Sols 4222-4224: A Particularly Prickly Power Puzzle

Sols 4222-4224: A Particularly Prickly Power Puzzle

3 min read

Sols 4222-4224: A Particularly Prickly Power Puzzle

This image was taken by Mast Camera (Mastcam) onboard NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 4219 (2024-06-19 02:22:26 UTC).

Earth planning date: Friday, June 21, 2024

All our patient waiting has been rewarded, as we were greeted with the news that our drill attempt of “Mammoth Lakes 2” was successful! You can see the drill hole in the image above, as well as the first place we attempted just to the left. The actual drilling is only the beginning – we want to see what it is we’ve drilled. We’re starting that process this weekend by using our laser spectrometer (LIBS) to check out the drill hole before delivering some of the drilled material to CheMin (the Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction instrument) to do its own investigations.

The next step in a drill campaign is usually to continue the analysis with SAM (the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite), which tends to be quite power hungry. As a result, we want to make sure we’re going into the next plan with enough power for that. That meant that even though we’ve got a lot of free time this weekend, with three sols and CheMin taking up only the first overnight, we needed to think carefully about how we used that free time. Sometimes, when the science teams deliver our plans, we’re overly optimistic. At times this optimism is rewarded, and we’re allowed to keep the extra science in the plan. Today we needed to strategize a bit more, and the midday science operations working group meeting (or SOWG, as it’s known) turned into a puzzle session, as we figured out what could move around and what we had to put aside for the time being.

An unusual feature of this weekend’s plan was a series of short change-detection observations on “Walker Lake” and “Finch Lake,” targets we’ve looked at in past plans to see wind-driven movement of the Martian sand. These were peppered through the three sols of the plan, to see any changes during the course of a single sol. While these are relatively short observations – only a few minutes – we do have to wake the rover to take them, which eats into our power. Luckily, the science team had considered this, and classified the observations as high, middle, or low priority. This made it easy to take out the ones that were less important, to save a bit of power.

Another power-saving strategy is considering carefully where observations go. A weekend plan almost always includes an “AM ENV Science Block” – dedicated time for morning observations of the environment and atmosphere. Usually, this block goes on the final sol of the plan, but we already had to wake up the morning of the first sol for CheMin to finish up its analysis. This meant we could move the morning ENV block to the first sol, and Curiosity got a bit more time to sleep in, at the end of the plan.

Making changes like these meant not only that we were able to finish up the plan with enough power for Monday’s activities, but we were still able to fit in plenty of remote science. This included a number of mosaics from both Mastcam and ChemCam on past targets such as “Whitebark Pass” and “Quarry Peak.” We also had two new LIBS targets: “Broken Finger Peak” and “Shout of Relief Pass.” Aside from our morning block, ENV was able to sneak in a few more observations: a dust-devil movie, and a line-of-sight and tau to keep an eye on the changing dust levels in the atmosphere.

Written by Alex Innanen, Atmospheric Scientist at York University

Share

Details

Last Updated
Jun 21, 2024

Related Terms

Powered by WPeMatico

Get The Details…

NASA’s SLS Rocket: Block 1 vs. Block 1B Configuration

NASA’s SLS Rocket: Block 1 vs. Block 1B Configuration

This infographic labeled “SLS Block 1B Infographic” depicts the SLS (Space Launch System) in the Block 1B configuration that will be used beginning with Artemis 4. The left side of the graphic explains the difference between the Block 1 and Block 1B designs and shows a person standing next to the rocket showing the difference in size. On the top right side of the graphic, there is a graphic depicting the Lunar I-Hab. Below is a breakdown of the internal design of the SLS. It also details a few advantages this configuration of the rocket will have and discusses the capability of having two or more payloads launched by the same rocket.
NASA/Kevin O’Brien

NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket in the Block 1B cargo configuration will launch for the first time beginning with Artemis IV. This upgraded and more powerful SLS rocket will enable SLS to send over 38 metric tons (83,700 lbs.) to the Moon, including NASA’s Orion spacecraft and its crew, along with heavy payloads for more ambitious missions to deep space. While every SLS rocket retains the core stage, booster, and RS-25 engine designs, the Block 1B features a more powerful exploration upper stage with four RL10 engines for in-space propulsion and a new universal stage adapter for greater cargo capability and volume. 

