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View Diary: Mars Curiosity: TOUCHDOWN!! (406 comments)

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  •  13,000mph to 0mph in 7minutes. (8+ / 0-)

    Oh and by the way, you have to do it without a pilot in the loop.

    This is the kind of frighteningly difficult challenge we need to take on more often.

    "Ruin comes when the trader, whose heart is lifted up by wealth, becomes ruler" - Plato, Republic

    by sixeight120bpm on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 09:41:41 PM PDT

    •  No way a pilot could do it (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, edrie, Jonathan Hoag, indie17

      A manned landing will have to be a bit gentler than this.  Curiosity will see 9g and 12g decelerations.  Those would make a human black out.

      And no pilot reaction time can pull this off.  The Enterprise is really flown by the computer.  We get to set the course, but we don't fly the ship anymore.

      •  right... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, edrie, indie17

        that wasn't really the point. the point was that doing it without a pilot makes it much, much more difficult from an engineering standpoint, since it all has to be automated, and that automation has to be flexible enough to take into account a wide range of changing conditions, Curiosity has a suite of EDL software that is every bit as complicated as the hardware machinery.

        "Ruin comes when the trader, whose heart is lifted up by wealth, becomes ruler" - Plato, Republic

        by sixeight120bpm on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 10:26:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sometimes an autopilot can make it easier though (0+ / 0-)

          Since an autopilot has much faster reaction times, while it has to be flexible, it has the control to stay locked on the optimal trajectory.

          A human pilot would need to be given a larger margin of error.  More landing fuel for example.  If that pushed the fuel tanks bigger and the spacecraft bigger, and the launch rocket bigger, then those challanges all snowball.

          So putting more effort into the autopilot can reduce the overall program effort significantly.

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