What do Porkchops and Mars Missions Have To Do With Each Other?

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The launch window for Mars is open, and we have 3 spacecraft headed for the red planet from 3 different countries, and performing 3 very different missions. Let’s talk about these missions, and since I was asked on twitter, I’m going to explain how mission planners pick launch dates using ‘Pork Chop Plots’

JPL Trejctory Browser

On The Nature Of Porkchop Plots

Easy Porkchop Plot


    Btw Scott- Yinghuo is pronounced with the uo part being pronounced like the wa in war.

  2. Ruohong Zhao

    so the drone has over thousands time more processing power than the rover. :)

  3. Christopher Lawley

    Not watched yet but “Pigs in Space” springs to mind

  4. Rob Highfill

    Interesting side note. At this point there have been two probes launched towards Mars from Japan. In both cases, their names translate to ‘Hope’.

  5. Tyler Jordan

    Thanks for your research Scott and keeping us up to date!

  6. Pantomas PG

    @Scott Manley i acidential broke the Transfer Window🤕

  7. aserta

    One thing that i don’t really get is this. Why is everyone in mission control (used as a generalization for all the heads in the decision block) so stuck on following the closest path when there’s a completely different approach that has a, as i see it, far more a valid substance to suck on.

    Put the mission out at any time you want, regardless of where Mars is, and simply park it (in motion) in the orbit of Mars on a pending status. IE waiting for Mars to arrive whilst casually performing other tasks.

    Launched with multiple mission systems on board, meant to perform more than just Mars. I refuse to believe that there’s nothing that a craft we put out there can do, that is useful to the scientific community. Every time, if it’s not a long term mission that has pit stops, it’s all about crunch and delays. Like it’s some kind of a game.

    Build the craft leisurely, don’t mind any deadline that’s hanging over your head inducing errors, and simply build the best craft you can build, then launch it, such that it does its job satisfactory. No rush, no fuss.

  8. Carlos_A_M

    Scott, do you know why the h2a and especially h2b make that amazing sound when they launch? Some say its a sort of “scream” what causes that?

  9. Wyatt Roncin

    It’ll be really interesting to see how the drone on perseverance lasts in the radiation, despite not being a rad hardened CPU. If it goes well maybe we’ll see future rovers using similar non-hardened modern CPU’s to improve rover capabilities in a variety of potential directions.

  10. Flyte Industries

    This is so cool. I love you Scott….I mean that in a hetero way

  11. Drew Stevenson

    Hoping for a video on space food? Nope.

  12. Tony Roberts

    I hope they didn’t forget their towel. Great reference Scott.

  13. Jakop Kragslay

    Space protein.

  14. Matthew Spencer

    I never even mentioned “pork chops” when I had to entertain the Customers of Abu Dhabi some years ago, but it turned out that other British vendors had been trying too hard and they only wanted something nice and simple for lunch. Since my chosen caterer was an independent sandwich shop in Biggleswade High Street, nice and simple was what they got: salmon salad baps & cheese baps, some cakes, Yorkshire tea. Perfectly halhal but typically East Beds at the same time: they actually enjoyed lunch. I did far better than I had expected to do. But on another occasion the MD’s (American) wife played the perfect hostess with a box of Swiss chocolate liqueurs. It turns out that chocolate liqueurs contain no alcohol, which would surely dissolve the chocolate, only a special form of pepper which gives you a bit like cognac. I had never actually realised this until that day.

  15. Nikhil Singh

    Except for the solar panels, this is the most KSP like probe ever launched.

  16. Evan Fusco

    Why would they choose to use such an archaically slow processor on Perseverance?


    Why do they use such a slow computer you got me with that I was waiting for you to tell us then you just left me hanging lol

  18. E2qNX8btraQ3zRD6J7fc

    Woah, I need to see more of that rig China used to test the descent of that probe. Definitely the coolest thing I’ve seen today.

  19. Gidnoy

    Ha! I’ve got a Motorola StarMax computer in my garage attic… bit of nostalgia seeing yours.

  20. Pintuxo

    Yes, Scott, you only have to be worried about the locals in Mars when we were there. :-)

  21. Sean McDonough

    6:51 – Of course, you can aerocapture, but that requires a pretty hefty heatshield.

  22. JZ's Best Friend

    10:01 Where’s the tune “Limbo rock” when you need it?

  23. Cowboy Bob

    Creative – Yes, Scott Manley reports, but he does it creatively. And as evidenced by the title of this clip, honestly. And as evidenced by the comments, with humor.

  24. R Re

    10:49 Ok scott, I’m sure NASA would be extremely excited for you to send them a more advanced rad hardened computer for them to use.
    Rad hardened electronics cost a simply unbelievable amount of money and nobody wants to pay to validate new ones.

  25. Adam Wishneusky

    You explain things so well, this is the first time I haven’t gotten it 😭 the plots are 3D and all I caught are minima and not how the plots actually work

  26. Salu omnidentidade

    Would you do a video on how the real life software to calculate insertion orbits works . It amazes me the precision required, and it’s not like we have nodes ! That brings to a challenge, to bring a craft from kerbin to Duna without relying on the map information (or the least possible)

  27. Tuhin Jana

    “yes, THAT Lagrange”

  28. Bence Szabó - Spacejunkie

    I can see that on several older mission profiles that spacecraft had a hexagonal shape with three solar panels. Why did they change the probe design?

