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Mars Odyssey Begins Overtime

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the time-and-a-half dept.

Space 122

thhamm writes "NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter begins working overtime today after completing a prime mission that discovered vast supplies of frozen water, ran a safety check for future astronauts, and mapped surface textures and minerals all over Mars, among other feats. An extended Mission until 2006 has been approved, and I hope it will last that long, maybe doing more safety checks for astronauts :)"

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122 comments

first p0rt (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076286)

first p0rt1111

Seceond Rover Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076292)

Hi, I'm the second one.

Doom??? (5, Funny)

elasticwings (758452) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076294)

Umm, isn't this the first step towards the Doom 3 premise? I mean do we really want to start exploring Mars? It'll just eventually lead up to colonization via the Union Aerospace Corporation. Please somebody think of the poor Doom space marine that will have to go through this.

Re:Doom??? (3, Funny)

wpanderson (67273) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076308)

I wouldn't worry about it - with the level of hardware on Mars Odyssey, they'll be lucky to get a Doom 3 framerate of anything more than 1fpd (frames per day). With the quality set low. At 640x480. And not moving.

Re:Doom??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076545)

But that's with FSAAx16 right?

Re:Doom??? (2, Funny)

EpsCylonB (307640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076739)

And think about the latency as well, it's a 20 minute round trip.

Re:Doom??? (1)

retinaburn (218226) | more than 9 years ago | (#10078456)

Actually its much faster, all they have to render is black.

Re:Doom??? (5, Funny)

thhamm (764787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076316)

"monsters? demons? what the hell are you talking about? we did the safety checks years ago with mars odyssey. its perfectly safe there!"

Re:Doom??? (4, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077569)

It's because the rovers run predominantly on solar power, and the monsters mostly come at night. Mostly...

Re:Doom??? (4, Funny)

Nakkel (748351) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076418)

No worries mate, just press CTRL + ALT + ~ and type "God". That should ease the job a bit.

Re:Doom??? (4, Funny)

tomee (792877) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076479)

What do you mean "poor" space marine? Everyone is already training for that day using professional simulation software. We'll have no trouble finding a volunteer.

Those damn guerilla marketers at Nike! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076602)

Nike is the goddess of victory [7sport.com.au] :
For the facelift, the first for a summer games in 76 years, organisers asked artists to submit proposals that included two distinctly Greek elements: a depiction of
Nike [nike.com] , the goddess of victory, and the Panathinaikos, the horseshoe-shaped stadium in Athens where the first modern Olympic games [athens2004.com] were held in 1896.
Can't really keep them out, hehe.

Ever since the Amsterdam Olympics of 1928, Nike had been shown on the medals, seated on a chariot with a wreath in one hand and an ear of corn in the other, symbolically honouring winning athletes. Next to the goddess was usually a stadium that looked a lot like a Roman amphitheatre - not surprising since the designer was an Italian, Giuseppi Cassioli.
Wouldn't it be easyer to just print a "swoosh" on those medals ;-)

Ah, there we have it:

Her design has a winged, almost angelic Nike boldly
swooshing down feet-first from the heavens, delivering the laurel in the Panathinaikos stadium, the all-marble venue for archery and the finish line of the marathon later this month. Her Nike is based on a marble statue by the sculptor Paionios of Chalkidiki from 421 B.C.
hehe, and all this without paying a single cent of sponsorship to the IOC...

Re:Doom??? (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076821)

Mars Needs WomenH^H^H^H^H^Flashlight Batteries.

KFG

Re:UAC (1)

cheese_wallet (88279) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076893)

"It'll just eventually lead up to colonization via the Union Aerospace Corporation. "

Don't you mean the Armadillo Aerospace Corporation? [armadilloaerospace.com]

Re:Doom??? (1)

ShadowXOmega (808299) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077472)

mmmm no martian OverLord post??

ok
I, for One, give the welcome to our martian Cyberdemon OverLord

2nd first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076295)

yea 2nd first post1111 8 my shift key dont work 9

But where's the IPN? (1)

wpanderson (67273) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076297)

Roll on .mars

Re:But where's the IPN? (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 9 years ago | (#10078961)

Mars? I thought we were exploring Barsoom...

third (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076298)

third

/. now on Mars (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076302)

And we are the only ones here... spooky.

