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Mirror Jams on Venus Express Spacecraft 31

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the only-one-man-would-dare-give-me-the-raspberry dept.
tsarina writes "The European Space Agency is trying to fix a stuck instrument on its Venus Express spacecraft. A mirror in front of its interferometer is not pointing in the right direction, making it useless until it is moved. Managers hope to fix the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer this week. An identical instrument on the Mars Express probe has also acted up, but it is currently working properly.""
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Mirror Jams on Venus Express Spacecraft

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  • Obligatory Wiki Link (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Venus Express [wikipedia.org]

    You can see that it analyses the atmosphere from the ground to 100km, but is only one of about 7 instruments.

    Oh yeah, and first post.

  • by AlexanderDitto (972695) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:02PM (#15289325)
    Try jiggling it back and forth, sometimes that helps.

    Alternatively, run it under some hot water for a few seconds.

    If all else fails, give it a good swift kick.
    • I know you're kidding, but jiggling it back and forth is probably exactly what they're going to do. If it's just stuck in place, that's probably the least dangerous thing to try to fix it. Since they can't exactly go out & fix it (it's rather far away), you start with the stuff that's easy & obvious.
    • No no no..

      Don't you remember, that if you have problems with your
      interferometer mirror, you put it in the FREEZER
      for a few hours, take it out and stand it on its
      side, and you should be able to coax some usefulness
      out of it.

      Or maybe that was something else...
      • OK, so just send it to Jupiter to cool off and swing past Mercury to warm it up. Repeat until the mirror works again. Or did someone neglect to mount the Orion Drive on the probe?
      • Sounds like the recipe for fixing stuck Quantum Bigfoot drives. This is the advice that we got from Compaq many years ago (after putting them in a freezer baggie sealed closed with as little air inside as possible), when I was just starting out as a desktop tech, and we had several drives fail. Trouble was, we had information we needed from them, and no one wanted to pay for professional data recovery.

        BTW, if this failed, we were to turn them on their side, one specific edge down, and rap it hard on a tab
        • I was doing this back in the bad old days of MFM to Seagate (seizegate) drives. I have a slightly different method, though; put the drive upside down on a soft surface, and whack the corner of the case with a plastic screwdriver handle (moving the tool along the plane of the drive's rotation.) Older seagate drives (everything half height or bigger, and from back in the day) had serious and recurring stiction problems. Of course, back then everything used the coarse thread screws (except the slot bays in my
    • Damn those power mirrors. They always start sticking after the warranty is up.
  • by Mindwarp (15738) on Monday May 08, 2006 @08:35PM (#15289465) Homepage Journal
    I believe the CSA [space.gc.ca] have been developing the CanadFinger for just this purpose. Any time something like this sticks you can robotically prod it from the safety of your nice warm Mission Control.



    Note - The above post is humorous in content, and does not intend to violate patents past or present on the "Design and Implementation of Remote Digit Activation Devices"
  • If it was raspberry jam, blame Barf!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:15PM (#15289625)
    The ESA should have learned from NASA, and gone with the strategy that has brought such success to the Space Shuttle program: Keep all spacecraft and instruments on the ground on earth, where if something bad happens like a mirror getting out of place, a technician can easily fix it.
    • You got it backwards. Ground the manned space program to keep everyone safe from large shuttle parts raining down from the sky, cancelled the science space program to save money to get the manned space program off the ground in the next century, and let the politicians spend all the money on freeways to nowhere. :P
    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:50PM (#15289764)
      > The ESA should have learned from NASA, and gone with the strategy that has brought such success to the Space Shuttle program: Keep all spacecraft and instruments on the ground on earth, where if something bad happens like a mirror getting out of place, a technician can easily fix it.

      Yes, the moon missions would never have been possible if they hadn't kept everything on the ground in Arizona.

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