  29. James Monahan

    10:16 I don’t think the wheel tread pattern is right, whoever came up with it has never been around a cat crawler on snow.

  30. Chris V

    I was with you until you started talking about pork chops, I’ll be in the kitchen.

  31. chaz720

    “The rover only has a 133 MHz processor” … Inappropriate response: “hah! My desktop computer and, heck, my phone has over an order of magnitude more capability!” … Appropriate response: “man, my computer and phone must waste a lot of instructions doing unnecessary garbage.”

  32. riley mcpherson

    For the return samples, how will the rover find them if they’re buried by a sandstorm?

  33. Motokid600

    Hey Scott! Do you or anyone else know why the Japanese SRB’s scream like bottle rockets? I could never find good info on that.

  34. Dale Herman

    I was looking through mechjeb yesterday and I was really wondering this, awesome Scott!

  35. PitaLicious

    Scott! Thanks for the video! I worked on Al Amal. Love to see the exposure. Especially from a channel that I already love!

  36. SpydersByte

    9:57 those are some weird rims, wonder what the engineering behind them is

  37. JM Studios

    Transfer window planner in kerbal space program

  38. Nazamroth

    Slight worry: It is not like the samples will be stolen, but dust storms are a regular thing. Will they not be buried after the first one?

  39. Stephan Lange

    “DSL is LSD backwards” … LOL, interesting youth, eh?

  40. Tetsujin

    8:20 – Tianwen?
    Later this week!

  41. htomerif

    Realistically its gonna be hard to transition to a “knowledge based economy” when you have a government run by an Islamic theocracy and the human rights of third-world hellhole.
    Hard to put a positive spin on your space program when you’re executing homosexuals for just existing.

  42. Tetsujin

    5:15 – I may not agree with everything Lagrange had to say but I have to admit he had some good points. Though I would say that if I weren’t initially with him on some of those points I probably wouldn’t be too particularly inclined to stick with ’em.

  43. Karl P

    I know gold is very heavy, but “couldn’t they just” cover the computer with a gold sheet to keep out the EMR allowing them to use smaller um chipsets?

  44. bisbeejim

    “Not like they’re likely to be stolen by the locals.” Now I have to watch the whole video over again because my attention was wrangled and tied up into this idea singularity.

  45. Lukas Mrazek

    Is it only me who hears “Potatoes and Caffees go ahead as one” in the intro?

  46. Squid Vicious

    10:02 –

    You’ve jinxed us now.

  47. Tetsujin

    Aw you know I just remembered, I think back in the 1980s, 2020 was the year they said we might have a manned Mars mission…
    Guess not. That’s OK.

  48. zapfanzapfan

    I played around a lot with that trajectory browser on a course called “Mission To Mars” where my group designed a mission to Mars using a Sea Dragon :-) This was before Elon’s ITS-presentation if anyone was wondering…

  49. Courtesy bog3

    Never thought I’d see rocket scientists with tea towels on their heads

  50. Wilderness Rocks

    Yep I have my towel right here!

  51. Andrew Reynolds

    “It’s not like things left on Mars are likely to be stolen by the locals.” You never know, Marvin might decide to incorporate that stuff into his latest plan to disintegrate the Earth.

  52. chricton J

    “Stolen by the locals”. Well, it is getting a might crowded out there now. I’m waiting for Europa and Io.

  53. LapTop006

    “That Lagrange” Hey ZZ top, I love you guys!

  54. Musefan

    I could listen to Scott talking all day. Even when he’s doing complicated equations and I have no idea what he’s talking about I could still listen to him. He’s so geekily brilliant.

  55. Tetsujin

    12:33 – Laboratory analysis of Martian surface samples – Summary data:
    Suitability as site to raise children: 4%
    Thermal profile: Hell-equivalent coldness (logic error?)
    Suitable child rearing assistants encountered: 0

  56. hawkdsl

    This rover (perseverance) is going to have the Swiss army knife from hell at the end of it’s long arm/boom. Kinda looks like a washing machine that exploded.

  57. nobodynemoq

    Scott, when you say “Not like they’re likely to be stolen by the locals” you seem to have forgotten it is a RED planet 😉

  58. Daniel C. Freteval

    0:09 Let me get this straight UAE developped absolutlly nothing there, it’s all bs and communication/PR stuff.

  59. ke6gwf - Ben Blackburn

    12:42 Marvin is angry, Marvin is VERY angry.

    *Marvin the Martian hyperventilating angry gif “

  60. Alex V

    “Open season on Mars right now”
    “Mars season!” “Venus Season!” “Mars season!” “Venus Season!” “Mars season!” “Venus Season!” “Mars season!” “Venus Season!”

  61. Tagiuk Gold

    So, you’re telling me Lambert’s plots are called Porkchop Plots.

  62. Fran Tabor

    “Stollen by the locals”, agreed not likely.
    Buried by dust storms? Possible?

