Well MERs had it lucky with their solar arrays that every now and then a strong wind would clean them (I still can't imagine how can you even have wind in such rarefied atmosphere, let alone have it scrape solar panels clean of dust, but I've seen pictures of Martian sandstorms and dust devils, I know its there and real). MSL being RTG powered, once they (isotope supplies) decay too much it will inadvertently loose sufficient power to move or do experiments. But I think that is still a far longer period than those 24 months.
Edit. 90 days was supposed to be guaranteed minimal operational time for MERs. They were always expecting/hoping them to last much longer, not as long as precious little toy cars did, but much longer than 90 days.
JagdTiger, JadgPanther, StuG III, Marder II, IS-8, KV-13, KV-1, KV-1s, T-150, Type59, T-34, M103, E-100, E-50, E-50M, PzKwIV, VK36, T34, M24, T-50-2, T54, M7 Priest, VK28, T25/2, M18, T49, M8A1, Tetrarch, T-127, T82
Curiosity's power pack is rated at 14 years. Here's hoping no crashes, failures or getting stuck!
Via HTC Sensation
The half life of the plutonium used in the nuclear battery thingummy they've got is on the order of 90 years. For some context, Spirit was designed to generate about 140w for four hours per solar cycle, or 560Wh per day. There were periods towards the end of the rover's life where it was still happily running around and snapping pictures generating just 89Wh per day, or about 16% of what it was supposed to. Curiosity is basically going to last until its wheels fall off.
Also they are not 'meant to go' 23 months or 90 days, that's just for political reasons they choose those. If something goes wrong before the end of the mission it turns the project into a failure, so they choose the short missions and everything beyond that becomes 'bonus' and everyone is impressed.
Last edited by Rakshasa The Cat; August 6 2012 at 10:54:56 AM.
Originally Posted by Random hopeful w-space dweller
I use the word awesome quite often but this is one the few times its truly appropriate!
After watching the pre-info, EDL sequence and all that shit I honestly didnt think this would work, it was just one step too many in my mind.
Not been so happy to be wrong in a long time and if there is a Nobel price in engineering they should get it, no contest.
Page me when we send robotic subs to europa, enceladus or titan.
Last edited by Pattern; August 6 2012 at 01:48:41 PM.
<&QuackBot> Fuggin: There once was a man named tugginfuggin. He oft tugged his fuggin. That is the tale of tugginfuggin.
Total project cost is about 8 days in Afghanistan and congress people still want to cut funding for NASA...