As NASA and its Artemis partners aim to explore the Moon for scientific discovery and in preparation for future missions to Mars, the evolved Block 1B design of the SLS rocket will be key in launching Artemis astronauts, modules or other exploration spacecraft for long-term exploration, and key components of  Gateway lunar space station.

Powered by WPeMatico

Get The Details…
Lee Mohon

Hypersonic Technology Project Overview

Hypersonic Technology Project Overview

2 min read

Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)

A steel model of a hypersonic vehicle and sensor in front of a window in a wind tunnel labeled the 20 inch Mach 6 Tunnel.
A steel model of a hypersonic vehicle and sensor in front of a window in a wind tunnel labeled the 20 inch Mach 6 Tunnel.

Vehicles that travel at hypersonic speeds fly faster than five times the speed of sound. NASA studies the fundamental science of hypersonics to understand it better and applies this understanding to enable point-to-point and space access hypersonic vehicles. These vehicles would use airbreathing engines, which utilize oxygen in the atmosphere. In the long term, NASA envisions reusable hypersonic vehicles with efficient engines for routine flight across the globe.

Vision: Enable routine, reusable, airbreathing hypersonic flight 

Mission: Advance core capabilities and critical technologies underpinning the mastery of hypersonic flight to support U.S. supremacy in hypersonics 

Approach: Conduct fundamental and applied research to enable a broad spectrum of hypersonic systems and missions 

A pointed, narrow airplane flies above the clouds. The sun shines through many, tiny passenger windows.
Artist rendering of a high-speed point-to-point vehicle.
NASA Langley

In the coming decade, NASA envisions the development of enabling technologies for a first-generation reusable airbreathing vehicle capable of cruising at hypersonic speeds. This work supports potential emerging markets in high-speed flight.

By 2050, NASA envisions the development of a next-generation reusable hypersonic vehicle that could serve as the first stage in a two-stage space access vehicle.

Unique Hypersonics Facilities and Expertise

NASA maintains unique facilities, laboratories, and subject matter experts who investigate fundamental and applied research areas to solve the challenges of hypersonic flight. The Hypersonic Technology project coordinates closely with partners in industry, academia, and other government agencies to leverage relevant data sets to validate computational models. These partners also utilize NASA expertise, facilities, and computational tools. Partnerships are critical to advancing the state of the art in hypersonic flight.

Share

Details

Last Updated

Jun 21, 2024

Editor
Jim Banke
Contact
Shannon Eichorn

Powered by WPeMatico

Get The Details…
Shannon Eichorn

Hypersonics Technical Challenges

Hypersonics Technical Challenges

2 min read

Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)

A research test rocket launch
Launch of the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program (HIFiRE) Flight 2 sounding rocket, a joint NASA-Air Force Research Laboratory flight experiment, May 1, 2012.
Credit: AFRL

Technical Challenges (TCs) are finite-duration research and development endeavors supporting the strategic goals of NASA. The Hypersonic Technology project’s Technical Challenges include estimation of uncertainty for hypersonic research problems and vehicle systems, testing controls for switching engines mid-flight, and researching more efficient fuel combustors for large ramjets, which will be needed by future commercial high-speed planes.

Uncertainty Quantification

This Technical Challenge is complete!
TC-1: System-Level Uncertainty Quantification Methodology Development and Validation:
NASA developed and validated a system-level uncertainty propagation methodology to guide uncertainty-informed decision making by identifying fundamental research areas that will reduce the system performance uncertainty.

Turbine-Based Combined Cycle

TC-2: Turbine-Based Combined Cycle Mode Transition Technology Development: The Combined Cycle Mode Transition challenge demonstrates autonomous control and establishes performance/operability assessment methodologies for future reusable hypersonic propulsion systems that use turbine engines at slow speeds while transitioning to scramjets for high-speed operations. This challenge addresses the technology barrier of propulsion system mode transition via ground tests.

Improved Combustor Scaling Laws for Hypersonics

TC-3: Development of Improved Combustor Scaling Laws for Dual-Mode Ramjets: To improve current engine performance and enable engine scale up to fully reusable vehicle scales 100 times larger, NASA will develop and deliver mathematical models and associated validation test data with quantified uncertainty that support the design of high-speed combustors inclusive of green fuels. NASA will demonstrate such capability by reducing the length of the state-of-the-art cavity flameholder by 25 percent (10 percent threshold, 25 percent goal cavity length reduction relative to a state-of-the-art baseline.)