  63. thanksfernuthin

    We’re such a bunch of nerds… and I love it! When he mentions Lagrange and then says “Yes, THAT Lagrange.” I bet everyone knew exactly what he’s talking about. That’s not normal folks. And that’s pretty cool.

  64. Uncle Bedhead

    I had a computer stolen out of my car a few years back. I’m pretty sure it was Martians.

  65. Franko

    Pork and Arab – I see what you did here.

  66. Cooking With Cows

    1:37 that’s Jake from Adventure time wearing a french beret hat

  67. a Minion of Soros

    “In the case of mars you can use aerobreaking …” or lithobreaking if you are ExoMars (Or EndoMars *philosoraptor*).

  68. neithere

    “Phobos—Grunt” (Фобос—Грунт) is pronounced “Groont”. It literally means “Phobos — soil”.

  69. LORDOceanus

    Wow notifications really pulling their weight today!

  70. lbogaardt

    12:38 Elon succeeded in his capture the flag sequence. Now it’s time to capture the metallic tubes.

  71. IT-kone

    1:38 That’s a positively french looking satellite, just add baguette and mustache! :P

  72. Sean McDonough

    6:20 – Actually, that one looks more like a steak to me.

  73. Riccardo Solli

    3:19 just a normal trip in KSP from Kerbin to Duna

  74. Sir Mediocre

    Perseverance rover: Ponderous, Martian elephant.

    Helicopter drone: Zippy dragonfly.

  75. Geekimus Prime


  76. Micah T.

    Pork chops?? Mars missions?? You have my attention.

  77. a Minion of Soros

    “Soyuz MS-15” Conspiracy confirmed…

  78. HPD1171

    12:43 joke is on you when we eventually find the remains of the curiosity rover only to find it on blocks with the wheels removed and everything else on it stolen as a result of it being left in the martian equivalent of Detroit.

  79. Tanner Liddiard Films

    Scott: *”There’s actually a really good tool for explaining this –“*

    Me: *Kerbal Space Program?*

  80. jull1234

    Scott, you’re one smooth operator. Love what you do.

  81. crestofstar

    The Long March 5 carrying Tianwen-1 launched successfully today.

  82. rpavlik1

    “DSL is LSD backwards” – now that’s some quality computer decoration.

  83. Decus

    12:40 I’d laugh if some foreign space agency came along and stole the soil sample :’D

  84. Bart Van Leeuwen

    Haha.. glacially slow 133mhz machine.. and while watching/listening to this I’m busy writing code for a 2mhz system. nah.. 133mhz is not glacially slow when running efficient code :-)

  85. Christopher Cody

    I’d like to see a video about the radiation hardening that goes into spacecraft electronics. I think it could be interesting.

  86. INERT

    What do they have in common? Pigs in Space.

  87. k HAN

    Part of me is hoping that that last joke about “the locals” ages poorly.

  88. RideNV

    Hey Scott, you touched on a question I had about the hardware we send to Mars/extraterrestrial bodies. Why does it always seem to be so, well, bad?

    I know weight, cost, and hardiness are all factors. I just took it at face value that they had to be older, more proven hardware. That and all this stuff takes a lot of time to select, vet, and then send the hardware. But then you mentioned Ingenuity which has a Snapdragon! That seems to fly in the face of all that, no pun intended. Cellphones seem an ideal platform to base off of given their lower power requirements, low heat, speed, and plethora of sensors. Anyways, can you do a video on how and why certain hardware is selected?

  89. John Miller

    2030: Elon Musk casually picks up a core sample and stuffs it in his pocket.

  90. Cancer McAids

    Now I want to see a remake of “The Gods Must Be Crazy” with a young Martian taking home a Mars Sample Return canister…

  91. Chris Hayes

    10:40 “DSL is LSD backwards”
    That’s the real lesson here

  92. Dave Webster

    “There’s now two schiaparelli craters on Mars.”
    That needs to be on a tee shirt

  93. Lucy Tycho

    That Chinese lander testing rig at 9:21 looks super cool, and I haven’t seen anything like it before. Could there be a future video about it?

  94. Alpha Adhito

    When I played KSP in the early days a long time ago and installed MechJeb, I was laughing because I thought Porkchop Plot is a thing that probably would named by Jeb, and then realise it’s a real deal…

  95. Shawn Elliott

    I’ll be totally honest: I was seriously wondering where you were going with the “porkchops” title since the first story you reported on was a spacecraft launch by observant Muslims.

  96. Rick Rubenstein

    My understanding is that the reason for the Mars Climate Orbiter’s failure in 1999 was that NASA was using a Porkchop Plot, whereas Lockheed Martin, contrary to specification, was using an incompatible Lambchop Plot.

  97. USSR Bot

    I think its funny that the United Arab Emirates had to use porkchop plots.

  98. Kyle Cramer

    “There are now 2 Schiaparelli craters on Mars” 👀🔥🔥🔥😂

  99. Rose Illo

    “Not like they’re likely to be stolen by the locals” Sure, you say that now, but just wait until we get sent bills by the martians for littering.

  100. 태선우TaeSunWoo

    “Not likely to be stolen by the locals”
    Please do not tempt 2020

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