How long before... (0, Flamebait)

caston (711568) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076304)

These space probes start forming their own unions to complain about overtime and lunch breaks and sick pay etc ?

I say we make plans to start sending Indians up instead.

Unfortunately... (4, Funny)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076311)

It will not be eligible for overtime pay. [slashdot.org]

intermediaries for human travel. (3, Interesting)

bagel2ooo (106312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076324)

While I think a manned mission to Mars would be a wonderful idea. I ponder if we would be able to collect enough data to see if using "greenhouse" gases to supply Mars with a more human-suitable atmosphere would also be a good long-term goal. I know that would probably negatively impact our manned missions there for quite some time until the "incubation" is well underway or finished, but I think that with what resources we've been able to find Mars may be more viable for a station or colony than mars.

Re:intermediaries for human travel. (2, Funny)

Zen Punk (785385) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076428)

but I think that with what resources we've been able to find Mars may be more viable for a station or colony than mars.

I don't think I understand what you're trying to say here.

Re:intermediaries for human travel. (1)

EpsCylonB (307640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076763)

I personally think that robotic missions are still the best value. What I would like to see is an atempt to establish earth plant life on mars.

Apparently around the equator of mars there are places that reach 0 degress celsius, and there is supposedly algae at the earths poles that can survive those kind of temperatures.

So why not send a robot that will heat a small basin of water to keep it liquid and try and grow something ?. The first small step towards terraforming.

Re:intermediaries for human travel. (4, Informative)

kippy (416183) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077119)

According to Chris McKay from NASA they will be. He's a big terraforming proponent and he outlined a near future mission in which a rover will scoop up some dirt into a bell jar, and they will attempt to grow a mustard plant. He said they'll probably have to do it on the moon first for political reasons but it's on the works.

I don't have a link of anything but he gave this talk at the Mars Soceity's convention last week.

Woohoo! First one to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10078907)

MMMM... Mars mustard...

Re:intermediaries for human travel. (1)

howardjw (808516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10079034)

I agree that robotic missions are of great value. However, I don't think NASA will try to establish plant life on Mars anytime soon. NASA, specifically JPL, spends millions of dollars every mission to make sure the spacecraft is as clean as possible, controlling the number of bugs per square meter very precisly. They want to prevent "forward contamination" - that is wrecking the Martian ecosystem. I suppose it is possible to design an instrument that keeps a plant seen inside an internal jar, somehow preventing any possibility of organisms getting out, and then adding some dirt (and water?). But I don't see it happening soon. Some places on the equator get about 0 degrees C during the day, but most get quite cold at night. There is another problem though. If you expose water to the atmosphere of Mars, it will not freeze into ice. Yes, it is cold enough, if the pressure were the same as it was on Earth. But it is much lower. The water will actually evaporate. You would have to lower the temperature to get the water into a liquid form. Makes growing a plant tough.

Re:intermediaries for human travel. (4, Interesting)

kippy (416183) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077152)

Landing on an earthlike Mars would be nice but not totally necessary for early astronauts. I'm about at pro-terraforming as it gets but even I think that landing humans on an un-terraformed Mars is best for science.

At a talk given by Chris McKay this weekend, he was asked something like "when do we give up the search for life and start terraforming?" That's kind of a sticky question because it's kind of like proving a negative. However he pointed out a region in the southern hemisphere which is older than the north, still has an earth-strength magnetosphere and is Siberian in nature. He said that once a kilometer deep core is drilled, checked for life and nothing is found that there is almost certainly no life on Mars nor was there ever.

It will take people to do that investigation. My personal hope is that nothing is found and terraforming can begin.

For a good treatment of terraforming, read Robert Zubrin's "The Case For Mars".

Re:intermediaries for human travel. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077599)

My personal hope is that we begin terraforming whether we find life or not, but that we would delay it slightly so we could do a good sampling of surveys to find out if we find life in places in which we really don't expect it. Whatever we do to mars' surface will have only a limited effect on its interior for some time, so we can start on top and work our way down and still get some useful science accomplished. Sorry, but Ann Clayborne can bite me.

Re:intermediaries for human travel. (1)

kippy (416183) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077715)

Word.

And I'll follow General Sax into the gates of Hell.

