Solar Discrepancies: Mars Exploration and the Curious Problem of Inter-planetary Time

Solar Discrepancies: Mars Exploration and the Curious Problem of Inter-planetary Time

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The inter-planetary work system for the NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission entailed coordinating work between two corporally diverse workgroups, human beings and solar-powered robots, and between two planets with asynchronous axial rotations. The rotation of Mars takes approximately 24 hours and 40 minutes while for Earth the duration is 24 hours, a differential that was synchronized on Earth by setting a clock forward forty minutes every day. The hours of the day during which the solar-powered rovers were operational constituted the central consideration in the relationship between time and work around which the schedule of MER science operations were organized. And, the operational hours for the rovers were precarious for at least two reasons: on the one hand, the possibility of a sudden and inexplicable malfunction was always present; on the other, the rovers were powered by solar-charged batteries that could simply (and would eventually) fail. Thus, the timetable for the inter-planetary work system was scheduled according to the daily cycle of the sun on Mars and a version of clock time called Mars time was used to keep track of the movement of the sun on Mars.... from Cornell University, Ithaca, 14 Between the years of 1964 a€“ 2001, NASA attempted fifteen Mars missions with a 60% success rate; of the nine successful missions, three involved operational landers on Mars (Viking I aamp; II and Pathfinder ).


Title:Solar Discrepancies: Mars Exploration and the Curious Problem of Inter-planetary Time
Author:
Publisher:ProQuest - 2008
ISBN-13:

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