Curiosity Missing Scientific Focus And Detail

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PostPosted: September 4, 2014 1:14 PM

NASA’s planetary senior review panel harshly criticized the scientific return of the Curiosity rover in a report released yesterday (Sept. 3), saying the mission lacks focus and the team is taking actions that show they think the $2.5-billion mission is “too big to fail.”


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PostPosted: September 4, 2014 5:21 PM 

I've been saying the same thing except about the overall Mars program being wasteful and lacking in scientific return.

Robert Clark

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PostPosted: September 7, 2014 11:17 AM 

While I am a strong supporter of Mars exploration I would much prefer the Mars 2020 mission be changed to a Europa lander mission:

The Space Review: A generational opportunity for Europa.

Bob Clark

Kye Goodwin

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PostPosted: September 8, 2014 12:14 PM 

Scientific return isn't something that can be planned, or it can be planned only tentatively. If surprising results appear they should be able to cause the plan to be radically changed or abandoned. Surprises are a sign that we're getting somewhere, but NASA doesn't like surprises or changes of plan.

Are more sample analyses more scientific return? Maybe, but if they don't contribute to a greater understanding they haven't really accomplished anything. I think that there is no chance at all of sorting out a clear history of climate or sedimentation by testing the rocks of Gale Crater, because Mars science just can't change enough yet to accept a big early discovery of Oppy's: The layered deposits are impact sediments. The floor of Gale has really interesting looking sediments but unless we switch paradigms they might as well be white noise.

Here's another example of a result that should have changed the plan:

What is all that native soil disturbance in the upper left corner of the image? Its a big surprise along with hundreds of other examples at Gale and both MER sites. I'd abandon the plan and start studying this unexpected activity.


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PostPosted: September 10, 2014 3:43 PM

MSL/Curiosity Telecon. Perhaps they will address issues raised in the Senior Review.


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PostPosted: September 10, 2014 5:20 PM 

Since there is no hint of actual science news from Curiosity, you can easily guess that the discussion of Mars Curiosity Science Plans will be exclusively political posturing and public relations damage control.

I don't plan on listening.

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