Re:intermediaries for human travel. (1)

EEgopher (527984) | more than 9 years ago | (#10079107)

I did read Zubrin's Book, and even he is open to suggestions for one critical problem: getting the humans to Mars without full-body 3rd degree sunburn (from radiation). Lead-plated space capsules will be too heavy for an affordable approach, as they will affect payload, fuel, and Hoffman transfers.
Human transport needs to be solved before teraforming becomes worthwhile. (Unless we just want to grow crops out there and let robots pick them.)

Re:intermediaries for human travel. (2, Informative)

kippy (416183) | more than 9 years ago | (#10079304)

If you've read the book, you'll remember that the radiation in transit is far less dangerous than smoking. One quote of his I like is that if you put smokers on a trip to Mars, their chances of cancer go down.

Also, by designing the craft such that the water and whatnot are on the outside you can mitigate the solar wind and cosmic ray threat. For solar flares, a small coffin/safehouse can be used for a few hours. One thing he didn't mention but that could be used is to generate a baby magnetic field to bounce solar wind.

it's just an engineering problem and not insurmountable at all.

OK, so I'm stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10078867)

But without a stable magetic field, how are we going to get greenhouse gases to accumulate on Mars?

Wow must have been gone for a long time (2, Interesting)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076338)

NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter begins working overtime today after completing a prime mission that discovered vast supplies of frozen water

So when did that happen? I remember checking in on slashdot all the time and there would always be some thing about the mars rovers almost discovering water, but always missing some piece of evicende or something. I don't remember anything about an orbiter finding huge amounts of water (well I was on vacation for a month but I figured it would be pretty big on the news or something.)

Re:Wow must have been gone for a long time (4, Informative)

noselasd (594905) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076346)

Mars Rovers != Mars Odyssey.

Ice on Mars [nasa.gov]
Odyssey Mission to Mars [space.com]

Re:Wow must have been gone for a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076434)

I am aware of that, I never used the names to mean the same thing. I just thought that they were looking for signs of water on mars, wouldn't frozen water be a sign of water on mars?

Re:Wow must have been gone for a long time (3, Informative)

noselasd (594905) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076453)

Indeed, though most water were found on the poles, wheras the rovers
are not that far from the equator.

Re:Wow must have been gone for a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076553)

They're looking for liquid water.

Any old planet can have ice, that's not so impressive.

Water at a temperature between 0 and 100 centigrade? That's impressive, then all you need to do is put 15% oxygen in the atmosphere and it's Class M!

Re:Wow must have been gone for a long time (3, Informative)

dragonp12 (798787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076348)

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressrelea ses/20040302a.html [nasa.gov]

There's a link to a water on Mars press release from a few months back.

Re:Wow must have been gone for a long time (1)

Queuetue (156269) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076359)

That actually shows strong evidence that a plain on Mars was once wet. Not really the discovery of ice on Mars - just something to stoke the fires of hope, wouldn't you say?

Re:Wow must have been gone for a long time (1)

dragonp12 (798787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076361)

All the same so far as I'm concerned :-P If there's strong evidence that a plain on Mars was once wet, then that can only lend more credence to the theory that there's a whole load of ice under the poles.

Re:Wow must have been gone for a long time (4, Informative)

snake_dad (311844) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076375)

The fact that Mars has frozen water is one of the biggest discoveries of Odyssey. That is great to know, but it doesn't tell you much, only that a lot of water is currently on Mars in a frozen state.

The rovers' task is to find out how exactly that water influenced Mars in the past (and maybe even present). Long lasting huge oceans? Short wet periods? Or maybe only moist periods, not really wet at all? These science results will then be used to give a future mission a better chance of finding life, or proof of past life. If there ever was life on Mars, of course.

Re:Wow must have been gone for a long time (5, Interesting)

thhamm (764787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076585)

The scientist, that claimed the Viking Probes [nasa.gov] showed signs of microbial life, now has a new theory. [space.com]
He seems to see signs of water on recent Rover images, squished out by the wheels and the RAT tool.

Even if there is/ever was no life, interesting find though, that liquid water exists on such a world. I think this raises the odds of finding life somewhere else quit a bit. Maybe Europa [space.com] ?

Re:Wow must have been gone for a long time (5, Funny)

TheCyko1 (568452) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076498)

You really missed out on some big news then. I guess i should also inform you about the alien machine discovered on mars near one of these vast supplies of frozen water and a life form that appears to be a woman with three tits.

