Monday, November 26, 2012

Curiosity and Telemetry

Here at Devar our remote monitoring and communication devices are usually short-range and fast-responding, as with our medical telemetry products. The recent Mars landing of the Curiosity rover also made use of telemetry, as all NASA expeditions do. Those readings, however, take 13.8 minutes to travel from the rover to mission control in Houston (and “Mohawk Guy”). That might sound like a long time – but not when you consider the 154 million miles that the data needs to travel. Pretty amazing, considering the difficulty we sometimes have getting a cell phone signal.

You probably remember the excitement a few weeks ago when news of Curiosity’s successful touchdown arrived. You might also remember several years ago, the disappointment of the failure of the British Beagle 2 rover, which lost radio contact prior to landing. This explains some of the anticipation and anxiety during the landing period. Some creative telemetry came into play to speed up the delivery of landing data. Making use of NASA’s Mars Odyssey satellite, in orbit since 2003, NASA mission controllers will create a relay of sorts to be able to have near real-time monitoring – rather than a delay as the Odyssey travels through its orbit to sync up with the Curiosity. After all, 13.8 minutes is enough time to wait to learn the results of years of hard work!

Devar might not be sending monitors into space yet, but for all your earthbound monitoring needs, visit our site: