Originally posted at Spaced Out (Again):
We are going to try to Twitter a planning cycle for the HiRISE (http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu) experiment. The idea is to give people a feeling of all the work we have to do to get images from Mars out of a very special piece of equipment. Here are a couple of things you need to know to follow what is going on.
The targeting specialist ensures that the plan produced can be implemented and keeps the CIPP from doing anything stupid. The targeting specialist is called the HiTS and for cycle 75 that is @laughingrid.
We are attempting to run the cycle remotely. In the early stages of the mission, people had to travel to Tucson when they were CIPP. But now we can use special computers at our home institute. In this case, the CIPP is working from the University of Bern while the HiTS is sitting in Tucson, Arizona. This is the biggest time zone difference we have in the HiRISE project for this type of activity but it is not the only one. The HiTS interacts with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena (JPL) and we have a lot of contact with the CRISM team (the infrared spectrometer system which is an instrument used to determine surface mineralogy) at the Applied Physics Lab of Johns Hopkins Uni on the US East Coast. They have their own web-site (http://crism.jhuapl.edu) which you can also look at.
We use a planning tool called HiPlan (developed by @HiCommander who is unfortunately on vacation this week) and entering targets into the system involves working with HiPlan. We have some short-cut names for things such as
- IO (interactive observation where we point the spacecraft at a specific target)
- NIO (non-interactive obs where we let the camera view an interesting area the spacecraft is already passing over)
- RA (ridealongs where CRISM or CTX asks the spacecraft to point and we take a look along with them)
- MHs (must-have are targets we really need to get this cycle – normally because of the lighting conditions)
- WTHs (wanna-have are targets which scientists need quickly to confirm a paper result or to fill in something they are really interested in)
We will talk sometimes about specific areas on Mars. You can follow that by using the Mars plug-in for Google Earth. It’s easy to download and run if you have a reasonably fast internet connection. (Google maps on Mars is also good if you can’t install a program: http://www.google.com/mars/) We will try to remember to send coordinates on Mars to help you find what we are looking at.
We will tweet when we can to tell you what is going on. I will try to answer questions you send about the planning process, what we are doing, and Mars science (if I can). Note that if there is a major incident (e.g. we find a dinosaur-bone or the spacecraft explodes) I will not be able to tweet that because items of that sort need to be officially released by NASA. These events are however very, very, unlikely.
The cycle plans two weeks of HiRISE operations and is split into week 1 and week 2. The planning process began on August 20th (although the first few days of the process are very light in terms of what’s going on). The cycle procedure actually lasts around 4 weeks in total because planning must be followed up by reviewing the results.
Please note that we can’t accept requests for images through Twitter right now, although we will be accepting public image requests in the near future (stay tuned!). Also I reserve the right to block you if you become a pain in the butt! (Examples of pain in the butt behavior are: constantly hassling me about the face on Mars, repeated tweets about aliens, discussions about whether we have actually been on the Moon, etc…..)
If you are a regular follower of @nick_space but not interested in this stuff, I will not complain/be upset/etc. if you stop following me for the next few weeks. After that though……
Hope you find it interesting.