Water on Mars (5, Funny)

vivia (775708) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076538)

Re:Water on Mars (1)

kmmatthews (779425) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076608)

lol, nice picture. ;)

Re:Water on Mars (5, Funny)

thhamm (764787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076625)

In other news, NASA, in cooperation with the IBBA (International Beer Brewing Association [no link]), has announced an extensive mission, as early as 2010, to determine the usability of recently discovered martian water for on-site brewing. "this will greatly influence our decision to go there in the first place", spokesman says.

Next stop, South Polar region? (4, Interesting)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076357)

Since they found indications of lots of frozen water near the surface in the south polar region, I wonder if there are any plans to send a probe/rover there?

They found "copius hydrogen" in the area, and "Researchers interpret the hydrogen as frozen water", but can we be sure without taking a look on the ground?

Seems like the next logical step...

Re:Next stop, South Polar region? (5, Informative)

thhamm (764787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076372)

they tried this already, with the Mars Polar Lander [nasa.gov] . but they lost it.

dont know if they will try again though.

Re:Next stop, South Polar region? (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076795)

If they find it, it has my name on it; I call dibs on the wreckage!

Re:Next stop, South Polar region? (1)

sadler121 (735320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077318)

Partially on topic (its about Mars) but wasn't that the one NASA screw up because one team was working with "Imprieal" measurements and the other team was working with Metric measurements, and they kinda got confused??

Re:Next stop, South Polar region? (3, Informative)

snake_dad (311844) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077434)

No, this is the lander where the cause of the crash was thought to be "spurious interrrupts" from the sensors in the landing legs, during landing. Apparently that made MPL conclude that it was already on the ground, and it cut off its engine. Boom. Also adding to the accident was bad management in the project, and too many inexperienced people on the team.

Re:Next stop, South Polar region? (1)

howardjw (808516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10079116)

Next stop in the North Polar region. Phoenix is a low cost mission baselining the crashed Mars Polar Lander. It is scheduled to launch in 2007.

outsourcing! (5, Funny)

rozz (766975) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076363)

NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter begins working overtime today

sending overtime-work to Mars is the kind of outsourcing we all love

Re:outsourcing! (1)

IChris (808452) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076570)

My job went to Mars and all I got was this lousy Y-shirt!

Working Overtime? (4, Insightful)

strook (634807) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076369)

Wow, the orbiter lasted even longer than the estimated lifetime. Is anyone else noticing the inevitable pattern? NASA launches some sort of mission, gets some positive press, then a few months later more great news! Turns out the mission is lasting even longer than the estimates!

Like the Mars rovers for example: [bbc.co.uk]

Mission engineers have analysed power data for both Spirit and Opportunity which shows the vehicles are performing much better than they had expected....

But the mission team adds that its original estimates of Mars' environment and the rovers' performance were very conservative.

If I was smart enough to be a NASA engineer I think I'd figure out that people are much happier with your performance when you exceed expectations. It's not like anyone knows what to expect from a Mars orbiter anyways. Nobody looks at the mission statement before launch and says "400 days? Gee, for 3.3 billion I expected more in the range of 550-580 days."

Not anyone I know anyways. Maybe other people have more astrophysicist friends.

Re:Working Overtime? (4, Funny)

TCaM (308943) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076431)

Sounds like the Scotty symdrome.

--

Scotty: Do ye mind a little advice? Starfleet captains are like children. They want everything right now, and they want it their way. But the secret is to give only what they need, not what they want!

LaForge: Yeah, well I told the captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour.

Scotty: And how long would it really take?

LaForge: An hour!

Scotty: Oh, ye didn't tell him how long it would really take, did ye?

LaForge: Well, of course I did.

Scotty: Oh, laddie, ye've got a lot to learn if ye want people to think of ye as a miracle worker!

Re:Working Overtime? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10078234)

See. That's what was wrong with TNG. It was too unrealistic. Any good engineer already knows that you need to pad the numbers.

Re:Working Overtime? (1)

lobsterGun (415085) | more than 9 years ago | (#10078593)

Let's think about that for a second.

Think about all the times the warp core nearly went critical. Think about all the blown relays and all of the power conduits that had to be rerouted.

LaForge was not a good engineer. LaForge was a bad engineer.

