Posts Tagged ‘OPPORTUNITY’

Tomorrow’s Mission to Mars Will be a Lot Bigger Than NASA’s Previous Efforts – Meet the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity Rover

Friday, November 25th, 2011

When you’re on a mission to M/A/R/R/S, you gots to pump up the volume, like how NASA is doing with tomorrow’s launch of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).

Check out this shot showing the size of the new rover’s wheels, via our California Academy of Sciences.

Three rover wheels at #NASAtweetup show the relative sizes for Curiosity, Spirit/Opportunity, and Pathfinder:

Click to expand

Check it:

Curiosity will be five times as large, and carry more than ten times the mass of scientific instruments as the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit or Opportunity.”

Here’s a family portrait:

Via NASA/JPL

Bon Courage, NASA

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission is preparing to set down a large, mobile laboratory — the rover Curiosity — using precision landing technology that makes many of Mars’ most intriguing regions viable destinations for the first time. During the 23 months after landing, Curiosity will analyze dozens of samples drilled from rocks or scooped from the ground as it explores with greater range than any previous Mars rover.

Curiosity will carry the most advanced payload of scientific gear ever used on Mars’ surface, a payload more than 10 times as massive as those of earlier Mars rovers. Its assignment: Investigate whether conditions have been favorable for microbial life and for preserving clues in the rocks about possible past life.

Plans for the Mars Science Laboratory call for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, between Nov. 25 and Dec.18, 2011, and arrival at Mars in August 2012.

The spacecraft has been designed to steer itself during descent through Mars’ atmosphere with a series of S-curve maneuvers similar to those used by astronauts piloting NASA space shuttles. During the three minutes before touchdown, the spacecraft slows its descent with a parachute, then uses retro rockets mounted around the rim of an upper stage. In the final seconds, the upper stage acts as a sky crane, lowering the upright rover on a tether to the surface.

Curiosity is about twice as long (about 3 meters or 10 feet) and five times as heavy as NASA’s twin Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, launched in 2003. It inherited many design elements from them, including six-wheel drive, a rocker-bogie suspension system and cameras mounted on a mast to help the mission’s team on Earth select exploration targets and driving routes. Unlike earlier rovers, Curiosity carries equipment to gather samples of rocks and soil, process them and distribute them to onboard test chambers inside analytical instruments”

Now You Have Another Chance to Ask for a Bay Area Bridge Toll Increase: Dec. 7th, 2009

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Ah, the Powers That Be. They don’t just raise rates on you all of a sudden, oh no. They have meetings first, to tell you how “needed” and ”necessary” their proposed “adjustments” are. Then, when the rates go up, they’ll tell you all about the meetings on that very topic that you neglected to attend.

As here, where the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) will send its youngest and cutest staffers straight into San Francisco to hand out papers and pencils for you, the Public, to scribble your appreciation. Or criticism, whatever.

Maybe “Bay Bridge Mike” will be at the meeting on Pearl Harbor Day, 2009. We Can Only Hope:Our broken bridge, more broked than ever, but let’s have fun with it, cause, you know, we’re super-competent at our jobs.

090509JH003-copy

Oh well.

Paying more to cross our mismanaged bridges – well that’s not a burden, it’s an “OPPORTUNITY.” (Paging George Lakoff…)

“OPPORTUNITIES

Bridge Toll Hike Proposed for Earthquake Safety

Attend a hearing regarding a possible toll increase on the seven state-owned Bay Area toll bridges on November 17, December 3, or December 7, 2009. Can’t attend? Take our online survey!

As promised, the deets – BATA bing, BATA boom!:

Bay Area Toll Authority Schedules San Francisco Hearing on Proposed Toll Hike

Web Survey Also Available for Online Comments

The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) has added a fourth public hearing to receive public testimony on options for a proposed toll increase on the seven state-owned Bay Area toll bridges.

The newly scheduled public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7, in San Franciscoat the downtown campus of San Francisco State University, 835 Market Street, Room 609. Additional public hearings are scheduled at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17, in the City Council Chambers of San Mateo City Hall, 330 West 20th Avenue, San Mateo, and at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3, in the Wisteria Room of the Concord Senior Center (located in John F. Baldwin Park), 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord. All three public hearings will feature a short open house (from 6:30 to 7 p.m.) and a staff presentation (beginning at 7 p.m.) prior to taking public testimony. The first public hearing took place on Nov. 4 in Oakland.

Bay Area residents who are unable to attend one of the public hearings can make their views known via an online survey at: www.mtc.ca.gov/get_involved. The survey will be available through Dec. 21.

The toll increase, if approved, likely would take effect July 1, 2010. It is needed to raise an additional $160 million in annual revenues, chiefly to finance the estimated $750 million cost of necessaryseismic retrofit projects on the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges. Other factors include a slow but steady decline in toll-paying traffic on the state-owned bridges during each of the past five years, increasing operational expenses, and rising debt (due in part to the upheaval in the municipal bonds markets over the past two years). The proposed toll increase would be in effect on the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael, San Mateo-Hayward and San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridges. (The toll proposal does not affect the Golden Gate Bridge, which is owned and operated by an independent authority.)

The toll options under consideration would all raise the needed $160 million annually. Ideas on the table, detailed below, include raising the base toll on automobiles and motorcycles by $1 (to $5), and in so doing raise the first $100 million of new annual revenues. The remaining funds would be generated by a combination of increasing the per-axle toll for trucks and/or introducing a toll for carpools, which would be collected electronically via FasTrak® toll tags. Also under consideration is the introduction of peak-hour congestion pricing on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Preliminary analysis shows that such pricing could reduce morning peak delay on the Bay Bridge by 15 to 30 percent.

 –  $5 toll for two-axle vehicles (autos and motorcycles); $3 for carpools
     during peak periods (Monday through Friday); and $6 per each
     additional axle for trucks. Carpools would be charged for the seismic
     retrofit portion of toll charges and would be required to obtain a
     FasTrak® toll tag to qualify for the reduced rate; FasTrak® equipment
     would be required in all carpool lanes.
 –  $5 toll for two-axle vehicles (autos and motorcycles) and $10 per each
     additional axle. There would be no charge for carpools during peak
     periods (Monday through Friday).
 –  Congestion pricing would be introduced on the Bay Bridge; charges
     would be $6 for two-axle vehicles during peak periods (Monday through
     Friday) and $4 for autos and motorcycles during off-peak hours (Monday
     through Friday), with a $5 charge for two-axle vehicles on weekends. A
     $6 charge for each additional axle, at all times and on all days,
     would be in effect with this option, along with a $3 charge for
     carpools during peak periods (Monday through Friday).

Written comments on the proposed toll increase will be accepted until 4 p.m., Dec. 21, 2009; they may be submitted to the BATA Public Information office at 101 Eighth Street, Oakland, CA, 94607-4700, faxed to BATA at 510.817.5848, or sent via e-mail to tolls@mtc.ca.gov. After receipt and review of public comments, the BATA Oversight Committee will consider the adoption of a revised toll schedule in early 2010.

BATA, which is directed by the same policy board as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), administers tolls on the region’s seven state-owned bridges. State legislation in 1997 authorized BATA to administer the base $1 toll on the Bay Area state-owned toll bridges.

BATA’s responsibilities were expanded by August 2005 legislation to include administration of all toll revenue and joint oversight of the toll bridge construction program with Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

See you there!*

*Maybe not.