About the Author

Shannon Eichorn

Shannon Eichorn

Shannon Eichorn is the Strategic Engagement Lead for NASA’s Advanced Air Vehicles Program. She is a former test engineer in supersonic wind tunnels and former engineer managing facilities, such as the Aeroacoustic Propulsion Lab, Glenn Extreme Environments Rig, and Creek Road Cryogenics Complex.

Share

Details

Last Updated

Jun 21, 2024

Editor
Jim Banke
Contact
Shannon Eichorn

Powered by WPeMatico

Get The Details…
Shannon Eichorn

Hypersonic Research Topics

Hypersonic Research Topics

2 min read

Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)

A wireframe image of an aircraft being designed.
A wireframe image of an aircraft being designed.
NASA

The Hypersonic Technology project is divided into four research topic areas. The first research topic is system-level design, analysis, and validation, which explores the impacts of technologies on vehicle performance. The second and third topics focus more specifically on propulsion technologies and vehicle technologies enabling hypersonic flight. The fourth topic area explores material technology that can survive and be reused in high-temperature hypersonic flight.

System-Level Design and Analysis

The System-Level Design, Analysis, and Validation research topic (RT-1) investments are focused on computational tool development and validation for hypersonic propulsion and vehicle system analysis methods including uncertainty quantification. RT-1 coordinates and performs definitive systems analysis studies to clarify the potential benefits of hypersonic vehicles and technologies for both high-speed civilian travel and space access and will use these studies to drive a technology portfolio focused on reusability, affordability, and reliability.

An illustration of a hypersonic vehicle. The vehicle is skinny, long, and somewhat rectangular from overhead with delta wings. It is covered in black tiles and has the NASA logotype and logo.
An illustration of a hypersonic vehicle.
NASA

Propulsion Technologies

The Propulsion Technologies research topic (RT-2) focuses on turboramjet, ramjet, integrated combined-cycle, dual-mode, and scramjet propulsion systems and associated propulsive mode transitions, combustor operability, fuels, controls, and sensors. RT-2 develops computational fluid dynamic technologies to enable predictive simulations of these systems.

An angled, rectangular block of metal fires into a round exhaust duct. Mist flows over the corners and around the whole model.
Hypersonic model test in the 8-Foot High Temperature Tunnel at NASA Langley.
NASA

Vehicle Technologies

The Vehicle Technologies research topic (RT-3) investments focus on understanding aerodynamic and aerothermodynamic phenomena, such as high-speed boundary-layer transition and shock-dominated flows, to further technologies that improve aerodynamic performance as well as reduce aerodynamic heating.

A steel model of a hypersonic vehicle and sensor in front of a window in a wind tunnel labeled the 20 inch Mach 6 Tunnel. The model is narrow and sharp.
A model of a hypersonic vehicle and sensor in NASA’s 20-Inch Mach 6 Air Tunnel in the Langley Aerothermodynamic Lab.
NASA

High Temperature Materials

The High Temperature Durable Materials research topic (RT-4) investments focus on advanced propulsion and vehicle materials research. Due to the operating conditions of hypersonic vehicles, most of the structures and materials are shared between propulsion and vehicle components, which include aeroshell, control surface, leading edge, propulsion, and sealing concepts. RT-4 examines the design and evaluation of potential structure and material concepts through component development and testing under relevant environments. In addition, because of the extreme environments the materials and structures must endure, RT-4 also includes development of advanced thermal and structural measurement methods.

About the Author

Shannon Eichorn

Shannon Eichorn

Shannon Eichorn is the Strategic Engagement Lead for NASA’s Advanced Air Vehicles Program. She is a former test engineer in supersonic wind tunnels and former engineer managing facilities, such as the Aeroacoustic Propulsion Lab, Glenn Extreme Environments Rig, and Creek Road Cryogenics Complex.

Share

Details

Last Updated

Jun 21, 2024

Editor
Jim Banke
Contact
Shannon Eichorn

Powered by WPeMatico

Get The Details…
Shannon Eichorn