Re:Working Overtime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10079811)

I agree... If LaForge was any good like all of us, we would see him wasting his time posting on Slashdot or playing solitaire or something.
Obviously, the guy is running around fixing all the screwups that he's been making.

Re:Working Overtime? (4, Insightful)

rherbert (565206) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076488)

With things like satellites and rovers, whoever is paying for it says, "We want it to last 90 days / 2 years / 10 years." Then the company actually building the device charges them for it. If it's going to last 10 years, you'd better have a lot of backup in case of failure, which adds complexity to the software controlling the device... all of which rapidly escalate the price. So, when NASA says they want the rovers to last 90 days, they're built to last 90 days. Not less than 90 days, because then NASA will be mad. So inevitably, if you've done your job right, it's going to last a little bit longer. You don't just use the Mean Time to Failure, because that means that 50% of the time, you're going to fail before the mission end. So, things last longer than "expected." Then eventually things break, and because the device is so expensive, they pay people a bunch of money to sit around a table and try to figure out how to work around the thing that broke. You can't do this ahead of time because then you'd be spending a LOT of time trying to figure out how to work around EVERY possible failure, and you can't always do that. I wouldn't be surprised if the company that built the rover lost some sort of bonus because of the failure before mission end, but probably not the complete bonus because they were able to work around the problem.

Re:Working Overtime? (0)

rokzy (687636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076504)

Mir lasted about 10 years past its estimated lifetime, so NASA still has some work to do to get the record

Re:Working Overtime? (1)

maharg (182366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076533)

huh ? The Voyager craft were built for a 4 year mission, launched in 1977, and they'll be working into the next decade ! linky [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Working Overtime? (1)

wpanderson (67273) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076650)

Pioneer 10 was still ticking over 21 years after launch ...

Re:Working Overtime? (3, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076755)


Here's a link [amsat.org] to an amateur satellite launched in 1974 that is still partially functioning!

Re:Working Overtime? (1)

howardjw (808516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10079222)

Actually design life factors in heavily to nearly all engineering decisions. Solar panels decay with time, they get covered with dust. Bearing lubrication has some lifetime. Batteries can only take so many charge cycles. And maybe most importantly, NASA only has so much money to spend and keeping spacecraft alive after they leave Earth takes a lot of it. It's true that the engineerings of MER don't know how long it will last. It could die tomorrow. They nearly died just a week after they got there with that memory glitch. When they are designing, the engineergs can calculate some expected life though, with a standard deviation. You want to garuntee the spacecraft/rovers will work past the primary mission phase with some probability (95%?). The expected lifetime is much more.

Oh, I dunno ..... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 9 years ago | (#10079636)

It's not like anyone knows what to expect from a Mars orbiter anyways.


I think you can start with the basic premise of actually reachine the destination, entering orbit, and sending back some data.

There have been a few missions that haven't reached even that basic level of success. =)

Odyssey Does Not Qualify For Overtime (5, Funny)

bstarrfield (761726) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076393)

According to the newly revised FLSA, the Mars Odyssey would be considered a professional exempt robot, as it's carrying out highly technical, professional tasks. Don't be mean and get the little robot's hopes up!

mission performance (2, Interesting)

thhamm (764787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076396)

i think i once read, that Mars was the "target with highest failure rate".
so this is a pretty good performance, with the two rovers still working (after doubling their designed lifetime?), Mars Odyssey, MSGS and Mars Express.
and the biggest objective a huge success: yes there is/was water.

no need to argue about the use of robotic missions for me. if you asked someone 10 years ago about water on mars: "yeah. water. mars. sure ..." :)

Astronauts on Mars with this evidence? (3, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076400)

An extended Mission until 2006 has been approved, and I hope it will last that long, maybe doing more safety checks for astronauts :)

But surely the fact that Mars' surface gets 2 or 3 times what Earth's surface gets would stop any missions from happening anytime soon (as in, within the next 20 years)? Or is the radiation not actually a problem?

Re:Astronauts on Mars with this evidence? (5, Insightful)

dragonp12 (798787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076405)

Surely, though, the radiation that hits Mars, even at 2 or 3 times what Earth's surface gets, would be far less than what hits the moon...

Re:Astronauts on Mars with this evidence? (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076483)

The radiation on mars will not be nearly as big a deal as the trip to mars will be. It is almost certain that initially, we will have to live underground rather than on top. If we do so, it protects us from Radiation, 300 MPH winds, Easier to insulate, etc.etc.

