By Paul Kvinta
Posted 11.10.2012 at 6:26 pm 0 Comments
Most previous Mars landers used airbag cushions to prevent damage during touch-down. The Curiosity rover was too heavy for airbags, so a team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory created the sky crane. On August 5, the crane successfully lowered Curiosity 65 feet, using three nylon tethers, from a thruster-powered platform to the Martian surface. NASA may well turn to the system, which is scalable for different crafts, on future missions to Mars.
Since we inaugurated these awards a quarter of a century ago, the pace of innovation has quickened with every passing year. Twelve months is now a very long time. It takes something greater to be revolutionary than it did when we first saw HDTVs, electric cars, or even the iPhone. Now, more than ever, this is truly the Best of What's New.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.