August 3, 2012

Curiosity Just Days Away From Mars

Curiosity Launching

"More than eight months ago, on November 26, 2011, NASA launched its newest rover named Curiosity from Florida's Cape Canaveral, headed to the planet Mars. Now, after traveling hundreds of millions of kilometers, the landing is scheduled to take place at 1:31 am Eastern Time on Monday, August 6 (10:31 pm August 5, Pacific Time). The capsule containing the rover will experience "seven minutes of terror", decelerating through the Martian atmosphere, as a series of entry events quickly take place, ending with a rocket-powered sky crane lowering the rover gently to the surface. Curiosity is a beast of a rover, weighing one ton, measuring ten feet long by seven feet tall (at the top of the mast), and powered by a plutonium-238 fueled electrical generator. The rover carries ten instruments, including several high-resolution cameras, and a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy instrument called ChemCam that can vaporize tiny amounts of minerals and analyze their components. If all goes according to plan, Curiosity is scheduled for a stay on Mars of about 668 Martian sols, or nearly two Earth years, starting in Gale crater. Researchers hope to use the tools on Curiosity to study whether the area in Gale crater has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and for preserving clues about whether life existed. (Most of these photos were featured in a November, 2011 entry, when Curiosity was launched). [36 photos] " -- - In Focus - The Atlantic

Curiosity Landing. Source of giant Martian not disclosed by NASA.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at August 3, 2012 7:13 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I hope it works, but given the complexity of the program, the lack of testing, and NASA's so so record, I would not bet my own money on it.

Posted by: Fat Man at August 3, 2012 7:57 AM

What about all the Venusians that we are ignoring?

Posted by: Mike at August 3, 2012 9:18 AM

It's a scarily complex landing.

I really hope it lands ok. I'll be waiting with my fingers crossed.

Posted by: pdwalker at August 3, 2012 10:13 AM

The findings from the rover are already confirmed by James Hansen.
Mars is an empty frozen desert because of Martianogenic global warming caused by excessive use of fossil fuels in the developed sections of the planet. Unfortunately, the innocent, conscientious, peaceful, Mars loving indigenous population was also destroyed by the greed of the more technologically developed Martians. Mars is our future unless we stop fossil fuel madness.


Posted by: jwm at August 3, 2012 1:25 PM

"Mars is our future unless we stop fossil fuel madness"

I totally agree. I think we all should have our own plutonium-238 fueled electrical generator and for those slightly more environmentally friendly types we could build maybe one or two Comanche Peak's for those in the state that want to go that way. Everybody wins. Oh, wait. That's not the goal these days is it?

Posted by: I-RIGHT-I at August 3, 2012 3:54 PM

NPR spot on Mars landing this morning was absolutely content-free, and used the "Seven minute of Terror" drivel too. Gaaack!!

Posted by: Sherlock at August 4, 2012 9:07 AM

Aha! Just as I suspected, and now know to be true. Same as the Moon landing, staged in some squalid little studio back lot.

Can see it in the picture, almost see the guide wires like we did on Flash Gordon. I did have a crush on Princess Aura.

And you thought the Truman Show was fiction?

Posted by: chasmatic at August 4, 2012 11:58 AM

Who let Alec Baldwin play with the toys?

Posted by: director at August 6, 2012 9:02 PM