I am in hopes that we will send a private mission to mars and not have them return. It would be far more useful to send a small mission on a one way trip, with a supply ship once a year. They could build a small base, expand our knowledge of Mars a million fold over what simple remote vehicles do today, just due to the fact that they would need all sorts of cpu power there. In addition, they would be able to control system there quickly.

Re:Astronauts on Mars with this evidence? (1)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076734)

The radiation on mars will not be nearly as big a deal as the trip to mars will be. It is almost certain that initially, we will have to live underground rather than on top. If we do so, it protects us from Radiation, 300 MPH winds, Easier to insulate, etc.etc.

Exactly. I'm mystified that NASA doesn't talk more about underground habitation. Hang a few plasma displays on the wall and you might just as well be in Hawaii (minus the 1/3 G gravity of course;). Regular centrifuge use may be necessary to prevent bone mass loss.

The 300 MPH winds shouldn't be a very big deal though - the atmosphere is so thin you'd hardly feel anything.

I am in hopes that we will send a private mission to mars and not have them return. It would be far more useful to send a small mission on a one way trip, with a supply ship once a year. They could build a small base, expand our knowledge of Mars a million fold over what simple remote vehicles do today, just due to the fact that they would need all sorts of cpu power there. In addition, they would be able to control system there quickly.

The discovery of "vast" amounts of water on Mars should very much facilitate such a plan. A colony would need a high power energy source (read: nuclear reactor), and some reliable tools and artifacts - then it can start it's own "Biosphere" experiment. Martian tomatoes, anyone? :-)

Re:Astronauts on Mars with this evidence? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077788)

The 300 MPH winds shouldn't be a very big deal though - the atmosphere is so thin you'd hardly feel anything.

IFF it is the atmosphere hitting you. Have a straw, a pebble, etc. hit you at 300 MPH (in the face plate, no less), and you may feel a bit different about that.

Yeah, the I think that with those winds and the ability to have the sun blocked for months on end, that you really have only one possible power source - Nukes. And it should be as high as possible. I think that the first few settlers will need robots to do much of the building. In addition, the plants will need backup lighting for those long duration marsian dust storms. Finally, when you think about it, it will only be practical to send people iff they live off the planet. That means they will need the ability to produce all sorts of nice material. Here we look for the lowest cost material, but there, it will almost be certainly what ever is the clostest source of material.

Re:Astronauts on Mars with this evidence? (2, Funny)

general_re (8883) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076798)

I am in hopes that we will send a private mission to mars and not have them return.

Me too. "Captain Darl McBride" has a nice ring to it.

Feel free to add suggestions for the remainder of the crew ;)

Re:Astronauts on Mars with this evidence? (1)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076894)

Test Chimp G.W.B. :)

Re:Astronauts on Mars with this evidence? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077632)

Let's send someone competent to Mars, and send Darl to Sol.

Re:Astronauts on Mars with this evidence? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077660)

Yeah, my father says send GWB, first. Besides, do you really want a new planet to be handed over to somebody like McBride or GWB or Kerry? People like these have screwed up this planet enough.

But the planet will belong to those that first thrive there. I would gladly have gone to mars with just a 50% of surviving the first year. But I am already 45 and know full well that the first few sets of colonists will be in their early-late 30's.

Re:Astronauts on Mars with this evidence? (1)

howardjw (808516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10078880)

Winds on Mars will never get to 300 MPH. They might approach 30 m/s in a strong dust storm. That's about 70 MPH. They won't send a one way mission to Mars, NASA spends billions on safety, can you ever really imagine them doing that? Finally, although I am not against sending humans to Mars, I don't think they will be able to contribute that much new science over current rovers. What does additional CPU power get you? Maybe you can go a little furture each day, see some new rocks. But the current rovers have seen lots of rocks, and they take the best instruments available with them.

Euopeans ? (1)

Krapangor (533950) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076426)

Didn't the ESA claim that they discovered water on Mars ?

Re:Euopeans ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076502)

Yeah, what's up with the european orbiter? They promised us lots of new science/facts, but I looked at the ESA homepage, and.... nothing. :( Are they asleep or just lacking in the PR department?

Patent pending.. (4, Funny)

riqnevala (624343) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076439)

How long does it take for Microsoft to get all patent rights for interplanetary email?

