, but maintained the same architecture and function.

The first mission was NASA's Deep Impact in 2005. There have been a few iterations since then, and the processor is still in production. And yes, I love, love, love that some circuitry I designed is operating on Mars!

It somewhat kills me the reliability (knock on wood) of so many "hi tech" spectacular missions are older technology. It just shows how good designs by good designers can bring about some amazing tech.
Yes they can... to some extent it's necessary because of the high cost to create small volume designs - you can't operate like the commercial folks. If Intel only sold as many processors as we do, each would cost millions of dollars. They only get cheap through the huge numbers produced.

That said, we currently have the RAD5545, a much more modern multi-core processor, in production. It's not "current" - being based on a 2011 commercial design - but far more powerful than any of the older space processors. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAD5500)
 

pete

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very cool @dbostedo

I'm familiar with the products and worked with deep space satellite hardware in the past.

Very cool stuff you work on, nice stuff. All the folks I've known in the industry were brilliant and/or craftsmen for their specialty.
 

Seldomski

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I think the coolest image is this one showing it descending on a parachute:



February 19, 2021

The descent stage holding NASA’s Perseverance rover can be seen falling through the Martian atmosphere, its parachute trailing behind, in this image taken on Feb. 18, 2021, by the High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The ancient river delta, which is the target of the Perseverance mission, can be seen entering Jezero Crater from the left.

HiRISE was approximately 435 miles (700 kilometers) from Perseverance and traveling at about 6750 mile per hour (3 kilometers per second) at the time the image was taken. The extreme distance and high speeds of the two spacecraft were challenging conditions that required precise timing and for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to both pitch upward and roll hard to the left so that Perseverance was viewable by HiRISE at just the right moment.
Absolutely incredible that they could get this photo. Keep in mind that radio commands currently take about ~11 minutes to reach Mars.
 

dbostedo

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This video is AMAZING!! I didn't realize they were recording a lot of the landing this time. With Curiosity, we just had mostly "artist rendering" types of images for the landing. But this is real footage.... insane.



And a bit of the parachute deployment...

 

dbostedo

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I think the coolest image is this one showing it descending on a parachute:





Absolutely incredible that they could get this photo. Keep in mind that radio commands currently take about ~11 minutes to reach Mars.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that took that photo was launched in 2005, and actually has a variant of the same processor that's in Perseverance. It has sent back around 7 million photos of Mars.
 

Seldomski

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Interesting that the parachute is colored at all. I guess there is color to facilitate failure investigation if needed?
 
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Tex

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I think the Rover and Chopper need some guns, you just never know when we might run into hostile aliens.
 

crgildart

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I want to see Persie hook up with the Viking rovers.
 

pete

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Well, actually...

I enjoy how teams put hidden messages into their toys ... Mars Curiosity tires/wheels had JPL spelled out in morse code in it's pattern (holes).

A former colleague of mine would embed his fingerprint into conformal coating on multiple projects, just had to make sure the surface was clean of oils. If aliens find em, they can track him down :roflmao:
 

Doug Briggs

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pete

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Early macs (or maybe it was pre-release ones I saw when working for Apple) had the signatures of the team on the inside of the case. I have an Apple //e pre-release motherboard with the names of the 4 designers in the artwork.

Curiosity I heard has a microfilm on board with various signatures of folks involved in the project and other space research projects and those sending their name into NASA's JPL.

Perseverance too has names via their 'send your name to mars' project.

I missed it, but my fingerprinting colleague sent his.

 
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