Is NASA being too cautious with Curiosity

After spending $1.5B getting it there NASA is taking its sweet time to put the thing to work. Is this wise?

I keep thinking that something could still fail with this thing. A wheel could stick, a circuit could burn out, and we have an immobile piece of space junk sitting in a boring field of sand and small rocks. Why not grab some data as fast as possible? If Curiosity does break before it gets any good data, what a waste. All those pictures it is taking of itself and its tracks is going to be a sad reminder of wasted opportunity if it fails. Would putting it to work immediately risk it more than the slow paced self-testing its doing. If they burn out some bearing twisting the masthead to look at itself there will be a lot of egg on someone’s face.

Now being sure it’s working properly is certainly a good idea, but is NASA doing it to excess? Can’t they do the testing and some science at the same time? I have no idea but I’m nervous that they could be squandering their opportunity for science. Certainly no need to charge up Mt. Sharp as full speed but something other that sitting around might be good. They say it’s almost a month it’s been there and they keeping thinking they have another 23 months (the design lifetime), but do they? Maybe the previous rovers that far outlasted their design lifetime have lulled them into a lack of urgency.

Time will tell.


About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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2 Responses to Is NASA being too cautious with Curiosity

  1. icelandpenny says:

    I like this, agree with your point re cap-C Curiosity… but then, I’m a big fan of small-c curiosity, namely our very own human came-with-the-original-package variety. So let’s all keep putting small-c curiosity to immediate use as well. (There. My little rant. Feels good.) Also, thanks for liking my “King, Queen & Moose” post! Was there some fellow-feeling between the moose and your own elk/wapiti (what is it exactly) image?

    • dmill96 says:

      When I read the first bit of your post I thought you were talking about Toronto, Canada and that caught my attention, but then went on to read the rest (obviously not Toronto). I found moose knuckles amusing term (I’ve seen lots of moose, never any knuckles, although they do have knobby knees). The other wall art and the bread shots were interesting.

      My avatar is a pronghorn, often incorrectly called just ‘antelope’. Antelope is a type of animal for which there are multiple species. Pronghorn is the type that leaves in western United States. I saw huge numbers in my June camping trip to Wyoming. This particular buck stood in front of my car for a while, daring me to pass. I later got the shot.

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