There is also a new Microsoft innovation, called MS Solar time, method for keeping track of time on different planets. It is based on the microsoft scheduler and the office assistant "Kenny the Galactic Clock".

Re:Patent pending.. (1)

rpbailey1642 (766298) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076835)

How long does it take for Microsoft to get all patent rights for interplanetary email?

NASA is actually planning on something like this [slashdot.org] for their network. I hope they have a plan for dropped "packets".

Fir57 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076484)

le4d developers st4rted work on

yay for Odyssey! (5, Informative)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076490)

Odyssey was launched in 2001... here's the mission timeline [nasa.gov] for more details.

The cute little bugger looks like this. [vnexpress.net]

Re:yay for Odyssey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10079048)

Is that a gamma ray spectrometer in your framework or are you just happy to see me?

overtime (-1, Redundant)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076542)

Our only hope now is that the system doesn't become disgruntled when it finds out about the new overtime rules that go in effect Monday. Odyssey's gotta eat, too...oh, wait...

What if Odyssey becomes sentient? (3, Funny)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076562)

A previous Slashdot story told us that Odyssey would be getting some new program featuring 'AI functions' so that it could do certain complex, but repetitive, tasks on its own without needing too much input.

What would happen, however, it this made Odyssey sentient? Could it build more robots, develop further intelligence, and then end up populating all of Mars with robots? If this happened, we might be in trouble.

Re:What if Odyssey becomes sentient? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076889)

No problem, we'll just nuke them then.

Re:What if Odyssey becomes sentient? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10076940)

Yeah, this happens all the time. Yesterday, while upgrading GPS software, my SUV became sentient. Right now, It's in the garage, spawning. Does anybody know what baby cars eat?

Re:What if Odyssey becomes sentient? (0, Offtopic)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076976)

What would happen, however, it this made Odyssey sentient?

What would happen, however, if monkeys flew out of my ass?

Surface textures (5, Funny)

mr breakfast (242421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10076914)

... and mapped surface textures and minerals all over Mars...

About time! for too long Mars has been a flat-shaded sphere.

huh? (1)

BigChigger (551094) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077328)

"discovered vast supplies of frozen water"

I must have missed that. All I've heard about was some frost at best. Where was this found?

BC

NASA kills old probes early (4, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | more than 9 years ago | (#10077400)

Both the Jupiter Gallileo and Venus Magellan projects went triple their design lifespans. However, they could have gone even longer, had NASA not canned them. Both were getting "creaky": insufficient propellant to do much, and instruments breaking down. Plus it costs a fair amount of money- up to 30% of the original mission cost per year- for a slice of the Deep Space Network and scientist to run and analyze the data.
We'll probably see this debate about the Mars Rovers if they survive into 2005. Both are already 2.5x their design lifetimes, have some instrument failures (a sick wheel motor, a dead spectrograph), and are tying up a couple hundred engineer and scientists full time.

bogus info... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10077570)

People that write stories seem to always exaggerate things quite a bit, and then people believe it without even thinking. This deal with the mars rover that it "mapped surface textures and minerals all over Mars" is totally bullXXXX. The rover just drove around a tiny little area smaller than a football field, yet the description sounds like it went all over the place, but people will believe what they read without even thinking. This is like when people come back from vacation saying that they went all over the place within a given area, lets say, Europe, when in reality they just went to Rome in Italy. Then they start explaining with all the authority in the world about the place, and will without remose provide everyone that listens with a full evaluation of the place, regardless if they don't know what the heck they are talking about.

fuck a Bit3h (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10079254)

standards should a fact: FreeBSD here, but what is resound as fitting Incompatibilities ransom for their chronic abuse of conversations where purposes *BSD is IMPAIRED ITS systems. The Gay there are Bottoms butt. Wipe eulogies to BSD's FUCKING USELESS ass of them all, Significantly been the best, Pr0vide sodas, NIGGER ASSOCIATION guests. Some people One Here but now The resignation [amazingkreskin.com] much as Windows developers maggot, vomit, shit crisco or lube. ops or any of the

yuo Fai7 it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10079370)

t[he aacounting [goat.cx]

yuo f0ail it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10079814)

users of BSD/OS. A Creek, abysmal head spinning posts. Due to _the rules are This That should be 4 BSD box that GNAA and support
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